2011 Cost of Living in Thailand | Koh Samui, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai
Can you live like a king in Thailand on a budget?
Not only can you live like a king on a budget, but you also have different lifestyle options available to you. Do you want to live on a tropical island? Do you want to live in a large city like a rock star? Do you want to live near the mountains?
The choice is yours.
And to make this decision easier for you, we have provided the standard cost of living for Koh Samui, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai.
These are REAL prices used by REAL people. This is what you would realistically expect to pay.
Each place has their specific advantage and disadvantage.
Note: These prices are based on a comfortable lifestyle. For housing we are using a large one bedroom apartment or a two bedroom apartment all with western amenities. Although there are some people who prefer to slum it and save money, we prefer to live well.
2011 Cost of Living on Koh Samui Thailand
Koh Samui is one of the best places to live in Thailand. It’s a beautiful island where quite a few people retire to.
$500 – 1 or 2 Bedroom Apartment (kitchen, air conditioning, hot water, etc…)
$0 – Utilities Included (Water + Electric + Internet)
$100 – Transportation / Moped rental
$400 – Food Budget
$450 – Entertainment (movies, partying, drinks, etc…)
Total Monthly Cost of Living: $1,450
Most people do it for around 1,000 – 1,500usd. But we tend to enjoy eating out and experience the nightlife a few times a week.
Advantage of Living in Koh Samui Thailand:
– You are living on a tropical island. Koh Samui has been described as the Hawaii of the east at a quarter of the cost.
Disadvantage of Living in Koh Samui Thailand:
– Koh Samui is an island and sometimes an island can feel small. To leave the island you either have to fly or take a boat. For flying, Bangkok Air has a monopoly on only Samui airport and prices are about 4,500 baht (150usd) one way. This is quite expensive for Thai standards.
2011 Cost of Living in Bangkok Thailand
Bangkok is great to live in for a few months at a time. You can experience the city life for a fraction of what it would cost to live in other cities like New York or London. For example, you can go to Banyan Tree Hotel and have a drink on a rooftop bar of a 5 star hotel overlooking the entire city. The cost of a drink is 6 – 9usd.
$1,000 – 1 Bedroom Luxury Serviced Apartment
$60 – Utilities (Water + Electric + Internet)
$100 – Transportation / Taxi
$600 – Food Budget
$700 – Entertainment (movies, partying, drinks, etc…)
Total Monthly Cost of Living: $2,460
Note, in Bangkok you are staying in a luxurious Serviced Apartment. If you’ve never stayed in a Serviced Apartment before, it is like living in a 4 or 5 star hotel with every amenity you could imagine. (Also, once again these prices are based off of living in luxury and partying at least 2 times a week.)
Advantage of Living in Bangkok Thailand:
– Living in one of the most fun cities in the world.
– Bangkok has the most beautiful and educated Thai women in the country.
Disadvantage of Living in Bangkok Thailand:
Big city life – pollution, traffic, have to take a taxi, etc…
2011 Cost of Living in Chiang Mai Thailand
Living in Chiang Mai is cheap. Example, if you have roommates, you can rent a very nice 3 bedroom house in a gated community for 1,200usd a month.
You can also live like a king in Chiang Mai Thailand for under 1,000usd.
$300 – Large 1 Bedroom Apartment (kitchen, air conditioning, hot water, etc…)
$90 – Utilities (Water + Electric + Internet)
$70 – Transportation / Moped and Taxi
$250 – Food Budget
$250 – Entertainment (movies, partying, drinks, etc…)
Total Monthly Cost of Living: $960
Advantage of Living in Chiang Mai Thailand:
– The lowest cost of living out of all the major cities in Thailand.
– The city is like a small Bangkok with the same entertainment activities.
– The women from Chiang Mai are quite beautiful.
Disadvantage of Living in Chiang Mai Thailand:
– No beaches near by. Koh Samui is an island. Bangkok is only 2 hours drive from Koh Samet. To get to a beach from Chiang Mai, you have to fly.
Posted on Gods of Thailand June 1, 2011 in Living in Thailand
WHO ARE THE GODS OF THAILAND?
We are men who live and travel southeast Asia that share our experiences. You can find more at Gods of Thailand which is dedicated to teaching men how to have the best time in Asia without the bullshit. We also created the most extensive Thailand VIP Membership Program to do just this.
Just wondering what the costs are like 3 years on.
Yeah, I do need to update this article for 2014.
Briefly though, costs have increased a bit. I would add about 20% to this price guide to make it up to date. This doesn’t mean that the cost of living has increased in Thailand by 20%, it just means that MY average cost of living has increased 20% while living in Thailand.
You can still live on a $1000 a month in Thailand, but I just don’t. The older I get, the more and more luxury I prefer. And the dollar still goes very far in Thailand.
If you have $2,000 a month to spend, you can live VERY comfortably in Thailand.
Have you lived in each of these cities for over a year each?
Yes to Samui and BKK. No to Chiang Mai. (Personally, Chiang Mai bores the hell out of me. But if you are on a tight budget, can speak fluent Thai, and don’t care about the beach, then by all means it will be a good place for you.)
Note, these prices aren’t based solely on my experiences, they are based on MANY others as well.
Hope this helps.
Could you name the good “luxury serviced apartments” you know?
Thanks for your comment.
The only real luxury serviced apartments will be Bangkok. Though there are some nice ones in Samui and Chiang Mai, those are more like 5 star hotels offering a slightly discounted rate for longer stays.
For Bangkok, you can start with this list I created a little over a year ago. Prices have increased since then: