Working in North Thailand

Monthly Earnings 45-50,000 baht a month

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

Mabuhay!! I am a Filipino from Davao and I have been in Thailand for a year now. I am teaching science to Thai rich kids at an international School in North Thailand. My monthly income is 30,000 baht and I get an additional 15,000 baht for teaching at a language school which is owned by the same people who own the international school. Extra classes run from 5.30 to 7.30pm. I occasionally do private teaching as well – usually two hours every weekend and charge 300 per hour per student.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

I am saving about 15,000 baht per month and I am also sending money home for my son for his essential needs and money for my parents. This all adds up to about 10-15k baht/month.

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

I just moved into a fully furnished house for 5,000 baht a month. It comes with air-conditioning, microwave, kitchenware, etc.

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


I bought my own motorcycle recently. The deposit was 6,000 baht and I’m left with month payments of 2,350 baht for one year. I spend about 100 baht a week on fuel.

Utility bills

I’m expecting to pay about 1,500 baht for the electricity bill as that has been the case in my last two homes in Thailand (both apartments) and I expect to pay less than 100 baht for water. I also pay 600 baht for wi-fi.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I love eating Thai food as long as it is not too spicy. I spend roughly 3,000 to 5,000 baht a month on eating out and another 2,000 baht on top for regular grocery shopping. I would say food prices here are about the same as they are in The Philippines.

Nightlife and drinking

I don’t go out that often and when I do, it’s usually to a friend’s house where a group of us can share the cost of the booze and have a house party of sorts. I would say I spend less than 2,000 a month on good times and partying.

Books, computers

I have books which were handed down to me by an American colleague. I was issued with a Mac Pro by my school so I don’t have to buy one.

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

I think I would say I’m enjoying a good standard of living here but without spending much.

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

Definitely the food. Clothing, electronic gadgets and travelling to other provinces are also very reasonable. And of course how could I forget the cinemas!!

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

I earned 20,000 baht a month in previous jobs and still had a comfortable lifestyle but it wasn’t enough to save anything. In addition, I had no work permit which meant always doing visa runs. For a Filipino, 15,000 baht a month is OK but you will need to tighten your belt if you want to save or send money home. Filipinos are proud to be English teachers all over the world. We may not be native speakers of English but we give our best for our families back home so we can send some cash to them.

Phil's analysis and comment

I read this survey with a mixture of excitement and surprise. Excited because I think it's the first cost of living survey we've done with a Filipino teacher and surprise because here's a guy putting plenty of farang teachers to shame. 45,000 baht a month with virtually the whole weekend off (bar the odd private student) Way to go fella! He's got a fully furnished house, a motorcycle, sends money home to his family, eats well, travels around when time allows. What more could you want? And I'm not surprised that Richard gives his place of work as 'somewhere in northern Thailand'. Free Mac Pro, extra private students organised for him by the school owners, I wouldn't want to give the name of the school away either. Seriously though, I'm sure a lot of people think that Filipinos are all working hard, sending money back home and then surviving on a pittance, but Richard's figures prove that a good lifestyle can be had if you hit it right.

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