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Cost of Living In Thailand: Tremendous Truth People Should Know

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Cost of Living in Thailand varies on which part of the country you choose as your home. In the last few 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 and from Thailand.

How much does it cost to live in Thailand? Have you ever considered it?

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 why living in Thailand is so popular.

However, before we get into the cost of living in Thailand, we first have to talk about how visa’s in Thailand work.

how Visa’s in Thailand Work

Temple when backpacking Thailand

People from Common Wealth countries, North America, and many places Europe 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 30 days. 

If more time is needed, you simply need to leave the country for a few days to start the process all over. Visa runs like this are common in Thailand. I’ve had friends living in Thailand for years by simply doing visa runs.

It is easy to head to any nearby country, but the best choice is Laos. Laos permits double and triple entry visas into Thailand. This means your stay in 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 less expensive than the islands in the south. 

However, keep in mind, that it is incredibly 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)

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I wanted to talk about the cost of living in 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 -$900 a month. 

My total monthly bills in Chiang Mai which included sharing the rent of a house, a motorbike rental, cell phone, travel medical insurance, etc. came to a total of $200 a month.

The rest of the $600 was spent on food (Chiang Mai food is amazing!), and day trips in the area.

Another good thing about the North of Thailand is that there are a lot of great places to explore. For example, there are tons of things to do in Pai. (The drive to Pai is a site unto itself). As well as the beautiful temples, and all the other things to do in Chianng Rai.

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 and make closer friends.

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 Bangkok and Southern Thailand

The cost of living in Bangkok is more than the north.

Like Northern Thailand, the cost of living in Bangkok is cheap especially if you are using Airbnb coupons to pay the rent. Each of these has its own unique pace of life, uniqueness, and vibe.

Bangkok is vibrant, hectic and fun. If you are backpacking Thailand alone make sure to brush up on your Bangkok solo travel tips.. The city is a significant party hotspot for tourists flying a world away to revel in nonstop nightlife. Shopping in Bangkok is awesome! 

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 travelers who want to enjoy big city life without paying big city prices as in New York.

If you are staying in 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. I use Airbnb to help reduce the cost of living in Bangkok. Get $40 off your first stay with this link.

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 usually is better.

For an average cost of living in the South of Thailand or Bangkok, you should budget $1,000 -$1,200 a month. This 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 that amount in in the North will let you live like a king.

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Cost of Living in Thailand per month in USD.

North –$600 – $800

South-$1,000 -$1200

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.

What do you think? Is cost of living in Thailand cheap? 

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9 thoughts on “The Cost of Living in Thailand”

  1. USD 600 for Chiang Mai sounds pretty damn awesome! We’ve been to Bangkok several times and me (JB) to Koh Samui once, but we’ve never been up north. It’s high up on our bucket list though so we’ll find our way there sooner than later. Thanks for sharing your experiences. 🙂

  2. Man I wish I was still in Thailand. At some point in the next few years I think i’ll move back there.

    I would love to live in Pai, near Chaing Mai. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been so far.

    Where would you head next?

  3. If you never been to Thailand. I would recommend Phuket island. I went to Phuket, Thailand last year, and apart from swimming in beautiful Andaman sea, was really looking for was culture immersion. So I booked a trip to Phuket FantaSea Thai Cultural Theme Park. I know I probably wanted to stay on a safe side choosing this to a jungle trip, but ultimately I really enjoyed it. It was like my introduction to Thai culture in a very entertaining and positive way. The show was impressive and the elephants in the show – majestic and just adorable. The place is definitely a must see when you’re in Phuket.

  4. The Lucky Couple

    Great post! We are currently living in Phuket, Thailand, and wrote a similar one comparing our costs to what they were in Canada! Thanks for the good read!

  5. Good points on cost of living. I get contacted a lot from people who are asking about living in Bangkok on a budget (think: THB 20,000 / month). While possible in theory, I think people are much better off living in a lower cost of living location (either in the North or the Northeast).

    By the way – the link to the New York sights (https://www.abackpackerstale.com/blogs/new-york-sights/) seems to be broken and returns a 404 error.

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