May 20, 2024

Alex o'Loughlin

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The Cost of Living in Thailand (Updated Prices for 2022)

The Cost of Living in Thailand

The Cost of Living in Thailand varies on which part of the country you choose as your home. In the last few years, I have lived in both, southern Thailand, surrounded by the picturesque beaches, and northern Thailand, surrounded by the stunning mountains and the energetic setting of Chiang Mai.

As weeks turned into months, I found myself falling in love with this country. It truly captured my heart, and although I am a nomadic traveler, I always find my way back to Thailand to breathe in the fresh air and slow down the pace. This is a place in which I could live. Its rare beauty and low cost of living in Thailand beckons me to stay. 

Also because Bangkok is a major travel hub for Southeast Asia you can always find an insanely cheap flight to and from Thailand.

Why Live in Thailand

There are many reasons why Thailand is the best place to live in.

For starters, the cost of living is relatively low when compared to other countries. Additionally, there is a wide range of accommodation options available, from luxurious apartments to more affordable guesthouses.

Furthermore, the food in Thailand is absolutely amazing – you can find everything from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants.

And last but not least, the people in Thailand are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people you will ever meet.

Another great thing about living in Thailand is that there are so many things to do and see. There are world-famous attractions like Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Wat Pho temple, as well as lesser-known gems such as Chiang Mai‘s old city and Khao Yai National Park. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something to keep you entertained in Thailand.

Lastly, Thailand has an incredibly rich culture that you can learn about and experience by simply living here. From Thai massage and traditional medicine to Buddhist temples and festivals, there is so much to explore. You’ll never get bored living in Thailand – it truly is the land of smiles!

How much does it cost to live in Thailand? Have you ever considered it?

Is living in Thailand expensive?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on individual circumstances.

 For some people, living in Thailand can be quite expensive, particularly if they have a luxurious lifestyle.

 However, for others, it can be very affordable, especially if they are willing to live relatively simply. In general, the cost of living in Thailand is much lower than in many Western countries, but it is still possible to spend a lot of money if one is not careful. There are many factors that contribute to the cost of living in Thailand

One of the most important is accommodation costs. If you want to live in a nice apartment or house in Bangkok or another major city, you will need to pay quite a bit of rent. On the other hand, if you are willing to live in a smaller town or village, your housing costs will be much lower. Another important factor is food costs. 

Thai food is generally quite cheap, but if you eat out at restaurants often or buy imported foods, your food budget can quickly become quite high. Of course, there are also other costs that must be considered when determining how expensive it is to live in Thailand. 

These include transportation costs (if you plan on owning a car), healthcare costs (especially if you do not have health insurance), and entertainment costs (if you enjoy going out often). Overall, living in Thailand can be expensive or affordable depending on your individual circumstances and lifestyle choices.”

The Cost of Living in Thailand

Thailand is stunning, exotic, and well, inexpensive. The affordable cost of living in Thailand appeals to expats, business startups, and both long and short-term travelers.

Plus, it is not really about the cheap cost of living in Thailand. It is more about the insane quality of life for the price. So let’s jump in and see why living in Thailand is so popular.

However, before we get into the cost of living in Thailand, we first have to talk about how visa’s in Thailand work.

how Visa’s in Thailand Work

People from Common Wealth countries, North America, and many places in Europe won’t have any trouble staying in Thailand. It is easy to obtain a 30-day visa on arrival at any major airport. Also, that visa can be extended for an extra 30 days. 

If more time is needed, you simply need to leave the country for a few days to start the process all over. Visa runs like this are common in Thailand. I’ve had friends living in Thailand for years by simply doing visa runs.

It is easy to head to any nearby country, but the best choice is Laos. Laos permits double and triple entry visas into Thailand. This means your stay in Thailand can be extended to two or three months without any additional visa runs. 

It might sound a little confusing, but it actually is rather simple; you can literally cross the country and reenter seconds later.

One of the first things to consider when living or staying for an extended amount of time in Thailand is the region. Northern areas like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are cheaper than Bangkok. 

They are also less expensive than the islands in the south. 

However, keep in mind, that it is incredibly cheap to live almost anywhere in Thailand and that each area has its own distinctive atmosphere. 

Therefore, you might want to stay in one region for a few months and then venture into another for a few more.

Thailand also offers education and retirement visas that are yearly.

Best Places to Live in Thailand

Living in Bangkok

The city has so much to offer in terms of culture, food, nightlife, and adventure. And, unlike some other major cities around the world, it is very affordable to live here. One of the things I enjoy most about living in Bangkok is the food.

There are endless options when it comes to dining out, and I have never gotten bored with the cuisine here. Thai food is obviously amazing, but there are also great places to get Indian, Chinese, Italian, American, and just about any other type of food you can think of.

In addition to all of the delicious restaurants, there are also street vendors selling cheap and tasty snacks everywhere you go. Another great thing about Bangkok is that there is always something new and exciting to do.

