Thailand on 30K a month

Thailand on 30K a month

Is it feast or famine?

Friday May 1st 2009 (public holiday)

A word first about the all-important accommodation
Situated just a couple minutes (shaded) walk from Surasak BTS the studio apartment I'll be staying in is small but perfectly formed. At 5800Bht and only 28 Sqm (excluding bathroom and balcony) some might call it pricey and claustrophobic, I call it a bargain and here's why. The building itself is modern and very secure, with an electronic key-card swipe entrance and cameras in the hallways.

There is a small convince store just outside and the guy that runs the building is friendly, helpful and always just a call away.The (freshly painted) walls are thick leaving my room almost silent when the sliding doors onto the balcony are shut. The room itself is on the second floor and is completely furnished with contemporary fitted wardrobe, king sized bed, chair, desk, side table, cabinet and shelving unit. There is a 22 inch flat screen Samsung TV, Microwave, Kettle, Toaster, Fridge, fan, new remote-controlled air-con unit, glasses, cups, plates and even some chop sticks! There is also Wi-fi and a phone.

The bathroom is a wet-room and is about 4 sqm, it's clean, has hot water high pressure shower, sink, mirror and western flushing toilet. The balcony is the same size as the loo (a bit smaller) and houses a washer dryer! The bad sides are - There is a mosque not far away and so you get the stupid praying sounds that you can hear even when the doors are closed and it's only a really small soi so you need to walk out and down another one till you can hail a taxi. Accommodation total = 5800 Baht.

I wanted to go to Big C this morning to stock up but unfortunately something came up with a distraught friend and his relationship problems so I had to spend the morning listening to his tales of woe instead. I'll be going tomorrow and have already made a list of all the supplies I'll be getting. But I did buy a few things from 7/11 to tide me over until then.

Small sachet of Nescafe red cup = 30 baht.
1 Litre of Milk = 27 baht.
Half loaf of white bread = 22 baht.
4 pack of butter sachets = 12 baht.
1 small jar of raspberry jam = 16 baht.
1 Large bottle of water = 12 baht.
Packet of chocolate biscuits = 10 baht.
2 large bottles of Leo beer = 84 baht.
1 pot of Tom Yam mamma noodles = 13 baht.
Pack of 4 eggs = 12 baht.
Small bottle of orange juice = 15 baht.
1 small bottle of coke = 10 baht.
Pack of LM red cigarettes = 64 baht.
Breakfast - 2 slices of toast with butter and jam, big mug of coffee, small bottle of orange juice, boiled egg with 1 slice of toast.
Lunch - Pot of Tom yam noodles, small bottle of coke.= Free!
Dinner - Bowl of noodle soup with pork slices and glass of water from small street stall beside apartment = 30 baht.
Snacks - Cup of coffee, chocolate biscuit

Leisure - 10 Cigarettes, two bottles of beer = Free!
Other expenses - Phone Card = 500 baht.
Days activities - Read book, surfed Web, watched TV, talked to neighbours, listen to tales of woe, threw stuff at soi dogs from balcony = Free!

Total daily spend = 6657 baht
Running total = 6657 baht

Phil's Comments
This could be a very interesting journey through one month in the life of an English teacher. What's always at the back of my mind here is that teachers were earning 30,000 baht a month almost twenty years ago. I know because I was one of them! However, times have changed considerably. Back then all you had to worry about was accommodation and putting food in your belly, oh and the occasional weekend away. Nowadays there are so many things vying for the dollar in your pocket - computers, internet, mobile phones, lattes at Starbucks - the list is endless.

Saturday May 2nd

I managed to get down to Big C to stock up, although I did get tempted along the way (Damn you McDonalds! ) Here's the break down of the trip -

Small bottle of water from 7/11 = 6 bht
BTS ride, Surasak - Siam (4 stops) = 25 baht
2 litres of Milk = 79 baht
Jar of instant Nescafe Red Cup =68 baht
8 pack of butter sachets = 50 baht
Loaf of white bread = 28 baht
8 Eggs = 49 baht
Pack of 12 slices of ham = 65 baht
Pack of 12 cheese slices = 145 baht
12 Large potatoes =114 baht
3 half cans of Baked beans = 63 (21 a tin) baht
Jar of Raspberry Jam = 34 baht
Bottle of washing up liquid = 30 baht
Bottle of Shampoo = 27 baht
Large box of Corn Flakes = 148 baht
Can of Shaving Foam = 66 baht
Can of Deodorant = 68 baht
Large bottle of Mouth Wash = 42 baht
Toothpaste = 18 baht
Large sized Talcum powder = 22 baht
Hair Gel = 68 baht 10 packs of assorted crisps (potato chips) = 54 baht
Large bag of Salt = 10 baht
Pack of Cherry Tomatoes = 15 baht
Pack of Chocolate biscuits = 10 baht
Carton of Orange Juice = 149 (pack of 2 cartons) baht
1 Liter of Gilbeys Gin = 399 baht
9 Limes = 53 baht
6 cans of tonic = 72 (12 a can) baht
2 Packs of LM Cigarettes = 99 (49 a pack) baht
6 Rolls of Toilet paper = 23 baht
4 Strawberry yogurts = 49 baht
6 cans of coke = 62 (multi-pack) baht
Washing powder = 39 baht
Fabric softer = 18 baht
Box of 12 condoms = 133 baht
Lube = 54 baht
3 Large Bags of crisps = 50 baht (deal)
6 pack of Tom Yam dry Noodle pots = 67 baht

I also had to get a Taxi back, I wanted to get the BTS but there was just too much stuff.
Taxi = 80 baht (66 plus tip)

Breakfast - Mug of Coffee, 3 slices of toast, boiled egg, glass of milk
Lunch - Super size Mega Mac deal = 155 baht
Dinner - Mashed potato with baked beans, can of coke
Snacks - Cup of Coffee, Strawberry yogurt, Chocolate biscuit, bag of crisps

Leisure - I went out last night for a couple of drinks after sinking 4 large gin and tonics at home. I only had to buy 2 G&Ts (at 100 baht each) and had 2 bought for me. I also smoked 16 cigarettes over the course of the day. I went out and got home by BTS (Surasak to Sala-daeng (3 stops) 20 baht each way) Total = 240 baht
Other Expenses - Bag of ice from 7/11 = 7 baht.

Days thoughts - Spent a lot today but I knew I would, looks like it's going to be a frugal week. Morale - Pretty damn good, although the gin helped a lot

Total daily spend = 3054 baht
Running total = 9711 baht

Sunday May 3rd

So today was a good day concerning outgoings. Going to sleep late, coupled with the fact I 'd a bit of a hangover, it wasn't till late on in the day that I could even face eating. (Top tip: Drinking lots will save you money on food the next day!) apart from the water I could've spent nothing, if it wasn't for the fact that I was guilt-tripped into buying fruit by certain forum members who commented on the fact I was eating myself into an early grave . It seems that this is already becoming a positive exercise as I'd never really considered what I was eating before. Anyway, here's the breakdown

Breakfast - Cup of coffee, Large Glass of orange juice, 2 slices of toast
Lunch - Ham, cheese and tomato sandwich, half a bag of crisps and cup of coffee
Dinner - Mamma pot noodle, can of coke
Snacks - Multiple glasses of water, chocolate biscuit, watermelon from street stall = 10 baht

Leisure - Smoked 5 cigarettes
Other Expenses - Filled up 3 large empty bottles with water from dispenser outside apartment = 25baht
Activities - Surfed web, watched TV, did some exercise

Days thoughts - This is where Thailand comes into its own. Even though I felt fragile and wasted most of the day I still felt as though there where so many options in terms of what I could do for minimal cost or even for free. Food of all kinds is cheap, abundant and usually only a few meters away.
Morale - Feeling good now that the big expensive chunks are out of the way. Spending the best part of 10 grand in the first couple of days is a little worrying, but when you realize that once they're done, keeping topped up is relatively easy and cheap!

