Cost of Living in Thailand as an Expat: How Much Do You Need Per Month? (2024)

Cost of Living in Thailand as an Expat - ExpatDen cover

The cost of living in Thailand is what draws tens of thousands of expats to the country every year for work or retirement.

For just a fraction of what you’d pay every month in the West, you could set yourself up with a very comfortable lifestyle in Thailand.

That said, this guide will break down the most common expenses that expats have to pay for while living in Thailand both for the short- and long-term.

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*Throughout this guide we use an exchange rate of US$1 to THB34.

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An Overview of the Cost of Living in Thailand

Although we did my best to reflect the increase in prices due to 2022’s global inflation, the cost of living in Thailand for each category are only averages.

In addition, factors like location come into play when calculating costs of meals and other expenses. 

For example, a plate of pork fried rice costs about THB65 on the outskirts of Bangkok. But in the heart of the city, you could pay well over THB100 for the same meal. And if you buy that meal in, say, Nan province, it may cost only THB50.

That said, you can use the average costs we’ve cited in the sections below to estimate your living expenses.

To give you a rough idea, here’s the average cost of living in Thailand for a single person for just the basics. These costs can increase or decrease depending on your lifestyle.

Coffee and Drink฿4,000.00
Gym Membership฿2,000.00
Total฿40,550.00 (US$1190)


If you’re single, rent will probably be your biggest expense when it comes to the cost of living in Thailand, especially if you live in Bangkok, Phuket, or Pattaya. In fact, many expats spend over 30 percent of their monthly income on rent alone.

Cost of Renting a House in Chiang Mai
Renting a house like this in Chiang Mai costs THB15,000 per month on average.

Some expats pay THB50,000 on rent, while others pay as little as THB7,000 per month. In other words, the cost of rent depends on factors like location, type of housing, and facilities.

To determine how much you might pay in rent per month, ask yourself these questions:

  • Which city and province in Thailand do I want to live in?
  • Do I want to live in the heart of the city, on the outskirts, or in rural Thailand?
  • Do I want to rent a condo or a townhouse?
  • Do I prefer a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or four-bedroom?
  • Do I want a place that’s furnished, or do I want to buy your own furniture?
  • Do I need a swimming pool or a gym?
  • How far can I live from public transportation and main roads?

Your answers to these questions will determine how much you pay in rent. However, the three biggest factors that affect rental prices are:

  • province
  • neighborhood
  • room size

A 30 square-meter studio apartment in Bangkok starts at around THB13,000 per month in popular expat areas like On Nut. In business districts like Asok or Silom, prices for the same size room can start at THB30,000.

Read more: An In-Depth Guide to Renting an Apartment in Bangkok

In Chiang Mai, a 30 square-meter unit starts at around THB8,000 per month, even if it’s close to the city. In Phuket, the same size unit starts at THB10,000 per month.

Rent Negotiation Strategy

The price you see from the internet or get from an agent is often negotiable. If you know what to do, it’s possible to negotiate your rent down by 40%.

You can find out more from our rent negotiation strategy. It’s based on our editor’s experience where he was able to negotiate his price down from 23,000 baht to 15,000 baht per month.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

In Bangkok, if you want to rent a house with a small front and back yard, expect to pay around THB30,000. In Samut Prakan province, prices start at around THB16,000. If you live in rural Northeast Thailand, you can rent a 608 square-meter house for only THB5,000 per month.

The best way to save on rent is to find someone to share the cost with. Having a roommate helps you save 50 percent on rent, electricity, water, and Internet — if you split the bills 50/50.

Read more: Renting a House in Thailand: Read This Before Signing That Lease

Keep in mind these are just starting prices. If you’re looking for something on the luxurious end, expect to pay well over THB100,000 per month.

Essential Bills 

The following expenses are non-negotiable when it comes to your cost of living in Thailand. However, you have a lot of options, so costs vary depending on the type of service you get and/or how often you use it.


Electricity costs, unlike rent, is one of the expenses you can control every month. 

One of the biggest contributors to high electricity costs in Thailand are air conditioners. So, if you want to cut back on your electricity bill, turn off your air conditioner at night and use a fan instead.

If you can’t live without the air conditioner running, expect your electric bill to be around THB2,000 per month if you live in a one-bedroom condo. If you live in a multi-bedroom house and run a few air conditioners all day and night, expect to pay around THB4,000 per month — at a minimum.

Keep in mind that the age and condition of the air conditioner affects monthly costs as well. We know one guy whose electric bill was more than his THB6,000 monthly rent because he had an old clunker of a unit.

Global Petrol Prices compares Thailand’s electricity costs with other nations around the world each month. It’s worth having a look.


Water in Thailand is inexpensive.

