Working in Chiang Mai

Monthly Earnings 38,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

38,000 for a full-time job at a bilingual school teaching English 20 hours per week.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

20,000. Maybe a little more or less depending on the entertainment category.

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

I paid 24,000 for 6 months rent in a condo. It has a living room and a bedroom that are separate, a large wrap-around balcony, an outdoor-kitchen, and a great, unobstructed view of the mountains. I really had to haggle with the lady because she wanted 7,000 per month.

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


500 for gas. I already purchased a motorbike for 20,000.

Utility bills

Roughly 1,800. 500 for water and electric, 850 for cell phone and internet, and 400 for laundry. No TV.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

8,000. 6,000 for restaurants and 2,000 at the supermarket.

Nightlife and drinking

Roughly 6,000

Books, computers

Zero. I have enough books already and I also have a Kindle. I don’t pay for anything in the computer category either.

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

My standard of living is better than it was in the US.

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

Getting paid for a job that’s fun, cheap food, massage, muay Thai fights for free (sometimes) when I show a Thai license and school ID.

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

15,000 to survive, 25,000 to spend, and 35,000+ to spend and save. I think it’s a good idea to take care of some start-up costs like paying for your rent upfront and buying a used motorbike from an auction.

Phil's analysis and comment

When someone says their standard of living is better in Thailand than it was in their homeland, you can't really argue with that. In fact there is very little I can pick apart in Davis' no-nonsene approach to living and teaching in Chiang Mai. His salary of 38K is a lot better than many teachers do in that part of the world so as long as Davis acts sensibly - which he clearly does - he's going to do well up there. Well done that man for negotiating his rent down from 7,000 to 4,000 and then paying six months upfront. There's a recession on! The bargains are there if you ask people to sharpen their pencils. 

Submit your own Cost of Living survey

Back to the main list

Featured Jobs

English Conversation Teachers

฿35,000+ / month


ESL Teachers for May 2020

฿30,000+ / month


NES Teachers for Government School

฿50,000+ / month

Pathum Thani

NES Teachers

฿68,000+ / month


Kindergarten Homeroom Teachers (55-70K)

฿55,000+ / month


NES English Teachers

฿43,000+ / month


Featured Teachers

  • Dr.

    British, 54 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Seth

    Ghanian, 41 years old. Currently living in China

  • Hester

    South African, 55 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Chad

    American, 46 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Dr.

    Chinese, 51 years old. Currently living in China

  • Samad

    British, 45 years old. Currently living in United Kingdom

The Hot Spot

Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?

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.

Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

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

Need Thailand insurance?

Need Thailand insurance?

Have a question about health or travel insurance in Thailand? Walter van der Wal from Pacific Prime is Ajarn's resident expert.

The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

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

Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.

Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.