Total daily spend = 35 baht
Running total = 9746 baht

Phil's Comments
Now that's more like it. A whole day in Thailand on 35 baht, or as my grandmother would say - "seven shillings in the old money". I'm getting all nostalgic. It's just like going back to the 1950's. Not that I was even born then you understand.

Monday May 4th

Another enjoyable, cheap day that I hope will become the standard. Here's the breakdown.

Breakfast - Bowl of cereal, Cup of Coffee, Glass of orange juice, 2 slices of toast
Lunch - Mamma Pot noodle, can of coke, half bag of crisps
Dinner - Full BBQ fish covered in salt and pepper with side salad, chillies and rice from street stall. = 120 baht (100 plus tip)
Snacks - Chocolate biscuit, cup of coffee

Leisure - Smoked 9 cigarettes, 5 decent G&T's
Other Expenses - None.
Activities- Surfed the web, watched movie (Bridge to Terabithia, great family movie that packs an emotion punch) ,worked on various materials for teaching and went onto the the roof of my building and spent the evening drinking G&Ts and talking to some incredibly friendly Thai guys about politics of all things. Weird.

Days thought = Had a really nice, full and productive day as well as meeting some really interesting people that totally went against the grain in terms of usual Thai behavior. Once again I spent a minimal amount and had no real desire to spend more. If things can continue in this way it looks like I'll be on course for a bit of the high life at the weekend (steak and wine, here I come!)
Morale = Still feeling good and the drop in temperature over the last few days has really helped maintain low stress levels.

Total daily spend = 120 baht
Running total = 9866 baht

Tuesday May 5th (public holiday)

Bit of a boring day all together as it was mainly spent sending E-mails, reading and watching downloaded programs. Although I did venture out and about for a bit as I was getting a little cabin feverish

Breakfast - Cup of Coffee, Glass of Orange, juice and some mixed fruit from a stall = 15 baht
Lunch - Beans and cheese on toast, can of coke and chocolate biscuit
Dinner - Green Curry with steamed rice and bottle of water from Thai restaurant = 140 baht (120 plus tip)
Snacks -Cup of coffee, some crisps and a Cornetto ice cream from 7/11 = 20 baht

Leisure - Pack of LM red cigarettes from 'mom and pop' store = 55 baht
Other Expenses - BTS ride, Surasak - Chong Nonsi (1 stop) both ways = 40 baht (20 each way)
Activities - read, watched the world go by, surfed the web, did some exercise, a little window shopping

Days Thoughts - Middle of the road in many respects and I was severely tempted to go out and about but I managed to hold strong and think of the weekend. I'd rather have a few really good nights than a bunch of diluted ones.

Morale - Felt good by the end of the day due to sticking to my guns and actually doing some decent exercise. Although this was the first day that I began to begrudge the fact that I had to think about money. I'm sure I could of just thrown caution to the wind and gone out, but with 25 days still to go I don't want to end on a low.

Total daily spend = 270 baht
Running total = 10,136 baht

Wednesday May 6th

Another day , another dollar. Well a bit more than that actually. I actually bought stuff today! Here's the breakdown

Breakfast - Large cup of coffee, Orange juice, 3 Slices of toast, 2 Boiled eggs
Lunch - Sub of the Day deal from Subway = 69 Baht
Dinner - 2 sticks of chicken from street vendor and some mamma noodles I already had, can of coke = 40 baht.
Snacks - Cup of Coffee, Pack of crisps, chocolate biscuit

Leisure - Smoked 10 cigarettes and had couple of Gin and Tonics
Other Expenses - BBQ bucket = 89 baht, Metal Tongs = 79 baht, Metal Grill = 120 baht, Bag of coal 20 baht = Total 308 Baht.
Activities - Set up ma BBQ on my balcony, read a little and worked on some materials for work

Days thoughts - After looking at all the great cuts of meat while I was at Big C, but not having a way to cook any of them I'm glad I finally bothered to get a little BBQ. It's pretty small and probably won't cook very much but it's just for me and I can always invest in something a little bigger and better down the line.

Morale - Feeling good and manly after getting my BBQ. It's such a small thing but opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of meals in the future.

Total daily spend = 417 baht
Running total = 10, 553 baht

Thursday May 7th

Woke up late this morning feeling a bit dodgy for whatever reason. I considered going to get some stuff for my BBQ, but decided that I'll wait until the weekend as I'll probably need to replenish some stocks (GIN) anyway and might as well get everything together.

Breakfast - Cup of coffee, Orange juice, Bowl of cereal
Lunch - Beans on Toast, can of coke
Dinner - Pack of heated spicey meat and garlic bread from 7/11(Glass of orange juice) = 51Baht
Snacks - Cup of Coffee, chocolate biscuit, lots of water

Leisure - Smoked 5 cigarettes
Other Expenses - None
Activities - Sat in bed and watched lots of downloaded Anime.

Days thoughts - Pretty non-eventful day which a lot of people would probably be bored with. But I managed to get though 10 episodes of Naruto and 10 of Bleach! (For those who even know anything about Anime, or care.)

Morale - Feeling OK, but defiantly itching to get out drinking, dancing and bagging some new sexy folks! Looks like tomorrow night is going to be an expensive one!

Total daily spend = 51 baht
Running total = 10, 604 baht

Phil's Comments
This week's spending money has barely topped 900 baht and while it's put Hollow's budget firmly back on track, I sense the restlessness of a man in his early 20's whose exertions over the past five days have been limited to watching Japanese cartoons in bed and fiddling about with a new barbecue. The weekend approaches. The neon lights are beckoning and those Bangkok fleshpots are limbering up in readiness to part a young bloke from his hard-earned cash and throw his Bangkok budget into chaos. All I can say is be strong young man. "Resist the temptations of the devil and be pure in morning's first light" as my old vicar used to say. It was easy for him though. He never felt that rush you get from the third Heineken sliding down.

Friday May 8th

Woke up late, had breakfast (Coffee, Orange and toast with eggs) and spent the morning cleaning my room, doing washing and generally mucking about. Had lunch (sandwich, crisps and remaining juice and biscuits) then went down to the shop and bought some ice (7 baht) 2 cans of tonic (28 baht) 3 bottles of Leo beer (126 baht) and some fags (49 baht) I then went home and spent the afternoon finishing off my remaining gin and sinking the beers before showering, dressing and heading out.

