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 29th May 2024

฿37 to one US Dollar
฿47 to one Pound Sterling
฿40 to one Euro
฿24 to one Australian Dollar
฿0.63 THB to one Philippine Peso

John

Working in Nonthaburi

Monthly Earnings 81,000

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

I work at a small international school and my salary is 81,000 baht after tax. This also includes a small housing allowance.

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

50,000 baht a month. If I do any travelling, the money comes from that 50,000. I have a strict budget so save well

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

I pay 10,000 baht a month for a one-bedroom condo. There is a pool and small gym and it's very secure.

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

Transportation

Almost nothing as the school is walking distance from home and I only go into Bangkok once a week by taxi.

Utility bills

I spend around 2,800 baht for my phone, internet and cable TV and then probably another 1,000 baht on electricity and water.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

The first year I was here I spent about 8,000 baht a month on food and supermarket shopping as I ate like a local. But this second year, I order western food through a delivery service so now spend around 12,000 baht per month on this. it's worth the extra cost though. I couldn't handle eating like a local anymore, it's a nice luxury to have.

Nightlife and drinking

I rarely go out, maybe once a month if I'm lucky. If I do go out I wouldn't spend any more than 2,000 baht per month

Books, computers

Nothing.

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

Very comfortable. I set a budget which helps me save nearly 70% of my salary but I never feel like I'm missing out. I get my weekly massage, eat well and go out drinking when I like. I have been able to travel a lot using some of the money I have saved. Living in Thailand is great.

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

Any service that the local people provide is an absolute bargain. I can get a massage for 150 baht (it would be at least 10 times more expensive back home in Australia). I can get my condo cleaned by two people for 500 baht (it would be triple that back home). Taxis are so cheap as well and I really like that. Plus if you buy food from the local markets or off the street, it is incredibly cheap. Flying in Thailand and going to surrounding countries is relatively cheap as well.

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

Hmm, well I budget 30,000 for the month but that leaves no money for travel or extra fun, but you could survive off that. Truthfully though, I think you have to earn at least 50,000 per month (if you are living in and around Bangkok) to live a comfortable life with some travel thrown in.

Phil's analysis and comment

John is a saver, no doubt about that. But he saves for a purpose and that usually seems to be travel.

81,000 baht in Nonthaburi is always going to leave you with plenty of cash to spare because Nonthaburi certainly doesn't have the temptations of Central Bangkok. John is obviously not a 'bright lights' person anyway.

I was only ever lucky enough to have one job where I was able to walk to work each day - but what a godsend that is! It's not really about how much you are saving on transportation (although that should be factored in) but you know you can leave your digs at exactly the same time each morning and not give a fiddler's about how bad the traffic is. I'm sure John would agree.


Henry

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 37,000

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

I get a 35K salary from my high school in Bangkok and now and again I add a couple of thousand baht to that from doing evening classes.

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

About 15,000 a month.

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

I pay 8,000 baht a month for an apartment including bills

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

Transportation

Not stated

Utility bills

Not stated

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I like to eat well and have a small kitchen so often cook for myself. I like to shop at the sometimes more pricey Tops and Villa supermarkets so i spend quite a lot on food (but figure not stated)

Nightlife and drinking

Not stated

Books, computers

Not stated

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

Quite comfortable but i always feel conscious when I use my air-conditioning of how much electricity I am using. I use public transport whenever possible and try to avoid taxis but sometimes it's too late in the night or just too hot outside to take a bus. But overall I would say I have a comfortable life but occasionally feel the pinch of a low salary

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

Local buses

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

I would say 40,000 baht a month in Central Bangkok.

Phil's analysis and comment

Henry didn't really go into much detail here, but if you do the maths, he earns 37K in a good month, saves 15,000 baht of that and lives in an 8,000 baht apartment. That means he's surviving in Bangkok on a grand total of 14,000 (and that's without knowing the figure for food spending) It's less than 500 baht a day! That can't be much fun.


