Every new arrival wants to know if they can survive or live well in Thailand on X thousand baht a month?

It's a difficult question because each person has different needs. However, the following surveys and figures are from teachers actually working here! How much do they earn and what do they spend their money on?. And after each case study, I've added comments of my own.

Submit your own Cost of Living survey

Approximate Thai Baht (฿) conversion rates as of 20th May 2022

฿35 to one US Dollar
฿43 to one Pound Sterling
฿36 to one Euro
฿24 to one Australian Dollar
฿0.66 THB to one Philippine Peso

David

Working in Chonburi

Monthly Earnings 50,000

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

I work in a large secondary school in Chonburi and my full-time pay is about 50,000 a month after tax. Obviously with the Covid situation in this province being particularly bad, the school is closed and tuition has switched to completely online (I could rant about this for pages and pages but of course this isn't the place)

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

At the moment I'm saving about half of my salary but in normal times, that would go down to about 10K if I'm lucky. I'm not particularly good at saving.

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

I live in a studio apartment in a typical 'lower-end' apartment building and pay 5,000 baht a month rent. I keep saying I'll look for something nicer but I'm going to have to spend at least double on the kind of place I want. It's quite nice only spending 10% of your income to put a roof over your head.

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

Transportation

I take motorcycle taxis to and from work (they are plentiful in this neighborhood) and that's 40 baht a day - so maybe 800-1,000 a month. I've thought about buying my own bike but never taken the plunge.

Utility bills

This bill has doubled now I'm spending virtually all my time at home and now comes to around 2,000.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I've actually found that I'm eating less and spending less on food at the moment with restaurants closed and not going to school and popping into 7-11s en route for an ice cream or a chocolate bar. I've got my food spending down to around 5,000 a month and order most of my meals from a local Mom and Pop restaurant. They charge just 50 baht a dish.

Nightlife and drinking

That's been zero for months. I only drink if I socialize and there are no opportunities to do that right now. I do miss a good night out in Pattaya!

Books, computers

I buy the odd book from Amazon but it's hardly worth taking into consideration. I had to spend a few thousand on upgrading my equipment to teach online but that's just a one-off investment.

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

Well at the moment, it's a 'forced way of living'. I don't like it but I've got used to it. I certainly miss seeing people and the excitement of being in a live classroom. I'm praying we don't have to live like this for too much longer.

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

Most things really but especially food from neighborhood hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

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

50,000 is a decent amount. I'd love to earn more but with 50K I never feel I go without.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks a lot Dave. You seem to be using the lockdown and teaching online situation as an opportunity to save some money. I think there will be plenty of others who are reaching for those apps and ordering expensive food deliveries and generally buying stuff online. And of course it's up to the individual how they live their lives.  


Tim

Working in Hanoi

Monthly Earnings 150,000

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

150,000 baht equivalent is my full-time salary. I also occasionally earn free booze by playing guitar in bars.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I aim for half and always slightly underachieve it. Let's say 70K.

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

My rent is 17,000 baht a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

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

Transportation

I have two motorbikes. Petrol costs 2,000 per month. I usually take taxis when trapising around some evenings, which come to about 2,000 per month. I cycle and walk a lot too.

Utility bills

About 3,000 a month for electricity, air-con and water.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Regular weekly shopping comes to about 4,000 baht a month with some convenience store pop-ins adding an extra thousand. Restaurants and/or delivery a couple nights a week add another 6,000. So that's about 11K a month I think.

Nightlife and drinking

I go out 2-3 nights a week (very light on weekdays but not on weekends) Those nights out cost about 30,000 baht monthly.

Books, computers

I have my kindle and only use free books. There are lots of free books ! I have a 3-year old personal laptop that has survived me well and a school laptop - so no cost there. Average Western book is about 500 baht and I buy 2 or 3 a month.

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

It is an excellent standard of living when you work hard although you could survive here on a lot less.

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

Food and drink are inexpensive if you stick to local products (local beer and street food). Taxis are cheap. Normal motorbikes ( not vanity purchases) are also very good value by Western standards.

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

I know some people who earn maybe 40,000 baht per month. If you are young it's fine I suppose.

Phil's analysis and comment

I'm not very familiar at all with the teaching scene in Vietnam but not sure we've had anyone in our cost of living surveys earning as much as 150,000 baht a month. Rent only costing 11-12% of your salary is always going to be a bonus. It sounds like you've got a great lifestyle out there Tim but it would be interesting to know exactly how hard you work for it though.   