Got the BTS to Siam (4 stops, 25 baht) and met a friend at the Paragon mall for a nice meal at a Japanese restaurant. Had some noodle soup (90 baht) a Sushi platter (265 baht) bottle of sparkling water (65 baht) and a coffee (75 baht). (I also left a 100 baht tip)

Then I went to BTS Saladaeng (2 stops, 20 baht) and went to a bar and drank 7 G&Ts. (2 were bought for me and I paid for 5 at 115 baht each, and left a 100 baht tip) Then went to a club (300 baht entrance) had a few vodka oranges (I paid for a 2 at 150 baht each and had a few others bought for me) and some shots (I didn't pay for them either, woohoo! ) Went back to a friends, bought some more cigarettes (49 baht) and a bowl of noodles from a street stall (30 baht)

Total daily spend = 2,204 baht
Running total = 12,808 baht

Saturday May 9th

Woke up at about noon at a friends and got a Taxi back to my room (100 baht, fare was about 80 and I left a tip) Lay in bed for a bit, showered and then went down to the shop and bought a 1l bottle of Gilbery Gin (450 baht) 4 cans of tonic (56 baht) and some fags at (49 baht) and a 12 pack of condoms (140 baht) Then I got some limes from a stall, along with some chicken sticks and rice (60 baht all in). Then went home, had a decent chunk of gin, then got ready and took the BTS to Saladaeng (2 stops, 20 baht). Went to the same bar/restaurant as the night before and had some chicken and vegetable spring rolls (95 baht) a pitcher of beer (250 baht) and 3 gin and tonics (115 baht).

It's at this point things get a little hazy (and expensive ). I'd a few more drinks at that bar. I bought some drinks for people and had some bought in return. I went to at least 2 other bars and had several drinks in each of those and then to a "show" (It had a 250 baht entrance fee, but I didn't have to pay because I'm a legend ) I also had a few drinks in there. In each place I went to I had a mixture of gin, vodka, beer and shots. Each place had different prices and there where surprise happy hours, rounds, and BOGOF deals. All of that just makes it too hard to list exactly. I got a taxi somewhere and then another taxi somewhere else and spent some more money on other "stuff". Suffice to say I spent quite a lot, 2000 baht all in. I know for a fact that I could double that if I actually paid for everything I had, suppose that's the benefit of being spectacularly handsome and generally great... and awesome.

Days thoughts - Had a great time and caution was most defiantly tossed into the wind. I suppose it goes to show to any potential newbies thinking about heading over to the big mango that if you like to party, be prepared to pay. Although it has to be said that even though I spent a fair whack if I were to do anything similar back in the UK I would have spent 4 or 5 times that amount. If not more. I drank myself into oblivion and for 60 quid. It isn't all that bad. Just don't expect to be living it up like this, every weekend on 30k.

Morale - Felt a twinge of guilt about the amount I spent but then I bought myself another drink and I felt fine!

Total daily spend = 3,335 baht
Running total = 16,143 baht

Sunday May 10th

Today was spent recovering for the most part but I did venture out to the Paragon Mall to watch the new Star Trek film (which was very entertaining by the way) Most of the the remaining food was finished off and I did relapse towards the evening with a couple of beers at a bar. Here's the breakdown -

Breakfast - Water, toast with butter and jam, coffee and a small bowl of cereal
Lunch - Toasted ham and cheese sandwich, glass of orange juice
Dinner - Spicy pork and vegetable spring rolls with salad (95 baht) 2 bottles of Singer beer in restaurant/bar (75 baht each ) = 245 baht
Snacks - Cup of coffee, biscuit, pack of crisps

Leisure - Pack of cigarettes (49 baht) Cinema ticket (120 baht) Medium popcorn (65 baht) = 234 baht
Other Expenses - Sky train (Surasak - Siam 25 baht, each way) = 50 baht.
Activities - Went to the cinema, looked at things in shops I couldn't afford, surfed the web and read.

Days thoughts - Had a good day although the expenses of the previous couple of days began to dawn. Going to have to really clamp down over the next week to keep on target. Morale - Feeling good if a little hungover.

Total daily spend = 529 baht
Running total = 16,672 baht

Monday May 11th

Woke up today with renewed vigor and after a quick shower, some exercise and a bite to eat I went out to Big C to replenish my diminished stocks. I also spent the evening toying with death as I finally fired up the barbie. (burgers where good) Here's the breakdown -

2 liters of Milk = 79 baht
8 pack of butter sachets = 50 baht
Pack of 12 slices of ham = 65 baht
Pack of 12 cheese slices = 145 baht
Large bottle of shampoo/conditioner = 132 baht
4 Strawberry yogurts = 49 baht
Bag of 12 apples = 59 baht
Half, sliced watermelon = 20 baht
20 crab sticks = 20 baht
4 large tomatoes = 16 baht
Carton or orange juice = 49 baht
Bottle of chilli sauce = 22 baht
Large bottle of Coke zero = 28 baht
2 Packs of LM fags = 98 baht Bottle of Bathroom cleaner (Free bag of fabric softener) = 30 baht
Large box of Corn Flakes = 148 baht
Loaf of brown bread = 28 baht
Can of Air Freshener = 32 baht
Box of tea-bags = 50 baht
Pack of minced meat = 123 baht
Pack of 12 sausages = 161 baht
Pack of fire lighters = 14 baht
Pack of 12 noodles = 99 baht
Bag of lettuce = 28 baht
Spring onions = 18 baht
6 bottle of tonic = 50 baht
Pack of burger buns = 32 baht
Large bag of crisps = 30 baht

Breakfast - 2 slices of toast, Cup of coffee, 2 boiled eggs.
Lunch - Some noodles (25 baht) and a small bottle of water from 7/11 (6 baht)
Dinner - 2 BBQ burgers in bun with cheese, sauce and salad. BBQ potato with salt and butter, Can of coke and some crisps
Snacks - Apple, 2 crab sticks
Leisure - 6 fags, 2 gin and tonics
Other Expenses - BTS (20 baht each way) Bag of ice from 7/11 (7baht) Refilled my water from machine (25 baht) = 52 baht
Activities - Exercised, read, cleaned room, did washing, surfed the web.

Days thoughts - Felt good finally getting the BBQ up and running although I made the mistake of not having everything out and ready so coming in and out of the balcony doors ended with my room and nearby clothes stinking of smoke.
Morale - Feeling optimistic that even though I went though another chunk of money today that the rest of the week will see absolute minimal spending. I'm also quite pleased with myself in that I managed to do a fair work out that I hope to build on.

Tuesday May 12th

Breakfast - Cup of Coffee, Glass of orange, bowl of cereal and a slice of toast= Free!
Lunch - Cheese, Ham and tomato sandwich, boiled egg and some Coke
Dinner - BBQ sausages in a bun with some salad, apple and crisps. Large glass of OJ
Snacks - Ice cream from 7/11 = 20 baht.
Leisure - Smoked about 7 cigarettes and had 2 gin and tonics at night
Other Expenses - Charge for my internet to be fixed, but this should be deducted from my total utility bill come the end of the month = 300 baht
Activities - Spent most of the day sending out CVs for work, but watched a movie at nights and did some exercise

Days thoughts - I had a very productive day today. Or at least I thought I did. Sent out numerous CVs, emails and exercised till my bones ached. had an early night.
Morale - Felt good and still feel that my standard of life is anything but sub-par. Pauper, I'm not

Total daily spend = 320 baht
Running total = 18,750 baht

Wednesday May 13th

Breakfast - Large Glass of Orange Juice, Cup of Coffee, Toast, 2 Boiled eggs, Yogurts
Lunch - Cheese and Ham toasties, some crisps and salad
Dinner - Bowl of Mamma noodles, some watermelon, glass of coke
Snacks - Apple, 2 crab-sticks, 2 cups of coffee
Leisure - Smoked 5/6 cigarettes, 2 Gin and tonics
Activities - Exercised, Read, Began writing, surfed the web, dealt with filing

Days thoughts - Stayed in today and sorted out boring things like banks and stuff to do with home. Boring things but necessary. Spent a bit on phone so will need a top up tomorrow.

