The cost of living in Bangkok, Thailand

This post is just going to outline what it costs to live an average life style in Bangkok, well my life. I live on Sukhumvit, which is considered central Bangkok so prices here may be slightly higher then living further in the suburbs. I am good with money and could easily spend x3 4x what I budget each month (around $1k usd) without any second thought, but then I would be back in the office a lot faster too.

$1 = 30baht

£1 = 49baht

The cost of Accommodation in Bangkok

This is most likely going to be the biggest cost unless you party alot. Relative to everything else, Bangkok real estate has inflated way too much. To give an example, most people who work normal paying jobs in central Bangkok (10-15k/month) often live 30-50km away from where they work, and usually share a studio or 1bed room apartment between 2-4 people.

For 5-7k you can get a small 28q meter studio with aircon. The rooms will be fairly basic with no gym or pool. 5-10 minutes walk from any metro stations. If you look well you could get a nice little gem like my apartment for 6.5k a month, which consists of two restaurants, a saloon and a big pool.  Around 40 square meters.

Had to tidy up and tell the ladyboy to get out the shot!
View from lying on my bed

With a bit of searching places like this are not at all hard to find. I would advise not using apartment websites in Bangkok as the prices are usually inflated priced targeted towards foreigners, Craigslist can be good however. Studio around the BTS/MRT stations with aircon and bathroom would cost around 6,000 baht upwards (before bills) depending on location. The cost of water would be usually 100baht am month and electricity from 600-1.5k depending on how often you use the air con. Having a fan will greatly reduce costs.

Average price of a hostel: between 200-400baht
3 star hotel: 600-900 baht~ a day

The cost of Food in Bangkok

Food in Thailand is actually inexpensive, food made from the street stalls will usually cost from 30-60baht. Dinner in average Thai restaurant with aircon and nice decor would be anywhere from 90-350baht. Food inside malls in the food court is 40-70baht, cleaner then eating on the street if you’re worried about anything. Western food is more expensive and will usually range from 200baht+ and I don’t think it really taste all that good.

90 baht for chicken cashew and rice with mango and banana fruit shake.

The buffets in Bangkok are great value, a sushi buffet can be had for 450baht, and the sushi is made to order to your table, it doesn’t taste like pig shit, unlike most places back home. Thai on average don’t eat very much, so for a foreigner these buffets are brilliant value, as I myself usually eat as much as three Thai people would.Great place to come if you want to work out and pack on some muscle.

Sushi Buffet made to order all you can eat

Prices of food:
1.5 litre of cola : 25baht

Kit Kat: 20 baht

Red bull: 10 baht

Walkers/Lays crisps: 20baht

25g of cashew nuts: 25baht

500ml of water: 7baht

Freshly made orange juice: 10-20baht

Half a pineapple: 15baht

Pack of bananas: 20baht

MacDonald meal: 120-180baht

330ml of beer inside 7/11: 32baht

Cigarettes:  40-40 baht

Mars bar: 20baht

The cost of nightlife in Bangkok

Clubs in Bangkok rarely allow farangs free entry outside the backpacker spots. The three that I know of are Funky villa, Nang len and then afterhours called WIP (mon-thus free entry only). Average price for entry is around 200-400baht, and you get either 1 or 2 free drinks with it. You can also get a bottle service, usually between 5 people for around 1,000k-2,200k baht, this will get you a 70cl of whiskey or vodka and entry in for five people.  Entry frees into bars and pubs are free.

See my new post on the cost of nightlife in Bangkok for the latest costs.

Cheaper drinking option,  Thai moonshine. Its only legit if there if a fat thai guy in the background, otherwise dont buy it!

Drinks in trendy bars and clubs usually start from around 130baht upwards, very rarely do I see drinks in the excess of 300baht. Drinks at Thai orientated venues tend to be much cheaper, many places offer happy hours and 2-4-1 easy to find with a bit of googling there not hard to find.

The cost of Transportation in Bangkok

Never get in a taxi without agreeing to the use the meter, the meters start at 35baht, generally taxis will never be over 150baht unless you’re going way out of town. Its never a good idea to abuse taxi drivers or pay them less then whats agreed on the meter because they got lost or anything like that, it’s a rare occurrence but you could find your self in a spot of bother if you do this. Don’t forgot your in Thailand, not back home.