Whether you want to check out a new bar or club, visit a temple or market that you haven’t been to before, or go on an adventurous day trip outside of the city, there’s always something to keep you busy here. And if you ever get tired of all the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s easy enough to escape to one of Thailand’s many beautiful beaches for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Cost of Living in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is vibrant, hectic, and fun. If you are backpacking Thailand alone make sure to brush up on your Bangkok solo travel tips. The city is a significant party hotspot for tourists flying a world away to revel in nonstop nightlife. Shopping in Bangkok is awesome! 

Bangkok is made for people wanting to party every night of the week, but there is more to Bangkok than the energetic social scene. It is also a fantastic place to live for travelers who want to enjoy big city life without paying big city prices as in New York.

If you are staying in an area for a few months, then your best bet for accommodations is to rent an apartment or house rather than staying in a hostel. Hostels in Bangkok and the southern region average between $5-$15 a night, which adds up to quite a lot over time. While sharing an apartment will be less on average, you get your own space. I use Airbnb to help reduce the cost of living in Bangkok.

The cost of living in Bangkok can be expensive, depending on your lifestyle. If you live a western lifestyle, with creature comforts like imported food and wine, then your costs can be quite high.

However, if you are willing to live a more local lifestyle, using local transportation and eating Thai food, then your costs can be very reasonable. In general, the cost of living in Bangkok is similar to other major cities in Southeast Asia. I think it is best to settle somewhere in between. 

Housing costs in Bangkok can vary widely depending on the neighborhood you choose to live in. Central business district locations like Sathorn or Sukhumvit will be much more expensive than outlying areas like Thonburi or Nonthaburi.

There are many different types of housing available in Bangkok ranging from luxury condos to more modest apartments. Expats tend to live in areas with other foreigners which often drives up prices.

Bangkok has a wide range of shopping options available for residents and visitors alike. From world-class malls filled with designer brands to street markets selling knock-off goods, there is something for everyone here. Prices for goods and services are generally lower than what you would find in Western countries but still higher than in neighboring countries like Cambodia or Laos.

Overall the cost of living in Bangkok with somewhere between $800 – $2,000 ( 30,000 baht – 70,000 baht)

Living in Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai is a city in northern Thailand that has become increasingly popular with expats in recent years. There are many reasons why people choose to live in Chiang Mai, including the low cost of living, the laid-back lifestyle, and the proximity to nature. It is a hotspot for digital nomad. From everyone from the United States to Hong Kong to New Zealand.

One of the biggest factors drawing expats to Chiang Mai is the low cost of living. Compared to most Western cities, Chiang Mai is incredibly affordable. Expats can easily find apartments or houses for rent at a fraction of the price they would pay back home. And day-to-day expenses like food and transportation are also very reasonable. Another reason people enjoy living in Chiang Mai is the laid-back lifestyle.

The pace of life here is much slower than in most Western cities, and there’s a strong emphasis on family and community. This makes it a great place to raise children or simply relax and enjoy your retirement. Finally, Chiang Mai is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural scenery in all of Thailand.

From its towering mountains to lush green rice fields, there’s no shortage of things to see and do outdoors. And with its temperate climate, you can enjoy this scenic beauty year-round. Chang Mai is one of the best cities I have ever lived in.

 Cost of living in Chiang Mai Thailand

The cost of living in Chiang Mai is relatively low when compared to other large cities in Thailand. This is due in part to the city being less developed (though that is changing fast) and also because many goods and services are still provided by small businesses rather than international conglomerates. Rent is one of the biggest expenses for residents of Chiang Mai, as it is in most cities. Chiang Mai is the expat hotspot of South East Asia.

A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost anywhere from 8,000 – 20000 baht – (Thai Baht) per month (approximately 250 – 450 USD). Of course, this price range varies depending on the location and quality of the apartment.

For those looking for a more luxurious lifestyle, there are also plenty of high-end apartments and condos available for rent at prices similar to what you would find in Bangkok or Phuket.

Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet can also add up each month. But are generally much cheaper than they would be in other parts of Thailand or even other countries. For example, a mid-range two-bedroom apartment with average usage could expect to pay around 1,500 THB per month for utilities (roughly 50 USD).

One of the awesome things about Chiang Mai is that you are never too far from the city centre.

Living in Chiang mai cost less than Bangkok. You’ll need somewhere between $600 – $1200 per month. (22,000 baht – 44,000 baht)

Breakdown of The Cost of Living in Thailand (The North)

I wanted to talk about the cost of living in Northern Thailand first because it is my favorite area to live in this amazing country. It is also the cheapest. Cities like Chiang Mai cost as little as $600 -$1200 a month. 

My total monthly bills in Chiang Mai which included sharing the rent of a house, a motorbike rental, cell phone, travel medical insurance, etc. came to a total of $200 a month.

The rest of the $600 was spent on food (Chiang Mai food is amazing!), and day trips to the area.

Another good thing about the North of Thailand is that there are a lot of great places to explore. For example, there are tons of things to do in Pai. (The drive to Pai is a site unto itself). As well as the beautiful temples, and all the other things to do in Chiang Rai.

Those who want to move to Thailand and yet keep expenses down to a minimum should consider Chiang Mai. You can also just live in hostels with other backpackers and make closer friends.

However, there are other perks to living in Chaing Mai. It has a massive expat community. You are surrounded by new ideas, energy, and wonderful opportunities. 