Morale - Feeling OK but thinking I'm entering that period that everyone goes through every-so-often when Bangkok becomes a little over-bearing. Just about riding the storm but perhaps a couple of days on a beach would be nice....

Total daily spend = Nothing!
Running total = 18,750 baht

Thursday May 14th

Breakfast - Bowl of cereal, Cup of coffee, some watermelon
Lunch - Chicken Fried rice (25 baht) , Bottle of coke (14 baht), plate of Spicy salad (20 baht) = 59 Baht
Dinner - Bowl of mama noodles, Bowl of salad with cheese, tomato and crab-sticks
Snacks - Yogurt, 2 Cups of coffee
Leisure - 5/6 cigarettes, 3 gin and tonics, Bag of Spicy crisps (20 baht) = 20 Baht
Other Expenses - Phone card (500 baht) Bag of Ice (7 baht) 4 limes from street vendor (20 baht) = 521 Baht
Activities - Spent the day watching Anime and and movies and lying in bed

Days thoughts - Lazy day.
Morale - Feeling OK. Bloody Thais!

Total daily spend = 600 baht
Running total = 19,350 baht

Phil's Comments
Most of today's spend went on 500 baht for a phone card. You're always going to have these little mid-month 'budget bashers' that creep up on you when you least expect it. I have a stored value card for both the sky-train and the underground system. I topped them both up last week with 500 baht on each. There's a thousand baht gone in a matter of minutes! Then there's what I call the supermarket 'household' week when apart from buying food you find that you've also run out of bathroom cleaner, washing up liquid, shaving gel, razors, garbage bags and furniture polish. Those things really do stack up at check-out.

I think one or two people are casting a critical eye over Hollow's eating and drinking habits. He tends to start the day well with a fairly healthy breakfast but on all too many days, I don't see a decent healthy meal later in the day. In Hollow's defence, he's a young guy. Your body can take an awful lot of punishment when you're in your early twenties. It was only when I moved into my own house with a western kitchen - and was able to cook 'proper meals' - that I realized the amount of junk I'd been putting inside me for the previous ten years. The endless ham and cheese toasties from the sandwich-maker, tinned tuna sandwiches, a few ritz crackers with a cheap sandwich spread. I'd forgotten what a bloody lettuce leaf looked like! Little wonder I was so skinny! Food just wasn't a priority. But nowadays, I always make sure I have one healthy meal - usually in the early evening - and it will usually include pasta, fish and fresh salad or vegetables with some fruit to follow. It's for others to judge of course, but I certainly think I look better. I know that I feel better. And I'm 17 kilos heavier to boot!
Teachers can often find themselves working long, irregular hours and there's that constant temptation to grab something on the go (how else would McDonalds make money?) Finding the time to prepare one healthy meal a day isn't always easy but it's well worth the effort.

Friday May 15th

Well TFI Friday, although the memory of last weekend is still very much at the forefront of my mind I'll be out and about. There will be fun, oh yes, but perhaps in a slightly different manner than before.

Breakfast - Large Cup of Coffee, glass of OJ, Bowl of cereal and Apple
Lunch - Large KFC burger set = 130 Baht
Dinner - Went out with a couple of friends to a Mid-scale Thai restaurant. Shared several dishes: Bowl of Tom Yam, Som Tam, Red Snapper, Green Curry, Spring Rolls, Noodles with Pork and Fried Rice. We also had several beers each (I had about 4) My share of the bill = 700 baht.
Snacks - Orange Slush Puppy-esq drink from street stall = 10 baht

Leisure - Went to nice bar for a few cocktails at 180 baht each (I had 3) = 600 baht (including tip) Then to a bar, had 4 G&Ts (75 Baht each) = 350 baht (including tip)
Pack of LM Red = 60 baht
Other Expenses - BTS (20 baht) Taxi home (100 baht) = 120 Baht
Activities - Had a relaxed day that included reading, surfing the web, and watching Anime and a nice evening that was not about getting totally hammered, had good food, drinks and company. I needed to be relatively awake when I got home anyway.

Days Thoughts - Overall I nice day with lots of different aspect that didn't cost an absolute fortune.
Morale - Felt good during the day and even better at night. Good company makes the world of difference, and I'm not necessarily talking about that kind of company. Although my dwindling funds are beginning to play on my mind as my utilities will no doubt eat up a good 2000 baht.

Total daily spend = 1,970 baht
Running total = 21,320 baht

Saturday May 16th

And so the mega budgeting begins... although it shouldn't be too bad as I've a bunch of downloaded films and shows on my computer, A fair amount of stuff still in the fridge and the desire to actually do some "work" Here's the breakdown -

Breakfast - Didn't get out of bed till late afternoon.
Lunch - Went down to a few stalls and bought lunch for 2. Som Tam, A few sticks of chicken and pork, some salad and curried beef = 120 baht
Dinner - Ham, Cheese and Tomato triple-decker sandwich, Apple, Coffee
Snacks - Strawberry Yogurt, Glass of Coke, 2 Cups of Tea, 2 slices of toast

Leisure - A few cigarettes 4/5
Other Expenses - None!
Activities - Lay in bed most of the day watching Anime and films, had a reasonably early night.

Days Thoughts - Lazy day and the first in a looooong time without a drop of alcohol.
Morale - Feeling inspired and think I might knock the drink on it's head for a few days.

Total daily spend = 120 baht
Running total = 21,440 baht

Sunday May 17th

Breakfast - Bowl of cereal, Slice of Toast, Glass of Orange juice and Apple
Lunch - 2 Cheese and tomato Sandwiches, water and bowl of noodles
Dinner - 2 Chicken burgers (18 baht each) Pack of crisps (21 baht) and bottle of Pepsi (10 baht) all from 7/11 = 67 Baht
Snacks - Yogurt, few cups of Tea and 2 slices of buttered toast

Leisure - A few cigarettes
Other Expenses - Bought a loaf of bread (32Baht), and some more milk (42 baht) from 7/11 = 74 Baht
Activities - Another lazy day except for the exercise and late evening jog. Spent a lot of time on the computer working on Cv's etc....

Days Thoughts - Actually really enjoying getting back into my Anime and movies that I watched religiously back in the UK.
Morale - Feeling good and actually not really had a hankering for booze.

