How Much Does It Cost to Live in Thailand?


  1. This is exactly what I was looking for! Living in ny its so hard to figure out how much things cost elsewhere because things are so expensive here….

    • Alana says:

      Glad it was helpful – it always difficult to get a good idea of what things are like somewhere else without seeing it for yourself! After being here for nearly two years I think I would go into shock visiting NY…

  2. Good post. I was looking for this kind of info after my recent trip to thailand. Thanks!

  3. We’ve been considering a move to Thailand ever since we got back from our trip there. But living in a place can be a lot different from vacationing there so this info was really helpful. Thanks!

    • Alana says:

      The day to day costs are so low, I’m sure many people staying in nice hotels throughout the country would be shocked to hear what most people live on.

  4. shai says:

    what a load of crap. u can live like a dog for 500$ everywhere. toiletries for 200 bhat a month? just my shampoo costs more… 200 bhat electricity?? when u got no aircon and live in the middle of an anus… no make things short. u r just cheep. so u’ll get along anywhere

    • Alana says:

      The point is you don’t ‘live like a dog’ for that amount here – you’re completely comfortable and don’t even need to be too, um, cheep.

    • Greg Goodman says:

      What a silly comment! I challenge you to live like a dog for $500 in New York City. Maybe you can make it as a homeless dog who hasn’t eaten anything other than thrown-away mcdonalds in a month while sleeping next to a dumpster.

      About the only thing that was accurate in your post is that yes, 200 baht probably means no AC. But you can run a fan 24-7 along with a fridge, computer, tv, and lights for 200 baht, easy. I did it, and I lived in a big 3br house.

    • Ash Clark says:

      ‘cheep’ like a budgie?

  5. JR Riel says:

    Great breakdown, that really puts things into perspective. I know I kicked myself when I saw how little I made in Taiwan this year. But when I looked at the breakdown and my standard of living, and how much I’ve been able to save and travel on, it was pretty impressive!

    (on a sidenote: is it just my computer but I can’t capitalize my letters and it’s driving me crazy!)

    • Alana says:

      I still can’t get my head around how money, value and time can mean so much and so little in different places – and what it all can get you.

      And, sorry about the commenting. I’ve had several people say something about it, but for others it works fine and most comments come through correctly…I need to figure it out…

  6. Great article! Chiang Mai is one of the places I’d like to take a break someday for sure.

  7. Ash Clark says:

    Really good break down Alana.
    Chiang Mai is one of my favourite places and this post explains exactly why. Its low living costs allow people to pursue their passions and actually live their lives without having to worry about “the man” so much.

  8. Jill says:

    yikes! My husband and I just got to Chiang Mai yesterday and rented an apartment for 18k bhat….I’m now thinking we chose the wrong place! lol

    • Alana says:

      In the end it all depends on where you want to be, what you like and can afford! If you like where you find, then maybe that’s the best place regardless of the price. If you’d prefer somewhere cheaper just keep an eye out. I know people living in furnished houses just outside the old city for as little as 10,000B, but I also have known of people renting apartments for 22,000. It’s all relative, though there are several condo and apartment buildings marketed toward foreigners who are used to paying higher prices so the building charges more than it probably should yet still comes across as a good deal. Once you get past those you can find a wider range of options and prices.

      Welcome to Chiang Mai!

    • Jill 18,000 is a lot, it depends what you have rented though for 5,000 you will get a very nice large studio, 8,000 gets you a small one bed and so on. I rented a 2 bed townhouse when I arrived for 20,000 so don’t feel too bad. I would suggest you get with others in Chiang Mai and ask them to help show you around. Good luck!

      • Jill says:

        Thanks Neale! Now that we’re settled here we’re pretty darn happy with the place…love the location and the amenities. I guess we’ve still got those western tendencies and for us (coming out of a big western city) $600/month is pretty damn cheap! lol 😉

  9. Ray says:

    You can live here on very little; as long as you do very little! I was unemployed for 4 months and lived on around £2000 (excuse me I’m British). It was one of the best times of my life in Thailand. I woke up every day, played chess online, rank coffee, slept late, woke up late. Like being a student again. Still, I got worried after I got down to 20,000 baht, after all, we’re not natives here and no money means no visa means no stay in Thailand.

    • Alana says:

      True – and legitimate/legal work options (one work permit for one place) are mainly limited to teaching which makes it difficult to just pick up a job to make ends meets.

  10. Billp says:

    What about health and/or accident insurance? Medicine may be “cheap” but costs would mount up for a bike accident or a major illness that puts you in the hospital.

    • Alana says:

      Good question – while some jobs give different types of insurance (it just depends on the gig) it’s mainly up to you to make sure you’re covered. I take care of my own health and accident insurance, but think it would have to take a lot to really put you in a bad situation. I know of someone who recently stayed overnight in a hospital for two nights, had stitches, bloodwork and a CT scan and total it cost about $300.

  11. Alana thanks for posting, you are totally correct in stating that $500 a month allows for safe western style living. I documented a month last year on my site living with just $400 hopefully you can find a better job this coming year, with a salary of 30,000 per month you can save $6000 give me a shout if your in Mae sai some time..

    p.s excuse all lowercase your blog is not allowing me to use capital letters at all…

  12. Chiang Mai cost Andy and i around $1200 a month total in a cool Nimman road apartment, around $1000 per month total in a not cool apartment on Nimman. And we were NOT careful about food and booze money and had expensive insurance. That also includes semi-frequent trips to BKK. I think you could do it for much, much less, but as a dumb farang, I didn’t know where to get the best deals, and I always sucked at negotiating…

    • Alana says:

      Again, it’s all relative too – if you’re able to afford that and are enjoying where you live and the lifestyle then the higher cost is well worth it!

