How To Live Like a VIP in Bangkok for $285.06 Per Month

This is Part 4 of the “Foundationology of Migrationology” series.

Living in Bangkok

My apartment in Bangkok, Thailand

I’m going to be honest, I don’t live in a luxurious apartment nor do I drive a Mercedes (or drive anything other than my laptop).

I do however live in a safe and quiet neighborhood, enjoy quite speedy internet (most of the time), and dine on world class Thai street food – everyday!

I live in an a studio single bedroom apartment that’s shared among a few in-and-out permanent nomads. It’s more of an open studio room with pads, a place for any of us to crash for the night.

Our apartment complex is brand new, it is clean, in a safe neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand.

We are blessed with a huge fresh food market about 5 minutes away and an overwhelming supply of Thai street food that never gets boring.

Here’s my budget cost of living in Bangkok for a month:

I normally pay half the rent – we split these monthly expenses. We have NO hot water and NO kitchen, just a single room, a bedroom, bathroom and a small balcony.

Balcony in Bangkok

Balcony in Bangkok

  • Studio Apartment Rent – $108 (3300 THB)
  • Internet – $13.10 (400 THB)
  • Water – $2.95 (90 THB)
  • Electricity – $6.88 (210 THB)

Total Apartment = $131.36 (4000 THB) split by 2 = $65.53 each

  • Transportation – $29.57 (903 THB)
  • Food – $125.66 (3837 THB)
  • Mobile Phone – $13.09 (400 THB)
  • Entertainment (Going out) – $23.25 (710 THB)
  • Misc – $27.84 (850 THB)

Total Everything Else = $219.53 (6700 THB)

Grand Total = $285.06

(2000 + 6700 = 8700 THB)

1. Internet (400 THB) – $13.10

I pay for the internet by computer, the price is 200 THB per computer per month. It’s apparently an 8 mb connection, but upload speeds are closer to an 1/8 of this. I’m not complaining, for everything I need to do, it’s quite sufficient.

2. Water (90 THB) – $2.95Bathroom

My apartment has NO hot water. I do take showers, flush the toilet and wash a few dishes here and there. Our apartment is on the 5th floor and the water pressure isn’t too strong (could this be a water saving blessing?).

3. Electricity (210 THB) – $6.88

I’ve never used the air-condition, and my body has adapted to the tropical humid degrees in Bangkok. There’s a fluorescent light in the main room and a small bulb in the bathroom. My computer and a pair of speakers are connected most of the time. I also power a water heater for coffee and two small fans.

4. Transportation (903 THB) – $29.57

My apartment is not located in the center of Bangkok, but it’s only about 10 km away. I don’t live directly on the convenient inner city train links (BTS or MRT), but I live about a 5 minute walk from a bustling major street with cheap buses that flow past constantly and very frequently. I can be to the center of Bangkok in 30 minutes with no traffic.

Buses in Bangkok cost 6.50 THB at the lowest, up to around 20 THB for a ride on buses that take the expressway and use air-con. An average bus costs me 8 THB, old clankers with character and open windows.

Thai street food

Typical all-out dinner in Bangkok

Fruit in Bangkok

Fruit in Bangkok

5. Food (3837 THB) – $125.66

I guess from my budget, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what my passion and priority is; I love to eat. Thai street food is what I dine on 9 times out of 10, but there are the occasions when I make involuntary culinary purchases that comprise of either international cuisine or some kind of classy dining.

For breakfast I eat a selection of tropical fruits and usually supplement them with some oatmeal (don’t like it too much, but it’s cheap, healthy and filling). I then go into feasting mode, often dining on som tam (green papaya salad) and sticky rice for lunch and branching into an extensive street food smorgasbord for dinner. I try not to eat an entire roasted fish by myself every evening, but I do almost every other night. Check out how much food you could eat for $10 in Bangkok!

I do buy water, fill up bottles of filtered water for 1 THB / liter. Usually costs me less than 100 THB per month.

So even though food is cheap, it happens to be my biggest cost of living in Bangkok.

6. Mobile Phone (400 THB) – $13.09

I buy scratch cards to load money onto my mobile phone. I do talk on the phone a fair amount (with my girlfriend), but calls made to the same mobile phone supplier at night are very cheap (I think it’s less than 1 THB / minute).

7. Entertainment (710 THB) – $23.25

My girlfriend is not a big party goer or drinker, and I guess one could say that that is a great thing for my budget. I do go out to meet friends at night on occasion (perhaps once per week), but I don’t go crazy. I tend to just hang out with friends, relax, and chill out.