If you live alone in a condo, your water bill shouldn’t be more than THB100 per month. For a family of four, expect to pay around THB300 to THB400 per month.

Some condo management companies charge quarterly for water. If this is the case, triple the costs above to come up with your estimated water bill. 


Thailand has some of the fastest high-speed Internet service in the world, usually ranking in the top 10 of Speedtest’s global index.

But you only reap the benefits of this lightning-quick Internet if high-speed providers service your area. In reality, most older condo buildings aren’t equipped to handle high-speed Internet. So, service in Thailand tends to be slower than that of other countries.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still stream Netflix in Thailand and watch YouTube uninterrupted. But page-loading speeds are definitely slow. 

That said, for around THB650 per month, you can get a basic high-speed Internet package that could handle most of your personal and business needs.

With this package, you get 500Mbps of download speed and 500Mbps of upload speed. However, if you want to pay for faster speeds, more expensive packages are available. AIS has a few for between THB1,099 and THB1,399.

Read more: Home Internet in Thailand: Providers, Packages, and Costs

Cell Phone Plans

Compared to companies in the West, service providers in Thailand offer some great inexpensive cell phone plans that will let you text, make calls, and use the Internet for less than US$20 a month. 

Save Money on your Phone Plan

There’s also a way to even pay only 543 baht every month, with 300 Mbps internet for your home, and a phone package with 300 minutes of calls and 10 GB of mobile internet.

You might be able to get 50% off of your current package as well. More details can be found in this article.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

Many expats we know pay around THB500 for their cell phone bill every month. A postpaid cell phone plan in this price range normally comes with 300 minutes of call time and 10Gb of Internet.

If you want a cell phone and home Internet package, True and AIS have a variety of bundles. It’s cheaper when compared to paying for the services separately.


You might not factor the following expenses into your cost of living in Thailand, but you’ll find life a lot more comfortable if you include them into your budget.

Cable TV

If you want to watch English TV programs in Thailand, you can get a TV package from AIS. The package starts at THB199 per month for access to channels including Disney+, CNN, BBC, Nickelodeon, and more.

If you’re a sports fan, you can get TrueVision’s Now Gold plan for THB1,500 per month, which gives you access to most sports leagues around the world.

Both True and AIS have home Internet, cell phone, and cable TV bundles that save you 20 percent when compared to paying for these services separately.

Streaming Services

Many streaming services are available in Thailand. Netflix, however, remains the most popular because the streaming giant produces movies and series in Thai. 

Its most popular standard plan costs THB349 per month. Other plans start at THB99 and increase up to THB419. 

If you sign up for Netflix, get a VPN in Thailand as well. This way, you can stream movies and series that aren’t available in Thailand.


Most condos and houses have washing machines, so doing your own laundry is easy. If you want to pay someone else to do your laundry, that’s also an option. 

Laundry costs in Thailand are calculated either per piece or per kilogram. On average, you pay THB20 per piece or THB49 per kilogram. This service includes washing, drying, ironing, picking up, and delivering your laundry.

You can buy a laundry service package, too. For example, you can pay THB700 per month to have 40 items washed. Laundry services are available at almost every apartment and condominium in Thailand.

In addition to laundry services, you can use coin-operated washing machines all throughout the city. Otteri — a self-service laundromat — is one of the more popular options. You pay THB30 per load. Keep in mind that you need to have your own detergent and fabric softener.

Maids and Nannies

You can hire a full or part-time maid or nanny in Thailand to help with everything from house chores to taking care of your children.

A full-time live-in maid salary starts at THB15,000 per month. When you hire a full-time maid, she can cook, do laundry, and clean your house. 

If you hire a part-time maid, expect to pay THB600 per week for a few hours of cleaning — including sweeping, mopping, and washing dishes — on a daily basis. For this service, you pay around THB2,400 per month.

Food and Drinks

Food in Thailand can be broken up into two categories: eating out/takeaway and groceries. Costs for each category depend on what you eat and where you buy the food from. 

Eating Out/Takeaway 

On average, meals cost around THB50 to THB60 at roadside stands and food courts. For this price, you get one dish — a bowl of noodles or plate of rice with meat and/or vegetables. If you eat at these places, your food expenses should be no more than THB10,000 per month. 

Thai chicken noodle
This bowl of noodles in Thailand costs around THB60.

If you eat at McDonald’s, KFC, or Taco Bell, however, expect to pay around THB150 to THB250 per meal. 

At mid-priced Thai restaurants, meals start at around THB150. On the higher end, hotel seafood buffets cost around THB1,500 per meal, and a premium sushi set from a Japanese eatery in Bangkok starts at THB700.


Grocery costs in Thailand also depend on what you buy and where.

