In the last couple of years, I have lived in both, southern Thailand, surrounded by the picturesque beaches, and northern Thailand, surrounded by the stunning mountains and the energetic setting of Chiang Mai.
As weeks turned into months, I found myself falling in love with this country. It truly captured my heart and although I am a nomadic traveler, I always find my way back to Thailand to breath in the fresh air and slow down the pace. This is a place in which I could live. It’s rare beauty and low cost of living in Thailand beckons me to stay. Also because Bangkok is a major travel hub for Southeast Asia you can always find an insanely cheap flight to Thailand.
Could you live in Thailand? Have you ever considered it?
But what about the cost of living in Thailand?
Thailand is stunning, exotic, and well, inexpensive. The affordable cost of living in Thailand appeals to expats, business startups, and both long and short term travelers.
Plus, it is not really about the cheap cost of living in Thailand. It is more about the insane quality of life for the price. So let’s jump in and see what the hypes out Thailand is all about.
How Visas Work in Thailand.
People from the Common Wealth and the Americans won’t have any trouble staying in Thailand. It is easy to obtain a 30 day visa on arrival into any major airport. Also, that visa can be extended for an extra 15 days. If more time is needed, you simply need to leave the country for a few days to start the process all over. This is commonly known as a visa run.
It is easy to head to a any nearby country, but the best choice is Laos. Laos permits double and triple entry visas into Thailand. This means your stay in the Thailand can be extended to two or three months without any additional visa runs. It might sound a little confusing but it actually is rather simple; you can literally cross the country and reenter seconds later.
One of the first things to consider when living or staying for an extended amount of time in Thailand is the region. Northern areas like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are cheaper than Bangkok. They are also cheaper than the islands in the south. However, keep in mind, that it is extremely cheap to live almost anywhere in Thailand and that each area has its own distinctive atmosphere. Therefore, you might want to stay in one region for a few months and then venture into another for a few more.
Thailand also offers education and retirement visas that are yearly.
The Cost of Living in Thailand (The North)
I wanted to mention Northern Thailand first because it is my favorite area to live in this amazing country. It is also the cheapest. Cities like Chiang Mai cost as little as 600 USD TOTAL a month.
My total monthly bills in Chiang Mai which included sharing the rent of a house, a motorbike rental, cell phone, travel insurance, etc. came to a total of $200 a month.
The rest of the $600 was spent on food, day trips, sightseeing, and nights out with friends. Those who want to move to Thailand and yet keep expenses down to a minimum should consider Chiang Mai. You can also just live in hostels with other backpackers!
However, there are other perks to living in Chaing Mai. It has a massive expat community. You are surrounded with new ideas, energy, and wonderful opportunities. The area is filled with like-minded travelers, opportunistic online startups, and newcomers looking for more out of life. There are also some extremely friendly locals in Chiang Mai.
Northern Thailand is a wonderful place to live and a place I will return to over and over again.
The Cost of Living in Thailand (Bangkok and Southern Thailand)
Bangkok Tourism is huge! The city is always filled with travelers. Like Northern Thailand, the cost of living in Bangkok and the south is cheap. Each of these has its own unique pace of life, uniqueness, and vibe.
Bangkok is vibrant, hectic, and a major party hotspot for tourists flying a world away to revel in nonstop nightlife. Bangkok is made for people wanting to party every night of the week but there is more to Bangkok than the energetic social scene. It is also a fantastic place to live for people who want to enjoy big city life without paying big city prices as in New York.
If you are staying around an area for a few months, then your best bet for accommodations is to rent an apartment or house rather than staying in a hostel. Hostels in the Bangkok and the southern region average between $5-$15 a night, which adds up to quite a lot over time. While sharing an apartment will be less on average and you get your own space.
Food is also more expensive in the south because of the flocks of tourists that head there to enjoy the gorgeous beaches and tranquil islands. The key is to settle in and find the small local restaurants so that food costs are not high. Plus, the food is normally better.
For an average cost of living in the South of Thailand or Bangkok, you should budget $1,000 a month which will take care of all your expenses as well as give you plenty of money to enjoy life, see the sights, and go scuba diving in some of the most beautiful places in the world. ( Even if you are diving in a tropical storm)
However, keep in mind that a $1,000 a month will let you live comfortably in southern Thailand and Bangkok, while a $1,000 in the North will let you live like a king.
Thailand Cost of Living in US Dollars Per Month
Bangkok – $1000+
Almost compared to anywhere, the cost of living in Thailand is extremely cheap. If you are looking to immerse yourself in another culture for a long period of time, than I highly suggest Thailand. It is one of my favorite countries in the entire world. These prices are also for the expat cost of living in Thailand.
In fact, it is the only country that has captivated me so much that I put my wanderlust on hold to live there. As I think about my past experiences, friends, and the cheap cost of living, it brings to mind some of my fondest memories and makes me long for future adventures in Thailand.