Tasty Thailand

Everything you need to know about Thailand

How Much Money Will You Need to Live Comfortably in Bangkok, Thailand?

esplanade bangkok thailand coffee shops

How Much Money Will You Need to Live Comfortably in Bangkok, Thailand?

In my searches around the Internet, I often come across websites claiming you can “Live Comfortably in Thailand for Only $500 a Month”.

Let me just say, no, that’s not possible. Not unless you live in a remote village, only eat Thai food and spend nothing on entertainment or going out. You certainly couldn’t travel on that.

It is possible, however, to live comfortably in Thailand on less money than you would need in the US or Europe. As someone who has lived in the country for more than a decade, I can give you three possible budgets to show you what kind of lifestyle you might have.

These budgets are based on the cost of living in Bangkok. That means, if you plan on moving to Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Isaan or many other places in Thailand, the money in each of these three budgets will go even further.

30,000 Baht a Month ($967) – Many westerners in Thailand agree a basic budget of 30,000 baht a month is needed to be able to live comfortably in Thailand. This budget will pay for:

Rent – 4,000 baht a month – (a one-room studio in a nice enough area)

Utilities – 1,000 baht – (water and electric)

Cell Phone – 500 baht – (mobile fees for basic calls at around 2 baht a minute)

Internet – 500 baht – (will get you unlimited Wi-Fi in most apartment buildings)

Groceries – 5,000 baht – (basic food items like bread, milk, fruit, veggies, rice, etc)

Eating Out – 5,000 baht – (25 meals at 200 baht per meal — if you eat at food stalls. you can double the number of meals)

Transportation – 1,500 baht – (a mix of buses, sky train, underground and taxis)

Miscellaneous – 1,500 baht – (cleaning supplies, toiletries, all the usual things you buy)

Entertainment – 8,000 baht – (movie tickets, shopping, a few drinks etc)

Visa Costs – 1,500 baht – (need at least 18,000 baht per year for tourist visas or resident visas)

Savings – 1,500 baht – (At only $48 a month, you can’t save much on this budget, but you can save something).

Medical expenses will be extra, and so will any travel costs back to your home country.


50,000 Baht a Month – Many western teachers in Thailand say the 50,000 baht figure is enough money for a comfortable lifestyle with several monthly ‘luxury’ items thrown in. Most agree they would be happy to live on that kind of money.

Rent – 10,000 baht a month – (a western style one-bedroom apartment in a convenient location)

Utilities – 1,500 baht – (water and electric, and more air conditioning)

Cell Phone – 1,000 baht – (basic calls, just more of them than on a 30,000 baht budget)

Internet – 500 baht – (unlimited Wi-Fi in most apartment buildings)

Groceries – 8,000 baht – (basic food items like bread, milk, fruit, veggies, rice, plus extra items like imported western food or European luxury products)

Eating Out – 10,000 baht – (25 meals at 200 baht per meal — plus several meals at more upscale places)

Transportation – 2,000 baht – (your usual transportation costs plus a few more taxi rides)

Miscellaneous – 1,500 baht – (cleaning supplies, toiletries etc)

Entertainment – 11,000 baht – (usual entertainment, plus more shopping and more alcohol)

Visa Costs – 1,500 baht – (18,000 baht per year for visas)

Savings – 3,000 baht – ($100 a month will give you more of a ‘cushion’ in case of emergencies).

Again, any medical expenses or out of town or out of country travel costs will be extra.

80,000 Baht a Month – Approximately $2,555, and you will be much closer to living in the lap of luxury. Not only will you be able to buy more ‘big ticket’ items like electronics every year, you will also be able to afford at least one 3-day trip to places in Thailand, or take a trip to Europe or back to the US once a year.

Rent – 18,000 baht a month – (a two-bedroom western style apartment in an excellent area)

Utilities – 3,000 baht – (water and electric, and air conditioning most of the time you’re home)

Cell Phone – 1,000 baht – (same as mid-range budget, no need to increase it)

Internet – 1,000 baht – (cost for a DSL internet line)

Groceries – 10,000 baht – (you can buy just about anything you could need at a typical Thai supermarket)

Eating Out – 12,000 baht – (You can eat out three meals a day if you want at cheap restaurants, plus a couple more expensive meals)

Transportation – 2,000 baht – (same as mid-range budget, no need to increase)

Miscellaneous – 1,500 baht – (cleaning supplies, toiletries etc)

Entertainment – 14,000 baht – (your nights out on the town will be more lavish)

Visa Costs – 1,500 baht – (need at least 18,000 baht per year for visas)

Savings – 6,000 baht – (Close to $200 a month will give you enough savings in a year for any emergency or to put towards your retirement savings).

Vacations – 10,000 baht – At least two 3-day trips every month to places in Thailand, sometimes even including airfare, or an annual trip back to your home country or to most places in Asia, Europe, South or North America.

In other words, while you can’t live well on $500 a month in Thailand, you can certainly live comfortably on less than $1,000.

Once you get up to just over $2,500 a month, the ‘luxury lifestyle’ you will be able to afford will be something you would only have dreamed of back in your home country, and is a real reason so many westerners and western retirees now call Thailand home.

Related: How much does it cost to live in Chiang Mai, Thailand?