The cost of living in Thailand is one of the first questions that everyone has. The reason is that many do not believe just how affordable it can be to live here. Yet, there are some differences to consider. For example, although living in an urban area may provide better services in terms of infrastructure if you plan to live in an urban area, you will pay a bit more than living in a more rural location. In addition you must also consider that the exact cost of living of a retired expat is generally higher than the standard cost of living for local people.
First, consider the location you will live in. Bangkok will be much more expensive than rural cities, for example. Also, as Thailand is a tourist country, the more tourism driven the region is, the more costly it will be. Locations such as Krabi, Phuket, and Pattaya are very touristy, which means that the cost of living in these locations is going to be more.
Another difference to consider is the type of housing you will have. If you plan to live in a more western style property with those amenities, you will pay considerably more than a traditional Thai home.
In most situations, foreign nationals are not able to purchase land in Thailand. You can purchase a home, if you would like to pursue that route, however many people choose to lease instead. Homes and condos can be leased and the cost of living in Thailand makes this affordable. For example, a small condo less than 400 square feet, will cost about $16,000 to purchase in a city like Bangkok.
You should budget for your utility costs including water, telephone and others. In most cases, you’ll spend under $500 a month on these costs. In food expenses, you’ll spend very little if you chose meals that are local Thai cuisine. In some situations, you’ll spend less than $20 a day on food per person, assuming you eat a moderately priced meal. When we visited Thailand we often spent less than $5 per day on food per person by eating at small vendors on the street which served excellent food for amazingly low prices.
The costs of entertainment will vary depending on the type of activities you partake in. If you enjoy golfing, the prices here are quite low when compared to those in the United States. In fact, 18 holes of gold at a good course with a caddy will likely cost you between $20 and $25.
Even specialized services such as having a health care provider here or having a driver to help you commute from one location to the next are affordable. These services are often only obtained by those living in higher classes, but as a foreigner you may need them depending on your individual situation. Expect to pay less than $300 monthly for such services.
The cost of living in Thailand is relatively inexpensive, depending on the style of living you plan to do here. What is important to remember is that the more you live in Thai style and culture, the more affordable it will be.
With all of these things considered, the cost of living in Thailand in a nice two bedroom apartment in Bangkok, will likely cost you about US $1200 a month. That will include your food and utilities as well as entertainment costs. In more rural locations, such as Koh Samet, you will pay less, US $950 a month for two people for the same services.