Total daily spend = 141 baht
Running total = 21,581 baht

Monday May 18th

Breakfast - Bowl of Cereal, Cup of Tea, 2 Slices of Toast and Boiled Egg
Lunch - 2 BBQ sausages in bun, Bowl of noodles, Bottle of Pepsi (10 baht from 7/11) = 10 Baht
Dinner - Green curry with steamed rice and water from stall = 50 baht
Snacks - Couple of cups of tea/coffee and some toast

Leisure - About 10 cigarettes, Chocolate bar (32 baht from 7/11) = 32 Baht
Other Expenses - Pack of LM (60 Baht) Pack of spicy sausage meat (30 baht) = 90 Baht
Activities - Spent the day in a similar way to the couple previous although I had to clean my room, wash dishes, do laundry, wash/ straighten hair etc...

Days Thoughts - Went a little mental with the spamming of of CV's and think that there will be some expenses coming up in terms of work related costs. travel etc My supplies are also pretty low and the old fridge is looking a bit bare overall but I think I'm going to be putting off a "stock up" and see how I fair without it.
Morale - Feeling good and the lack of booze has motivated me to sort out lots of stuff that I'd been putting off, such as Banking, Emails, E-bay related things etc...

Total daily spend = 182 baht
Running total = 21,763 baht

Tuesday May 19th

Breakfast - 2 Cups of coffee, 4 slices of toast
Lunch - Went out for lunch with a friend to a Vietnamese restaurant and had a "Beef Hot-Pot set" and refillable cokes, We split the bill = 150 Baht
Dinner - Bought a bag of Spicy minced pork and steamed rice (30 baht including tip from stall) and added a pack of noodles I already had, drank water
Snacks - None

Leisure - Pack of LM Red = 60 Baht
Other Expenses - BTS (Surasak to Sala Daeng 20baht each way) Bottle of water from 7/11 (6baht)= 46 Baht
Activities - Walked around Silom area with a friend to satisfy some interests and did a lot of exercise in the evening and started work on a project online.

Days thoughts - Had a good day and found a cheap, plentiful and healthy option to eat in an area I like. I'll defiantly be going back, the service was good, decor was nice and it was very good value. Silom Centre has a good few interesting places that I think I might be checking out. I'd only really been in a couple of times as I always thought it looked a bit shabby but looking around, I'll be back.

Morale - Feeling good that a few interests seem to be gathering some momentum although I did have a significant set-back in other areas that I will not be going into.

Total daily spend = 286 baht
Running total = 22,079 baht

Wednesday May 20th

So this is day 20? Two thirds of the way though and the budget is beginning to creak under the pressure. Will probably be going to Big C for a final stock up in a few days but I feel I've a few days of cheap Thai food and mamma noodles left in me yet. Here's the breakdown -

Breakfast - Couple of cup of Tea, few slices of toast = Free!
Lunch - Bowl of Noodles, Bottle of Pepsi (7/11, 10 Baht) = 10 Baht
Dinner - Sliced Duck on steamed rice with soy sauce and spicy side salad, glass of water (From market stall) = 80 Baht
Snacks - Bowl of Cereal, Pack of biscuits (7/11, 10 Baht), Selection of sliced fruit from stall (20 baht) = 30 Baht.

Leisure - LM Red = 60 Baht
Other Expenses - Lighter = 5 baht
Activities - Spent the day watching movies and listening to music while pondering the meaning of life. I continued my research into various different projects although I soon gave up and ended up going for a late night stroll around the city streets instead, which I love.

Days thoughts - Reaching the 20 day mark is interesting as it allowed me to take stock on what has gone before... I've been collecting thoughts throughout the past 3 weeks and will try and cobble them together as a note to end on.

Morale - Bit of a reflective mood today which meant I ended the day neither happy or sad, but felt both throughout course of it.

Total daily spend = 185 baht
Running total = 22,264 baht

Phil's Comments
I've long maintained that 30,000 baht a month is nowhere near enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Bangkok. In fact I don't think 40,000 baht a month cuts it anymore. And you could say that Hollow is beginning to prove the point. He's two-thirds of the way through this experiment and the cracks are beginning to appear. He's pondering the meaning of life, experiencing mood swings and walking the streets late at night. If nothing else, I applaud his honesty. There are eleven days still to go and just under 8,000 baht in the kitty. The cupboard's looking bare and he sounds like a young man in need of a good night out. Don't forget that there are still those monthly utility bills to be figured in somewhere. It's not looking good is it?

Reader's Comment

This guy seems to have a drinking problem, not really doable on 30k a month. And certainly not on expensive gin, he should change to Sangsom and diet coke. His diet is dreadful, full of all the expensive crap that people who don't like Thai food eat. He doesn't have a clue about breakfast. Buy one big can of porridge oats from Tesco, price 70 baht. Enough for 7 breakfasts, add a little honey and some banana, excellent, healthy and cheap, it's all I've eaten for breakfast for many years now. I love this article but we don't get some important information, why does he need all those condoms? Is he paying for sex? Rather vital to know. He seems rather lazy and unmotivated, what is anime? Japanese cartoons? WTF. He is looking for a job but hardly seems employable to me. Last point: he claims to exercise like crazy but doesn't specify. Running outside? OK. Gym? not doable on 30k. Pushups in his room? bit of a waste of time. Oh well, good luck to him.

I'm following this with interest. On the food front alone I'm horrified at the unhealthy food. I hadn't used to be so faddy but since I developed diabetes I watch what I eat (and what others eat) a lot more carefully. He doesn't eat much fruit and veg, does he? I can get a very healthy fresh fruit lunch nearby for around 30 baht a day. OK a bit monotonous but it's healthy. Of course I can't eat jasmine rice any more either - the highest sugar content of any rice. But really - toast (olive oil spread by the way not butter, readily available at Villa Mart), yoghurt, porridge, fresh fruit - you can live inexpensively and healthily for two out of the three meals a day (less than 100 baht in my experience). Budgeting ten thousand a month for food allows me to eat out two or three times a week at places like Molly Malone's Sunday buffet. I guess the Thai cigarettes will kill him first anyway (and I'm not an anti-smoker) plus the high booze intake. Oh dear me! And I haven't even started on the vegetables. I'm pleased to see he did buy some apples. Ten thousand for rent. Six thousand for utilities including UBC (Gold) and ADSL. Four thou for everything else. He's not even trying!

Thursday May 21st

Well here I stand... or slumped I should say. Looking back over 20 days I've mixed feelings. I always stated that this thread was as much for myself as it was for potential new blood, and I feel I've learned a lot. The food I eat and the amount I drink and smoke has been a bit of a shock. In my day to day life I never really stopped to take stock of what I was putting in my body. Was it harmful? would I regret it years down the line? was it enough?

So I woke up this morning with a clear mission. Write a list to take me through to the end... there would be some dramatic changes in how I acted, in what I ate. I would have renewed focus... Concentrating on what was important.. sorting out my priorities and rectifying what I had done wrong in the past. This list would reflect how I would carry on for the rest of the year, if not my life. This list would truly reflect what I came to Thailand to do. Here's the breakdown.

