Working in Pattaya
Monthly Earnings About 64,000
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
I make 50,000 from my regular mid-tier international school job and another 14,000 (give or take) with my private classes.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
I put aside about 15 to 20,000 baht a month. This goes towards an annual trip back to the UK, my general future and any emergencies that might come up. I could probably put aside more if I lived more frugally but hey, I didn't come to Pattaya to live like a monk!
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I rent a nice modern studio condo in Jomtien for 12,000 a month. This place is walking distance from the beach and comes with a gym, pool and free housekeeping
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I bought my motorcycle on monthly installments of 3,600. It's a brand new Honda and serves me good for whizzing through the streets of Pattaya or taking trips down the coast. Petrol is about another 1,500-2,000.
About 1,200 to 1,800 depending on how hot the season is.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
This is one of my guilty pleasures, biggest expenditures and motivations for living in expat-friendly Pattaya.
As my apartment doesn't have a kitchen, I eat out almost every night. Also, I'm not a big fan of Thai food, so I can only really bring myself to eat Thai 3 or 4 nights a week, meaning the other days I cave in to temptation of Western or Japanese food which eats up maybe 10,000 a month. I take trips to Punch and Judy, Carl's jr, Shabushi, pizzerias and various Indian restaurants far too often I admit.
Nightlife and drinking
Another guilty pleasure and motivation for living in Pattaya. Before coming here, I lived in the boonies of Suphanburi where I was the only farang in a 50km radius and the "nightlife" consisted of a bottle of Lao-khao and some mosquitos. Coming to Pattaya with all it's temptations and actually having western friends here is like being in Disneyland.
I tend to go out about 3 times a month on Walking Street or some other part of Pattaya. Some nights I'll only spend a couple of hundred while others I can spend up to 3,000 or 4,000 depending on how much I want to drink or whether I want "company". Also, we sometimes go away on weekends away to Bangkok or Koh Samet. Because of this, I'll put my nightlife budget at the higher end estimate of 15,000
I have a trustly laptop that sees me through for work, while books and other materials I "borrow" from school so I don't spend anything on this.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
I have a great life at the moment. As a young, single dude with a good bunch of mates, I have a standard of living I'd never have back in the UK. My job is really good fun, I teach English and PE to primary school kids of all different backgrounds (as to be expected in international Pattaya).
On a typical day, I get to school for 8am, teach four classes and I'm always out of work by 4:30 pm at the latest. I'll go home, jump in the pool, change and go grab some dinner. At weekends, I'll go out in town or travel somewhere. It's also just about the best place in the world to be a single dude and to think I used to work double the hours, pay thrice as much for everything, be far more stressed and spend a fortune on dull nightlife in the freezing cold UK makes me laugh.
I'm sure at some point, I'll want to move to greener pastures and "plant my stake and settle". But for now, I'm happy where I am.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Accommodation for sure. I could never dream of having a condo like I do back in the UK, especially at this cost. Transport is really cheap as are general services. The nightlife is also far more affordable than the UK where clubs charge you crazy cover charges before you even get in.
Also travelling is a bargain. AirAsia and Lionair are really cheap and I regularly take trips out of Thailand to other countries.
The only things that are costlier are electronics and Western food.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
Really, it all depends on you. I'm sure you can survive on 25k in Pattaya but thats just that- surviving. That would basically mean living in a grubby, Thai style apartment in a far flung part of the dark side with your neighbours being a pot bellied, chain smoking, drug addict from Germany who ignores you and a vendor who starts banging about and playing awful Thai music at 6am.
You'll eat rice every day and look on in jealousy as everyone else heads out to have a great time on Walking Street while you're wondering if you have enough pennies to eat for the rest of the month. Certainly not the lifestyle most expats want in Pattaya.
Really, to have a half way decent life with an apartment that isn't a fleapit, occasional Western meals and the odd night out here and there, I'd say you'd need at least 35,000 a month but really, it is all down to you, your lifestyle, needs, expectations and how well you budget.
Pattaya certainly isn't for everyone but it really does have something for every budget.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thanks Gio. Always interesting to get a cost of living survey from someone living and teaching in Pattaya, because let's face it, there's nowhere in Thailand quite like Pattaya when it comes to Western temptation in all its many guises. It certainly sounds as though you enjoy life well on 64,000 a month - nice accommodation near the beach, nights out whenever you want, plenty of Thai and Western food, and you still manage to pocket 15-20K at the end of each month. Can't be bad.