Because Thailand has a lot of expats, more and more stores are stocking imported goods from around the world. If you enjoy imported foods like cheese and quality beef, expect to pay around THB15,000 per month.

Go local, however, and your monthly grocery bill could be as low as THB6,000 per month.



On average, a cup of coffee costs between THB40 and THB200. It’s THB40 per cup if you buy coffee from a vendor on the street, THB60 to THB80 per cup if you buy from a cafe, and over THB120 if you go to Starbucks.

Starbuck Thailand in Onnut
Thailand has plenty of coffee shops where you can hang out or even get some work done.

There’s a cafe on every corner of the city. In fact, you can find three or more coffee shops within arm’s reach. On average, a cup of coffee costs between THB40 and THB200.

It’s THB40 per cup if you buy coffee from a vendor on the street, THB60 to THB80 per cup if you buy from a cafe, and over THB100 if you go to Starbucks or the like.

You can buy coffee beans from Tops Market starting at THB185 for 250 grams and brew it yourself, which works out to about THB9 per cup.

Beer, Liquor, and Wine

Local beer and liquor are cheap in Thailand, but because of import taxes, alcohol from overseas is expensive.

A small bottle of Leo, Chang, or Singha costs around THB60 at a restaurant, while a larger bottle costs around THB100. Imported beers from Japan or Germany start at THB60 per can. Larger bottles cost around THB130.

Thailand doesn’t produce many grape wines. However, in Chiang Mai farmers do make fruit wines from strawberries, mulberries, and more. A 750ml bottle of fruit wine costs around THB300 to THB400. But be forewarned, this stuff is sweet and thick, like aged port wine.

You can find a decent bottle of imported Italian or Chilean wine from Wine Connection starting at THB750. Villa Market also has a selection of imported wines starting at THB600.


Despite healthcare costs being relatively inexpensive in Thailand, one major accident or health scare could cause your cost of living in Thailand to skyrocket. 

That said, make sure to cover yourself with insurance while in Thailand. 

Health Insurance

Healthcare in Thailand will be the most unpredictable of all your expenses.

One year, you may not pay a single baht for medical treatment or medication. The next year, you might get sick or have an accident and have to pay THB100,000 out of pocket.

Get Medical Treatment at Affordable Rates

Healthcare can be a big expense in Thailand. However, you can significantly decrease your hospital bills if you know where and when to go.

We have this guide on how to get great medical treatment at affordable rates in Thailand.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

This is why it’s a good idea to get health insurance for yourself (and your family) in Thailand.

You can find a wide range of expat health insurance plans that will cover you in Thailand. Most middle-of-the-road plans cost about THB40,000 a year and give you at least 5 million Thai Baht in coverage. 

Luma is a great choice for budget-minded expats and it’s what one of our editors uses.

Because there’s so much to be said about Thailand expat health insurance, we’ve created a separate guide for you to read.

There will also come a time when you have to make a trip to the doctor’s office in Thailand. If you don’t want to visit a local clinic, you’ll most likely go to a private hospital. 

Seeing a doctor at one of the private hospitals in Thailand usually costs around THB1,000 to THB3,000. This amount covers the nurse’s and doctor’s fees plus any standard medication. 

If you have outpatient insurance, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for these costs.

Read more: Health Insurance in Thailand: What You Need to Know as an Expat 

Car/Motorbike Insurance

If you drive in Thailand, you must have car or motorbike insurance. 

If you ever get into an accident, cause damage to people or property, and don’t have insurance, the expenses will come out of your pocket.

Also, if you’re hit while driving your car or motorbike, and the offender doesn’t have insurance, you will be responsible for paying for injuries and damages to you and your property unless you have insurance.

A basic car insurance plan only costs around THB6,000 per year. For more extensive coverage, expect to pay around THB18,000 per year.

As for Thailand motorcycle insurance costs per year, expect to pay THB1,000 to THB2,000 per year. 

Read more: Car Insurance in Thailand: A Complete Buying Guide

Personal Care

Taking care of yourself comes at a price, so you should include these expenses in your cost of living in Thailand if you’re going to come up with a realistic monthly total.

Gym Memberships

With all the gyms available in Thailand, you have no reason to skip exercising while in the country. In fact, depending on where you live, your condo or neighborhood might have a gym that you can use for free.

Otherwise, you can pay for a gym membership for between THB1,200 and THB3,000 per month. Prices depend on the quality of facilities provided by the gym.

The THB1,200 per month membership may have mostly cardio and basic exercise equipment and showers, whereas a THB3,000 per month membership comes with spa treatments and exercise classes.


If you’re really serious about working out, you can hire a personal trainer in Bangkok for roughly THB1,000 to THB2,500 per session. You can also pay THB7,000 per month to train at one of the many Muay Thai gyms in Bangkok.

