Having a budget is probably one of the most important strategies for moving to Thailand successfully. There are no safety nets here that will catch you if you fuck up in any way.
In fact. Right now several foreigners are stuck in immigration detention centers around in Thailand because they used up their money, had no money to get back home, then got arrested for overstaying their visas.
Some people have no money or family / friends back home that can help them. These people can be stuck for months, even years in these detention centers.
Here is a video from Bangkok Immigration detention center. Does NOT look like a fun place.
If you don’t end up in one of the detention center, you’ll end up hanging out with these crazy bastards at Beach Rd in Pattaya.
It’s not a fate I wish on anyone! Imagine being stuck in Pattaya, with all those hot hookers, but with no money to do anything. 🙁
Here are three different budgets for anyone who want to move to Thailand.
Remember that these budgets are very simplified. This is just to give you an idea. It’s not actually budgets that I recommend to use. I’ve also excluded VISA costs and travel insurance as those costs differs so much from people to people.
If you have a legit job in Thailand you don’t have to think about VISA, as you don’t have to go on VISA runs. If you are here on tourist visas like I am, you have to factor those trips into the budget too.
You also have to add the costs for travel insurance. Prices for insurance differs so much depending on what country you are from so there is no point for me to add it.
15.000 baht per month (450$)
This is what I call the “I’m moving to Thailand no matter what” budget. Your budget would look something like this:
Rent: 5000 baht
Food: 9000 baht
Fun: 1000 baht
What would a 5000 baht apartment look like? Well, that depends where in Thailand you want to live. For simplicity I will only talk about Bangkok, a place I have lived and know a lot about.
In Bangkok, if you live on the outskirts, like Bearing, Mo Chit, Bang Sue etc, 5000 baht would give you a simple room with a double bed, AC, maybe a small kitchen and a toilet. If you look long enough, or you know someone, you could maybe get something bigger with separate kitchen and bedroom.
9000 baht per month in food equals 300 baht per day. This is plenty as long as you eat local Thai food. Maybe you could save a little bit money if you buy a big pack of oatmeal and eat that to breakfast, and use those money to eat expensive Western food once in a while.
A meal in the local street kitchens and local restaurants usually cost between 30 and 80 baht. This food is delicious and clean. I’ve never had trouble with local food in Thailand.
200 – 300 baht per day is what I usually spend on food down here when I’m doing nothing or just working. It’s only when I go out with friends or into more touristy areas I’m using more money on food.
What kind of fun can you have for 1000 baht per month? To be honest. Not much. It’s enough for maybe one trip out in some bar. Places like Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, Walking Street Pattaya or any popular nightclub in Thailand you can forget about.
At Levels in Bangkok you would have enough for 4 beers, and you’d had to walk home.
Should you move to Thailand if this is the budget you have to play with? I would say no fucking way. It would be boring as fuck as you only have money to exist, and that’s it.
I’m usually only on this budget when work for several days in a row. I will be inside all day working on my computer, go out and eat, then go back home to work more.
30.000 baht per month (900$)
This is the minimum, on average, I would budget per month for living in Thailand long time.
You’re budget would look something like this:
Rent: 8000 baht
Food: 13.000 baht
Fun and travel: 9000 baht
For 8000 baht per month you’ll get a modern condo outside downtown Bangkok (Siam, Nana, Asoke, Ekkemai).
At the outskirts (end stations of BTS and MRT) you could probably score a modern condo with shared swimming-pool, laundry / cleaning service and free shuttle-bus to the closest MRT / BTS station.
13.000 baht per month is more then plenty. You can eat cheap Thai dishes most of the month, but debauch once in a while with Western food or food in more ‘luxuries’ areas like a skybar or a high’end mall.
Fun and travel:
9000 baht should be enough for plenty of fun per month. Of course, you can’t go crazy every night like you would if you came her as an tourist for 3 weeks, but you can still have fun.
Who would I recommend this budget for? Anyone who is coming to Thailand with a plan to make more money. You can live of this budget for a while, while you expand your businesses, whatever they are.
As I see it. You need 15.000 – 20.000 baht per month to cover the minimum. Rent and food. Anything you make over that, you can use on whatever the fuck you want. Delicious food, travel, booze, hookers, membership at gyms, bling, better apartments or whatever you like.