Motorcycle taxis are usually good for short distances, between each metro stop the fare should be 30baht per stop, and for every soi they go past it is 2baht, well I think from what I pay, not totally sure.  I would always advise wearing a helmet or buying one like I did, they only cost around 300baht from any Tesco and could end up saving your life. You should ask the driver for a helmet, if they don’t have one, go on another bike who does have a spare helmet.

bike taxi waiting under BTS bridge

BTS/MRT which are the equivalent of the subway or London Underground, are the fastest way around the city. Fares on the BTS vary from 15-55baht and from 16-40bbaht on the MRT.

BTS station, yes im 5 years old, the sign always makes me laugh

Buses are super cheap, on average it’s a flat fare of around 7baht, and cover a lot of ground, the only problem is finding out what buses go where!Tuk Tuk are the worse mode of transport here, the most likely to get scammed and overcharged, I would not use them unless I had no other choice.

Tuk Tuk drivers have all bases covered

Trains to parts of Thailand are priced well, you can catch a train too the north of Thailand from 300-1,200baht depending on what class you wanted to pick. Flights usually start from around 2,500baht if you book in advance.

Activities

For a membership to a good gym you are looking around 2,000baht a month for anything close too the sukhumvit road if you want it full of weights and working machinery. If you don’t mind the old machines and rusty old weights you can get it as low as 40baht a session at some places.

The price to the cinemas although it’s very cheap compared to prices back home I think for Thailand standards its way too high. Prices at most places start around 190baht-250baht. You do get a very good leather chair with enough leg room but I still think its way too much. 95baht for a large box of popcorn and I think around 50-60baht for large drink. I did find a cinema complex in Siam called Apex, which offer movies for only 100baht, which I think is more fair.

Siam Cinema

Muay Thai boxing is seems to have a fixed price all over Thailand of around 400baht per session, which to me is a total rip off. You can find schools which are taught by westerners or none Thais and you looking at around 200baht per lesson.

A trip to Siam amusement park for a tourist is 900baht for the whole day and for the smaller dream world 400baht.

The cost to book a tennis court for the hour is as low as 40baht, can be as high a 300baht depending on the place you go. Booking a 6-a-side football pitch again from 1500-3000baht for 1.5hours depending on the location.

Tennis Courts in Ekkamai

Misc costs

Price of haircut: 60-300 baht.

Text/call per minute: 1baht

Generic t-shirt: 60baht

Sandals: 80baht

Massage for 1hr: 150-300baht

All branded goods: Expect to pay 10-30% more in thailand then you would back home for real stuff.

Every month my budget seems to be around $1000 which I could reduce but I’m happy with this and everything I do.

These are the current Bangkok prices from the post date of 21st of November. To see the cost of living in Bangkok see one of my newer posts by clicking here.

28 thoughts on “The cost of living in Bangkok, Thailand

  1. Anonymous
    21 November, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    kool as phuck poast ty, questions:

    does your studio include kitchen and ensuite bathroom/shower?

    how many times a month do u party for that avg spend of $1k?

    whats the avg cost of visa associated costs/month?

    ty ur mi her0

  2. Anonymous
    22 November, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    pix of girls buttholes?

  3. Harvie Harvey
    22 November, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    no kitchen but I do have a bathroom and shower.

    I usually go out around once a week, you can go more then once if you dont drink while inside.

    I will update this post later with visa details.

  4. Rashad Pharaon
    23 November, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Hilarious blog, just found it. I’ll be checking back in, hopefully Bangkok won’t devour you…

  5. deucehigh
    25 November, 2012 at 6:55 am

    how much are the costs which add to your rent(costs you have monthly..), like electricity/water/internet/etc..

    thx and keep blogging! chrisz

  6. Exiled Asia
    18 December, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Have you been able to find employment yet? other than the gay for pay photoshoot, great blog I’m writing one myself Asia Expat.

  7. Harvie Harvey
    2 January, 2013 at 3:40 am

    yeah I have a online job, but its more of a passive income at the moment.

  8. Mati
    6 January, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you 5anuk,
    This is a keeper.

  9. FIght Live Share
    6 January, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Bangkok can be about as cheap or expensive as you like want it to be. Just a matter if knowing your lifestyle and where to find it. I’ve spent as little as 15,000 a month and 120,000 in Bangkok. I’d say for the average farang you wouldn’t want any less than 35,000 for your basic comfortable lifestyle. 40-60 is the sweet spot.

  10. Harvie Harvey
    6 January, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    @ FIght Live Share

    I agree with you for the most part, I think 30k a month is good if your not drinking or going out alot, assuming your wise on where to eat and go to eat at farang style restaurants on the right days were they have offers on.

    40-60k would be more then enough for doing almost anything withing reason.

