Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 55-60,000 baht a month

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

I earn 55,000 to 60,000 per month as a private tutor, working 20 hours per week. Being a private tutor means my mornings are free. I don’t swing into action until students finish school at 14.30. They are all at international schools and the tutoring centre is a short hop on the bus from where I live.

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

I can save about 20K. However, I enjoy spending money on trips away and a comfortable lifestyle, so in reality I have been saving less than this. Being paid hourly, instead of getting a fixed salary, also means there are good months, and a few not-so-good months. On the up-side, I get to determine when I work and when I don’t.

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

I share an apartment in Sathorn with my wife. It is about 9,000/month, including bills. The bills amount to very little, since we rarely use the air-con. We’ve lived in the area for about 10 years and wouldn’t want to consider moving.

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


30 baht per day on public buses, (sometimes they are free!) I also spend 100 – 150 baht/week on the MRT/BTS. I enjoy the convenience. I do own a mountain bike, but it lives in our little coastal retreat, after I discovered that cycling in Bangkok is ridiculous. We also used to have a car, but decided to get rid of it a couple of years ago after using it primarily for business. We don’t feel we need one at the present time.

Utility bills

Water 200 baht/month. Electric 500 baht/month.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We live in an area that is becoming increasingly popular on the food scene – and we both love to eat out. We have a wide range of options like Italian, French, Indian – even Mexican, but we prefer Thai street food or my wife cooks from fresh ingredients purchased at the local market. We are moderately health conscious and we don’t use the supermarkets very much. We’ll have lunch at a restaurant (400 - 500 baht). Once a month, we like to splurge at a nice hotel buffet. Monthly food spend - 12,000 to 15,000

Nightlife and drinking

We don’t go out very often in the evenings, other than to eat. The missus doesn’t drink but, at weekends, I like to enjoy a few Leos with the boys. Our downstairs food-court sells big ones at 95 baht/bottle. I often run up a tab of 1,000 baht/week. I consider it good value and therefore try to avoid pubs as I am loathe to pay 4 quid for a pint.

Books, computers

I actually enjoy poking around in second-hand bookshops and will hunt for bargains. I also keep my eyes open for good teaching material at places like Asia Books or Kinokuniya. I have an almost-new laptop that cost 20,000 baht and my internet connection costs me about 500/month. I also have a mini laptop which I take in to the office. My wife, being Thai, has a rather snazzy smartphone (of course…) but I am a bit old-fashioned like that, and prefer my trusty old Nokia which has never let me down.

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

We live well and have money saved for unforeseen expenses, holidays etc. That said, however, we are reasonably frugal, my wife especially.

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

Food is cheap and good. Travel is also very inexpensive – we can be hanging out on a beach in around 2 hours from home (as we often do), yet the bus fare is less than 200 baht each!

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

My first ever job in Thailand paid me 15,000 plus ‘bonuses’ (a dodgy call-centre). That was in 2012 and it was almost impossible to survive on that. My next job (at a government school) paid 35,000 and it was just about do-able, but I had no spare money. For a 40-something married couple to live comfortably in downtown Bangkok, I’d suggest a minimum of 50,000 is required. We don’t have kids.

Phil's analysis and comment

55-60,000 baht a month from a private language school is certainly not to be sniffed at. My first reaction was "George must be doing an awful lot of contact hours" but he doesn't start work until 2.30pm. I'd be interested to know what time he finishes and how many hours of teaching does he squeeze into that late afternoon / evening period. Also, does this include having to work at weekends?

But 55-60,000 is not too bad for a married couple who watch the pennies (by nature rather than by necessity) and don't have children, especially if the wife is working as well.

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