Cost of Living in Thailand

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cost of rice in Thailand
Expats can experience a great combination of convenience and modern luxuries, while enjoying a sensible cost of living in Thailand that is cheaper than in other expat destinations around the world. 
What’s more, many expats lured abroad by multinational corporations with offices in Thailand – most likely in Bangkok or in one of the nearby manufacturing cities – often earn salaries that are high by even Western standards, and generally find themselves better off financially once they have moved to Thailand.
Even those hired from within the country such as real estate agents, international school teachers and IT specialists, who tend to earn slightly less than more corporate expats, can still manage to attain a comfortable lifestyle while saving. In fact, even English teachers and low-skilled professionals with a minimal income report a high quality of life given the low cost of living.  
It should be noted, however, that due to the low rate of urbanisation in the country, the cost of living can be quite different from one region to another. The most expensive areas are undoubtedly the main expat areas in Bangkok, and the touristic hubs of Phuket and Kho Samui; while in the more rural regions prices can easily be two to three times cheaper. 

Cost of accommodation in Thailand

Prices for accommodation range quite dramatically throughout the country, depending in great part on location. Luxurious beach view villas in Phuket or Kho Samui can have costly monthly rental rates, while even more expensive are large condos or serviced apartments in Bangkok, which sometimes cost THB 90,000 or more a month.
If prices like these don’t fit into a person's budget, they might prefer moving into a mid-range accommodation. In Bangkok, for around THB 30,000 a month new arrivals can expect to be able to afford a townhouse or furnished apartment complete with a swimming pool, an ultra-modern gym and security. Accommodation of this type can also be found outside the capital city, where more luxury and space can be enjoyed for the same price range.
Finally, for those living on a limited budget, throughout Bangkok and Thailand studio apartments can be rented for as little as THB 2,000 and upwards per month.

Transportation costs in Thailand

Whether budgeting for a bus fare for a weekend holiday to the beach or a cab ride around the corner, transportation costs are among the best bargains in Thailand. 
The cheapest way to travel long distances is to use a bus or minivan. Trains are a little bit more expensive, but while being slower than buses, they offer greater cabin comfort and a sleeper option for night trips. To get somewhere quicker, catching a domestic flight is also an option.
Travelling costs within the city are between low and moderate. Expats could make use of relatively cheap taxis or save even more using the city’s convenient public transport options, especially during rush-hour, such as the Skytrain or Subway. Bus ride prices differ depending on the distance travelled and whether the bus is air-conditioned.

Finally, to avoid an uncomfortable long walk on a hot day, motorbikes, tuk-tuks and specially designed pick-up trucks (saongteao) can provide transport closer to a person's destination for a minimal fee, depending on the distance travelled.

Cost of schooling in Thailand

Expats who move to Thailand with children will most probably send them to an international school. Located almost entirely in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, international schools are recognised for their high standards of education and impressive campuses. However, fees at these schools are not cheap, even in Thailand. 
Tuition at a top-tier international school can easily cost THB 500,000 a year. Some schools may offer tuition for significantly cheaper; however, the quality of education is often not as good, the proportion of English speaking staff is less, and the prospect of an expat child being able to be successful in eventual studies abroad might be diminished.

Cost of food in Thailand

One of the first things expats notice in Thailand is the impressive variety and availability of restaurants and street food.  A quick snack from a street stall selling BBQ chicken or pork on a sticks, papaya salad, or other Thai delicacies can be had for just THB 20 and sometimes less. A full course meal from a street side vendor constituted of rice, meat and some vegetable won’t be too hard on an expat's wallet either.
Of course, plenty of establishments also cater for the needs of fine palates. Upper scale restaurants in the expat areas of the main cities or on the islands offer multiple course meals options on their menu for prices that seem more familiar to expats, while hotels are known for providing amazing international buffets that are generally more expensive.

Cost of living in Thailand (Based on Bangkok, 2014) 

(Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices)
Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)
Furnished two-bedroom house THB 100,000
Unfurnished two-bedroom house THB 80,000
Furnished two-bedroom apartment THB 50,000
Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment THB 40,000
Dozen eggs THB 55
1 litre milk THB 45
Loaf of bread (white) THB 35
Chicken breasts (1kg) THB 98
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) THB 90
Utilities/Household (monthly)
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile) THB 1.75
Internet (Uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month) THB 640
Electricity (average per month for standard household) THB 2,200
Eating out and entertainment
Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two THB 300
Take-away meal (e.g. Mcdonalds) THB 150
Cappuccino THB 60
Coca Cola (500ml) THB 20
Beer in bar THB 90
Taxi rate per km THB 6
City centre train fare THB 20
Petrol (per litre) THB 39.50

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