My entertainment budget is low due to the fact that I consider food as my premiere form of entertainment. I guess one could say that I would prefer to drop $3 on a massive stomach pleasing lavish meal (including an entire grilled fish) than a single bottle of beer.

8. Miscellaneous (850 THB) – $27.84

Soap, Tylenol, toothpaste, a photocopy – I don’t really know, but there are always a few unexpected random things that need to be purchased and it can fluctuate differently every month.

Do I live a deprived life?

On the opposite spectrum of deprived, I consider myself very well-off. I have yet to be dirty, lose sleep, or even come close to being denied of food.

Here are a few random things I do without breaking the budget:

This budget cost of living in Bangkok, Thailand, is just a taste of living possibilities. I understand that we all have differing priorities, lifestyle comforts, wants and needs – but if you really want to make something happen, it’s feasible.

We each have our own levels of comfort and it doesn’t need to be compared to others.

No matter what anyone else says, I know I’m living like a VIP for $285.06 per month.

I’d love to hear your questions or comments below.


This is Part 4 of the Foundationology of Migrationology series.

Don’t miss the next article (2 August 2011): Migrationology: Living With Future Intentions

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  1. paulo says

    It looks great, especially for someone who is out and about most of the time. What an amazing budget! Thanks for the inside peek!

      • says

        His apt might seem “sparse” with verry little…but if your yung & you can travel…do it! All the videos & pictures, memories! Sure some seatle down in a 9-5 job in a big house tied down to your House ,positions, job ,family ,life, kids…but you can do alllll that “later”
        Being “young” only lasts so long! Your health! Time! Sooner or later it all catches up to you!
        to save 8 grande & leave off on a world travel….& STILl be traveling!
        Amazing! it’s a blessing to “see” all the videos you made! You inspire so many!
        many people say “I’ll go travel once this or that”… Play the wating game!
        I’m hopping your fiancé likes traveling to?! I wish you the best ! Many more far far travels!
        Keep up your smiling! Your Enthusiasm! your blessed & have blessed the youtube Community! Thanks!

        • says

          Hey Jimmy, once again, thanks a lot. I appreciate your support and part of my blog is just to show the possibilities of travel. Thanks for watching and reading!

          • john ecker says

            i love your blog mark was thinking of moving to the philippines at first but affraid of the natural disasters their your blog is very informative. my only worry about moving to tyland would be the visa RUNS. I SAW SOMETHING ON THAT IT WOULD cost 2000 baht to take bus does that include the visa fees or is it extra. i will be on an fixed budget because i will be getting social security disability but it sorta looks feasable to live their from looking at your site. i saw places for 4000-5000 baught with an pool that would be something . i would be more interested in but my main concern would be to figure out how the visa runs would effect my buget. maybe i could figure out how to make an extra 200 on the net that would help my income and i could still get my disability

          • says

            Hey John, good to hear from you, thank you for reading my blog. Yes, you could get a small one room apartment for 4 – 5000 per month. Yes, visas are a problem, and they can add up to quite a lot of money. I normally apply for a 2 month double entry visa, allowing me to enter for 2 months, then a I can extend for 1 month, and then leave the country, then return to use the 2nd entry and repeat. It’s a process where you have to leave every few months.

      • sam says

        Dear Mark,
        i am just abut to make a big move in my life. i am 36 years Iranian and i am going to Thailand with my wife and 2 kids. i have got totally 12000 $. i have plan to work over there .
        would you please tell me what kind of life i will facing there?

        • says

          Hey Sam, great to hear from you, and nice to hear about your move. You can probably find a suitable apartment for your whole family for about 10,000 THB per month, and food is affordable. So you should definitely have a few months to find a job! All the best!

      • Jody says

        I was wondering if you are native to thailand, and if not, how have you been able to stay there for such a long term? I myself was thinking of migrating to thailand in the very near future. Is it hard to find flat mates? what do you do for work there? I really hope to hear back from you in regards to these questions, also, is it hard to transition into that culture?

    • says

      I recently wrote a book about living the cheap life in Thailand, and my monthly budget is around 20,000 baht which is around $600 US. But that includes my CrossFit membership, doing Muay Thai once in a while and eating a Paleo Diet.

      Plus I live in the room by myself and don’t share so rent is double. I can see it $285.06 being possible though! Keep up the good write ups.

      • says

        Hey Johnny, thanks a lot for stopping by, and glad you can backup this advice as well – it really is possible. And even with some added things like Muay Thai and CrossFit, it’s a great deal to live in Bangkok!