Michelle

Working in Chiang Mai

Monthly Earnings 30,000

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

I'm a volunteer at a primary school / kindergarten so I don't necessarily have a salary. However I have several friends and people from my church who help support me. On average, I probably receive about 30,000 baht a month but this varies. Some months I will receive hardly anything and other months it's a lot.

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

On average, I spend about 17,000 baht a month, so that would mean I save about 13,000 baht each month.

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

I live with two friends in a small house and we pay 4,000 baht a month for rent (split three ways)

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

Transportation

I have my own motorcycle and I spend about 55 baht a week on gas.

Utility bills

Our bills are split three ways and work out at 210 baht each for wifi and approximately 300 baht each for water and electricity.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

it's hard to say. Looking at my records, it could be anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 baht, depending on how often I splurge at Remping or get a sandwich at Subway or go out with friends. During the week, we get a free lunch at work, so breakfast and dinner are the only meals where we're on our own. Mostly we will eat street food or cook our own food at home. Going out to eat with friends is the killer, since usually it'll be a higher class restaurant

Nightlife and drinking

I don't do nightlife as a rule but I do enjoy my coffee, however, I try to hit the lower priced coffee shops. I also splurge on horseback riding about twice a month, which costs 500 baht an hour.

Books, computers

I recently had some computer expenses that came up to about 4,000 baht.

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

I like to live as closely to the people around me as possible, and since most of my friends and coworkers are of lower income, I try not to flaunt the fact that I have more money than them. Yet I live very comfortably.

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

Food. It's so cheap!

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

If you live carefully and do it right, you could live on 16,000 baht a month after your start-up costs (motorbike, household furnishings, etc.) However, foreigners also have lots of visa expenses, travel home costs, etc.

Phil's analysis and comment

I'm not really up on how the volunteering thing works so I might pass on commenting here. I've always been under the impression that if you do volunteer work, you got a bit of pocket money, a roof over your head and perhaps 'three hots and a cot' but that clearly isn't the case where Michelle is concerned. But she seems happy enough living the simple life in Chiang Mai.


Dan

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 85,000

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

I earn 85,000 baht a month at an international school (this also includes a rent allowance)

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

In theory I could save about 20,000-30,000 baht a month but I never do. There always seems to be something I make a big expenditure on such as going on holiday, flights to the UK, new phone etc. Realistically I save 5,000 - 10,000 - and frequently nothing!

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

I share a condo with my girlfriend, of which I pay 20,000 baht in the city centre. I know I could go cheaper but I am very comfortable and feel it is worth the money.

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

Transportation

Including travel to work and various journeys at the weekend it's around 4,000 baht.

Utility bills

Around 3,000 a month for my share of electricity, high speed internet, TV package, land line and mobile phone package.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

This expense fluctuates a lot depending on other expenditures. If I have cash to spare, I will eat well at restaurants and order food in. Anything between 10,000 - 20,000 baht a month. This is an area I could certainly cut back on - but I love eating well!

Nightlife and drinking

It ties in with food as eating out is a big part of a night out for me. I don't drink all that much anymore and have just one or two big nights (getting drunk) a month. Maybe 2,000 - 3,000 on drinking not including food covered above.

Books, computers

It's hard to put a regular amount on this. Occasional necessities such as printer ink and the odd book. I frequently go to the cinema and will occasionly buy new clothes. Anything from 1,000 - 5,000 baht a month I suppose.

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

I feel quite lucky to have my standard of living. There is no chance I could live like this as a teacher in the UK! I have not had to really worry about my spending here, which makes life very comfortable.

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

I think transport is ludicrously cheap, be it a taxi to work or a train down to the south of Thailand. In comparison to home it is extremely cheap in that regard.

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

I think in Bangkok you could survive on 30,000 baht. I've done it before - just about. I wouldn't want to do it for long though!

Phil's analysis and comment

I think one important piece of info missing from the survey above is whether or not Dan's girlfriend works and brings in a monthly salary. A working partner will always make life easier.

I can only go by the figures - and while 85K a month is a very good wage, it doesn't sound like Dan saves much money at all. His accommodation might appear expensive at first glance but it's still only 25% of his income. The other 75% goes on enjoying life!  

