This costs of living report is based on staying in Bangkok for 3 months straight, thus a lot of the expenses are cheaper than if I were to stay a month only. Expenses such as rent (3 month contract IS cheaper than renting for 4 weeks only).
In my previous costs of living report from July 2016, I had spent 38,200 Thai Baht (THB).
How about this month?
As I am sitting here, I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m guessing that spending increased slightly. Let’s find out!
I always list the amounts in Thai Baht, so regardless of when you read this report, you can always look up the current exchange rate to USD, Euro, or your specific currency.
Rent – 16,800 Baht
Previously, I had stayed at a condo a bit further outside of central Bangkok. The “On Nut” area would already be considered to be outside of central BKK, but my place was even further away.
I liked that it was super quiet there (big plus), the downside was that everything (7-Eleven, gym) was between 10 and 30 minutes by foot.
Rent was 11,500 back then (previous condo) … but I told myself, I’d pick a place closer to Asok (Terminal 21) once my contract expires – even if that meant paying more.
That’s exactly what I did. I picked a place near Soi 22 and paid 16,800 Baht for a month. But there were a few trade-offs, which turned out to be BIG issues for me.
With the new condo, I lived close to the action, but that also meant people driving past the building at any time of the day. Even though the condo was located in a side-street, you’d hear motorbike taxis 24/7. Worse yet, the room I was in was on the street-side 🙁
Some noise disturbance from people outside (street vendors, regular people), but the combination of all factors often made it hard to fall asleep or to do focused work on my laptop.
The windows might have been the issue. They weren’t the best, so much of the outside noise did enter my room. Plus – and this was really bad luck – a construction site had just opened directly opposite of my room.
A massive construction site where they were working every day often till late night. Trucks would often arrive even past midnight.
This made me experience first-hand how devastating prolonged noise disturbance can be. When it starts to affect your quality of sleep, your quality of living is taking a hit.
In my previous condo, I had a large fridge, so I could easily go shopping (drinks, etc.) once a week and it would last.
New condo – I could barely store more than 7 x 0.5 liter bottles of water.
That meant I had to buy food outside daily – those food runs became tiring because there were days where I simply wanted to stay in, relax or do something on my laptop. More about food costs below.
Thin walls (and bad building design).
I wouldn’t know how else to name what I am trying to describe. The building was designed in a way where you have 4 rooms next to each other (walk upstairs), so there was a lot of noise from neighboring rooms.
Whether that’s people walking upstairs in the middle of the night, hearing other people fuck or some other bullshit. The previous condo I had stayed at, I didn’t hear a single person (or noise from other rooms) during the entire 3 months I had been there!
Here, it was continuously every few hours.
The lesson? Having a dead-quiet room is an absolute MUST from now on.
Yes, I was now living close to Asok (that’s where Soi Cowboy is) but everything else had become worse. The washing machine/dryer (of which there had only been one) was occupied 9/10 times and there was no water machine.
My previous condo had 5 washing machines of which at least 1 had always been available. They also had a water filtration machine outside (reverse osmosis), so all I had to do is bring my 5 liter water container, walk outside for 1 minute and I was set for the day.
Here, I had to go to 7-Eleven almost daily … for water, in addition to food.
*I only realized right before leaving that there was a water machine on the opposite side of the street, which I could’ve been using. Oh, well …
To sum it up, I won’t stay there again (and probably not in the area either).
Soi 22, you have a lot of massage places, bars which sounds cool at first but is annoying if you have to walk past all these girls calling/touching you during your daily errands.
Transportation – 3,500 Baht
Since I lived close to where I was going most of the time (Asok), I didn’t need a BTS card like previously.
Sometimes, I would take a 15-20 minute walk to Terminal 21 or the gym, but on most days, I would get a taxi that would cost me 40 Baht one way.
I didn’t track spending here, but I am guessing around 4,000 Baht per month. This includes the occasional trip to Siam Paragon, or going to Khaosan Road (the former via the BTS, the latter by taxi).
Food/Groceries – 11,000 Baht
There was no specific type of food I ate more than another, it was really random.
For a few weeks, I would eat out a lot in the food court (fried chicken rice for 60 Baht, Ramen for 80 Baht), then I would switch to drinking liquid egg whites and barely eating any solid food.