1 Liter bottle of Gilberys Gin = 440 Baht
10 Cans of Tonic water = 140 Baht
Bag of Limes = 54 Baht
10 Large bottles of Leo Beer = 470 Baht
8 Packets of LM Red = 480 Baht
Loaf of White Bread = 28 Baht
Box of 12 condoms = 133 Baht
Lube = 60 Baht
12 Pack of Processed Cheese = 165 Baht
10 Pack of Dried Mamma Noodles = 50 Baht
Pack of Processed ham = 110 Baht
8 Eggs = 49 Baht
2 Packs of Chocolate biscuits = 20 Baht
2 Large bottle of coke = 54 Baht
4 Tomatoes = 16 Baht 4 Strawberry yogurts = 49 Baht
5 Large bags of Crisps = 100 Baht
Pack of minced meet = 123 Baht
Bag of Onions = 36 Baht
Pack of Burger Buns = 32 Baht
2 Liters of Milk = 79 Baht
Large box of cereal = 148 Baht
10 Pack of butter sachets = 50 Baht

Breakfast - Couple of cups of coffee, 2 Bits of toast and some cigarettes
Lunch - Triple-Decker Ham, Cheese and Tomato sandwich, with crisps and coke
Dinner - Bowl of Chicken Red Curry and steamed rice = 120 Baht (Including tip)
Snacks - Coffee, some biscuits, and Watermelon from a stall (10 Baht) = 10 Baht

Leisure - Had 2 Bottles of Beer, 5 Gin and tonics and smoked a bunch of fags
Other Expenses - Bag of Ice from 7/11 (7 Baht), Refilled water bottles from machine (25 Baht) BTS Trip (50 baht return) = 82 Baht
Activities - Went shopping, did a few sit-ups and press-ups in my room, surfed the web then got slaughtered at night

Days thoughts - I feel I really completed my objective today and I'm optimistic that I will stay on budget even though I spent quite a lot. It's really refreshing to know where you've been, where you are and where you want to go.

Total daily spend = 3,098 baht
Running total = 25,362 baht

Friday May 22nd

Woke up on the wrong side of noon due to sleeping late after talking with a neighbor into the wee small hours. Decided that I'd do some work. I felt pretty dazed and hungover so I headed down to 7/11 for the world best hang over cure! 5 Bottles of Red Bull = 50 Baht

Breakfast - 2 Bottles of Red Bull, some toast and cigarettes
Lunch - Plate of Chicken fried rice, water followed by some grape fruit = 60 Baht
Dinner - Fired up the BBQ and made myself some burgers with tomato, cheese and chilli sauce the nice lady at 7/11 gave me for nothing, drank coke
Snacks - Had some crisps and a couple of biscuits later on

Leisure - Bottle of Leo beer and a few G&Ts
Other Expenses - None
Activities - Spent most of the day and night online working and procrastinating. Then had a friend over for a heated debate.

Days thoughts - Felt good and actually managed to make some decent money! At last my online workings are making a return! Woo hoo!

Morale - Money makes Hollow feel good and so does a knock on the door at 3am.

Total daily spend = 110 baht
Running total = 25,472 baht

Saturday May 23rd

Woke up early doors and got changed into some smart gear, then went out for a swanky buffet breakfast with a friend to a nearby 5 star. We then headed back to mine and spent the afternoon on the roof terrace talking nonsense and drinking G&T. We then got a lift to a bar for a while but I was already half-cut so only had a few drinks.

Breakfast - Buffet at Hotel = 600 Baht (Including tip)
Lunch - None.
Dinner - Paid for half of a delivered pizza = 170 Baht (Including tip)
Snacks - None.

Leisure - 2 Bottles of Leo, 4 Gin and tonics (at home Free), 3 in a bar (250 Including Tip) A lot of Fags = 250 Baht.
Other Expenses - None.
Activities - Went online occasionally to check some stuff but mainly spent the day talking, drinking and eating.

Days thoughts - Had a great day... Really enjoyed the change of scenery and would recommend the occasional buffet Breakfast to anyone. It allows you to dress up, enjoy the surroundings of a lovely hotel, absolutely rape the free (good) coffee and all for 5 or 6 hundred baht.
Morale - Feeling good. 1 week to go and although the last few days will be quite tight it's something that I am willing to endure. I suppose it depends on whether you like a constant decent standard or mountainous peaks and plunging valleys.

Total daily spend = 1020 baht
Running total = 26,492 baht

Reader's Comment

Good effort from Hollow on this thread, it seems to be a very honest account. That being said, you're not working full-time are you? And therefore in my mind the validity of this month long experiment is fatally flawed. A person with large amounts of free time living in Bangkok is of course going to spend a fair bit of money. Long-termers like Phil can rub their hands with glee that this proves 30k a month isn't enough, and to that I say bollocks!

Buying something like a barbecue isn't exactly something a person would pay every month. No offense to you Hollow but you seem to have one hell of a cigarette intake. How many cigarettes do you think you have smoked this month? In a few months, when I have moved, I'm tempted to put my money where my mouth is and show that it is possible to live in Bangkok on 30k a month and still have a life.

Phil's Comments
You're absolutely right Mr Pants. A person who is not working is far more likely to have too much free time on their hands and therefore spend more money. But have a look back at Hollow's expenses for the twenty three days so far. I can count eleven days where he's spent 350 baht or less. OK he likes a drink and a smoke - that we've ascertained - but this has not been the diary of a man who spends money recklessly. Yes, there has been the odd two or three thousand baht day - but he's entitled to that. Someone trying to live on 30,000 baht a month is left with approx 24,000 baht after rent and utility bills (if they live somewhere semi-decent) If we divide it by 30 days in a month that's 800 baht a day in your pocket. And from that 800 baht a day, you have to feed yourself, clothe yourself, put a bit aside for annual trips home and the odd weekend away, you need health insurance, you'll have laundry and dry-cleaning bills and we haven't even started on the weekends yet. If you want to survive in bangers on 30K a month - and that's what this experiment is all about - you don't need to be a careful budgeter, you need to be a magician!

Sunday May 24th

A lazy day... Here's the breakdown -

Breakfast - Bowl of cereal, Cup of tea, 2 Slices of toast, boiled egg
Lunch - Chunky bit of chicken, Papaya salad from stall (50 Baht) Glass of coke = 50 Baht
Dinner - Triple Decker ham, cheese and tomato sandwich with some crisps and coke
Snacks - Couple of cups of coffee, some chocolate biscuits

Leisure - Smoked about 10 cigarettes
Other Expenses - None.
Activities - Spent the day lying in bed watching Anime and movies and surfing the web.

Days thoughts - Not much to say really... Didn't really go anywhere or do anything productive except popping out for some food at lunch. Morale - Nothing like a lazy day staying in bed...

Total daily spend = 50 baht
Running total = 26,542 baht

Monday May 25th

Breakfast - Large bowl of cereal and a couple cups of coffee
Lunch - Mamma noodles, some crisps and coke
Dinner - Fired up the BBQ and made some burgers... added onion, cheese and tomato
Snacks - Large portion of mixed fruit from a stall, couple of coffees
Leisure - Smoked some fags, 2 Large Leo and about 3 G&T's = Free!
Other Expenses - None!
Activities - Another day dominated by the internet and trying to fix my computer. Although I did do a fair amount of exercise in the evening.

Days thoughts - Didn't spend a single baht which was nice.
Morale - Felt good, although a little bored... There's a roof terrace at my apartment which has great views over Bangkok and Wi-Fi, so I often go there and usually it's empty, but I got roped into a long and boring conversation by a few Thais in the same building... they where nice enough, but I just couldn't be bothered.