    • says

      Thanks Christy. Sometimes I know a hot shower would really be nice, but when I start dreaming, I just jump in the shower and get it over with – I can also go to a friend’s house with warm water!

  2. says

    I must admit that I am now of an age and comfort level in life where I do not need to deny myself some pleasure, but I admire your honesty in detailing what life can be like in Southeast Asia – especially a cosmopolitan city s/a Bangkok for less money than a hostel in the USA. Having recently returned from SE Asia (I am a travel writer) and having traveled extensively on a budget – staying in hostels, apartments and budget hotels at my “advanced” age – you are correct! Travel, adventure, decent living standards and good food can be had in many areas of the globe without credit cards. Good for you!!! (PS: I too would miss a hot shower – well maybe a “warm” shower considering Bangkok’s humidity, but A/C at night ….to sleep….?)

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Marc!
      I do remember when I first arrived in Bangkok, trying to sleep with no AC and waking up all sweaty. Now I think my body has really adjusted to the temperature, I don’t ever wake up hot or sweaty at night anymore – I normally even need a sheet in Bangkok! Some parts of Bangkok in the central areas can be quite expensive, but if you just get off the normal Bangkok trail you can immediately locate much cheaper options for almost everything. Thanks for reassuring your expertise on the budget!

      • Gary says

        Hey Mark, thanks again for the great blogs and scenic videos.

        Back in the day, we used St Lukes Mentholated Baby Power..still remembering asking a Thai pal if there was a religious significance to the “powder” look on many morning Thai faces, he laughed and said “oh, that’s baby powder after the shower and it keeps up cooler ALL day long”!

        Well, I tried various brands and the mentholated varieties really did keep us cooler…but you know living in Thailand, we’d take several often cold showers per day.

        After a few years my wife found out about “instant on” water heaters and we never took a cold shower again…

  3. says

    Great details, Mark! I’m sure many of your readers are going to be checking airfares to Bangkok right now.
    I wish I knew how cheap it could be to live in Bangkok when I was single. Now I have a family, I need more rooms so I can shut the door and have a bit of quiet time. I don’t think that would cost so much more, though.

    • says

      Yah, for a little more you could definitely get a bigger place in Bangkok to accommodate a family. In Bangkok, as soon as you get off the main routes and step into the more “local” zone, the cost of living goes way down. I’m trying to save as much money as I can now, so I can start a family too eventually!!

    • says

      Hey Jug, thanks for stopping by.
      While I was in university, traveling and living overseas was my goal. I saved for the years that I was in university by selling things on e-bay and by working a full time job (check this article:
      You don’t need a lot of money to get started – I had a bout $8000 to my name when I left from the states 3 years ago, but you could definitely do it on less. The first step that I did was just buy my plane ticket and then find small ways to keep going and keep living.
      Check out the rest of the articles in this series of posts, and I hope you can get some more tips. I will also be publishing more articles with regards to getting started traveling.
      Good luck with everything Jug and feel free to ask me more questions!

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing your breakdown! It’s interesting to see it all lain out.

    Although you’re right that you can’t really compare as everyone has different preferences and standards, I must admit I was curious how yours was so much lower than mine in Saigon! I’m pretty similar with some choices – taking the bus, not drinking a lot, preferring street food but my location priorities are different. I choose to pay a premium for living in the centre but for me that offsets what I’d pay for (in both time and money) getting home once the buses stop at 8pm.

    • says

      Cool, thanks for sharing Ruth!
      Awesome that you are living in Saigon now. I’ve visited Hanoi but never been to Saigon – must be an exciting place. Do you enjoy living there?
      Yes, totally right though, we all have our individual preferences and we definitely need to do what is most comfortable and what we can personally handle. Convenience, safety, or other variables should also be contributing factors that make up our lifestyle/living conditions!

      • Ruth says

        Saigon is very different to Hanoi. I love both cities but Saigon is a bit more cosmopolitan (though a little less cultured) so it’s a fun place to live. Its reputation as a foodie city seems to be mostly about the diverse restaurants, though that’s not definitive as I’m still exploring!

  5. Jeremy Branham says

    Have to love the prices in Southeast Asia! As a budget traveler Mark, kudos to you for this one! :)

  6. says

    Great break down Mark! I guess VIP is all perspective on what you want and how you want to live. Its the things that matter to you the most like spending money on a good meal verses a bottle of beer. So of the four people you and your girlfriend are two of them of is it you and 3 other nomads?

    • says

      Thanks Kirk!
      Exactly, living like a VIP is one’s personal choice, attitude and being comfortable with the level of comfort. In my apartment, it’s just myself and one other buddy of mine who teaches English full-time. My girlfriend lives in a separate apartment!