If you’re on a budget, you can invest in a nice pair of sneakers, go to the nearest park, and run or walk without having to pay anything. Some parks even have free outdoor exercise equipment.

Dentist Visits

Dentists in Thailand are much more inexpensive than they are in the West. You can get your teeth cleaned for as low as THB1,000 at basic dentist offices.

If you’d rather visit a dentist who uses the most up-to-date equipment and techniques, expect to pay around THB1,500 for a cleaning.

Read more: How to Find the Best Dentist in Bangkok: Clinics, Prices, and More 

Hospital Stays

If you visit a doctor and he or she wants to admit you to the hospital, expect to pay at least THB8,000 per night for just a standard room. Add nurses fees and medication on top of that, and you could be looking at THB20,000 to THB30,000 per night. 

If you’re admitted to the ICU, that cost shoots up to around THB100,000 per day.

Alternatively, you can go to a government hospital if you don’t mind waiting in long queues. But this option is only ideal if you know how to speak Thai or go there with someone who could.


Medication in Thailand is also rather inexpensive. You can get any cold or flu medicine over the counter at most 7-Elevens or neighborhood pharmacies.

If you visit a doctor and he or she prescribes you medicine, you may have to get it at the hospital or from a licensed pharmacist.

Some prescribed medications such as antibiotics for adults can be quite expensive. But there is a way to reduce costs by up to 300 percent. 

Read more: How to Save Over 300% of the Cost of Medication in Thailand (exclusive to ExpatDen Premium Members only – find out more

Health Checkups

In order to avoid any serious health complications, you should get an annual health checkup. 

On average, health checkups cost a few thousand Thai Baht. However, you should get comprehensive annual checkups, especially when you enter your forties.

A comprehensive health checkup starts at about THB11,000 at mid-tier private hospitals.

Read more: Bangkok Health Checkups: Costs, Packages, and Hospitals


Men’s haircuts start at around THB250 at salons and around THB100 at local barber shops. Prices can double at fancier salons.

For women, the cost of a haircut is usually more, depending on the service. A wash and dry starts at only THB200, but add in a trim and some coloring and that can double, triple, or even cost 10 times more.


Transportation is one of the cheaper costs of living in Thailand. If you live in Bangkok and don’t have a car, then motorcycle taxis, the BTS (skytrain), or the MRT (subway train) are going to be your main transportation options.

boat in Bangkok
If you don’t mind getting splashed, you can take a canal boat around Bangkok for less than THB20 per trip.

A typical commuting scenario involves taking a motorcycle taxi from your condo to a BTS or MRT station, and then taking the BTS or MRT to your workplace.

Motorcycle taxis cost around THB30 for short distances, and the BTS and MRT varies depending on how many stops you have to take. In general, though, you could spend THB50 or more to travel the BTS and MRT lines one way.

You’ll spend less on transportation if you learn the bus routes. Bus fares in Thailand are only around THB10 to THB30 per trip, or around THB600 per month if you travel five days a week. If you take a taxi every day, you might spend around THB6,000 per month.

Easily Get Around in Thailand

Taxis aren’t your only transportation option in Thailand.

You can read this article to explore a plethora of options you have to get around in Thailand.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

If living outside of Bangkok, it’s a good idea to buy your own car. Gas prices have gone up quite a bit, so you could spend at least THB2,000 per month filling up the tank. You can also rent a car for THB15,000 per month.

You can rent a motorbike for THB2,500 per month. For motorbikes, gas shouldn’t cost more than THB700 per month, depending on how much you drive.

The overall cost of transportation in Thailand is very affordable. The only exception is Phuket, where a one-way taxi ride from Phuket Airport to Patong beach costs THB800.


Thailand has plenty of places to vacation at. And because accommodations and transportation are relatively inexpensive, you can enjoy much of what the country has to offer for a fraction of what you’d pay elsewhere.

Stone Park in Thailand
Thailand has a lot of beautiful landscapes waiting for you to explore, and they’re not just beaches and islands.

A three-star hotel costs around THB1,200 per night. If you don’t mind sleeping in a hostel, you could find places for just a few hundred Thai Baht per night.

Thailand also has plenty of homestays, villas, and bungalows for rent. Prices start at just THB400 per night but increase into the tens of thousands for more fancier resorts. 

When we asked our team of writers and editors how much they spend when vacationing in Thailand, and they said somewhere between THB1,000 to THB1,500 per day, per person.

If you need to get from Bangkok to your vacation destination, you can always take a train to save money. 

For a sleeper train, expect to pay between THB600 and THB2,000 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, depending on the ticket class. If you take the bus, it costs around THB700.

