What is the Cost of Living in Thailand?

A lot of people question the cost of living in Thailand. The fact of the matter is that there is no right or wrong answer. The cost of living in Thailand solely depends on your lifestyle. For some it might be an affordable place while for others, it may be expensive. Furthermore, there are some factors as well that contribute directly to the cost of living in Thailand. For instance, the area or location where you choose to live and the type or brands of clothes you choose to wear. So then again, there is no definite answer. Let’s try to explore Thailand in detail and try to get an idea about how much it can set you back, should you decide to live in Thailand. 

Living Expenses

To set the record straight from the beginning, the prices for every category are going to be the average price. The reason being that the exact prices of all categories cannot be quoted as they keep changing all the time. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, there are many other factors that come into play as well such as the location and cost of meals, etc. For instance, if you were to purchase a plate of pork fried rice in Bang Na located in the outskirts of Bangkok, it is going to cost you 45 baht. 

However, if you were to purchase the same plate in popular districts like Siam Square or Silom, the same meal is going to cost you 70-90 baht. With such prices in mind, you can easily calculate the cost of living in Thailand especially when it comes to food expenses and all that. Miscellaneous expenses will differ as well here because the prices are vastly different from what you pay in your home country. 


Rent is the next important factor when it comes to calculating the cost of living in Bangkok. That is because the rent might be the biggest expense in Thailand, especially when you are opting to live in a city like Bangkok or tourist destinations like Pattaya and Phuket. The fact of the matter is that many expats here spend more than 30% of their income on rent here. 

Some people pay 50,000 bahts while others get away with paying even 5,000 bahts per month. Moreover, the monthly rent depends majorly on factors like location, type of housing, and facilities offered. Since there are a lot of options in terms of how and where you wish to live, the rent costs vary significantly as well. A 30 square-meter studio room in Bangkok costs around 12,000 bahts to 15,000 bahts a month should you decide to live in residential areas like Onnut. However, the costs will go up to around 24,000 bahts if you are living in business districts like Silom or Asok. 


Thailand is a tropical country. It is mostly humid all the year round and to handle that, you will be needing the air conditioning, which comprises a huge chunk of the electricity costs. If you want to save up on that, you will need to ensure that you turn it off while sleeping. While some choose to keep it on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that is guaranteed to jack up your bill significantly. If you are living alone in a condominium and use the A/C every night, then you should not be paying more than 1,500 baht a month. However, if you choose to live in a house that has two A/C units turned on every night then your electricity bill should be around 2,500 baht a month. Moreover, if you are living in a house with three 4 A/C units, the cost of electricity can increase upto 5,000 to 8,000 bahts. 


If you are willing to pay 600 bahts a month, you can get an internet connection at home that features a 200 Mbps speed. Keep in mind that this is enough for you to watch movies and shows on Netflix in either HD or 4K. Moreover, that is a decent amount that people in Thailand pay for great quality internet. 


If you are planning a budget for living in Bangkok, consider the phone expenses as well. For instance, if you are willing to pay 500 bahts a month, you are going to get 300 free minutes for calls and 10 GB worth of mobile data. However, some people also choose to pay 1,099 baht a month for an unlimited mobile internet package. You can also buy one package for both your phone and home internet connection by choosing from different bundles. It sometimes may be cheap as compared to buying separately. 


The cost of food in Thailand entirely depends on what you want to eat and where you want to eat. If you are munching on food from food stalls and food courts, you can expect the average price to be around 40-50 bahts. At this price, you are mostly going to get a bowl of noodles or rice with meat and vegetables. However, if you choose to eat at mid-priced places, then your food expenses should not be more than 10,000 bahts per month. 


Amongst all the living costs and expenses in Thailand, healthcare is the most unpredictable and there is a very good reason for that. It maybe that you are all healthy the first year and do not have to pay a single baht for any medical treatment except paying a few thousand bahts for an annual medical checkup. On the other hand, considering the Thailand traffic, you might get in an accident with a motorbike, which can cost upto 100,000 bahts in total. 

Moreover, if you were to visit a private hospital in Thailand, expect to pay around 1,500 to 3,000 bahts. If you get admitted to a hospital, expect to pay around 10,000 bahts for a night while an ICU is going to cost you around 100,000 baht a day. Alternatively, you can choose to visit a government hospital as well if you do not mind waiting in long queues. Plus, the best way to control health expenses is by having insurance. 


While all the other expenses are necessary, there are some that should be done to keep you healthy and fit. Since there are a lot of exercising options in Thailand, depending on where you live, your condominium might include a gym inside, which you can use for free but otherwise, you can apply for a gym membership as well that is going to cost you around 1,200 bahts to 3,000 bahts a month. The price is majorly dependent on the quality and quantity of services provided. The 1,200 bahts a month gym will only have the basic gym facilities while the 3,000 bahts a month gym will have a spa and other luxurious facilities as well. Lastly, if you are on a budget, you can purchase a pair of sneakers and go to the nearest park and exercise your 


If you are living in Thailand and do not own a car, then know that the motorcycle taxi, MRT, or the BTS are going to be your main sources of transportation. People in Thailand mostly take a motorcycle taxi from their residential areas to a BTS and then from BTS to the workplace. You will pay somewhere around 20 bahts for a motorcycle taxi whereas 26 bahts for BTS on average. 


Thailand is a tourist country. Each year millions of visitors tour this country as it is not only beautiful but relatively cheap as well. You will find accommodation and transportation relatively affordable as well. Therefore, that is the first benefit at your disposal. If you were to rent a car in Thailand, it is going to cost you 1,000 bahts on average while an eco-car is going to cost between 600-800 bahts per day. Furthermore, depending on the vehicle type, you will be paying 2-3 baht per kilometer on average for fuel as well. There are other cheap alternatives as well but it all depends on how willing you are to opt for them. 


While you are living in Thailand, you will have to pay for a visa and other related fees. The cost itself isn’t too bad. You can pay 1,900 bahts per year for a single-entry visa while paying 3,800 bahts a year for a multiple-entry visa. However, the cost of a visa is going to become expensive if you are unable to get a long-term visa like a business or retirement visa. An education visa on the other hand needs to be renewed every 3-months and will cost you around 1,900 bahts for each renewal. Incase you have an Elite Visa, it is going to cost you 10,000 bahts a month while a tourist visa is going to cost 1,900 bahts if you wish to fly out of Thailand. 

Final Word

At the end of the day, Thailand is quite an affordable country to live in. However, you need to be a bit cautious about the weather. Some people cannot stand the hot and humid weather conditions. Overall, you get a relatively good value for the price you pay. As long as you’re okay with the Thailand’s culture, it’s quite an attractive place to stay, if you’re coming from US or Europe.