Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 30,000 + 15,000 (from partner) = 45,000

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

I receive 30,000 baht a month from a private language school here in Bangkok, located in one of the city's shopping malls. I also get 15,000 a month from my girlfriend who is lucky to have a higher paying job, so can share bills with me.

Disclaimer: I am a student here (from UK) doing an internship, finishing a degree related to teaching and at the start of my TEFL career.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Usually between 15,000-20,000

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

I pay 10,000 a month for a condo that is within 5 minutes walking distance to the BTS.

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


I spend 2,500 a month on transport. Although the condo is located next to the BTS, the language center isn’t. I usually have to get either a bus or a motorbike to the MRT. Then coming back, a motorbike from the MRT to the condo. It all adds up!

Utility bills

Usually between 600-1,000. That includes the electricity, wifi and water.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Food is usually between 9,000-10,000 a month. Certainly no big Western style restaurants at the salary I am currently receiving. Normally, it would be a big C type of food court or grabbing a few things from the local market nearby.

Nightlife and drinking

Very rarely. My budget doesn’t allow for this. If I was to make it a regular thing, a higher salary would be required.

Books, computers

I have a decent DELL computer (1-2 years old) and a recently brought an Ipad air. You can download pretty much anything for free nowadays.

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

It's OK, if I was comparing myself to a Thai person. I live in a decent condo, I take motorbikes/MRT to work, I eat better food then some. However to really enjoy myself here and not to feel restricted I need a higher salary and unfortunately, due to my internship, I do feel pretty trapped.
Although I do save a slight amount, this money is for both myself and my girlfriend for the future, so I have to be mindful and not ‘dip’ into it.

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

The price of food can be cheap and also inter-provincial travel. For example, I can get to Samut Sakhon for just 22 baht on a local air-con bus.

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

I have always said you need at least 50,000. My 30,000 baht salary is pretty low for a native speaker with teaching experience. It’s certainly not a salary I want to be living on for too long.

Luckily, in a few months I will have been here for one year and I’ll be asking for a pay-rise. If I don’t get it, I’ll go elsewhere.

The future? I’ll be going back to the UK, getting a PGCE and getting a decent, serious paying job, hopefully at a private or international school in Bangkok. It sure beats running around at a language center for 30,000 a month.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Jamie.  You're almost living the life of the 90's language school teacher - 30,000 baht a month and a third of it going on accommodation. In the 90's it was doable because there was far less to spend your money on and Bangkok was a much cheaper place to live anyway. But times have changed, and as you say, 50,000 is a much more realistic target.

Not to worry though. You seem focused on your goals and the only way is up! I'm sure better times are not too far away.  

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