With its incredible beaches and thriving culture, Thailand is one of the best places to live abroad for expats from all walks of life.
Compared to North America and Western Europe, the cost of living in Thailand is relatively low. That is just one reason why it’s a favorite destination for foreigners, nomads, and expats from more expensive countries.
But before you move to Thailand, do your research so you know just how much you can expect to pay for certain necessities.
How Much Does it Cost to Live In Thailand?
If you’re an expatriate or a digital nomad considering moving to Thailand, keep reading. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about the cost of housing, food, entertainment, and other essentials.
Cost of Housing in Thailand for International Citizens
The cost of housing in Thailand depends upon where you decide to live. Just like in the United States and Europe, living in a big city is more expensive than living in a small town.
For a furnished studio apartment in a city such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you can expect to pay $568 per month in an expensive area. In an average neighborhood, you can find a furnished studio apartment for as little as $346 per month.
Keep in mind, utilities for a studio apartment will run you about $32 per month, and internet access usually costs an additional $13.
Cost of Food and Entertainment in Thailand for Foreigners
Food and entertainment costs in Thailand are much less than those in the U.S. Dinner for two people in an average restaurant costs about $20. For a similar meal in the U.S., expect to pay around $50.
Dinner for two in a neighborhood pub will run you about $17, while dinner for two in an expat area usually costs closer to $32. Should you want a beer while you’re at that pub, you can expect to pay about $2.18 for a domestic pint. (In the U.S. that same beer will cost you $4).
If you prefer to eat and drink at home, you can get a decent bottle of red wine for around $16 and a pound of chicken for $1.30. That same chicken in the U.S. will cost you closer to $3.80.
If you enjoy going to the movies or the theater, you’ll spend less than half of what you would spend in the United States. Two movie tickets in Thailand cost $11 (as opposed to $24 in the U. S.). Theater tickets in Thailand will cost you about $56 for a pair, whereas in the U.S. it can be tough finding even one for that amount.
Cost of Transportation in Thailand for Travelers
To say that traveling in and around Thailand can be a bit chaotic is an understatement. But from buses and trains to tuk-tuks and taxis, there are a variety of affordable options.
A monthly public transit pass costs just $27. If you’re taking a short trip through the city, a tuk-tuk usually costs less than $1. Getting around Thailand can be a challenge, but it isn’t hard on your wallet.
Cars are not the preferred method of transportation in Thailand, most people ride motorbikes and bicycles. If you do prefer to drive, a 1/4 gallon of gas costs approximately $0.86.
Cost of Healthcare in Thailand
For expats that work legally in Thailand, healthcare is covered under social security payments. But many expats choose to purchase private health insurance in addition to government-sponsored plans.
A standard visit to a doctor usually costs $15. If you need an X-ray, expect to pay about just $25. Prescriptions for antibiotics tend to cost about $15.
If you need serious surgery, such as cardiac bypass surgery, you’ll pay much less than you would in the United States. In the U.S., bypass surgery costs an average of $132,000. In Costa Rica (another favorite expat destination) you can expect to pay $27,000. In Thailand, that same surgery will cost you a mere $15,000.
If you are not working, or your company does not provide it, private health insurance is the way to go. For more information, check out this guide on health insurance for foreigners in Thailand.
There’s no question about it – the cost of living in Thailand is more affordable than in many other parts of the world. Just keep in mind that prices range from city to city and region to region. Before you go, do your research to find the ideal location for you so you can be more precise in estimating exactly how much it will cost to live.