The average cost of renting a car in Thailand is THB1,000 per day. If you rent an economical car, it’ll be THB600 to THB800 per day.

If you really want to save money, there are even cheaper options. For example, you can take the train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya from THB15 to THB35 for third class seats.


There is no shortage of entertainment options in Thailand.

You can go ice skating or bowling, hit the arcades, visit a movie theater, or listen to live music. 

Movie theaters in Thailand are spacious and clean, and the screens are huge and crystal clear. The seats are comfortable, too, and there’s usually a great selection of English, Thai, and foreign movies. Tickets prices range from THB280 to THB300.

However, popcorn, snacks, and beverages are overpriced like in many cinemas around the world. In fact, food and drinks could cost as much as the ticket itself.

For a night of ice skating or bowling, expect to pay around THB300 for equipment rental fees. Most places sell food and drinks as well.   


If you plan to take Thai language lessons or enroll your children in school, tuition will be another expense to factor into your cost of living in Thailand.

Thai Language Schools

No matter what reason you move here, whether for work or to retire in Thailand, you should take a Thai language course.

From friendships to relationships to work opportunities, so many more things open up to you when you can speak Thai.

You’ll pay around THB3,000 per month on average for Thai language courses at a brick-and-mortar school. Costs can drop to THB500 per month if you decide to learn Thai online.

Children’s Tuition

When moving to Thailand with your family, you’ll have to think about how you’re going to educate your children.

Tuition for private schools can vary, but expect to pay at least THB300,000 per year for a reputable school.

You can, of course, find online schools for much cheaper (or even free in some cases). But your options may be limited.

Read more: Education System in Thailand: A Guide for Expats

While in Thailand, you’ll probably incur some legal expenses as part of your cost of living in Thailand as well. We’ve listed some of the common ones below.


If you have a one-year non-immigrant visa, you’ll have to apply for a new visa every year. 

The cost itself isn’t too bad, though. It costs THB1,900 per year for a single-entry one-year visa and THB3,800 per year for a multiple-entry one-year visa.

But the cost of visas gets more expensive if you can’t get a long-term business visa or retirement visa. An education visa, for example, needs to be renewed every three months at THB1,900 per renewal, excluding the necessary transportation costs.

If you have a tourist visa, you may have to extend your visa every 60 days for another THB1,900 or fly out of Thailand to get another visa.

However, living in Thailand long-term on a tourist visa is considered illegal. You could get banned from re-entering Thailand if caught. Being denied entry at the airport, even if you hold a Thailand tourist visa, is not uncommon. So, if you plan to live in Thailand long-term, it’s best to get a proper visa.

If you want to apply for a Thailand Privilege Card, it’ll cost you THB15,000 per month.


There may come a time when you have to renew your passport in Thailand at your home country’s embassy, especially if you live here long term.

Depending on which country you come from, you could pay around THB1,500 for a new passport.


You may find yourself needing a lawyer in Thailand for various legal or business reasons.

If you get into an accident, you may need legal representation. If starting a business, you may need a lawyer to help you form your company.

Lawyer fees vary drastically and depend on which firm you chose to work with.

Read more: Lawyers in Bangkok: A List of Recommended Law Firms 

Average Cost of Living in Thailand by Location

As you can see, it’s quite challenging to come up with the average cost of living in Thailand due to various factors. But we can narrow down the amount depending on where you decide to live.

Let’s look at some of the more popular spots in Thailand.


To give you a few specific cases, let’s look at the cost of living in Thailand for some of our team members in Bangkok.

ExpatDen founder Karsten Aichholz spent THB80,658.58 a month living as an entrepreneur in Bangkok. On the other hand, ExpatDen editor John Wolcott spent THB78,465 a month for a family of four.

ExpatDen contributing writer Richard McCully, who shares a space with his girlfriend, spent THB95,000 per month on his expenses in Bangkok. However, the cost of his accommodations is higher than usual since he decided to buy a condo in Bangkok. It also means that once his condo is paid off, his costs will significantly decrease.

If he had rented a condo instead of buying one, his cost of living would have been only THB75,000 per month.

Chiang Mai

The cost of living in Chiang Mai is 10 percent to 20 percent cheaper than in Bangkok. 

In fact, Shannon O’Donnell from said that THB23,000 is the minimum amount expats should be paying to live in Chiang Mai, with a maximum cost of living of THB54,000 per month.

That number makes sense considering that you can get a decent condo for THB10,000 per month in the northern province. 

If you live in Chiang Mai, you should have some form of transportation, as taxis will start to add up over the long haul. It would be cheaper to rent a car or motorbike.

Food and leisure activities are also cheaper in Chiang Mai, and you can enjoy plenty of free activities in the outdoors. 