  7. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista says

    This breakdown is great and I’m sure will inspire more than a few people to join you! I too am at the age where I need a little more comfort but that does seem to be a reasonable option too.

    • says

      It’s alright Stephanie!!
      I lived in Buenos Aires for about 3 months a few years ago and I think I paid about $250 USD per month for a room in a shared house. Even though your budget might be a bit higher, I know you are creating incredible lasting experiences there!

  8. says

    I had such a terrible time last summer because it was SO HOT! I was always sweating and felt like I had trouble breathing. But this summer I don’t think it’s so hot and I don’t sweat much at all. I never thought it would happen, but I guess I’ve adjusted!

    • says

      That’s so cool to hear that Laura! It’s amazing how one’s body really does adjust to a climate after some time.
      I don’t even notice the heat or sweat of Bangkok at all anymore!

  9. Sophie | Sophie's World says

    Thinking of living in South East Asia for a few months (haven’t decided where yet), so very useful post this. USD 285 pr month – twice or three times that with a child, perhaps? But even so… incredible!

  10. says

    Mark, this is highly informative post. I think some of the key components of your tips are living on the outskirts & giving up a few amenities. Thai street food is probably the best I’ve ever had in Asia & why would ANYBODY ever need to have a hot water shower in Thailand 😛 I’m guessing it’s probably cheaper to eat out than to cook at home (it is in Korea) which obviously negates the needs for a kitchen. Furthermore, the budget you’ve given (as low as it is) would be more than what an average Thai person spends meaning you’re living quite well relative to others for under $300 a month.

    • says

      I agree Samuel, I think Bangkok in particular has a mix of the best food in the world. Not only can one find Thai food from every region of the country, there’s also loads of international dining options too. Yup, just like Korea, it’s cheaper to eat out here than to buy food to cook (that is unless cooking for 10 people or something like that…).
      Your’re right, I think I’ve heard that an average Thai salary with a decent job is around $300 / month, and many of them have a lot more responsibility than I do at the moment (parents, kids, family etc.). It does really go to show that no matter how we live, we should always be grateful for what we do have, and not dwell on what we don’t have…

  11. says

    It seems the more and more I read about Thailand the more and more I want to visit. The loveable family from Got Passport live in Chiang Mai and with what you are saying about Bangkok I really want to visit there. Which may just happen if we follow through with backpacking through Asia after we hit up South America.

    • says

      Yes Cornelius, just a few weeks ago I read the budget guide from Got Passport in Chiang Mai – it was great. And they are an entire family living at a very decent budget. I think apartment rentals in Chiang Mai are actually lower on a whole than in Bangkok. Would be great if you stopped by Asia after traveling to South America!

  12. says

    This is really interesting. When it comes to maths I am very poor and you have calculated everything so well. The apartment looks very clean and the Street food looks really Yummy!

    • says

      Thanks Sailor!
      I really like the apartment I’m staying in right now. It’s simple, just a clean floor and a few things. The street food is delicious!

  13. Ron says

    Thanks for this Mark, I will be coming to Bangkok for a month in October to study Thai language and have surfed the net looking for where to get an apartment for a month. The further out is much cheaper.

    • says

      Right about that Ron. If you get anywhere off the main train transport line, apartments get much cheaper. The Bangkok bus system is very good so it’s not a problem to be a few kilometers from any train station. Good luck with the search and that’s awesome that you are coming to Bangkok soon!

  14. says

    Appreciate you sharing this Mark. I think one of my questions would be are you able to save enough to travel outside Thailand? Second, do you have room for couchsurfers?

    • says

      No problem Grace – glad to share it!
      At moment, I’m not really able to make enough money to really to travel – though I still travel with money that I made and saved up from teaching a year in English and from my previous job. I’m hoping that in the future I’ll be able to make enough to travel without using the previous savings. One of the downsides about living in a small 1 room apartments with already 2 and sometimes 3 guys is it’s quite crammed and there’s not really space to comfortably any other surfers. I’d love to if I had a bigger place and was a little more organized.

  15. says

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this detailed break-down. I was only in Bangkok for a short period on my current trip, but I did spend about two months in Chiang Mai. I think on my next long(er)-term visit I’m going to try getting renting an apartment instead of staying in guesthouses.

    The idea of living on less than $300 sounds depressing if you were in North America, but it just goes to show you can get a lot out of your money in other parts of the world while living and eating well!