I ate a lot of 7-Eleven food, mostly the Korean + Rice dish for around 40 Baht. I bought cooked, peeled eggs there too.
I often longed for something else than 7-Eleven (meals) or street food, but going to higher end food stores (quality fresh veggies, etc.) often meant taking a taxi ride, then being stuck on the train for 20 minutes … in other words, not feasible on a daily basis.
Didn’t track but roughly 350 Baht spent on food per day x 31 days= 11,000 Baht.
Fitness/Gym – 900 Baht
I went to Tony’s Fitness at Soi 19. Sometimes I did walk there, but most times I took a taxi back and forth = 40 Baht x 2. In total, I probably spent 1,500 Baht on the gym per month.
Supplements/Drugs – 2,000 Baht
The previous 2 months, I did experiment with a few drugs/supplements/whateveryouwanttocallthem – specifically Piracetam (from a pharmacy near Terminal 21 for 450 Baht), Rhodiola, Alpha GPC (both via iHerb online).
The last two I tried to find locally somewhere in Bangkok, but nobody knew about it. I have tried various pharmacies, Boots, etc.
I think they are simply not available in Thailand (that doesn’t mean illegal thought! I looked it up online and it said not classified, meaning not available but legal). I ordered online from the US and the package arrived within 2 weeks.
I would recommend going this route rather than trying to find supplements/pills in Bangkok (often times lower quality & bad selection).
Go out there and see for yourself if you don’t believe me. Buy from local stores and you end up with stuff that is overpriced, under-dosed and of lower quality.
Same exact issue with condoms … but that’s another story.
Pay For Play (=Hookers) – 2,000 Baht
Surprisingly, I didn’t do much in this department this month. Only went to a new Nuru massage I wanted to review (turned out to be horrible, see “Worst Nuru Massage in Bangkok”) and visited a few gogo bars.
This is what living in one place for too long does to you. You’ve tried most of the exciting stuff already, and often times aren’t interested to simply repeat the same thing over and over again. Thus, very little pay for play for me.
Banking Fees – 400 Baht
Any time you withdraw money here, there’s a 200 Baht fee. I’m only able to withdraw 10,000 Baht at once, so I usually need 2 withdrawals per month.
Clubs/Going Out/Drinking – 1,500 Baht
Very similar to the point I made in the pay for play section above. I had been out so many times (often to the same clubs) that I didn’t go out that much.
Maybe 10-15 times during the month, often times checking out new bars, clubs … which turned out to be subpar compared to the known venues.
Including cover fees, drinks, taxi fares … probably in the 1,500 Baht range.
I also did a bit of online dating – specifically on one weekend where I met up with 2 different girls. Was good, I liked it.
Additional Costs: Flight, Visa & Insurance
Random costs. Flights, extending my tourist visa, etc. I also went to the HIV clinic once after a condom broke – simply to get tested. All fine 🙂
Just like in the previous costs of living report, I would say those costs add up to 7,000 Baht. (Most people forget to factor in those expenses when talking about costs of living in Thailand).
TOTAL SPENDING – 45,100 Baht
… so did you do the math and know how much I spent? Want me to tell you instead? Here it is …
Total amount spent in January 2017?
45,100 Thai Baht. That is around $1,270 USD.
So, my intuiting was spot-on. Slight increase of monthly expenses – by 6,900 Baht, to be precise.
What Would I Do Differently?
Examine the place I intend to stay at in more detail. What’s the outside noise like? Is it a busy street with lots of traffic? How about people inside the building?
Noise disturbance needs to be avoided at all costs. Location – as I’ve learned – isn’t THAT important when you’re staying for longer periods.
I didn’t go out every single day and taking a taxi or the BTS on the days I did would’ve been fine as long as a food store is within walking distance.
Want More of My “Secrets”?
If you’re going to Bangkok (or Pattaya), then make use of my Thailand Guide. The guide will save you both time and money by showing you where to stay, where to go at night and thus getting the best value for your money.
The Thailand Guide is actually a package containing Interactive Maps, eBooks, Podcasts & Videos.
Most importantly, email support is included. Whether you have question while planning your trip or need assistance during your stay in Thailand – you can contact me any time.