Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 90-100K

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

I work for a fairly famous private Thai school which pays me 60k a month. I do a full Saturday at a language school which brings in another 16k. I also do a couple of classes online in the evenings from Monday to Thursday. I work quite hard but my jobs are all quite chilled.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Can be as much as 40k a month but as I have a family with 2 kids, there are a lot of things to pay for at various points in the year. My youngest child is just a baby and my wife has quit her job to stay home and take care of her. So over the next few years I won't be saving nearly as much.

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

We live in a 4-bedroom townhouse in the suburbs. The rent is 10,000 a month. I spent quite a lot when we moved in on getting it up to a standard I was happy with and now consider it to be a real bargain.

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


I have a motorcycle. 500 baht or so a month.

Utility bills

About 3,000 all in for electricity, water and fast internet.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I have been in Thailand for over 15 years and although it took a long time, I am now quite happy eating Thai food most of the time. My wife is a very good cook, which really helps. I take 200 baht to school each day but rarely spend more than half of that. We visit our local market almost every night to buy fruit and snacks etc. I do still enjoy a pizza or burger from time to time but not often. Overall I would say about 8-10,000 a month.

Nightlife and drinking

I enjoy a drink but I am not really into the Bangkok scene too much. I think the Sukhumvit bars and restaurants are overpriced and not that much fun. I do like to indulge in a hotel buffet but only for a very special occasion. I meet a friend for a few beers around the Khao San area once or twice a month. I also like going to see my Thai football team sometimes. Other than that it is a couple of beers or a few Thai whiskies at home. Maybe 3-5K a month.

Books, computers

Very little. I have a Netflix account and buy maybe half a dozen books a year from Amazon.

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

Comfortable. I kind of lead a Thai lifestyle and I think if you are ok with that then you can have a good life here and save money too.

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

Lots of things are still very cheap here. Rent, Thai food, flowers (!)

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

A single, disciplined veteran of Thailand could probably 'survive' on as little as 15k a month. It wouldn't be much fun though.

Phil's analysis and comment

James earns a very decent salary but still leads what he calls 'a Thai lifestyle'.  It's not for everyone but it certainly works for James. It means some months he can save getting on for half of his salary. 

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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