50.000 baht per month (1430$)
This is what most of my Thai friends consider ‘enough’ money to live a comfortable life in Thailand. With 50.000 baht per month you will have a lot of economical freedom. You don’t have to think about every baht you are spending.
Your budget would look something like this:
Rent: 8000 – 20.000 baht
Food: 15.000 baht
Fun and travel: 15.000 – 27000 baht
With this budget you have a lot of freedom to choose where you want to live. You could spend less with a nice condo in the outskirts of Bangkok, or you could spend more to live more central. In Bangkok apartments seems to be more expensive the closer you are to Siam, Nana, Asok and Ekkemai.
For 15.000 baht in semi-central areas like Suttisan or Victory Monument. You’ll get a hyper-modern condo with good view, shared swimming-pool, laundry / cleaning service and free shuttle bus if it’s not in immediate distance to a BTS or MRT.
You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. You can even eat in nicer restaurants and skybars once in a while without worrying about going bankrupt.
You can go on dates regularly and pay for food and drinks for the girl you are out with.
Fun and travel
If you have this budget, and you are not tied to a job you have to meet up to. You can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you want.
50.000+ baht per month
There are no point of making budget over 50k+. The money you are making after the 50k mark will only go to better apartments, nicer food, more travel etc.
If you are on 60 days tourist visas, with the possibility to extend 30 more days at a immigration office. You have to go out of Thailand every 90 days.
I usually spend anything between 7000 baht to 20.000 baht on a VISA run, depending on how long I stay outside Thailand. That is on average 2400 to 6700 baht per month.
To find cheap flight tickets for VISA runs I usually go to Skyscanner. This site has that awesome function that you can choose departure, but leave arrival as “everywhere”. It will then find the cheapest flight ticket to “anywhere”.
Pretty dope, and you can discover some cities you never thought of going to.
Travel insurance prices varies A LOT depending on where you are from. Sometimes I meet guys down here, and when they tell me what they pay for insurance my jaw drops because it’s so much.
I have my travel insurance through my bank back home. I pay around 450$ a year for my insurance. That is with no deductible meaning I can demand back my money no matter how small the cost is.
It covers emergency medical and dental costs. <- The most important. But it also covers theft and vandalism of personal belongings like laptops and cameras.
Some of the reason why I get so good price is because everyone in my family have insurance through that bank, and we’ve got some good premiums over time.
If you can get insurance with your entire family, you should try to manage that. You can save a lot of money that way.
Computers, cameras, equipment etc…
Have any hobbies or you like to buy new tech? You will have to put that into you budget too.
I love to take pictures and to do videos. Because of this I buy a lot of camera gear. There are so many good shops in Bangkok for camera gear. Sometimes I wish I was rich so I could go berserk in the shopping malls here. It’s absolutely insane what you’ll find here if you look around.
I can’t even tell you how important it is to have a buffer when you live in countries like Thailand. You never know what will happen. What if you fuck up a tooth and you need to get a new tooth? That shit is not cheap even here in Thailand. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to walk around looking like a pirate.
What if you crash a motorbike, your own or a bike that you rented. You have to pay for that shit one way or another. In most cases it doesn’t even matter if it’s your fault or not.
It’s always a nice to have a pile of cash stored somewhere just in case something unlikely should happen.
As you can see, you can live a lot of different lifestyles in Thailand.
Personally I could never live on 15.000 baht per month, but some weeks ago I met a girl from Poland that lived in Chiang Mai because she learned Thai massage in a temple(?). She said she spent only 3000-4000 baht per month on food.
I didn’t understand how that was possible, then she said she was a vegan, and that she made most of her food herself.
In her sparetime she never went out drinking and spent most of her time reading books or doing yoga.
On the other hand. If you go out partying in the hottest nightclubs in Bangkok every weekend, and drag back hookers every second night, you can spend her monthly food budget in a single hour.
You need to find out what lifestyle you want to live in Thailand, then you have to figure out if you have the money for that lifestyle. If you have, everything is fine. If you don’t, you have to adjust, or find out ways to make more money.
I think, since I moved to Thailand in 2015. I’ve spent on average 50k – 60k baht per month.