Working in Chiang Mai

Monthly Earnings 6,000 baht

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

Somewhere between 6-10,000 baht a month. I 'help out' at a couple of private language schools and teach maybe two hours a day here and there. I'm a retired gentleman and see teaching purely as something to keep me busy.

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

I don't save any of it. It's purely a bit of extra pocket money to pay for stuff like supermarket shopping.

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

I bought a condo five years ago and it's about ten minutes drive from Chiang Mai city center. I paid 3 million baht for it and it's been a good investment I think.

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


I have my own car and motorcycle. Like many retirees up here, I use the bike for zipping about town and the car for longer journeys. I guess I spend around 1,500 baht a month on gas. Probably less than that most months.

Utility bills

I'm a real air-con fiend. I've got to have that air-con blasting all day and all night long. My electricity bill can be 5-6,000 baht some months. Water is cheapo though (350 baht)

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I enjoy cooking at home and I love shopping at the markets, where I think the stuff is fresher than in the supermarkets (provided you go in the morning of course) I tend to eat out at somewhere 'posh' probably twice a week. I would say I spend about 10,000 baht a month on food, which is a lot for a single guy I think. But I love my food!

Nightlife and drinking

Almost nothing. I might go out once a month with friends to a few local pubs. That's about it.

Books, computers

I pay 650 baht per month for wi-fi and the connection is good. I tend to only download e-books from Amazon and in a good month, I might spend a couple of thousand baht. I enjoy reading but I don't browse around the second-hand bookshops anymore.

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

It's very good. I knew it would be and that's why I made the decision to move here. I made my money in the UK building industry and I've moved to a place where the cost of living is much cheaper than in the UK. It costs me about 50-60,000 baht a month to have a comfortable life here, but of course my accommodation is paid for.

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

Oh so many things but I would say the biggest surprise is when I carry back a big bag of fruit and vegetables from the market and it's cost me barely five pounds (250 baht)

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

I'm not sure I'm really qualified to answer the question from a teacher's point of view but I think you could live comfortably in Chiang Mai on about 30K a month. I wouldn't like to live on less than that but it's probably because I'm not as young as I used to be.

Phil's analysis and comment

In all the years we've been doing them, this is probably the first cost of living survey from a retiree - someone who is clearly teaching to keep themselves busy rather than out of necessity. Actually, guys like Warren are probably a private language schools dream. Smaller language schools might have a couple of hours of work several days a week, but not enough work available to guarantee a full-time schedule. So they pick up the phone to Warren and say "Hello Mr Warren, can you come in for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon from two to four?" And Warren says "no problem, I'll be there". It doesn't matter whether they are paying 200, 300 or 500 baht an hour. It's just a retired gentleman keeping himself busy. What a lovely situation to be in? I bet teaching is so enjoyable under those circumstances LOL 

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