Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 44,000

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

I work part time for 3 schools plus teaching online.
School A: 10 hours per week
School B: 6 hours per week
School C: 4 hours per week
Online: I'm usually booked in at 4 hours a week as schools B and C take up my evenings.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

About 5,000 baht, which is an absolute joke for an adult. My colleagues think I'm really getting ahead. I think they're deluded.

Aside from monthly essentials, I seem to sink 2,000 - 3,000 on ridiculously overpriced things like a visa run (as none of my three employers can seem to figure out how to process a work permit) or supplies for classes I teach that schools refuse to stock, silly things like pens and paper and board markers.

I also signed up for a gym which costs me 1,500 a month, although I paid for a year upfront and put it on a credit card. I never have time to use it as I'm always stuck in traffic going from one job to another from 7 am to 9 pm, so that was a waste of money and on weekends it's packed with idiots taking selfies of their abs or their new tits.

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

I pay 11,500 for my condo.

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


BTS: 3,400
Taxis: 7,200 (about half of that is re-imbursed by school B)
Motorcycles: 2,400
Getting around Bangkok is an absolute nightmare. I've never spent so much time in transit.

Utility bills

Water: 200
Electric: 1,200

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Supermarket: 6,000
Eating out: 3,000
I cook nearly all my meals and rarely eat out unless it's street food. I find most restaurants here to be poor quality and expensive.

Nightlife and drinking

2,000 a month. I rarely go out as I find the music scene here to be lacking and again venues are overpriced. For the price of a night out in a crap 'club' with very pedestrian music you can attend a 3-day festival in Europe and hear some of the best artists ever.

Books, computers

Zero. I'm still reading what I bought before I came and will never buy a laptop here as they are very overpriced.

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

Quite poor. I seem to be working or traveling to and from work all the time and never really earning much money.

Also, the work is utterly pointless and degrading. No one seems to be hiring full-time teachers at livable wages. As for teaching Thais, I've taught in quite a few different countries and am amazed at how Thais just don't seem interested in studying at all.

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

Nothing to be honest. Yes, street food is cheap but honestly, look at what's on that plate, or rather in the plastic bag. I'm constantly hunting for a filling meal that isn't 80% fat.

While condos rent out cheaper than flats in London, look at what you're getting - 20 sq meters is essentially a prison cell.

Public transport is pricey, unreliable, poorly managed and dangerously overcrowded. I'm just waiting for a fire on the BTS to take out half the population on a Tuesday morning.

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

I wouldn't consider living here for less than 100,000 a month. For those of us under 50 years old. we've got to manage our own retirement funds, so saving is the real reason to be working, otherwise you're just wasting your time.

I guess if you're absolutely useless and from some quiet village in Northern England then life here must be pretty amazing due to all the flashing lights, loud noises and loads of Thai people everywhere eating strange food 24/7.

For the rest of us, there are plenty of countries with cleaner air, better food, far better salaries, more ambitious people, nicer beaches, better booze and friendlier people. I just don't see the selling point of Thailand.

Phil's analysis and comment

Joe, there will be plenty of folks reading this whose reaction will be 'well, you know where the airport is'. I'm not one of those people. The main thing is that you gave it a go. And what you have found out is that Thailand is not for you. You'll move on (very shortly I guess) and hopefully you'll find what you are looking for.  Thailand isn't for everyone.  

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