  11. Anonymous
    9 January, 2013 at 4:51 am

    How did you find your apartment?

    I used to live in BKK a few years ago but never found any place below 10k in a location close to a BTS station.

    I ended up paying 12k bath, albeit for a studio apartment that was a lot more luxury looking incl. daily housekeeping and a huge lcd tv.

    You should make it clear btw. that your costs are the absolute lowest that anyone can expect. Lots of people easily spend 30k+ on an apartment alone.

    1. fitnesspm
      12 April, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      How does one find a good apartment in BKK?

      1. 13 April, 2016 at 3:52 am

        Check out my apartment guide.

  12. Harvie Harvey
    9 January, 2013 at 6:13 am

    ^if you walk around the sois is much easier too find places then using a website or anything online. I find several places offering 6-10k only a few mintues walk from the BTS. Around On nut there are tons, you wont find many around thong lo/ekkamai region though.

  13. Andrew
    9 January, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for posting up your experiences in Thailand. After reading through them, I’m committed to taking a week-long trip over there in the very near future. That said, could you offer some tips on where to book hotels, flights, etc.? Also any clubs/hotspots around? Thanks.

  14. Mati
    4 February, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    5anuk,
    if I want to spend just 10 days in Bangkok, sightseeing and generally enjoying the Thai vibe, where should I start?
    Coming from airport, very low budget. Where do I get Thai Baht currency, phone, internet, lodging close to train.
    Should I stay in the centre of Bangkok?

  15. Harvie Harvey
    4 February, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    if I want to spend just 10 days in Bangkok, sightseeing and generally enjoying the Thai vibe, where should I start?
    Coming from airport, very low budget. Where do I get Thai Baht currency, phone, internet, lodging close to train.
    Should I stay in the centre of Bangkok?

    @ mati, id stay near sukhimvit and the BTS as its cheaper to travel. I listed some cheap hotels up too recently On nut would be your best bet, or hostals if thats your thing. You can pick up a simcard from the 7/11 for 50baht, and credit there too.

    Best place to get currency changed is at a place called superrich on sukhumvit soi 23. (google them).

    Hope that helps.

  16. Anonymous
    28 March, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Harvie Harvey said…
    no kitchen but I do have a bathroom and shower.

    I usually go out around once a week, you can go more then once if you dont drink while inside.

    I will update this post later with visa details.

    *****VISA INFO PLS?******

  17. Allan Wilson
    7 June, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Great post. Extremely accurate. Love the Ya Dong photo with the fat Thai fella in the background. I am similar with $1000US a month (but I own my property so no accommodation costs). Any idea about badminton?

    1. admin
      14 July, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      The only place I know for badders is the RQ club, which is overpriced. I know areas in Din daneg also do courts for pretty cheap.

  18. bobby
    12 October, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Hi Harvie
    Thanks for useful info about Thailand. I need some help please. I have a job offer of teaching English from Bangkok with salary of 22000 baht/month. May I know if I could live a normal life with normal fun there?
    Thanks again

    1. Harvie
      12 October, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      hey bobby, that seems to little, I dont think you will have much money left over after your apartment and food. I think the typical wage of a starting teacher is 27-35k baht so maybe look for another job that pays better.

  19. dylan
    2 February, 2014 at 3:26 am

    gidday mate, im thinking of moving to the outskirts of bangkok, ive a freind there whos been there for 7 yrs, married and working there, im planning onn keeping my job in britan, flying in and out, 1st question, are you familiar with htis, and if so what is the best airline, which airline do most expats use, 2nd question, is it worth bring a car accross,

    1. Harvie
      2 February, 2014 at 3:28 am

      most people tend to use emeriates or Qatar airlines , more are good you cant really go too wrong. And with regards to bringing your car over to Thailand. It depends where you live, if in a big city the transport is quite cheap and easy to get too. Cars in Thailand are very expensive too.

      It would depend how long you plan on coming here for, but im not the best person to be advising about bringing cars to Thailand.

  20. Sam
    14 February, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Hi Harvie, can you tell us the name and location of the Japanese buffet restaurant in the photo? Thanks.

    1. Harvie
      14 February, 2014 at 5:16 am

      Hi its Kuroda buffet, located on soi Ekkamai 63, about 100 meters on your left hand side.

      See this post

      http://afarangabroad.com/2013/03/kuroda-japanese-sushi-buffet.html

  21. Sean
    30 March, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Hi, where is your apartment located??

    1. 30 March, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      This was in TL, I live their currently so don’t want to give too much away just yet.

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