This receipt is from yesterday’s teeth cleaning session.
1 hour. 1,350 Baht = $40 USD
I can have 2-3 teeth cleanings in Bangkok for the price of one session in the U.S. (and that applies to most Western countries).
Appointment required but never did I had to wait more than 2-3 days.
That’s just one example of how a trip to Thailand can be advantageous (beyond just having fun). Almost all medical procedures are significantly cheaper than in any Western country.
Beyond medical tourism, there are many aspect of living in Thailand which are really inexpensive.
Really CHEAP In Thailand
1. Medical Costs
Routine check-ups are inexpensive. Surgeries are also more affordable in Thailand. Most medication is more easily obtainable and low-cost.
If you plan on doing Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Thailand is, in my opinion, the best country to do that.
In terms of blood tests (such as Testosterone test in Bangkok) costs are about the same as in the West. Exact charges at each blood lab are different, but the costs are roughly
- Total Testosterone – 800 Baht
- Estradiol/Estrogen/E2 – 800 Baht
- SHBG – 1,500 Baht
Add to that a doctor fee which is usually around 200 Baht.
Where to get a blood/Testosterone test in Bangkok? Here are some labs I can recommend (both will usually provide test results via email within 24 hours).
- Bangkok R.I.A. Laboratory (far from Asok; need taxi to get there)
- MedConsult Clinic (walking distance from Phrom Phong BTS)
There are walk-in clinics all over the place, which means whichever treatment you decide on, you can usually get started within a few days (if not on the day you walk in).
Fake medication does exist (as do generics), but if you know where to shop, this issue can easily be circumvented.
Granted, the costs of rent vary greatly depending on location but overall the price-value is quite good.
Even if you are staying in central Bangkok, you can get a nice condo (monthly contract) for $300.
A condo in that price range usually comes with a fridge and microwave but no kitchen. This isn’t an issue as there is usually a food court (mall) within walking distance.
This room was 11,000 Baht per month (water + electricity included) and represents what you can expect in that price range.
If you are willing to spend 3-5000 Baht more per month, you can get a room at a more central location (close to Asok) which is slightly bigger.
One thing I’d caution against (as a tourist) is renting a very inexpensive room in a remote location just to save money.
Yes, you can absolutely get a room like this for $100 per month.
However, if you dig a bit deeper, you will find that such rooms are almost always far from any BTS/MRT station.
Going anywhere will cost you 50-100 Baht for transportation. You probably have to deal with stray dogs in side alleys at night and bringing home girls will be a hassle.
Even working girls will be hesitant to go with you because the travel takes so long.
Unless the places you go to on a regular bases are all close-by, staying in a remote location just isn’t worth it.
Better pay a bit more, stay in a central location and have everything you need (food court, gym, etc.) within walking distance.
Which brings me to the next topic …
3. Food & Groceries
Imagine endless, inexpensive food options. That’s what you find at any of the food courts in Thailand (they’re at almost every mall).
Most meals are around $1.
Food is freshly prepared. In short, you can eat out multiple times per day and it’ll still be cheaper than if you were to prepare food yourself in the US.
If you are into fitness/bodybuilding, you can get your chicken rice for around 50 Baht ($1.50 USD) at any food court.
Such a meal includes one portion of rice, around 200g of chicken breast and soup (bone broth). That same meal will cost you around 120 Baht at 7-Eleven.
Fresh meat is also very inexpensive at roughly 50 cents (US) per 100g.
When you see how inexpensive eating out is, you realize that having a kitchen is overrated … at least if you’re staying in Thailand.
Whether you are on a date, going out or just socializing with friends – every element of that experience is (quite frankly) dirt cheap.
You can have a fun night out for less than $20 (including transportation).
Of course, if you want to indulge in the naughty side of Bangkok’s Nightlife, then it’ll cost you significantly more.
It will still be less than in any Western country though.
That includes transportation (taxis, MRT), entertainment (most venues have no cover fee) and drinks (most are $1-3).
Taxi rides within central Bangkok are going to be in the $1-3 USD range.
Really EXPENSIVE in Thailand
If you plan ahead, you can avoid paying for overpriced items and services in Thailand.
These are usually things which the majority of the population is either not interested in or can’t afford.
Try getting your hands on whey protein and you are going to pay twice as much as anywhere else in the world.
Vitamins and other supplements are either overpriced, under-dosed or not available at all.
You can use Lazada (Thai version of Amazon) to order online, but selection is still very limited.
If you decide to order from overseas (e.g. iHerb), you have to factor in shipping costs and a long wait (usually 2-3 weeks).
That’s why if you plan ahead and simply bring with you everything you need, you don’t have to deal with this downside.
2. Gym / Fitness Centers
Gyms in Bangkok (Thailand overall) aren’t crazy expensive – they simply aren’t as inexpensive as you’d think based on the price value of other goods and services.
Expect to pay at least $50 per month for a gym with first-world amenities. More like in the range of $75 if you are not willing to sign a long-term contract.
- Tony’s Gym Bangkok Soi 19 – 1,099 Baht per Month
- Muscle Factory Bangkok – 2,600 Baht per Month
Muscle Factory Gym in Bangkok is more expensive at 2,100 (monthly), but you get what you pay for both in terms of equipment and environment.
If you are serious about fitness/bodybuilding, then Muscle Factory is well worth the money as you’ll be able to surround yourself with like-minded people.
Most other gyms such as Virgin Active Fitness, Fitness First or Jetts 24 Hour Fitness are great too but you either have to sign a yearly contract and/or there’s a hefty sign-up/activation fee.
3. Luxury Items
Not that it would be relevant for 99.999% of people visiting Thailand, but if you were to buy a luxury car, you’d be paying significantly more than anywhere else.
This is due to Thailand’s import tax.
Again, this ‘downside’ is irrelevant to practically anyone reading this article.
4. Certain Groceries
Cheese is very expensive. Many Asians are lactose intolerant, which means that the majority of the local population isn’t buying cheese, thus most of the demand will come from expats and tourists.
Anything that’s imported and not a local brand is also overpriced.
Most people do not prepare their meals at home. Instead they will go to street vendors or the food court.
This explains why there is a limited selection of frozen vegetables and fruits.
Meals are usually freshly prepared. People either don’t have or use the freezer.
5. Not Planning Your Trip
This one will cost you the most money (and time).
All the things I’ve mentioned prior, you can spot when something is overpriced and decide against buying.
If you don’t know what the typical price range is or what service can be expected, you are guaranteed to overpay.
This means not knowing where to stay (in terms of hotels getting good value for your money) or which bars and clubs to go to can cost you dearly.
You can do research yourself, or take the shortcut option by getting my Thailand Guide and let me help you plan your trip.
Either way, make sure to prepare well.