    – Lily

    • says

      Right about that Lily! For my personal style of living, my purchasing power brings a lot more value being in Asia than most other places in the world. I think the cost for living in Chiang Mai is a bit less than even living in Bangkok. If you choose to remain in a place for a month or longer it really would be worth it to rent a place instead of staying in a guest house!

    • says

      Hi Tomo, thanks for stopping by.
      It was great to read your article about the cost of living in Saigon – I think it’s a bit cheaper to live there than in Bangkok. As for VIP status, I’ve got everything I need and I live in a safe neighborhood and dine on awesome Thai food!

  16. says

    Hi Mark

    Dropping by from dropout diaries when I read about the excellent interview! Was really interested to know more about your site and here I am. Anyway, first and foremost… just got to say that I really do have alot of respect for you for taking the less than trodden path to travel to the other side of the world, work on freelance projects, making do with lesser pay but living the life that you’ve been dreaming of all along. That, itself, takes A LOT of courage and I cannot be more impressed by your courage to do so. Likewise, I have a lifelong dream to spend a year to travel around the world… I just started working about 2yrs back – in a job that i dread going to, especially with a new boss that works like he’s ruling north korea (lol) – and cannot wait to leave but at least same time, i do know that i will probably stick to a practical choice of finding another stable and well-paying job than to travel (yet). Nonetheless, it inspires me to read about real life stories from people like yourself and it encourages to take a step to the path i want.

    On a lighter note, I’m from Singapore and Thailand is a fav country amongst many of us. Like you, i LOVE thai food (Esp tom yum! cannot resist it) so it’s awesome that you have a thai food guide. :) keep it going and i look forward to reading more awesome entries from u!

    • says

      Hey Steph,
      First of all, thanks so much for checking out my site and for taking the time to write a comment – I really appreciate it. Cool that you found me through Dropout Diaries, I really like their blog and story.
      It’s great to hear that you have set a goal for the future (to travel the world) and you are keeping that goal fresh on your mind at all times – that means that despite the difficulties, or working to save up at a job that’s not your favorite, you WILL accomplish your goal eventually and reach your dreams. Sorry to hear about you boss, but keep persevering. You can do it for sure Steph!
      Awesome to hear that you are from Singapore and enjoy eating Thai food too. I’m with you and tom yum soup – I crave to eat it almost every day here in Bangkok!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Marina!
      Yah, the cost of living is one of a number of reasons why I’ve remained in Asia for so long. That is a little pricey for internet, but I’m sure that you are having an incredible time living in Guatemala!

    • says

      Great Ted! Bangkok or anywhere in Thailand offers a relatively low cost of living and standards are still quite high. For myself, the food is luxurious and there’s no way I could eat the way I do without being in Thailand! Would be great if you wanted to resettle here!

  17. says

    I think what your doing is fantastic. I’ve been coming to Thailand since 2002, right now I’m up in Chiang Mai, and I know how cheap it is to live here. Living with other people in a bachelor apartment is not my thing. Hey, but street food………it’s KING. The best and cheapest food in the country is found on the street. Enjoy Bangkok, and keep telling us about the fantastic Bangkok street food.

    • says

      Thanks Nancie!
      Great that you are living in Chiang Mai now – it’s another good place to live in Thailand, in many ways much more relaxing and laid back than Bangkok. The bachelor apartment definitely is not for everyone, and things will surely change for myself as well – so I’m taking advantage now before things do transition! I’m not sure if I’ve been anywhere that can beat Thai street food when comparing all variables like price, quality, cleanliness etc. Thanks for the comment!

  18. says

    Mark, this is an awesome post. We are headed to Bangkok in October, and I can’t wait to get back to eating and doing what I want and not feeling insanely taken advantage of. We were in Central America, basically living like kings, for 6 months, and now, after 3 months in Europe and so far almost two months in Canada, we have been shocked at the costs and holding back on everything we enjoy (food) for things like gas and sales tax. Hopefully we can met up when we get over there – it’s our first time in Asia!

    • says

      After living in Asia for almost 3 years now, I’m a little scared of leaving, partly because I’ll be shocked at prices in other parts of the world and partly because I still wake up everyday dreaming about what kind of Thai street food I’ll be able to eat! Great to hear that you will be coming to Asia soon, let me know and hopefully we can meet up at some point!

