Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 178,000 (including a 52,000 baht housing allowance)

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

I work at a newish and expanding Tier 1 international school in East Bangkok. The salary is 163,000 a month plus yearly bonus. 10% of the salary per year is paid monthly through a provident fund to save on tax. After tax I am left with 133,500 per month. I am also in a lucky position to have yearly flights home and worldwide medical insurance.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I can save between £22,000-£25,000 per year so around 80,000 - 100,000 per month depending on expenses, holidays and costs. It also depends on the exchange rate when transferring back to the UK. The last five years has been anything from 37-47 Baht to the £.

COVID stopped us traveling abroad but now we can really take advantage of living in SE Asia. Therefore this is an added cost compared to the previous 3 years.

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

I pay 44,000 for a large two-bedroom apartment in Thonglor. It is an older building but a renovated unit with communal facilities such as the swimming pool, which has also been renovated. The benefit of the older building means the units are large at around 150 square meters.

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


I have a bike so I ride that to work and usually spend around 300 baht per month on fuel. I don't use it a huge amount over the weekend due to having the BTS/MRT. The journey to work takes around 25 minutes. I probably spend another 500 on the public transport system.

Utility bills

Electricity - 1,400 baht
Water - 100 baht
Broadband - 800 baht
Cleaner - 2,500 baht
All a huge saving compared to monthly totals in the UK!

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We enjoy taking advantage of the fantastic food available in the city.
We usually order Thai food from Grab/Food panda from Monday - Thursday evenings and then eat out from Friday - Sunday.
We eat lunch at work most days.

Lunch - 1,500 baht
Supermarket (breakfast and sundries) - 1,500 baht
Weekday Dinner - 1,600 baht
Weekend - 8,000 baht

Nightlife and drinking

I think since COVID I now spend less than I used to, I still go out as much but will usually go home earlier. I haven't really kept a tab but I would imagine around 8,500 baht a month.

Books, computers

I am given these by my employer so only really need to buy a Netflix and Spotify account which comes in around 400 baht per month.

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

Excellent. I had a good life in the UK as I had a similar job, however the cost of living in the UK is substantially more expensive than in Thailand.

International schools are hard work though and I would probably say I work considerably more hours here compared to my old job in the UK, however the benefits provide a wonderful standard of living.

With the easing of the pandemic, living in Bangkok also allows you to visit so many amazing countries and save massively on long haul flights from the UK. Living in Thailand also give you access to meet new people and experience a completely different culture to the UK.

I also have a small property in the UK which I rent out and although I don't make a huge deal of profit, the mortgage and fees are covered by the rent.

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

There are many great bargains in Thailand and although Bangkok is an expensive city, it is still far cheaper than most UK regional cities. Once you are out of the tourist areas and into the provinces, Thailand is a fraction of the price of the UK.

The big savings are fuel, utilities, internal flights (less so now), local cuisine, motorcycles, taxis and public transportation such as boats, trains and buses.

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

I suppose it depends on your what you expect from life and how skilled or experienced you are in your industry. If you are willing to live local or try your hand at a new industry on an entry level wage then you could live on 40,000 in Bangkok which would include a small apartment in a less central location. Out of Bangkok, Phuket, Samui etc you could probably live on 25,000.

However, if you wish to live a similar life to what you have been used to in Europe, North America, Singapore then I would say around 75,000 plus housing.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you Stewart. I'm assuming here that the 178,000 baht package INCLUDES the housing allowance (In the survey you sent, you stated that the housing allowance was on top of the 178,000 baht salary so to be honest, I'm still not sure) Also I'm not sure if in the food section, the supermarket costs and the weekday dinner costs are weekly or monthly. The numbers don't really stack up if they are taken over a month. But some good points to ponder all the same.   

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