What does it cost for a western lifestyle in Bangkok in 2017-2018?
In the 14 years I’ve lived in Bangkok, I’ve pretty much lived a ‘western lifestyle’ most of the time.
Meaning, I live in an air-conditioned serviced apartment in northern Bangkok with a weekly maid, a western style bathroom and all the mod cons. I take taxis or motorbike taxis many places, I eat out at nice restaurants several times a week, I drink alcohol occasionally, buy the occasional bit of imported western food and I certainly don’t scrimp on the shopping.
So how much does it cost for a western lifestyle in Bangkok in 2017-2018?
Well, this is my bone of contention, as you will hear many westerners saying you will need at least 75,000 to 100,000 baht a month (on December 19th, 2018 as I write this, that is approximately $2,295 to $3,060) for a western lifestyle. And that, I definitely dispute.
Sure, if you drink a lot, smoke, eat out at western restaurants for every meal, spend a lot of your time out nightclubbing, hitting the girlie bars or generally doing things you probably wouldn’t do that much in the west simply because it would be too expensive, yes, your ‘western lifestyle in Bangkok’ would cost you upwards of 100,000 baht a month.
Without those things?
I spend around 40,000 to 50,000 baht a month ($1,225 to $1,530) for my ‘western lifestyle in Bangkok’, and I live exceedingly well on that.
Occasionally, though, you will find a video on YouTube that does explain in detail what a so-called ‘western lifestyle in Bangkok’ should include from people that spend quite a bit more money than I would on my very-nice-lifestyle-thank-you-very-much, and how much you will spend if you want to live like that.
This week that video is EatSleepBangkok’s ‘Cost of Living analysis – What does it cost to live a Western lifestyle in Bangkok?‘ (see below) — a video that goes in depth on what you would need to spend for a week in Bangkok if you wanted to live the same way as in the west.
And, while I disagree with him on the ‘eating out every meal in a western style restaurant’ and the need for things like cable TV or an expensive phone package, he does do a very good job of explaining what you can expect to spend if you want to live that way.
A western-style apartment close to a BTS station with a gym and a swimming pool — 30,000 a month (very expensive for an apartment in Bangkok, particularly as I pay 10,000 for something similar but minus a swimming pool and plus a 4-minute bus or taxi ride to the BTS)
Air-conditioning and electricity — 2,600 a month
Broadband access — 2,500 a month
Netflix — 280 baht a mont
Cable TV — 2,200 a month (I had cable TV but dumped it years ago, as I found so many shows were repeats, plus I ended up never watching it as I get all my entertainment via Internet on my laptop)
Mobile phone package — 1,900 baht a month (a bit expensive for a mobile phone package — mine is just over 800 baht a month, and is perfect for what I need)
BTS pre-paid card — 1,300 baht a month or more depending on how many trips you take
Taxis — 1,400 (I take them to many places and never spend that per month — maybe 800 baht, with each taxi ride being between 40 to 60 baht?)
Groceries — (the sky is the limit but, if you eat only western food, you can probably expect to spend at least 20,000 baht a month on all your imported goodies — my monthly grocery bill is around 6,000 baht and I do occasionally buy imported food)
You can watch the rest of EatSleepBangkok’s video below to find out how much he would also spend on eating out three times a day for western food, if he was living a western lifestyle — which is a bit nuts, considering Thai food is far cheaper and actually tastes much better than many of the western-style restaurants in Bangkok.
The total he says you would need every month is 80,000 baht (approximately $2,480). And yes, he is correct if you were to follow that version of the western lifestyle.
Do be aware, though, he doesn’t actually live this way himself. He is just pointing out what you could expect to spend if you took the western-style lifestyle in Bangkok to a bit of an extreme.
And also notice, even if you did live this way, it would still be a heck of a lot cheaper than what you would spend on a similar lifestyle if you were living in the west.