          • Globe_Trotter2012 says

            Congratulations – you live in Bangkok for under $300 a month – but I think you have a better life than living in come big western city with a big stressful job and a big stressful mortgage, credit card bills and a lot of boredom. I’ve lived in many different but very expensive cities on very expensive budgets since I can afford it but I am not happy, even if I don’t need to work in these western cities fact is everyone is stressed out, nasty, sad and miserable in the western world….and all of it comes down to one thing – MONEY. They make a lot of money compared to many others but they also spend more than they make because cost of living in western cities is high, and the cost of boredom is even higher. Currently I live in Paris on a budget of $7000 a month…yes you heard that right seven thousand dollars a month and I still live like shit in a small 1 bedroom apartment in the center of Paris, with no car and food, entertainment etc is all very expensive here….think about $15 for a movie ticket…..$40 to take a taxi anywhere and back home, and even decent street food can cost upto $30 a day. Just groceries in Paris are ridiculously expensive….and what about all the culture here….well getting into any museum in Paris is a nightmare…long queues of tourists everywhere….overpriced tickets costing 30-40-50 bucks…and still a very unpleasant crowded experience…I find nothing great about it….Europe is dirtier than Asia because a filthy 1 star hotel room in most european cities costs $100…and a 5 star hotel room in Asia costs the same…just because it’s a 1 star hotel in Europe means nothing…they are all full of bed bugs and filth everywhere. Cost of decent travelling in Europe is $2000 a week…and that’s just decent…not luxurious at all.

            There is such a false sense of security in the west….how are any of these countries secure with such failing economies, lazy population, and a total lack of any energy or enthusiasm….Parisians well most Europeans I know are the most depressed, mentally unstable and messed up sad people in the world. Americans are a bit happier but maybe that’s cuz of all the medication they take in USA….

            I think I should move to Bangkok….can I REALLY live like a king on $3000 a month? And yes I do want to drive a mercedes….preferably an SL classe!!!

          • says

            Wow, thank you very much for all your thoughts about this. You stated that right, it all comes down to money, and no matter how much one makes, one also finds a way to spend it all, making that money not so much after all. The VIP I talked about in this article is that it doesn’t take money to be happy, special, or successful.

            For $3000 per month in Bangkok you can live EXTREMELY well. Very nice condo or house, eat anything you want and do just about anything you want. I’m not sure about the Mercedes though, I do know there are hefty automobile taxes in Thailand.

            Thanks for checking out this article, I wish you all the best in Paris and let me know if you have any other questions!

  19. says

    wow, this is pretty amazing Mark! When i’m tired of traveling, i live in Bangkok (been here 8 months now) but compared to your 9000 a month budget i feel like a flash packer! I would struggle to spend less than 30,000 ($1k) minimum in Bangkok, but need 50k ($1600) to have a cool lifestyle.

    Fair play, i guess laying off the booze helps alot!! :S

    • says

      Thanks Johnny!
      Yah, Bangkok is a great city because it’s possible to live on a range of budgets. The central area of town really can get to be quite expensive, just doing normal things. I know that when I head into town I immediately start spending more, but living on the outskirts of town it’s really easy to get by on less (just like in rural areas of Thailand). Booze can really add up too!

  20. Fui says

    Hi Mark,

    I write with such envy, not that I have a less comfort apartment, but you are living a life I couldn’t get myself to do it! Thai food is my favourite food, Thai people is the nicest people, Thailand is my favourite country to travel.

    You are indeed living a dream.

    • says

      Thanks a lot for the comment Fui, and glad to hear that you also enjoy Thailand. I do have to agree that it’s a great country to live in, and Thai food is amazing!

  21. says

    Sounds good. But as I am about a billion years older than you, I’d be interested to know how much a slightly less spartan apartment would be–say, one with hot water and a few other amenities (not luxury, but something moderate). As for the street food, location etc–sounds perfect!


    • says

      Haha, thanks Nancy!
      For around the $300 – $400 / month range you can get a much nicer place in a nice apartment complex with hot water, maybe a gym and a swimming pool also! Are you planning on coming to live in Bangkok anytime soon?

  22. says

    Good post mate don’t think I’d want to live on that low a budget but I don’t see how it’s realistic, you never mentioned how much you pay for your Visa, no health insurance? not a good idea dude! You never go to the dentist for checkups and cleaning? You say your average meal cost in Bangkok is 42baht per mean. Eating oatmeal for breakfast and fruit yeah, but somtam and sticky rice for luck costs 30 baht leaving you 12baht not exactly VIP. Sleeping on a floor in a cheap apartment isn’t exactly VIP either. I like the idea of this article but it’s not exactly truthful.