Total daily spend = None
Running total = 26,542 baht

Tuesday May 26th

Breakfast - 4 Slices of toast, boiled egg, Couple of cups of coffee
Lunch - A weird Pita- Pouch thing filled with chicken and vegetables and a coke
Dinner - Went to the Vietnamese place I ate at earlier in the month with a friend... Beef hot-pot set and refillable coke (Split the bill) = 150 Baht
Snacks - Pack of noodles, Some of Coffee, Red Bull

Leisure - Smoked about 6 cigarettes, and had about 4 gin and tonics = Free!
Other Expenses - BTS (20 Baht each way) Bag of ice from 7/11 (7 Baht) = 47 Baht
Activities -Spent most of the day over at a friends house in Silom talking about relationships and such... then spent the evening on the computer.

Days thoughts - Pretty standard day... it's so important to have friends that you can spend time with, and I'm not just talking about "Bar friends"
Morale - Again... feeling pretty good, with the finishing line well and truly in sight it wont be long until I can either kick of the next month with a crazy weekend or even nip down to an island for a few days and lay on the beach... decisions, decisions.

Total daily spend = 297 baht
Running total = 26,839 baht

Wednesday May 27th

Breakfast - Large bowl of cereal, boiled egg, 2 slices of toast, cup of coffee
Lunch - Minced Pork, sticky rice, chicken stick from street stall = 70 Baht
Dinner - Mama Noodles, Triple Decker ham, cheese and tomato sandwich, glass of coke
Snacks - Pack of crisps, Cup of tea, a few chocolate biscuits

Leisure - 2 Leo beers, 4 Gin and tonics and some cigarettes
Other Expenses - BTS return to Siam (25 Baht each way), bottle of coke from 7/11 (10 Baht) = 60 Baht
Activities - Spent most of the day online, but went out in the afternoon to find out about some potential work.

Days thoughts - Found out about some interesting possibilities concerning some teaching positions. I also found it remarkable easy to wonder around the Paragon and not be tempted to buy something, previously I also left that mall with at least one bag.
Morale - Feeling quite proud that as the month comes to a close I'm starting to look at money in a slightly different way.

Total daily spend = 130 baht
Running total = 26,969 baht

Thursday May 28th

Breakfast - 2 Bowls of cereal, slice of toast and some coffee
Lunch - Ham, cheese and tomato sandwich with crisps and a glass of coke
Dinner - Papaya Salad, and some chicken from stall = 50 Baht
Snacks - Mamma noodles, Ice Cream from 7/11 = 20 Baht
Leisure - 3 G&T at home and 4 Gin and Tonics at a bar in Silom at (2 where bought at happy hour for 69 Baht and two at normal price 100 Baht) = 338 Baht
Other Expenses - BTS return to Sala Daeng = 40 Baht
Activities - Spent the morning watching Anime, the afternoon working and decided to go out for a few drinks in the evening.

Days thoughts - Had the urge to head out this evening but again I feel I was quite responsible in that I stopped at 4 drinks rather than the 10 I would usually drink, top tip, drink a few before you head out and you'll save a good amount on the other end.
Morale - Pretty Tipsy

Total daily spend = 448 baht
Running total = 27,417 baht

Friday May 29th

Breakfast - 4 Slices of toast 2 boiled eggs, cup of coffee
Lunch - Pork balls in spicy noodle soup, with a bottle of coke = 60 Baht (Including tip)
Dinner - Fired up the BBQ and cooked some burgers with onion, cheese and tomato and drank a large Leo
Snacks - Chicken burger from 7/11 (20 Baht) and some crisps, coffee, biscuits and a yogurt = 20 Baht
Leisure - Had 4 G&Ts and smoked a fair few ciggies
Other Expenses - None!
Activities - Watched several movies that I borrowed from a friend and then went to bed early (but didn't sleep)

Days thoughts - Another relatively relaxed day...
Morale - Feeling good if a little tired.

Total daily spend = 80 baht
Running total = 27,497 baht

Saturday May 30th

Breakfast - Bowl of Cereal, Cup of Tea 2 slices of toast
Lunch - Large Big Mac Meal delivered = 150 Baht (Including tip)
Dinner - Papaya Salad, BBQ fish, sticky rice from stall = 70 Baht
Snacks - Yogurt, couple of cups of coffee, and mamma noodles = Free!
Leisure - 3 G&T and some cigarettes = Free!
Other Expenses - None.
Activities - Picked up a book and ended up being engrossed and read it late into the night. Also surfed the web and watched a shitty film on Star.

Days thoughts - I enjoy reading but I usually get distracted by flashing objects (TV, the net, etc...) So it was good to really get into a book.
Morale - Another good day over-all but spending so much time in a small room can being to grate. Thankfully the place I'm staying has a roof terrace... it's been a savior.

Total daily spend = 220 baht
Running total = 27,717 baht

Sunday May 31st

So this is the last day... A day of Bills...

Breakfast - Large bowl of cereal, coffee, toast and a boiled egg
Lunch - Chicken stick and papaya salad = 50 Baht.
Dinner - Mamma noodles, Crisps and coke
Snacks - water melon from a stall = 20 Baht
Leisure - 3 G&Ts and bottle of Leo, a bunch of cigarettes = Free!
Other Expenses - Electric Bill (1,654 Baht), Water Bill (102 Baht), Internet Bill (300 Baht) Telephone Bill (32 Baht) = 2,088 Baht
Activities - Sat and watched Anime and movies.

Total daily spend = 2,158 baht
Running total = 29,875 baht

Final Thoughts

So... What does 30k in Bangkok actually get you? I found out the hard way... and it actually turned out not to be all that hard. If you've been following this thread from a desk in the west, I'm hopeful that this log has clarified a few things, but I'm also sure that there will be some things that remain unclear. As I type this summary, 30,000 Baht translates into 540 pounds and 18 pence or 874 dollars 32 cents. About the same as I paid for one months rent back in the UK (excluding bills)

If you look over my recorded expenses I'm sure you'll find a few discrepancies. When I was out and about, over at friends or had company at my place, I occasionally smoked other peoples cigarettes and got bought food and drinks. I also offered my cigarettes to people, bought a few drinks and shared my food. Over the month I also wasn't working full time. I taught private lessons for 10 hours a week a short distance from my apartment. That meant I had a massive amount of free time, and time = money (especially in Thailand).

Potential newbies also need to take into consideration that there are "set up" costs that haven't had the slightest impact on this months expenses, such as the deposit for an apartment (2 or 3 months worth of rent), buying a mobile phone and sim card as well as some potential work clothes and materials. You'll also have to consider what your apartment has inside it... is it furnished? Does it have a TV, fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster, lights, bed, chair, etc... My apartment had all these things as well as a washer dryer (Cleaning clothes at the rate I did would've probably cost a good 700 baht if I'd paid someone else to do it.)

What needs to be kept in mind is that this isn't my first month in Thailand. I know people, the general lay of the land and speak a little Thai. I didn't pay for sex, not because I'm adverse to it, but because I've built up a network of friends and acquaintances. I'm not Gods gift, but I'm also not your standard farang. I don't have a 50 inch waist, massive emotional baggage and thousands of pounds in the bank. In other words... I don't have a red and white circular pattern on my back.

