Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 65,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

I make 50,000 baht a month from my full-time job at a college in Bangkok, where I teach maths and science. I also do a corporate job at a company near my apartment a couple of nights a week and a little bit of online teaching but that's only for a few hours at the weekend. 65,000 would be the top end of what I can make at the moment. During quieter months of the year, it might drop to around 60K.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I try to save 10-15K whenever I can. Sometimes it might be a bit more.

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

I live in a studio apartment that's more or less covered by my housing allowance of 8,000 baht a month. I only have to pay for utility bills. It's a relatively small room but I've turned it into my bachelor pad and it has great views over the city from the 20th floor.

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


I have a large motorcycle but I ride it less and less these days after I had a bad accident last year and ended up in hospital for several days with a few minor injuries (although they didn't feel minor at the time) If I take public transport, then motorcycle taxis and a short skytrain ride will cost me 120 baht a day so let's say 2,500 a month for transportation.

Utility bills

About 2,000 baht a month if the weather is particularly hot and I have to run the air-conditioning more often.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I had a minor health scare at the beginning of this year and discovered I had high blood pressure and a few other ailments that need to be regulated and kept in check. For that reason, I'm trying to eat as healthy as possible. I've cut out fast food (which I used to eat far to often) and trying to stick to a diet of brown rice, fruit and vegetables and Thai soups. I can tell you this - it does wonders for your spending when you can keep away from McDonalds and KFC. I've lost a lot of weight and my monthly food budget is down to around 7,000 a month.

Nightlife and drinking

I've cut out alcohol completely. In truth I wasn't much of a
drinker anyway and I got bored of the Bangkok nightlife a long time ago. I have a sort of on/off girlfriend that I meet once a week for a meal and I'll sometimes go out with colleagues on a Friday night to a jazz pub or something similar. Drinks are often expensive in these places so I'd put a figure of around 8,000 a month on this.

Books, computers

I do like my gadgets and gaming. I've always got to have the latest smartphone and gaming console, but it's difficult to say what this costs because a phone can last me 2-3 years and the latest game machine even longer.

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

It's pretty good. I'm in my early 40s now and I've cut down on my nights out and excessive eating and speeding around on my motorbike. I live a much more sedate lifestyle now that I'm more responsible and want to take better care of myself. These days I would rather stay at home and watch Netflix or maybe prepare the following day's lessons.

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

Food at the local market can be crazy cheap and I genuinely think it's often better quality than what you find in the high-end supermarkets.

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

It totally depends on the individual. I could survive in Bangkok on 40K but it wouldn't be that much fun. Come to think of it, I survive on not much more than that now. You will always find ways to spend money, regardless of how much you earn. The secret for me is to do everything in moderation and not be fooled into thinking you are going short just because you are not out partying every night.

Phil's analysis and comment

Hektor sounds like a sensible chap and a moderate 65K income (can we call that moderate now for Bangkok?) seems like more than enough. Take care of your health, sir. 

Please send us your cost of living surveys. We would love to hear from you! This is one of the most popular parts of the Ajarn website and these surveys help and inspire a lot of other teachers. Just click the link at the top of the page where it says 'Submit your own Cost of Living survey' or click here. 

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