    • says

      Hey Chris, thanks for the comment!
      I didn’t mention the cost of a visa or the cost of my health insurance, but this article is meant to just cover the cost of how I live in Bangkok – when I’m here (this is not my entire living budget per month – and of course every month is unique). For visa I get a 2 month double entry visa (and up until a few months ago Thai visas were free). Now, yes, I pay 2000 THB for a double entry 2 month visa – so you add an extra 500 THB ($15) per month. As for health insurance – I don’t think it pertains to this article – this isn’t the all-inclusive living budget. I brush my teeth a lot and floss every night, so I haven’t been to the dentist in a while – though if I did go, it would be 1 time per 6 months or so (I think it’s about 400 THB per clean-up?). For food my budget was 3837 THB per month which evens out to around 128 THB per day – and if you live frugally and on the outskirts of Bangkok – this really possible! A Quaker oats 1 kilo tub is 101 THB at Tesco. But the article is definitely my personal opinion – sure sleeping on the floor isn’t everyone’s choice (my apartment came with a bed, but I took it out), but for myself it’s extremely comfortable and that’s the way I grew up. Definitely not everyone would feel like a VIP under these living conditions, but I wrote this article just to demonstrate the possibility! I’ve lived in Africa most my life, so if you compare my living conditions with lots of people in that continent, I really am privileged. The reason I used VIP in the title is because it’s such a relative term – what does it even mean?

  23. says

    Hey Mark,

    First off, I think your blog is fantastic and you inspire me to travel and do the same!. You are truly living the dream travelling and enjoying what truly matters in life – experiences.

    This post caught my attention in particular as I am looking to set myself up in a similar way, travelling through South America & South East Asia.

    At this point my cash investment is returning US$406 per month. My goal is to increase this to US$500 per month (by the end of 2012), and also plan to set up an online income of around US$200 per month.

    Although I would totally be up for living how you are, I think I would need to kick my standards up a notch (for the partner).

    What living standards could I expect in Thailand with this kind of money? $6-700/month.

    All the best in your travels,


    • says

      Thanks a lot Sam – I really appreciate you checking out my articles!

      This article definitely demonstrates the lower end of the possibility of living in Bangkok on a tight budget. With 600 – 700 USD per month you can go a couple steps up. I know you can rent a very decent condo in Bangkok with 1 bedroom, 1 living room, kitchen, maybe even a swimming pool and fitness gym for around the $300 – $400 per month range – so with 2 people that can be a pretty good deal. Food and entertainment is the other main expense. The more local you eat, the less expensive prices will be.

      For 600 – 700 USD per month you can in my opinion live extremely comfortable!

      Also, if you choose to stay in a place like Chiang Mai, prices are lower than in Bangkok.

      Would each of you have a $600 per month budget?

      • says

        Hey Mark,

        Thanks for your reply – it is good to know the local knowledge.

        My goal is to have around $1000 in passive income by 2017. and do a 6 month split in South America/South East Asia. However, right now I only have around $400, which is just for me. I would assume our expenses to be 1/3 more with two of us? (same price for accomm, transport, just a extra for food?)

        To answer your question, yes, my partner would need to bring her own money to the table! Essentially we would have $500 each.

        Cheers and merry Xmas


  24. Austen says

    Hey man, just to let you know 8 megabits is about 1 megabytes download speed. So you should be able to download at 1Mbps or 1024Kbps.

    Btw maybe we can meet up soon. I move to Thailand on the 7th of next month. 😉

  25. Sen says

    Hello Mark,

    very inspiring …….
    I have been to Thailand twice before, but very short visits,
    3rd visit may be upcoming….it is getting cold in Canada…..

    The life style you live I can identify with…..

    my question is what other free lance jobs etc. you do other than teaching to
    make some income.

    • says

      Hey Sen,
      Thanks for checking this article out.
      Along with freelance writing, I’ve been doing some freelance video and also designing facebook pages for companies. I try to do a number of different things, but still trying to really figure things out. Also, I’ve written a number of e-book guides which I sell.
      Hope this helps!

  26. Sen says

    Hello Mark,

    How often you do the visa run, do you go to Burma or Cambodia?
    If I am in Thailand How often do I have to do this.

    Any other way you can by pass the system.? Just wondering…..

    PS: I am also a huge Durian fan. loved your post on all you can eat Durian.

    • says

      Hey Sen,
      It all depends on what kind of visa you have. I normally try to get a 2 month double entry visa which allows me to be in Thailand for 2 months and then I just need to stamp out and back in to Thailand and I’ve got another 2 months (Normally do this by just going to Cambodia for the day). Alternatively, you can also renew your visa for an extra month at the immigration office in Bangkok. I don’t normally do this, but it can be done. Hope this helps and glad to hear that you also like Durian!

