Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 35-55,000 Baht per month

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

I generally earn in the region of 45K per month working for a private language school. Sometimes in a busy month, I can earn in excess of 50K and having been teaching for almost two years I feel confident enough to teach privately which has brought in an additional 7K or so per month recently. Of course, this ebbs and flows. The language school I work in has been relatively quiet these past few months and this is apparently an industry-wide problem at present, though I can see it picking up in April.

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

Realistically, if I earnt 45-50K I could save 10K a month comfortably. However I do like to make the odd purchase with a view to improving my standard of living or satisfying my urges for new electronics.

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

I pay 10K a month for a nice, clean studio apartment with a gym and a pool, a ten minute walk from an MRT station that's neither too near nor too far from the expensive and err...less salubrious ex-pat areas. I am looking to move to a one bedroom apartment even nearer to the MRT before long though. I think, after a while, you can become a little sick of having just the one room. I'd also like to be able to offer private classes in my apartment

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


Very little really. A motorcycle taxi to work is 20 Baht with a brisk and sweaty walk home most days. This is because I chose an apartment 'after' securing a job which has, in my mind, been a key decision. Sometimes I'll have to take the MRT and/or the BTS as well as an occasional post-midnight 100 baht taxi home as well. I'd say altogether 2-3K per month.

Utility bills

I rarely use my aircon favouring a fan and a continually open window on the top floor of a low-rise apartment. This keeps my electricity bills down to between 350 and 500 baht per month. In addition to that I pay 600 baht for internet as well as, for reasons that continually escape me, 1600 baht for a True cable television package with which I have access to a load of too oft repeated old films that you saw by downloading them or buying them two years previously for 80 baht and are now gathering dust

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I can't cook, so, with the very rare exception of the odd tin of beans or microwaveable ready-meal, I eat out. To make this affordable you do, of course, have to forego a 100% diet of western fare which is fine by me and my waistline. If you can find a few local Thai restaurants that are reliable and maintain a good quality in their food and ingredients you're laughing. I have two such cafes/restaurants in my apartment...village....thing...On average a meal will cost me 50-70 baht for a rice or noodle meal.

Nightlife and drinking

It very much depends on what kind of nightlife you're looking for. If you and three of your friends want to head to one of the Thai clubbing areas and are happy to share a bottle of whiskey or two and mixers then an enjoyable and rather civilised evening can be had for 1000-1500K. On the other hand if you want to drink bottled beer in western style pubs followed by trips into the seedy belly of Bangkok's more wanton districts then you can double or even triple that depending on how raucous your inebriation

Books, computers

Pretty much nothing. I'll buy a textbook now and then, but just about everything I need is supplied by my company and I have a good circle of friends with which I can share literature of the recreational variety.

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

Comfortably semi-western and fun.

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

Food and taxis but above all else it's accommodation. In Bangkok there's absolutely no need to scrimp on an apartment. Stick yourself in a 4K sweatbox a couple of kilometres down a soi and you'll spend what you're saving on a decent apa

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

I think someone with a 7K apartment and low bills could subsist quite easily on 25K per month as that would equate to a daily budget of 500 baht. It wouldn't be a great deal of fun though. I think to really make a life here and to be able to save somewhat as a single person you need to 'regularly' earn in excess of 40K per month.

Phil's analysis and comment

I know Gareth from his posts on the ajarn discussion forum and he always comes across as a level-headed kind of guy so his answers don't really surprise me. He appreciates that you need to earn in excess of 40 K for a good lifestyle and what's more - he seems to have well thought out plans and objectives. Definitely a teacher who falls into the pro-active category.  

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