Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai

This is a guest post from a reader who lives in Chiang Mai.

Hey guys,

Harvie asked me for a quick breakdown of my living costs in Chiang Mai so here goes. In December 2014 I spent exactly 34,898 baht. I track all my expenses with a smartphone app so that number is pretty accurate. Here is the breakdown for my costs:

During that month I went out quite a bit thats why my number on booze is so high. I will also give a breakdown on each of the sections here.

Food costs in Chiang Mai

I eat out 2-3 times a week at local Thai joints and sometimes at western places. When I’m really lazy I order in food, usually on Sundays. The food must be good here because I gained almost 3 kilos and I’m getting fat!

Need to watch what I’m eating lol.

Anyway lots of people claim Thailand is so cheap and you can eat a meal for 35 baht or whatever. Ya sure but I’m a big guy 6ft 4 200lbs I’m not gonna get filled up on some tiny Thai meals. On an average meal I budget for about 100 to 150 baht. That’s 2 portions and maybe a coconut or some fruit juice.

Thai Food

I think 9,000 baht per month for food is a healthy number.

Rent costs in Chiang Mai

Rent is where Chiang Mai really shines you can get some awesome value. My place was 7,200 baht and it’s a nice little condo with sink on the balcony, flat screen TV, 10mbit internet, a SOFT mattress and good location right next to Nimman (the “trendy” Chiang Mai area where the students like to go out).

Great place and comes with maid service once a week. If you bring your own sheets and clean yourself you can shave off another 1,000 baht per month.

Drinking costs in Chiang Mai

Booze is pretty cheap in Chiang Mai too, if you’re a lightweight like me you can get plastered on 400 baht on a night out.

Even in some of the nicer discos you can get a beer for less than 100 baht. Places like Warmup and Monkey are a bit more expensive. Keep in mind though the nightlife here is pretty boring. It’s either western oriented places full with Thai hookers and average Chiang Mai girls… or you go to the Thai joints with bottle service, shitty music and snobby girls who will barely talk to you. If you’re used to bangkok nightlife you might be a bit bored.


Bought a bunch of books which brought my spending up. Dunno what to say here… maybe just pirate them if you’re really cheap.

1,880 baht on books. (uw0tm8?)


My gym is about 1,300 baht per month and the rest is for protein shakes after training. Chiang Mai has some pretty decent gyms with squat rack, pull up bar and the works. Also it’s easy to get around just get on a scooter.

People are pretty nice and helpful too but of course they keep blasting you with shitty pop music at obnoxious levels. Oh well…


Included a trip to Mae Sai for a Thai viisa run. Never again will I take a 10 hour bus trip! Next time I’m gonna fly.

Thai visa stamp

Visa costs were 1,130 baht.


Pretty high phone costs as I had to call some clients half way around the world and also went full retard on my internet plan. You should be able to get it a bit cheaper.

850 baht.


Just random stuff to stay sexy for all the Thai girls. Most expensive was some moisturizing face cream.

Total spent 662 baht.


Ok I dun goofed here and didn’t get a bike for almost two months. Don’t be a retard like me… get a bike! It’s so easy to get around and only about 2.500 baht for an automatic. You can probably get it cheaper too if you look around. Traffic in CM is ok and nothing compared to BKK.

That’s it. Any questions feel free to drop a comment.

4 thoughts on “Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai

  1. Keith
    25 March, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Interesting….just curious about some “typical” costs you didn’t mention.
    – Overseas medical insurance? Covering emergency care, routine, or everything?
    – Dental?
    – Renter’s insurance for all your precious goodies (ie. that TRS-80 computer given to you by your great aunt)?
    – Trips home? (Realize you just hoof it for visa runs)
    – Storage fees (back home) for wherever the rest of your goodies are?
    – Any other costs that come to mind?

  2. cmbrah
    26 March, 2015 at 4:54 am

    – i got medical insurance from the motherland. comes down to 420 euros a year. I pay it at once so its not listed in my monthly budget. they cover emergency stuff and dental cost so its not really a good deal considering im in pretty good health. but at least when i get run over by a methed-out truck driver Im covered for my hospital bills

    – dental cost: i recently went to a CM dentist that came highly recommended. got a teeth cleaning and two cavities filled (no homo) 2.600 baht all in and i was very impressed with the facilities and everything. looked legit. insurance took care of the cost no problem

    – i dont have renters insurance. dont really have any valuables except my laptop, kindle and crappy smartphone anyway…

    – only been in thailand for 6 months so no trip back home yet. im contemplating going back to europe for summer though. flights can be had for about 350 euro. recently i saw a deal with thai airways for 10.000 baht one way which is pretty good

    – i sold most of my shit and have some boxes of stuff in my parents basement. storage fees = zero. they also scan my mail and send it to me when some important stuff comes up. all the mail is being forwarded to my parents adress which costs about 20 bucks a year

    – not really any other costs man its all in there. my visa costs have increased though as I refuse to get on another longass busride, so now i have to fly. last border run was 5k all in with 2 days spent in udon thani and vientiane. overall I guess you could factor in about 40k baht a year for visa nonsense, if you wanna do it somewhat comfortable. id say 20k euro a year is plenty, gives you 1,5k a month to live on plust 2k for insurance and visa nonsense.

  3. cmbrah
    26 March, 2015 at 5:00 am

    actually i forgot a big one march is burning season in chiang mai and its pretty bad!

    lots of ppl leave town during that month, including me. currently chilling out in koh samui and my costs have gone to 50k this month. i guess you have to factor that in unless youre fine with staying in a place that looks like this:

    1. Keith
      26 March, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks for the clarifications “Brah” 🙂
      Gotta watch out for all the meth’d up, cavity filing truck drivers out there…..I feel ya! Glad to hear med insurance isn’t a killer on you. Also a good idea on scanning your home mail. Was thinking about doing the same from any different # of services:

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