The cost of living in Phuket is among the highest in Thailand; it’s even more expensive than Bangkok.

The average cost per meal in Phuket is more expensive than most parts of Thailand. You should expect to pay THB70 to THB100 for one plate of food.

If you don’t have your own car or motorcycle, the cost of transportation can also be extremely high too. You might have to pay more than THB1,000 for one taxi ride. 

To live in Phuket, you should prepare to spend at least THB40,000 per month if you rent a place for THB15,000. But you can still get by on THB30,000 a month if you cook your own food and don’t drink often. 

If you want to live a somewhat comfortable life on the island, your average cost of living in Phuket should be around THB65,000 per month. 


Because it’s a popular tourist destination, the cost of living in Pattaya is quite similar to Bangkok. 

Rent, however, is a little bit cheaper when dealing with smaller condos. You can still find a studio serviced apartment for THB8,000 per month in the heart of Pattaya.

As for larger condos and houses, the sky’s the limit depending on where in Pattaya you want to live. In general, north Pattaya will be more expensive than south Pattaya. And the east side of Pattaya will be a little quieter and cheaper than the beach.  

Food prices in Pattaya tend to be on par with those in Bangkok. 

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is quite similar to Pattaya in terms of the cost of living in Thailand.

Food, drinks, hospital visits, and all the other costs that come with daily life in Thailand will generally be the same. So, most expats can afford to call the province home on just about THB30,000 on the lower end and THB60,000 on average.

Where Hua Hin and Pattaya differ from each other is in lifestyle. Hua Hin is more quiet than its neighbor across the gulf. So, you’ll be less tempted to go out and spend money.

The YouTube channel Thai Girl Gift & Foreigner Joe has a video dedicated to the cost of living in Hua Hin for retirees. THAILAND MY LAND… RETIRING DISGRACEFULLY reveals his monthly costs in Hua Hin as a single retired expat on YouTube as well.

Koh Samui

Islands tend to be more expensive places to live compared to the mainland.

Food, drinks, clothes, building materials, fuel, laborers, staff, knowledge, expertise, and all other forms of tangible and intangible resources — it all has to be boated in from the Surat Thani.

That said, to enjoy the island, expect to spend at least THB50,000 each month. For double that mount, you can afford yourself a comfortable lifestyle in one of the beachside villas.

Mickey Stotch breaks down his cost of living in Thailand each month for Koh Samui in his detailed YouTube video. Vagabond Awake runs through his expenses while on the island, too. Both offer different numbers; both are worth a watch.

Living in Thailand on US$1,000 Per Month

For US$1,000 per month, or THB35,000, here’s a breakdown of how a single person living in Thailand can spend that money.

  • THB10,000 on a studio condo or apartment (not within walking distance from the BTS or MRT) and utilities
  • THB300 on a basic cell phone plan with limited talk minutes and Internet
  • THB550 on Internet service (if needed)
  • THB10,000 on food and drinks
  • THB2,500 on one of the lower-end health insurance plans found on Mister Prakan

That would leave THB6,900 for either travel, savings, or both.

Living in Thailand on US$2,000 Per Month

If a single person doubles that number to US$2,000, or THB70,000, here’s what he or she would be able to afford in Thailand each month.

  • THB15,000 on a one-bedroom condo (within walking distance from the BTS or MRT) and utilities
  • THB650 on a cell phone plan with over 200 minutes of talk time and Internet
  • THB550 on Internet service (if needed)
  • THB15,000 on local and Western food and drinks
  • THB3,500 on a mid-tier health insurance plan from Luma

That would leave THB35,300 for travel, savings, gym memberships, or pursuing hobbies.

Living in Thailand on US$3,000 Per Month

For US$3,000, or THB105,000, a single person would live quite comfortably in Thailand. Here’s how that person could spend that amount each month.

  • THB30,000 on a multiple-bedroom condo (in one of the prime real estate areas along Sukhumvit or Silom) and utilities
  • THB1,200 on a cell phone plan with unlimited talk time and Internet
  • THB1,200 on the highest speed Internet service
  • THB30,000 on local and Western food, drinks, and some fine dining
  • THB5,500 on Cigna’s premium global health insurance packages

That would leave THB35,300 for travel, savings, gym memberships, or pursuing hobbies.

Living in Thailand on US$5,000 Per Month

If a single person has US$5,000 to work with, or THB175,000, here’s what’s possible to afford in Thailand every month.

  • THB90,000 on a penthouse or two-story loft in the heart of Bangkok and utilities
  • THB1,200 on a cell phone plan with unlimited talk time and Internet
  • THB1,200 on the fastest speed Internet service
  • THB40,000 on local and Western food, drinks, and frequent fine dining
  • THB7,000 on one of Cigna’s premium global health insurance plans

That would leave THB35,600 for travel, savings, gym memberships, or pursuing hobbies.