So can you live on 30k a month? The answer is yes. Would I be happy living on 30k for the rest of the year? The answer is no. Not because it offers a terrible life, or that I'd find it too hard, but because I don't feel that there's any need to. To me 30,000 Baht is an entry level amount that should be put up with for no longer than a year. I'm starting a full time job next month that's paying 34,000 baht a month with an extra 3000 baht payable depending on attendance. I'll also be teaching a couple hours of private lessons in the evenings as well as a few hours on a Saturday morning, taking me well over 50K a month and that doesn't include other interests.

All in, that's 33 contact hours a week and about 46 hours all together when you consider the extra time traveling and spent at the school. For some people that would be way too much, but I know that I can do that sitting on my head, because most importantly, I actually quite enjoy teaching.

So many people see this as a means to an end, they want to come and stay in Thailand and the options for work are pretty limited. If you hate your job, it won't be long before you hate your life and soon you'll progress to hating yourself. I'll do the work and I'll also be able to go out most nights and drink excessive amounts (I worked 70+ hours in the UK and partied nearly every night) It just depends on what kind of person you are, what you're looking for in Thailand and life in general.

So if you're thinking about coming over to the Land of Smiles, and are worried about being able to live on 30K P/M, I think I've proven, that not only is it possible but it can actually be quite fun. It's not all a bed of roses and there are ups and downs to be had for sure, but what's life if not for the sweet and sour?

If you want to come over here and party every night as though tomorrow will never come, then you cannot do it on 30k. If you want to live on the dark side and sit bathed in flickering red light, then you will need substantially more green in your pocket. If you want to eat out in fancy restaurants and take a weekend trips once a month then 30k is not enough. If you want to live in a condominium in the sky or in a residence that inspires envy, then... you know what I'm going to say.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the thread and I genuinely hope that it's helped a few people gain a greater understanding of what's involved in terms of finance in Siam. It's been a pleasure documenting it and although there were times I lagged behind I hope it wasn't a cause for too much frustration (sorry Phil )

Finally... I'll end with my thoughts on the month as a whole...

Over the last month I've been to the cinema, had a blow out weekend clubbing and pubbing, maintained a borderline alcoholic drink intake and smoked enough cigarettes to kill a small child.

I've had a buffet breakfast at a 5 star hotel and drank cocktails garnished with sparklers and little umbrellas, surrounded by the 'beautiful people'. I've bought a BBQ and been to Big C to stock up no less than 3 times. I've paid the rent for a basic studio along with all its associated bills, I've eaten at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, McDonalds, Burger King and KFC, on plastic furniture at the side of the road, on the floor of my apartment and off the stomach of a toned and tanned stranger.

I've watched movies, trashy Thai TV and Susan Boyle on Youtube. I've thrown things at Soi dogs and even managed to hit a cat with half a lime. I've made friends and enemies and loved and loathed... I've been happy and sad, too hot and too cold and even had a little cry. I've lay in the burning hot sun and watched thunder storms with forked lightening hitting the spires and peaks of a scattered skyline.

It's been the best of times, it's been the worst of times and I wouldn't change a thing.

Reader's Comment

Most of the long timers like you and I know how to make money go as far as it can, but most of the long timers also end up getting married / partnered and in some cases with children. I am a married man, my wife is a corporate lawyer and we have a daughter who goes to a middle of the road private Thai school with reasonable fees. My wife earns a third of the household income, so combined family income is a lot more that 30,000 BHT.

30K a month covers school fees, insurance, house rent, water, electricity, T.V, food for a family, car insurance ( a family needs a car) and fuel bills. My daughter needs looking after while my wife and I work. We do not employ a maid, my mother in law lives with us and we pay her a little, (I am lucky that I get on with her and she does a lot more round the house than we ask.)
I work 6 days a week and do some private work, I do it to make ends meet. In short I think 30K a month is a good experiment for a person who is considering extending their holiday. I don't need a pencil and a pad to tell you if 30,000 BHT a month would not suffice with a family. Double it and you're still living a frugal life as I'm sure other readers with families will know.
If I only work my regular job we don't have enough money, period!


I know this is an old post but it burns me. Eric Rogal, it isn't good to generalize regardless of what your OVERCRITICAL opinion is. Phil, I appreciate the information you've shared. I am an English Teacher getting ready to come to Thailand. No Mr. Rogal, I am not a loser, I did not drink my way through college, and yes I have the flexibility and tolerance needed to travel abroad. You clearly don't! You must be one of those UGLY Americans that give the rest of us a bad wrap.

By A dedicated teacher, United States (12th March 2014)

This young man is a joke who has no business being in Thailand or anywhere else overseas. It's no wonder why westerners are thought of as a bunch of assholes wherever they go in Asia and elsewhere. If all you're going to do is drink and "party", eat ham sandwiches and McDonalds, lay in bed watching trash television, and add your contribution to the criminal sex trade industry (which this jerk said he had no problem with) while giving English lessons (which many are not qualified to do and only get away with because they somehow managed to secure a degree after probably a four year or more drunken romp through university) then "GO HOME!"
I'm so sick of these mostly male so called "teachers" who are really just losers who can't do anything else and who delude themselves that they are helping and learning about other cultures when their real motives are sexual with their warped "exotic" ideas about Asian women or men as the case may be.
It's laughable when these "teachers" complain about how underpaid they are when their "profession" is nothing but a joke to begin with. If they were paid anymore, people like "Hollow" above would just be encouraged and carry on with more of their pathetic, drunken, debauched lifestyles!
Esl teachers...their just as bad as the damn tourists!

By Erik H. Rogal, USA (19th February 2013)

Phil you're a star, I have found your blog and other info on your sight so insightful and helpful! Thanks so much or answering all my questions!

By Special K, Dubai (30th March 2012)

What can I say, live like an Xpat/ tourist and you will go bust in a couple of days. Live and eat like the locals and you and your family could save half the 30,000 Bhat. Many of our Thai teachers live on half that remember.

By Graham Nash, Phayao Thailand (27th October 2010)

To Hollow on his honest and realistic 30k/diary. I read this very entertaining summary of a month spent in Bangkok - the reality of a young esl teacher enduring the day to to day strangeness of a foreign host and joy, loneliness, pleasure and uncertainty. I'm presently in Korea, teaching full time, its my second time here and I feel like I'm running on empty. I make twice the 30k plus my apartment is paid for. But is it worth it? I've been to Thailand three times this year just to escape the korean "Psyche" Thailand here I come - 30k or not. Have a good life!

By ron woods, Yongin, Korea. (3rd February 2010)

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Contributions welcome

If you like visiting and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?

The cost of living

The cost of living

How much money does a teacher need to earn in order to survive in Thailand? We analyze the facts.

Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.

The Region Guides

The Region Guides

Fancy working in Thailand but not in Bangkok? Our region guides are written by teachers who actually live and work in the provinces.

Need Thailand insurance?

Need Thailand insurance?

Have a question about health or travel insurance in Thailand? Ricky Batten from Pacific Prime is Ajarn's resident expert.

Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!

The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?