Working in Nakhon Si Thammarat
Monthly Earnings 40,600 (after tax)
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
All of my income comes directly from my full-time teaching salary. I don't do any extra classes or after school tutoring. While that is a great way to make extra cash, the students already have an immense amount of schoolwork. Between their English classes, Thai classes, after school lessons and other extracurriculars, I believe the students should spend less time studying.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
Typically between 10-15k a month depending on the month. It is entirely possible to save more money in Nakhon every month, but I like to spend a fair bit of free time socializing and spending weekends at the beach in Khanom or on trips to the islands.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I live in a shared house with friends. We each pay 2,500 per month. It is nice having a house compared to an apartment or condo because we are able to have a little yard with barbecue space.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I bought a motorbike when I arrived for 6,000. It's an older bike with an out-of-date green book but it gets me from A to B. It would be fairly difficult to get around the city without one. There are a few places you can rent bikes monthly from between 1.500-2.000 a month. There are songtaews, taxis, and Grab. However, with Grab, it can be difficult to find a ride sometimes at night. I would say I pay between 1-2K a month on petrol and general bike maintenance.
We take turns paying for the internet, which is around 400 a month. Our electric bill ranges between 250-500 baht a person depending on the month.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
Nakhon has everything you need as far as supermarket shopping is concerned. There is a Big C, Tesco, Robinsons and Central Plaza, as well as Thai markets throughout the city. As in any Thai city, the food here is wonderful and fairly cheap. There are also a wide variety of Western options from pizza, KFC, Macdonalds and also Middle Eastern and Indian options that are much pricier than Thai options. I'd say my food budget ranges from between 5-7K a month depending on the month.
Nightlife and drinking
I moved into Nakhon during the Covid shutdown so I haven't been able to experience a ton of the nightlife that Nakhon has to offer. There is a big group of expats that live in the town so there is always something going on like football, ultimate frisbee and trips to the surrounding waterfalls. Sad to say that the thing I spend the most on is having a few beers with friends at their houses or up at the beach.
This is something I don't spend any money on as I already own my computer. There is a book club/share in town where people trade books they read back and forth between each other at no cost.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
You can live a very good life and have a great time in Nakhon on a standard teaching salary.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
The obvious answer in the incredible Thai food. You can eat just about any Thai dish for under 100 Baht.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
It all depends on your lifestyle and what luxuries you wish to have. You can live very comfortably here for around 30-35K a month. Nakhon is really a hidden gem of the south. It's only about 1.5 hour motorbike drive to get to amazing beaches such as Sichon, Loma and Khanom, and you can make it to Samui, KPH and Koh Tao within four hours - including ferry time.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thanks Erik. That's one very positive cost of living survey and it sounds like you really enjoy life. Nakhon Si Thammarat seems like a great place to live and work and as you say, a salary of around 40,000 baht is enough to enjoy all it has to offer, whether it's eating out, zipping around on your motorcycle or enjoying a few drinks with friends.