The area is filled with like-minded travelers, opportunistic online startups, and newcomers looking for more out of life. There are also some extremely friendly locals in Chiang Mai. Every Thai person is friendly!

Northern Thailand is a wonderful place to live and a place I will return to over and over again. And live there month after month

In other months I spent more from eating out more. Hanging out with friends a lot of doing things like going to the movies. But I never spent more than $1,200.

The Cost of Living in Bangkok and Southern Thailand

Food is also more expensive in the south because of the flocks of tourists that head there to enjoy the gorgeous beaches and tranquil islands. 

The key is to settle in and find small local restaurants, so that food monthly cost are not high. Plus, the food usually is better.

For an average cost of living in the South of Thailand or Bangkok, you should budget $1,000 -$2,000 a month. This will take care of all your expenses as well as give you plenty of money to enjoy life, see the sights, and go scuba diving in some of the most beautiful places in the world. (Even if you are diving in a tropical storm)

However, keep in mind that $1,000 per month will let you live comfortably in southern Thailand and Bangkok, while that amount is in the North will let you live like a king.

Cost of Living on the Thailand Islands like Koh tao, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta, or Koh Phangan

The cost of living on Koh Tao is very reasonable, especially when compared to prices in other popular tourist destinations in Thailand. Rent for a basic one-bedroom apartment can be as low as 50,000 THB per month, and food and drink are relatively cheap too.

Of course, if you want to live a more luxurious lifestyle on the island, your costs will be higher accordingly. Utilities such as electricity and water are also reasonably priced on Koh Tao, starting at around 1,500 THB per month.

Internet access is widely available and typically costs around 500 THB per month. Mobile phone service is also readily available and quite affordable, starting at around 300 Thai baht per month. Overall, the cost of living on Koh Tao is quite reasonable. Especially when compared to other popular tourist destinations in Thailand. With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you should be able to enjoy all that the island has to offer without breaking the bank. The most expensive expense is monthly rent. 

Of course, you have the cost of getting around like a tuk tuk ride. Or motorbike rental.

The Cost of Living in Thailand Breakdown

Cost of Living in Thailand per month in USD.

North –$600 – $1,200 per month

South-$1,000 -$1600 per month

Bangkok – $800 – $2000 per month

Almost compared to anywhere, the cost of living in Thailand is extremely cheap for an expat. If you are looking to immerse yourself in another culture for a long period of time than I highly suggest Thailand. It is one of my favorite countries in the entire world. These prices are also for the expat cost of living in Thailand.

In fact, it is the only country that has captivated me so much that I put my wanderlust on hold to live there. 

As I think about my past experiences, friends, and the cheap cost of living, it brings to mind some of my fondest memories and makes me long for future adventures in Thailand.

More Questions About the Cost of Living in Thailand

Is food expensive in Thailand?

No, food is actually quite affordable in Thailand. In fact, you can get a hearty meal for as little as $2 USD. And if you’re looking for something more upscale. You can still find reasonably priced options. For example, a nice steak dinner might cost you around $10 USD. So overall, food is not a big expense per month when living in Thailand. 

What are the pros and cons of living in Thailand?

There are pros and cons to living in any country, and Thailand is no different. Here are some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of moving to Thailand:

Pro: The cost of living in Thailand is relatively low, especially when compared to developed Western countries. This can be a big advantage if you’re looking to retire or just want to live more cheaply.

Con: While the cost of living per month may be low, salaries are also correspondingly lower. This can make it difficult to save money or earn a good living if you are planning on working in the country.

Pro: The climate in Thailand is typically hot and tropical, which can be a huge plus if you love warm weather.

Con: The weather can also be a major downside, as it can be oppressively hot at times and there is always the risk of typhoons during the rainy season.

All in all, there are both positive and negative aspects to living in Thailand. It’s important to weigh all factors before making a decision about whether or not to move there.

Pro: It is a hub for traveling around Asia. From Bangkok, it is easy and cheap to get around the rest of Asia. Head somewhere close like Kuala Lumpur or Hua Hin. Or somewhere far like South Korea. And sometimes you can get a good deal around the world to places like South America, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, or South Africa.

 Can you live in Thailand without speaking Thai?

Yes, you can live in Thailand without speaking Thai. There are many expats and digital nomads who live in Thailand and don’t speak Thai. While it’s not necessary to speak the language to live here, it will make your life easier if you learn at least some basic phrases.

 If you don’t speak Thai, you may find yourself feeling isolated and lost at times. However, there are also many ways to connect with other people in Thailand, even if you don’t share a common language. 

You can try joining an English-speaking meetup group or attending events where English is spoken. With a little effort, you can find ways to enjoy living in Thailand even without speaking the local language fluently. 

 Can foreigners retire in Thailand?

Yes, foreigners can retire in Thailand and receive a retirement visa. The requirements for the retirement visa are- I think- being 60 years of age or older, having proof of income (e.g. pension), and having health insurance. 

Whether you are a digital nomad or someone getting wanting a better spot on the living index, living in Thailand is amazing. And cheap!

What do you think? Is the cost of living in Thailand cheap? 

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