Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 96,000 baht

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

I earned 110,000 from teaching, so after taxes it came out to about 96,000 baht per month. I also had a few good perks such as health insurance and a flight home every year.

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

I used to save about 50-60,000 baht per month, but I was pretty frugal on things like rent. Big adventures and travel plans were sometimes costly though.

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

I paid 6,500 baht per month for a studio apartment plus another 600 for some furniture I rented from my landlady. People tend to go out in Bangkok rather than have house parties so it was not a real issue to have a small place. It was in a safe neighborhood and close to the BTS.

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


40 baht per day on motorcycles to the BTS. In addition, I paid 1250 baht for 50 trips on the BTS line (maybe paid for this twice per month). I took taxis occasionally, but spent under 1500 baht per month on them.

Utility bills

Water was around 120-140 baht per month, and electricity was usually around 1600 baht (luckily, my place had air-conditioning).

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I ate a lot of Thai street food, especially for breakfast (40 baht per day). Lunch was provided by the school I worked at, and when I had a day off I usually ate street food unless I was meeting friends somewhere new. I went out to dinner with friends about twice a week, and that came out to about 500-700 baht per dinner (or occasional brunch). I drank coffee every day (35 baht each morning for an Americano) and occasionally bought from Starbucks or somewhere fancy near work. Total around 10K.

Nightlife and drinking

I occasionally had beer when going out (~150 baht per beer near Sukhumvit). I would say it came out to around 1500 baht per month. Sometimes, I would buy a bottle of Black Label or good beer.

Books, computers

I tended to use library books from school, but I occasionally bought a new one. Let's say 1,000 baht per month. I didn't spend anything on computers since I had AppleCare, but I made a big one time purchase of 60,000 baht on my current Macbook last year.

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

It was pretty good. If I stayed longer, then I could have seen myself moving into a nicer place, but overall things were comfortable and allowed me to save up a nice nest egg to travel on for a while.

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

Thai food. Even fancy Thai food is cheap. You can go to a fancy riverside restaurant and gorge for under 1200 baht per person. A similar restaurant serving Western food would probably cost around 4000 baht per person. Taxis are also really cheap. In fact, I think taxis are cheaper in Bangkok than in the rest of Thailand, which is odd because everything else, including the still cheap Thai street food costs double what it costs in the provinces.

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

You could survive on 25,000 baht, but it wouldn't be very fun. To live a comfortable life (without saving much), I would say one needs 30-35,000 baht outside of Bangkok and around 45-50,000 baht in Bangkok. In order to save significantly, you would need more.

Phil's analysis and comment

96,000 baht a month and only 8,000 baht going on rent and utilities. Beat that! Less than 10% of your salary going on a place to live. William was clearly a saver while he worked in Thailand and I bet he continued his travels with a very healthy bank account indeed. It would be interesting to know what his future plans are - or at least for the next year or two.

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