Working in Suphanburi

Monthly Earnings 50,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

I teach at a large secondary school in Suphanburi, which is about two hours from Bangkok on a good day. My full-time salary is around 32,000 baht but I bump it up to 50K with overtime and private tuition, which is organised through the school. I taught in Bangkok for several years and was earning about 40-50K during that time. My interest in doing this survey was to highlight the contrast between living in the capital and then moving away.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Easily 20,000 baht a month, sometimes a good bit more if I don't have any major purchases that month.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I live in a very run-of-the-mill apartment building near the centre of Suphanburi and pay 4,500 baht a month. It's quite an oldish building so doesn't have any of the facilities that newer builds have like gym and swimming pool and co-working spaces etc, but I've made my studio apartment comfortable and it's a nice place to retire to at the end of the day.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


I can walk to school in less than ten minutes but if it's a rainy day, I'll hop on a songthaew. Suphanburi has an excellent public songthaew service that goes up and down the main roads. You can get anywhere in the city for 10-20 baht once you know it all works. This expense probably comes to 100 baht at most.

Utility bills

About a thousand baht a month depending on bhow much I use the air-conditioning but most times I find a couple of good stand-up fans to be enough.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

This is one of the big lifestyle differences once you leave the big bad city and move out to the rural backwaters. You seem to have far more time on your hands, so I enjoy ambling around Suphanburi's main markets and picking up the essentials. I buy and eat a lot of fruit and I eat mainly 'bag meals' where I take them home and heat them up in the microwave. They cost around 40 baht a portion and are excellent value. I don't eat out all that often. Even though Suphanburi has all the western fast food attractions like KFC and McDonalds dotted around the city, I don't find them particularly inviting. And frankly speaking, I moved from Bangkok to get away from all that - the overspending on food. I would say food and supermarket shopping comes in at about 6,000-8,000.

Nightlife and drinking

I'll ocassionally go out for a Friday or Saturday night drink with colleagues but Suphanburi isn't much of a nightlife city. In Bangkok I was doing 20K a month on socializing and little wonder I was skint before the month's end. Here that expense is maybe a couple of thousand.

Books, computers

I subscribe to Netflix (about 400 baht a month) but most of what I want in terms of films and books, I download for free.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

I absolutely love the slower pace of life here with what feels like so many more hours in a day. Bangkok was crushing me. I just couldn't survive there on what I was earning and something needed to change. When a Thai teacher and good friend moved to work at my current school in Suphanburi, he called me up and poached me to go and work there. "At least come out here for the weekend and see what the city has to offer. Then you can make your mind up" So I caught the minivan to Suphanburi one Saturday morning and by Sunday evening, I knew this was the place for me. And it's only a couple of hours from Bangkok if I ever need the bright lights for any reason (not that I do)

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Food at the fresh markets. I can fill up a huge shopping bag with fruit, vegetables and goodies for a few hundred baht..

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

In Suphanburi, you can live well enough on 30K provided you don't spend too much on accommodation and avoid too many late nights out. That extra 20K that I earn means I can put money away for travel, etc. I know it's not a sutainable future though and my plan is to move on in a couple of years. If we're talking about Bangkok, I can't imagine any foreign teacher trying to get by on less than 60K and even then, there would be little money left over at the end of each month.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks a lot Chris. Here's a great example of a teacher who found life in Bangkok simply getting too expensive so he moved somewhere quieter, with a slower pace of life and fewer temptations. It sounds like Chris has truly embraced the lifestyle! Well done. 50K obviously goes a hell of a lot further once you remove all those Bangkok temptations. 

Please send us your cost of living surveys. We would love to hear from you! This is one of the most popular parts of the Ajarn website and these surveys help and inspire a lot of other teachers. Just click the link at the top of the page where it says 'Submit your own Cost of Living survey' or click here. 

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