Keep these cost of living surveys coming guys. You're doing a great job! Apart from the jobs page, this is the most popular section of the ajarn website. People love reading this information. And don't worry if you've sent me a survey and it's not on-line yet. I have it safe. I just like to space them out a bit.

If anyone fancies doing a cost of living survey, I've now put the questions on-line to make it easier and quicker for you. Please spare half an hour if you can.


Jack

Working in Upcountry

Monthly Earnings 140,000 baht

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

I earn around 60,000 a month from my job here at a Thai university and I do a lot of online teaching (Including dissertation advising) which brings in another 80,000 baht or so on average - so around 140,000 per month

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

Not as much as you would think

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

We live in a fairly large house and the rent is around 15,000 baht per month.

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

Transportation

See comment section below

Utility bills

See comment section below

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

See comment section below

Nightlife and drinking

See comment section below

Books, computers

See comment section below

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

Life is pretty good. We live fairly simply and have enough saved to avoid intense money worries, but having expenses outside of Thailand while living in Thailand eats away income pretty quickly.

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

Housing. We live in a fairly large house with a large yard and pay about the same as my daughter is paying for a student sized place back home.

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

Survive? When I first came to Thailand I was supporting a wife and two small children while only getting 220 Baht an hour in Bangkok. If one is Thai or lives like an entry level Thai worker one can live on between 10-15,000 baht a month, but quality of life at that wage is not going to be very high

Phil's analysis and comment

Jack chose not to answer the expenses questions in the usual way but had the following to say in terms of a summary.

"I will use slightly different categories than the ones posted. My wife has a budget of 35,000 baht to take care of all household (including food) and her personal expenses. For gas and car usage, eating out four times a month, lunch and other personal expenses for myself I spend around 15,000 baht. So you could say we live on around 50,000 baht a month here in Thailand.

However, I also have a daughter in university in the West and I send her around 35,000 baht a month (although she graduates in a little more than a year and that money will get cut off), and also I was supporting my son until recently while he was going to university and I also have to pay a long-term student loan of my own of around 20,000 a month.

So my income covers everything and we have some savings from my working outside of Thailand for a few years. If I can keep up the income stream from a few more years our expenses will decrease significantly and we can save up a bit more for retirement"

There's something quite incredible about Jack's survey. Here's a guy working out there in upcountry Thailand. Not Bangkok! - but out in the sticks. And he's earning enough money to put a daughter in The West through university and did the same for his son as well. Unbelievable!

I keep hearing stories of teachers making great money from online teaching. Surely this has to be the future. 

Jack also had the following to say on the topic of how much does one need to earn to survive in Thailand.

"The answer really depends. If you are single and wanting to spend a year or two on an overseas adventure, one can get by on a pretty basic (30,000) salary but if one goes through a normal life cycle of marriage, kids, the demands on your earnings go up. What you "need" is not really an important question, the question you should ask is what can you get and decide if the total package of money and lifestyle is better than one's other options.


Showing 5 Cost of Living surveys out of 427 total

Page 62 of 86


Featured Jobs

Full-time Native Japanese Teacher

฿45,000+ / month

Bangkok


Thailand-based Online English Teacher

฿417+ / hour

Online


South African Online English Teacher

฿218+ / hour

Online


English Conversation Teachers

฿35,000+ / month

Thailand


NES Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher

฿50,000+ / month

Bangkok


Early Year Teachers

฿35,000+ / month

Chon Buri


Featured Teachers

  • Jeric


    Filipino, 23 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Ma.


    Filipino, 26 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Josefa


    Filipino, 30 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Jeanie


    Filipino, 22 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Aura


    Filipino, 32 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Robert


    British, 40 years old. Currently living in Thailand

The Hot Spot


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.


The cost of living

The cost of living

How much money does a teacher need to earn in order to survive in Thailand? We analyze the facts.


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?


Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


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.


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?


The Region Guides

The Region Guides

Fancy working in Thailand but not in Bangkok? Our region guides are written by teachers who actually live and work in the provinces.