Cost of Living in Thailand for One Year

As you can tell from the scenarios above, the amount you spend to live in Thailand for one year will be in direct relation to the kind of lifestyle you want to have while in the country.

On the lower end, expect to pay around US$11,000, or THB360,000, for just the basics. This includes rent, a cell phone plan, Internet, food and drinks, and a modest health insurance plan.

On the opposite end, your cost of living in Thailand for one year can be as much as US$60,000, or THB2,100,000. You’ll get to live in the nicest condos, eat anywhere you want, and afford the best health insurance plans. Plus, you’d still have plenty of money left over for traveling, investing, or saving.

The Cheapest Place to Live?

If you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in Thailand, you should look in provinces such as Trat, Nong Khai, Udon Thani, and Mukdahan. These haven’t yet been touched by the flood of tourism that has hit other parts of the country. 

The cost of living in these cities can be very cheap, in some cases even less than THB12,000 per month. 

However, if you don’t know how to speak Thai, it’s going to be a real challenge living in these areas. Western food is also rarely available, and public transportation is limited. 

Normally, expats who live in these cities are either hired by a local school or live with their Thai spouse.

How Much Do You Need Per Month?

The short answer is: it depends on your lifestyle.

If you want us to give you some numbers, THB35,000 per month should be enough to live in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Hua Hin.

With this budget, you can rent a place, eat local food, enjoy a few special meals at a restaurant, and travel on a budget.

But if you want to have a comfortable lifestyle, your cost of living in Thailand will be at least THB45,000 a month. Many retirees in Thailand are spending that much every month to live here comfortably.

As a general rule of thumb, if you lived in Chiang Mai, you would need 20 percent less than in Bangkok. But if you lived in Phuket, you would need 20 percent more.

If you have someone to share expenses with, it’s possible to live in Thailand for less than THB20,000 per month. However, if you live in a rural area, it’s possible to spend THB12,000 per month.

To calculate your estimated cost of living in Thailand, you can use our popular cost of living calculator. It’ll estimate how much you need every month based on your lifestyle.

You can also subscribe to our premium subscription to find out how to significantly decrease your cost of living in Thailand.

Final Thoughts on the Cost of Living in Thailand

Everyone’s standards differ, and the same can be said when it comes to the cost of living in Thailand.

One person may not want to spend more than THB50,000 per month, while another might not be able to spend less than that.

Either way, this guide has given you some good references on the average cost of living in the country by lifestyle and location.

But these are just starting points. The only way to know for sure how much you’ll spend each month is to live here full time.

What’s Your Cost of Living? 

We’d love to hear what you spend each month as an expat living in Thailand. Drop a comment below and tell us what province you live in, how much you spend on average each month, and what your food and lifestyle choices are.

John Wolcott is the global editor for ExpatDen. He's a New Jersey native who now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters.

14 thoughts on “Cost of Living in Thailand as an Expat: How Much Do You Need Per Month? (2024)”

  1. How about living on $1,000 per month excluding rent and utilities in Bangkok?
    Great article btw!

  2. Would you recommend any useful apps to help someone moving to Bangkok?

    Some essentials for iPhone or Samsung. Thanks.

  3. Hi folks

    My partner and I were exploring the possibility of moving to Samui.
    We have been there several times on holiday over the years (and i do appreciate its very different holidaying somewhere vs actually living there).

    We earn pretty well in our home country, so 50,000 baht doesnt seem like an in-ordinate amount of money to live comfortably.

    Do you guys believe that 50,000 to 60,000 baht a month would allow you to live decently on an island like Samui?



    • You can but your accommodations will be mediocre at best. You should budget PER PERSON 50,000, which is really only 12,500 baht a week per person.. after rent, car, insurance, food, phone, utilities. You won’t have much left over.

  4. Hi, as a Thai living in Bangkok, I am sure that your info above can’t be applied for the cost of living in Bangkok in 2020 now. The local food something like 40-50 baht is hardly to find, it’s almost impossible, but the average price is around 70-100 baht recently. The old apartment where I live is only 23 sqm cost me 6000 baht already + electricity fee + water fee + internet fee. In total, I need to pay almost 10,000 baht for renting a small apartment in Onnut area. Imagine you live in Asoke area, the minimum money you will need to pay is more than 15,000 baht for renting + transportation fee + food + utility fee, it should be more than 35,000 – 40,000 baht to live in Bangkok (not that comfortable) but if you want more comfortable, I assume that you should have salary more than 50,000 baht above.

