How much does it cost to live in Thailand?

30th June 2016

Somehow I always end up back in Thailand. It’s easy to live here so why not. China was great but the air pollution and internet censorship made things difficult. Here in Chiang Mai you can live soooo cheap. I’ve decided to try and outline out the basic cost of living in Chiang Mai to show how cheap living here is.

Huay Kaew Residence - Chiang Mai, Thailand
Huay Kaew Residence – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Apartments in Chiang Mai

Generally speaking, the single largest living expense every month is your apartment. I am staying in a typical apartment and it costs ฿5000 (£95) a month or ฿6000 (about £115) a month for short term. If you are interested in coming to Chiang Mai then you should check out Huay Kaew Residence. It’s cheap and in a great location.

There’s not much you will need, it’s just somewhere to sleep. What will you get for your £115 a month?

  • 1 bedroom studio apartment
  • Balcony
  • Bathroom
  • Swimming pool
  • Laundry
  • Barbor
  • Shop
  • Restaurant
  • Gym
  • Nice area of Chiang Mai (close to the city and Nimman)
  • Right next to a shopping mall
  • Close to lots of coffee shops and a good coworking space
Pad Kra Pao - Taken from: eatingthaifood.com
Pad Kra Pao – Taken from: eatingthaifood.com

Food

People live different lives so this is just from my experiences. First, and most importantly, food and drink. Food anywhere in Thailand is cheap but it all depends on what you want. You can eat streetfood for as low as ฿100 a day or eat in restarants and spend ฿500 a day.

If you want foreign food then expect to pay more, but why would you come to Thailand and not eat Thai food? A typical Thai meal might be omlette and rice (฿30) or Stir fried pork (฿40). Night markets are great places to eat. Chiang Mai north gate market (Chang Puak Gate night market) is always busy and has a lot of different food.

Chiang Mai is also unique in that it has a lot for vegans and raw vegans. Fruit at the fresh markets here are affordable and there’s loads of exotic fruit.

Chang Puak Gate night market
Chang Puak Gate night market

Expenses

If you are tight on money you could do your own laundry and live without internet on your phone to cut back. Thailand is cheap enough that you don’t have to worry about bills.

  • 1 month 4G sim card is ฿200-฿400
  • Laundry once a week is ฿70-100 or ฿400 a month
  • Transport. A decent motorbike will cost at least ฿2500 depending on what you want. If you are living close to everything then you can walk between most places. Public transport around Chiang Mai via the red songthaews is cheap and you can go across the city for ฿100
  • A Coworking space, this isn’t important but it helps productivity. I paid ฿3500 for 1 month at Punspace Nimman a 5 minute walk from my apartment.
Punspace - Chiang Mai, Thailand - photo taken from: www.teerapat.com
Punspace – Chiang Mai, Thailand – photo taken from: www.teerapat.com

Coworking

Working out of hotel rooms or coffee shops can get boring and working in a coworking space can be more productive. I spend a lot of time on the laptop so a coworking space makes life easier. Fast internet and chairs with decent back support make a massive difference.

Punspace costs ฿3500 for a month and if your there 5 days a week it is ฿175 a day. It’s 5 minutes walk from my apartment so it’s ideal. Working out of coffee shops would cost about the same each day. Chiang Mai is full of people working remote and you can always meet people working in coffee shops if you don’t fancy a coworking space.

An alternative to Punspace is C.A.M.P. in the MAYA shopping mall. It’s a big coffee shop with lots of space to work. Internet here is only available for 2 hours after buying something.

Overview

This isn’t the most in-depth post about living in Thailand. I wanted to share my thoughts and show that you can live cheap in a different country. From Chiang Mai you could go to Phuket for a few days, you could move on to other Asian countries. Thailand is a great base in Asia, it’s cheap to fly to and an easy place to live. If you plan on coming to Thailand long term then you should get the new 6 month multiple entry visa before coming.

I have missed out the cost of going out getting drunk or sightseeing because it’s all relative. I don’t know about the animal ‘sanctuaries’ or how much tours are but it’s all overpriced. Come to Thailand and live here, it’s more interesting than your home town.

From my experiences, staying in Chiang Mai for a month costs about £400-500 but you can spend more and you could spend less if you were on a tight budget.

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