  13. eemusings says:

    Fascinating! I wondered about how easy it would be to live in Thailand, after seeing a few job posters while we were there and also finding out how much apartments went for (we stayed with a couchsurfing host who had a really nice studio that worked out to be about 200 bucks a month). and while you can eat a meal for 25-30 baht, i wasn’t sure how incomes stacked up in proportion. Thanks for shedding some light on this!

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Like most places, you can make it as expensive or affordable as you want to, but it’s so much easier to stick with your budget (and still throw in some luxuries) since most things are much cheaper than in many other countries.

  14. muna tay tay says:

    This is exactly what every one needs….the goal is to stick to your budget,plan wisely,buy amicably and always have a scale of preference.

  15. Alan says:

    Hi Alana.
    Good post. Very helpful. I am actually retiring to Chiang Mai next year . By the way, there is an ex pats club in Chiang mai that gives good advice also. Take care

  16. Stuart says:

    Can someone please give me an estimate cost for diapers, foot massage, oxygen tanks on a monthly base. I have a relative asking for $500 Usd to cover these needs. I feel like there a little exaggeration going on. Thank you

  17. Richard says:

    I rent a studio condo in Pattaya for 7000 baht around $200 3 blocks from the beach. Use a fan no need for aircon. food is very reasonable. my girlfriend can take me places for about 60 cents. cheaper to cook in the room. no you don’t have to live like a dog. you can places for about 3000 baht but no kitchen.
    just depends on the person.

  18. Chloe says:

    Great informative post, Alana!
    I plan to go to Thailand.
    Here in the Philippines you can also live under 500USD for a single person leisure(21,000 pesos)
    At Manila, Taft (Metro City)
    Rent per month/ 1 apartment room with your own comfort room (120USD – 5,160 pesos)
    Electricity 30USD (aircon, refrigerator, computer, microwave i bought the appliances btw)
    water bill 20USD
    Internet – 30 USD
    toiletries(shampoo,toothpaste, napkin,etc) – 25USD
    Food – 150USD

    Subtotal for a month – 375USD

    The Remaining 125USD is
    for eating out Cafe, eating Restaurants or Mall Shopping.

    – A decent meal at expensive restaurant is 3-5USD.
    – A bottled coke at the side walk store is .30 cents. (12 pesos)
    – Buy the chips at Supermarket. They price higher in Side walk.
    – Coffee starbucks is 3USD.
    – Milk tea is 1.5 usd.
    – one dress or tshirt at Divisoria(flea market) is 2USD (86pesos or less if you haggle)
    – a 20USD can buy you a LOT at Divisoria about 4 tops and a skater skirt.
    – one branded dress at Mall(forever21) is 20usd.
    – one branded shirt at mall(Penshoppe) is 10usd.
    – 1 whole box at Pizza Hut is 10USD.
    – Taking the LRT route or Jeepney for transportation is 0.30 cents (12 pesos)
    – Taxi starts at 1usd.
    – A 125USD can go for 15 days of Cafe drinking with cake.

    Total 500USD.

    I’m a freelance graphic designer,single, 21 yrs old and this is my experience.
    I save more than I spend even if I earn only 1000USD a month.
    Hope it helps you too when you visit Philippines.

  19. Chloe says:

    Oh yeah, if you want to rent in a condominium at Manila, Philippines it is 350USD per month.

  20. paul maltais says:

    Great post
    Im on disabilty and a freind of mine is trying to convince me to move there my only concern is getting all of my medication i was told i can get anything that is avalible here in the us but would like to know from someone thats living there will i be able to get my pain medication as long as i have my medical records i receice 1400.00 a mth us fro. Ssdi seems i could live very well there Thanks again for your post
    PAul…..wilson nc

    • Alana Morgan says:

      I don’t want to give a definite answer since I have no idea what your needs are, but generally speaking medications are easy to get here. There is also a lot of medical tourism, so there should be sites/forum out there answering what’s available in more detail.

  21. Yesman125 says:

    OK, I get 1500us a month. I should be able to live the single life easily there, RIGHT?

  22. Sue says:

    Is it easy to find an apt, say to sign lease with no job but have the money to pay?

  23. MohHass says:


    I want to visit Thai to learn English and do practice with native speakers. I want to take Idea about English Courses cost (Fast track courses max 3 months). and cost of housing ( with native speakers families or individual apartment). and witch is best to develop my English skills (speaking, writing, and reading) come to Thai or going to India or Philippines.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      The cost of living in Thailand is really low, but it’s probably not the best place to go for English lessons. You could find English lessons at language schools, but would think you’d have more of an opportunity to practice your English in the Philippines.

  24. Mike McLaren says:

    Wonder if it would be possible to buy 3-5 condos. Live in one and rent the rest out for income? I wanted to do this in the Philippines but was told It would take a ton of money and months of time to evict non paying tenants. I wonder if it would easier in Thailand?
    If I buy all from same owner I should get a good discount. Just have to make sure what ever I buy is easily rentable.

  25. Randy says:

    Hey!! Great info. I will be completely retired from here in USA in about a year and plan on moving to Thailand. Struggling to decide between Pattaya and Chiang Mai. Will most likely rent for a brief period until I find a condo to purchase. I will have a steady pension of approximately $5000 US a month after taxes. My question is, should that be enough to live a good life and have lots of fun in either location? Thanks for any input or advice,


  26. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the info. I am moving to Bangkok next month, though I know it’s 2 different cities, at least I know I can live with 20,000 Bath in Bangkok.

  27. Joel says:

    Interesting comparing this to the living costs in Phuket –

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