    • I never realized that food can be that expensive in On Nut. I live in Ramkhamhaeng and still pay around 40-50 baht per meal. But yeah, it’s getting more expensive especially in the area that’s close to BTS and MRT stations.

      Thanks for sharing though.

  5. I use to stay for a while in Chumphon, rent for a month, food (local restourants every day, 7/11 sometimes), party time, etc… cost me like 400$…
    People limiting themselves on Bangkok, ok you can get job with monthly income 2000-3000$, big number ha? But red pill is that you might save more money in some little bit less busy area with sallary of 500-1000$, than in Bangkok with sallary with big numbers… Big city bringing big expenses as well.
    Im gonna live in Chumphon and my target is to run my own business there, nothing much, but its gonna bring me nice income and my wife and I will try to develop that area by certain points 🙂

  6. Bangkok is the type of city where you can pretty much carve out any lifestyle and live on any budget if you are willing to accept certain comprises.

    I am mid 60s and live a very nice middle class lifestyle for about 36,000 a month excluding medical and travel. Add in insurance and general medical and it goes up to 50,000.

    I have had to make tradeoffs though. I can’t afford to live in the heart of expatland but that is OK. I like living mainly around Thais because it gives me a more unique experience. Some of the areas with fewer expats are also a little quirkier which is another plus for me because I can still venture into the heart of the city for the more upscale experiences and to socialize with other expats. After all, retired, I don’t have a dearth of time. If I was still working full time that would be different.

    Middle class Thais have largely been priced out of Central Bangkok, something that had has also happened in places like Budapest and Lisbon too. A Thai has a great job if he or she makes 50,000 a month. A family making 100,000 is not very common. The rents in expatland are high mainly because of foreigners especially Japanese salarymen. Compared to Tokyo 75, 000 for a small 2 bed apartment is nothing.

    From my experience, few Thai families will pay big baht rent or buy a big condo. A young family will usually live in a one bedroom condo until they have the money to purchase a home farther out.

    I also chose to cook most of my meals so I can control the quality of food ingredients but I have friends who eat every meal out and or pay more in rent than my monthly budget.

    As mentioned in the article prices plummet outside of Bangkok. Expats and Thais are also friendlier in those places but you lack the buzz of Bangkok so it comes down to the right tradeoffs.

    • Since you are in your mid-60s similar to me, would you mind telling me who you get your medical insurance from? That is a very reasonable price if you are paying 14000 baht/month. I could not find that deal myself.

  7. Nice. A large topic. Currently lots of expatriates report rising prices of most things especially in Bangkok, although this is possibly a world trend right now. With the rising baht the amount of money you need after tax for a reasonable lifestyle in Bangkok is starting to approach developed country levels when priced in AUD, UK pounds, or USD, but then Thailand continues to progress.

    In general Thailand still offers better living generally and at much cheaper than most developed countries. However if you want a spacious trendy apartment in inner Bangkok, you eat at upscale/fancy/’nice’ restaurants and you like going to party most evenings, you would need a developed country wage after tax to be comfortable.

    For readers information has LOTS of first hand answers on this topic from Expatriate teachers in Thailand, worth a look even if you are not a teacher !! From memory the average statement by these teachers si that 35,000 would be bottom for an existence and Bangkok, and 50,000-70,000 is estimated by Expatriate teachers to be a more comfortable salary to live in Bangkok without existing. However some teachers in the regions live simply in Thai country towns on remarkably little per month.

    • I noticed a few years back that BANGKOK rents are now on par with major German cities. The difficult commute forces people to live more central, making the problem worse. On the other hand, job opportunities outside of good old teaching English have increased a lot, making it more attractive for recent graduates.

  8. To me , Health costs and Health Insurance costs are the most important factor. If you are older and retiring in Thailand these are essential. Even if you are younger because you do not want to get stuck without insurance. For me (over 60) I did a quick check and it was expensive about $1500 (US$) per month if I want a good plan. Still I can live in Thailand for about the same cost compared to living in US.

    I was wondering if anyone knows if US Medicare can be used in an overseas country like Thailand? Probably not.

  9. I live outside the city in Chiang Mai, around 4km on the way out to Bo Sang, renting a modern home in a older Mooban. My rent and electricity are bundled together and on average is 20-21,000/ month depending on the time of year. We go to several local markets during the week and average around 20-300 baht a day for food, fruit, milk, prepared food and such. Water is negligible, 200 baht or so, combined mobile bills are 800 baht. Petrol is 150-200 baht a week, we work from home so it’s basically trips to the markets and cruising around, pointless to own a car right now. Add various sundries, 1-2000 a month and that’s basically it, neither of us drink or smoke so that’s a bonus..
    Rounded up, it’s around 35,000 and I think very are very comfortable with that..


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