There’s no magic number for the cost of living in Thailand because everyone is different. Everyone comes from a different background, has different tastes, has different spending habits and different budgets with different life styles.
Personally, as a single guy in my late 20’s, I traveled to Thailand and spent over ฿100,000 baht ($3000+ USD) per month, and I also spent under ฿15,000 baht per month ($500 USD). So I know the costs because I stayed at luxury hotels and ate at expensive restaurants all over Bangkok, Rayong, Jomtein, Ubon, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai.
However I also enjoy eating cheap street food and stayed at some of the tiniest studio apartments. It is really hard to come up with the actual cost of living in Thailand. The real answer will entirely be up to you, your needs, your standard of living, your lifestyle, and your budget.
What is the cost of living in Thailand?
- ฿10,000 baht per/month ($300 USD)
- ฿15,000 baht per/month ($500 USD)
- ฿30,000 baht per/month ($1000 USD)
- ฿50,000 baht per/month ($1500 USD)
- Over ฿60,000 baht per/month ($2000 USD and above)
The answer is: all the above
Thailand’s cost of living for a single man
This post was created in December of 2014 with the currency rate at $1 USD = ฿32.9 THB.
For the sake of this post and to make it easier to calculate, I’ll convert the currency as $1 USD = ฿30 THB. Keep in mind, if the Thai baht strengthens in the future then your spending power will reduce. For example, if you’re planning to spend $1,500 USD/month in Thailand, currently that’s about ฿45,000 baht/month but in the future if the Thai baht strengthen to something like $1 USD = ฿28 THB. That same $1,500 USD will become ฿42,000 baht, losing ฿3,000 baht or about 10% less.
|1. Live like a Thai
under ฿10,000 per month
under ฿25,000 per month
($800 – $1,000 USD)
|3. Western Comfort
฿30,000 – ฿60,000 per month
($1,000 – $2,000 USD)
Over ฿60,000+ per month
(over $2,000 USD+)
|Rent||฿2,000 – ฿4,000
no AC, only fan, no hot water
|฿4,000 – ฿8,000
include AC & hot water
|฿10,000 – ฿20,000
include AC & hot water, western style/modern accommodation
|฿20,000 – ฿50,000+
include AC & hot water, the best western style/modern accommodation
electricity, water, TV, internet, phone
|฿1,000||฿1,000 – ฿2,000||฿2,000||฿2,000 – ฿4,000|
Western food cost more than Thai food
|฿5,000 – ฿ 6,000
exclusively Thai food, no western food
|฿6,000 – ฿ 12,000
Thai food & western food
|฿10,000 – ฿ 20,000
Thai food & western food
Thai food & western food
Taxi, tuk tuk, sub way, scooter/gas
|฿1,000 – ฿3,500
local transportations/own scooter
|฿1,000 – ฿6,500
local transportations + scooter rental
|฿3,000 – ฿15,000
local transportations + scooter/car rental
smoke, alcohol, going out, nightlife, partying
|If you party all the time, smoke or drink. There’s no way you can live under ฿10,000 ($300 USD) per month||If you party all the time, smoke or drink. There’s no way you can live under ฿15,000 ($500 USD) per month||฿1,000 per week = ฿4,000 per month||Over ฿4,000+ per month|
|Visa||Retirement visa: you need to have ฿800,000 baht in the bank. All you have to do is pay ฿2,000 baht per year and show it to the immigration or ฿65,000 baht per month or combination of both. That’s all, there are no additional fees.
Tourist Visa, 1, 2 or 3 entry is between ฿1,000 – ฿3,000. Also, consider the cost of going in and out of Thailand.
laundry, clothing, maid, gym, massage
|Medical insurance||This is up to you. Insurance cost a few hundred dollars per year. If you’re prone to get sick or need a piece of mind, you should get insurance.|
You should at least save 10% for emergency expenses. What if something came up and you needed to fly back home?
If you own a condo and assuming you paid it off in full with your own money and with no monthly payment, then you will still have to pay the monthly maintenance fees of about ฿1,000 to ฿2,000 baht or more, depending on the condo.
If you want to own a car or a motorbike, it is going to be very hard to do it with a $500 USD monthly budget.
If you’re a party goer, you smoke or drink then don’t even consider the $500 USD per month. It is not going to happen even if you own a condo.
I think if you really want to enjoy Thailand and not have to worry about ฿30 or ฿40 baht to get you what you want, then you should expect to spend about $1,000 to $1,500 USD per month. If you are a drinker and a smoker, you will have to spend around $2,000 USD per month to enjoy Thailand.
For myself, I can spend anywhere from $500 – $3,500 USD per month. If I don’t go out to party every night, I usually spend under $800 USD per month, and once in a while I might spend double or triple that if I want something nice or doing something exciting.
Also, keep in mind that the cost of living varies from place to place in Thailand. In general, the tourist areas like Phuket and Pattaya will cost more than non-tourist areas. Living within walking distance to the beach in a modern western style accommodation will often cost more than a Thai style accommodation outside the city.
Other factors to consider
- Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children?
- Do you know what type of visa you’re eligible for and what type of visa you’re planning to get?
- Do you know if you’re eligible for a retiree visa? If not, you’ll need to leave Thailand every 3 months to stay in Thailand for another 3 months. The cost of a visa will add a few hundred dollars every 3 months.
That’s all. Let me know what you think.