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Cost of living in Thailand insights are mainly focused on my experience in Chiang Mai…
I try to keep costs under $3000.00 per month, for 2 adults and one child.
I kept close records for 4 months [December, 2019 to March, 2020] and the costs I report are based on this.
Costs are in CAD$.
Thailand is sometimes described as
All are correct!
And accommodation is available… almost anywhere… that reflects those descriptions.
My experience is with
Outside of splurging at that spa, I’ve NOT used any 5 star hotels or resorts.
And I’ve NOT stayed at the 99 ฿ [$4 CAD] flea-bag hostels that can be found on back streets in the cities.
I choose to rent in a transition neighbourhood. I rent a modern secured apartment in the Chiang Mai Lodge… a hotel and serviced suite residence.
I’m in what is predominantly a Thai neighbourhood, with farang starting to move into nearby hotels and high-rise apartments.
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The three of us eat well for about $725/month.
My partner visits the local farmers' market daily and buys fresh ingredients for our meals.
We eat at local restaurants 3 or 4 times a week.
We eat at "western" restaurants one time a week.
I travel frequently.
We take a 3 - 4 day holiday every 2 months, so I can renew my visa, traveling via VIP buses.
I budget $75/month for this.
Sometimes my partner and I holiday in nearby countries (Indonesia [Bali], Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar)
Return airfare is often under $100.00 per person to these places. There are several “bargain” airlines with weekly travel specials.
A hotel with breakfast, for 2 persons, is around $20.00 per day. These are 2/3 star places with A/C, hot showers, western toilets and are super clean, friendly and centrally located for walking tours. The breakfasts provide western, Chinese and local food.
A 1 week trip, for 2 people, would cost me under $1000.00.
In Bangkok, that would mean a Taxi Meter, an a/c Toyota that is incredibly cheap.
One 2 hour trip I took [really bad traffic] cost $10.00.
I consider these to be the best taxi value in Thailand!
I use song taews outside of Bangkok. These are small pickup trucks with 2 rows of seats in the box of the truck.
(song taew is pronounced song tow which translates to 2 seats; “tow” rhymes with how)
There is a roof over top, and grab bars. A ½ hour ride across the city is under $1.00. You flag these down and negotiate the cost to your destination.
The downside is that lots of other people will get on with you, and the trip is not particularly direct.
For day trips, I have rented a song tow and driver for $30.00 per day. And 6 people can easily fit in. A breezy trip… nice and cool on a hot day
Bangkok and Chiang Mai have efficient public transportation systems that are not expensive.
A tuk-tuk is a modified 3-wheel motorbike, with a small passenger area over the back wheels.
I recommend a ride in a tuk-tuk… at least once. These, at one time, were the least expensive means of getting around a city for farang. Now, I find them over-priced, with surly drivers.
The cost is usually negotiated before the trip, and seems to start at 50 Baht, or $2.00.
Not to mention they scare the crap out of me with their driving style. They get to your destination quickly, however.
Another issue I have is that I find it very difficult getting on and off.
I just don’t bend, fold, and flex as well as I once did.
I NEVER RECOMMEND using one of the motorbike taxis, although they are popular with Thais. These are super cheap, and very quick through traffic.
I don't know costs.
It is a delight to see a well-dressed, nonchalant young Thai lady riding side-saddle through traffic… whilst the driver wheels in and out, sometimes over sidewalks, to get his fare to the destination. The drivers wear orange vests, and congregate on a soi just off a main roadway, waiting for a fare to appear.
Soi = side street
My partner is a good driver, and I trust her for trips around the city in our older Toyota.
Sometimes we travel to “the hills” to visit her Mom, using that vehicle... a 90 minute trip.
Being an old farang, I’ve always been cautious about my health. My experiences with health care in Thailand proved to me that it was just as professional as in Canada, and far quicker.
One surgery that would have taken 6 months to take place in Canada, took 2 days in Bangkok. It cost $1000 and included one followup, all medication, and room and board for two people overnight, since my partner had a bed provided in my private room.
I have used the BANGKOK HOSPITAL GROUP several times for medical services. This is oriented toward farang, and has English speaking, internationally-accredited doctors and staff.
There are several of these hospitals: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, and Hua Hin.
If I need surgery or have a major health problem, I head to one of these, and pay by credit card.
They are not cheap, but they are superlative health facilities.
If my medical “issue” is not critical, then I use local Thai clinics. Service has always been prompt, pleasant, inexpensive, and competent. English is not always available, however.
He produces in-depth reports on cost of living in Thailand in areas such as
and so on...