David

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 100,000 baht

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

I get 100,000 baht a month as a full time teacher at a mid-range international school.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

About 30,000

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

I pay 13,000 a month for a 2-bedroom condo in Dao Kanong.

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

Transportation

I used to get taxis to and from work for 4,000 baht (not anymore as I am working from home.) Grab taxis to go downtown add up to another 2,000 ( this is less now as I am not really leaving home)

Utility bills

1,500 baht for electricity (it’s usually less when I am at work) 100 baht for water and 600 baht for the phone + internet.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Due to the pandemic, I am ordering in a lot more so anywhere between 5,000-6,000 baht on Grab Food/ Food Panda, otherwise I get breakfast and lunch at school. Shopping at Tops / Big C every fortnight comes to about 600-1,200 baht. I also spend about a thousand baht at 7-11 every few days, buying things I don’t need but just want. I can most definitely spend less on food but I choose to order from the more expensive restaurants, etc.

Nightlife and drinking

I used to go downtown (pre- lockdown) once a week. A night out with good wine and food typically cost about 2,000 baht. A staycation downtown for two nights at a fancy hotel costs 3-4 thousand baht. I used to do this once a month pre-lockdown days.

Books, computers

I buy a few books on kindle every time I go to the beach but that feels like a long time ago.

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

My condo is small for the rent I pay. However, everything else is cheaper than back home.

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

Food (if you eat local), hotel costs (you get some really good deals if you look around)

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

Anything above 50,000 baht is good, however you won’t be saving much and will have to go on budget holidays and eat and drink more locally. No wine or cheese from supermarkets for you.

Phil's analysis and comment

In terms of living costs, working from home creates a swings and roundabouts situation doesn't it? You probably spend more on food because you order more expensive delivery options and of course, your electricity bill is going to increase. But as we can see in David's case, he's saving a considerable amount of money by not taking taxis to and from work and he's not doing any socializing.  


Stu

Working in Chanthaburi

Monthly Earnings 43,000-55,000

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

My base salary is 35,000. On top of that, I do after school classes twice a week and tutoring on Saturdays. The reason I put between 43-55,000 is that there has never been a month where I’ve done a full month of after-school plus a full month of tutoring. If the stars align, 55,000 is the maximum, but it’s normally just shy of 50,000.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Easily half of my salary, and even more now with COVID limiting travel.

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

Myself and my girlfriend live in a fairly large apartment, with a bathroom, living room, bedroom and a balcony. Rent is 5,500 and bills are never more than a thousand.

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

Transportation

2,000 for a bike, with maybe 200-300 baht on petrol. Maybe a couple of hundred on Grab taxis if we go somewhere to drink so that we don’t have to drive home.

Utility bills

1,000 for electricity water and wi-fi.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We spend about 6,000 in total, with that divided between groceries and restaurants. In normal times, we get lunch at school, and we have a few cooking appliances at home as well.

Nightlife and drinking

We don’t drink in the week (apart from when I watch football and then just a couple to settle the nerves). At the weekend, with bars and the clubs shut, a few beers or a bottle of whiskey is enough for a night in or at a friends house. I’m praying this number rises when places re-open.

Books, computers

A few kindle books a month, so maybe 1,000 at most.

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

Awesome. Having gone pay cheque to pay cheque when I lived in Bangkok and Lopburi, Chanthaburi is by far the best place to be in Thailand. 30 minutes in the one direction and you’re in the mountains for hiking and waterfall treks. 30 minutes the other way, you’re at the beach. The salary plus tutoring allows me to save a lot, and a girlfriend who’s in charge of the money allows me to save even more!

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

Relative to England, what isn’t a bargain here? Rent and food bills , gym membership, petrol prices; everything! The only annoyance is the two-price policy at national parks and waterfalls. Some places are 20 baht entry for locals, but 200 for foreigners. It lends to a divisive “us and them” mentality in my opinion.

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

In Chanthaburi, a salary of 35,000 is enough to survive and save a little bit. If your schedule allows it, a tutoring job can give you the spending money for weekends away or for trips to the islands.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Stu. You're singing the praises of Chantaburi there and I don't blame you. It really is a wonderful little province and probably my favourite place in Thailand when it comes to two or three-day getaways from Bangkok. What always strikes me is how much pride the locals take in Chantaburi; for starters, you rarely see a scrap of litter anywhere. You've got the magnificent church, that interesting old town part down by the riverside and the bustling gemstone neighborhood. If you've never been to Chantaburi, then put it on your list! I know Stu will back me up there. 


