Everybody’s got an opinion. You need this much money. That much won’t be enough. Even I said that it’s possible to life off $500 per month in Thailand.
In this article, I will show you my actual costs of living in Bangkok – in full detail. July 2016.
To be fully accurate, I’ll list the specific amounts in Thai Baht & state final sum in USD.
Rent – 11,500 Baht
Now, this price was based on a 3 month contract & I was required to put down a 6,000 Baht deposit. The room was close to Bang Chak BTS station.
Unlike most rentals, the price was all-inclusive. No extras for water or energy use. Pretty good deal & I could’ve gotten an even cheaper price had I signed a 6 or 12 month contract (obviously, duh).
Roughly half a mile (700 meters) walking distance to the BTS station … and one thing I was very happy with: super quiet!
The building had a security guard, washing machine, dryer & reverse osmosis system outside. The only thing I didn’t like? Those damn Soi dogs! Argh 🙁
I found this condo via Google, contacted them on Facebook, came to visit the next day & also put down the deposit. Pretty straight-forward.
WiFi was so-so … definitely not the best but good enough for YouTube. The room came with a small bathroom, closet, microwave, fridge & Cable TV.
One thing I do need to add to the rental costs …
Transportation – 3,500 Baht
This. Simply because of the fact that I was living a few stops away from Asok, I had to spend more on train/taxis. A taxi ride home would usually add up to 80 Baht.
I didn’t go out & need a taxi home every single night but at least 20 out of 30 days, plus adding in random (motorbike) taxi rides to other places (Khaosan Rd., etc.)
The rabbit card (~1,500) I’d usually buy 50 trips + additional costs, so that adds up to roughly 1.5k
Food/Groceries – 10,500 Baht
Thailand food prices are relatively low, but keep in mind that this only relates to street food. Anything else in similar priced as in the West, cheese for example is very expensive.
My diet is a combination of Subway sandwiches (169 Baht for a foot-long), 7-Eleven microwave meals and random stuff such as whole eggs, tuna & nuts. I know, not the healthiest diet, but not much I can do about it without a proper kitchen or grill.
The one thing that is very cheap is meat. 2 pounds of chicken breast cost less than $5.
Pay For Play (=Hookers) – 4,500 Baht
This includes paying for a freelancer girl to come to my room plus going to a Nuru Massage in Bangkok. Both experiences were worth the money & this is an expensive I’ll likely keep just for staying sane 🙂
Banking Fees – 400 Baht
Any time you withdraw money here, there’s a 200 Baht fee. I’m only able to withdraw a certain amount, so I need to do 2 withdrawals per month.
Clubs/Going Out/Drinking – 800 Baht
I don’t usually go to clubs with cover fee, but when I do, it’s always in the 3-400 Baht range (Climax, Route 66). Expenses for drinking include buying liquor at 7-Eleven.
That’s about it in terms of going out, I don’t usually spend more on clubbing.
Additional Costs: Flight, Visa & Insurance
That’s about it. But to be completely correct, I’d also need to factor in flight & visa costs (proportionally). Those would add up to 7,000 Baht.
When people list the costs of living in Thailand, they often forget to factor in the above-mentioned costs & since most people are staying 3 months max before leaving, those expenses will significantly raise your monthly average.
Costs of Living in Thailand …
… yeah, when I talked about the costs of living a few months ago, I was willing to make sacrifices, but I’ve come to realize that this is only possible if you’re staying short term.
If you’re staying for months, you can’t possibly be living in Bangkok on $500 and have a decent life here. The ~$300 rent I am paying is about as low as it gets for a condo anywhere close to central Bangkok.
Total amount spent in July 2016?
38200 Thai Baht. That is around $1,100 USD.
Of course, if you’re living in Thailand for a year or longer, some of these costs will go down (such as rent), but not by much.
What Would I Do Differently?
As counter intuitive as it sounds, I’d willingly spend more. To live in a better location, to have that gym nearby. To be able to pull girls without having to spend 15 minutes in the taxi.
The times where you can enjoy all comforts in Bangkok on only a few hundred dollars per month are gone. It’s still cheap compared to mega cities in Western countries, just not as cheap as media sometimes likes to portray.