Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 64,000

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

64K is my full-time salary in a large private school. Before Covid I was able to make an extra 8-15k a month by teaching after-school lessons. I'm hoping to have those again next term but now I can really only just count on my full-time salary.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

10K every month plus my end-of contract bonus (about 90K every year). I also support my wife back home (she's finishing her teaching degree so she can also move here and work) and have to pay some monthly bills from there as well (student loan, health insurance, pension and social security), which means I have to send about 20K back home each month.

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

I pay 7,000 Baht a month for a studio apartment. It's quite small but enough for one person. The condo is new, has got good facilities (gym, pool) and only a 10-minute taxi ride from the school where I work.

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


3,500 baht on commuting (mostly taxis) plus the occasional MRT or BTS trip to the city center on weekends.

Utility bills

Electricity is 700-900 baht and water another 90 baht. Internet costs 900 baht.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

10K a month. I'm not a big fan of Thai food, so on the weekends I like to treat myself to some Western food.

Nightlife and drinking

Very little. 1-2K a month.

Books, computers

Kindle e-books: 500, streaming services: 1,000 and cinema: 500-1,000

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

Comfortable. I eat Thai food or cook during the week but on weekends I eat whatever Western food I'm craving. I go to the movies two-three times a month. I travel inside the country when I'm on holiday (half term and summer break), send a considerable chunk of my pay check back home and still manage to save 10K every month. I rarely drink, so I guess that helps.

I was also able to save and pay for my Cambridge Delta course (£3,000) which is something I could never have afforded back home. So, yeah, living here has been good for me, financially.

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

Rent. Here it's about 11% of my income whereas back home it's usually 40-50%. Transportation here is also a bargain: even taxis are affordable. I also like the range of options (taxis, buses, MRT/BTS, songthaew).

And also food. If you don't have a problem living on Thai street food and/or cook, you can save a lot of money and still enjoy Western food on the weekends.

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

This is obviously quite subjective but if you're single and not into partying and drinking and don't need to eat Western food every day, you can survive on 30-35K but I'd be surprised if you could save some money and travel. For that I think you'd need to make 40-45K at the very least. To play it safe, I wouldn't recommend moving to Bangkok if the pay is less than 50K a month.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Tiago. 20K is a fair chunk of your salary to have to send home every month so I can understand how much you miss the extra classes that you've lost due to Covid. So basically you are living on around 44K a month and saving 10K of that. I agree that in Bangkok, at least 50K would make life more comfortable. Good call on the rent as well. As you say, it's just 11% of your income here, whereas back in your home country, it would be around four time that percentage.   

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