Don

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 60,000

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

I work at a private Thai school, fairly close to central Bangkok, and my full-time salary is 60,000. At the moment, due to the Covid situation, all lessons are being taught on-line so I'm working from home (and that's certainly been a steep learning curve)

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Well, at the moment, after deducting money for rent, I feel as though I'm saving almost all of the rest. There's very little to spend my money on and it's been that way for quite some time. I guess in a normal month (pre-Covid) I would be happy to save 20,000 a month but it's certainly more than that right now.

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

I've got a very nice studio apartment just a couple of skytrain stops from the school. Although it's technically only a bedroom and a bathroom, the living space is designed in a way to give the feel of being a bit more spacious than a 'bedsit'. I love living there and I'm so glad I chose somewhere a little more upmarket now that I have to spend so much time at home. The rent is 15,000 per month.

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

Transportation

About 500 baht a month on skytrain fares. I'll even walk the 10 minutes to work if the weather is not too hot and because I leave the house around 7.00 am each morning, that's often the case.

Utility bills

Electricity, water and internet barely break a couple of thousand. I'm obviously using the air-con a bit more now I'm teaching from home but only for 2-3 hours more each day.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I live entirely on Thai food and have most of my meals delivered by a restaurant next door, where the average dish is around 50-70 baht for a lovely big portion. Bit of toast or cereal for breakfast and my monthly food bill rarely exceeds 5-6,000 baht. I get school lunches for free when I'm actually on the school premises.

You often talk about Western food fixes in your comments section, Phil, but actually not only do I never eat Western food, I never get a craving for it either. Once I eat Asian food for a decent length of time, I find Western food is too heavy. It makes me feel too bloated and sluggish. There's always a feeling of 'I wish I hadn't done that' after woofing down a pizza or burger.

Nightlife and drinking

I've never been much of a drinker or a party animal so this category is hardly worth a discussion. I might join colleagues for a beer or two on the occasional Friday night and that's about it. Even on Saturdays, I'd rather stay in and watch a good movie. I'm just happy with my own company and I've always been this way. It's a useful character trait to have during partial lockdowns as well!

Books, computers

I enjoy reading and I download about 3-4 books a month to read on my Kindle so this might be around 1,000 baht a month.

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

I'm perfectly satisfied with it. 60K is only an average salary in Bangkok I guess, but it's more than enough to do what I want and save a bit into the bargain. The big worry at the moment is how long the Covid situation will go on for, especially in Bangkok. I have no desire to stay here for any great length of time and teach online so I'm monitoring the situation day-by-day and trying to formulate a plan B. If things haven't improved by March of next year, I'll head back home to sunny Derbyshire just in time for Spring.

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

Thai food from the small restaurant next to my apartment building.

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

I wouldn't entertain living in Bangkok on less than 50,000 a month unless you are willing to seriously downgrade your accommodation. I just couldn't do that personally. My living environment is so important to me!

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Don, good survey. It's good to get the opinions of a teacher having to adjust his lifestyle due to Covid but in your case, it sounds like you're thriving! As someone who enjoys being at home in his own company, it hasn't really made a big difference has it? And of course, you're saving a lot more money to boot. 

Spending money on nice accommodation is something I've banged on about for years. The nicer the living environment you create, the less time you'll need to spend 'outside' in search of entertainment and pleasure.


Showing 5 Cost of Living surveys out of 384 total

Page 5 of 77


Featured Jobs

Female NES Early Year 3 Teacher for August 2022 Start

฿40,000+ / month

Chon Buri


NES Year 3 Teacher for August 2022 Start

฿50,000+ / month

Chon Buri


NES / Non-NES English teachers

฿35,000+ / month

Thailand


Multiple International School Positions

฿90,000+ / month

Bangkok


English Conversation Teachers for May 2022

฿35,000+ / month

Thailand


English Teachers

฿30,000+ / month

Thailand


Featured Teachers

  • Mirasol


    Filipino, 49 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Robert


    British, 68 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Josel


    Filipino, 31 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Rizwan


    Pakistani, 32 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Paul


    British, 58 years old. Currently living in United Kingdom

  • John


    Filipino, 27 years old. Currently living in Philippines

The Hot Spot


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Need Thailand insurance?

Need Thailand insurance?

Have a question about health or travel insurance in Thailand? Ricky Batten from Pacific Prime is Ajarn's resident expert.


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.