  27. says

    Hi Mark,
    this is great post, just what i was looking for. In The end of the year i plan to move to Thailand for at least three months and i was really looking for some actual figures regarding the costs Are this kind of rental rates generally common for this size of apartment and type of neighbourhood? I was hoping to live with 600 Eur and of course share apartment if i manage to find a room mate,

    • says

      Hey Nina, this guide is on the low-ish side, as I am a real saver myself, but it is a picture of what’s possible. You can easily get a 1 room studio for less than $200 per month and if you are splitting an apartment with another person you can get a great place for $300 – $400 per month. You will definitely be able to live quite well for 600 EUR per month. Let me know if you need any more suggestions for recommendation!

  28. says

    “I would prefer to drop $3 on a massive stomach pleasing lavish meal (including an entire grilled fish) than a single bottle of beer.”

    Such a clever attitude!!!

    I’m Thai and glad to see you enjoy staying here. There’re many things in your blog that I haven’t known, especially how to live with just less than $300/month in Bangkok. So coooool!!

    • says

      Hehe, thanks so much for the comment and for checking out my articles Chira! When you start comparing the food you can get for the same amount as beer, it really puts things in perspective…

  29. Eddie says

    Hi Mark
    Its Eddie again from Karachi Pakistan
    Hope youre doing okay:):)
    Your emails always make me very hungry.
    Would love to meet up with you and try out some street food.I normally stay at The Bedroom Boutique Hotel next to Onut BTS.
    Any cheaper but just as new hotel u can recommend?
    Do you live far from Onut??

    • says

      Hey Eddie,
      Are you in Bangkok now? I’m actually going to be traveling soon but send me an e-mail to let me know how long you’ll be in Bangkok.
      Good to hear from you.

  30. Brian says

    Hi Mark,

    Great filosophy you’re living! Your articles on living and eating in Bangkok have been most informative to me; thank you so much.

    Kind regards,

  31. Catherine Khor says

    Hi Mark,

    I live in S.E.A. a neighboring country to Thailand and I love Bangkok . I am surprised to see that your expenses in Bangkok in less than USD300 per month. It truly inspire me and I think I am prepared to take my next step to be a traveler like you and to live in Bangkok…. You go Mark!!!!

  32. says

    That’s amazing Mark! I’m blown away by what all you get for so little…it’s a great way to stretch your travel experiences out.

  33. sportmuaythai says

    Hah! I agree with most things, except for food allowance. Even for a Thai college student, figure on about ฿5,000.00 minimum/month, particularly since food costs have sky rocketed with the new government. Cold shower is enjoyable most of the time in Bangkok. I too was addicted with hot shower, but learned to enjoy cold invigorating shower. In winter months, you’ll be OK if shower is taken before 4pm. BTW I’m a Thai.

    • says

      Haha, I’m the same way with the shower. During the winter in Bangkok I always take a shower in the midday to avoid the colder water at night. Thanks for the input!

  34. says


    That food looks amazing!

    Do you speak Thai? I imagine the prices would be a little higher for food etc if not … Even at those prices however you are living for next to nothing!!


    • says

      Thanks Duncan,
      Yes, I can speak Thai for most practical things. For food it really depends on where you are eating, what you choose to eat and especially the location in town where you eat. Prices are really different from central areas to the outskirts as well. Thanks for checking this article out!

  35. Jan Paul says

    Hi Mark, I’m just wondering, about living in Bankok… how is it for you to live as a foreigner not speaking the local language? I lived in the Philippines for 6 months and loved that everybody spoke English there…

    How do you get along with others and make friends when you don’t speak the language? Do you only make friends with other foreigners? Would love to gain some insight on how that side of your life there looks like.

    • says

      Hi Jan, that’s a great idea for an entirely new article… In short, I tend to stick to lesser verbal and more body communication when I’m in a place where English is not common. In Thailand when I first arrived I just learned the very minimal basics “hello,” “how are you,” things like that and (very importantly) correct Thai communication gestures like the famous Thai greeting “wai” ( I think little cultural greetings, just a few words and of course smiles is the way to fist communicate in a different culture. From there, it all depends how long you remain in a certain place. In Bangkok, quite a few people speak some English, so it’s possible to get by. I’ll be thinking about writing more on this topic though, thank you!

  36. Nikki says

    i came across to your page and have a quick read, i decided to save it and to use it for reading at night before bed. you have an awesome to inspire the way how life is slow here at the no worrying. and ofc, im Thai bkk and be such a open city…u have taking it at the way it should preserved.


    • says

      Hey Benjamin, thanks for the message and good to hear you’ll be coming to Bangkok. I’m not sure of my schedule yet, but we’ll have to see when the time gets closer.

      • Benjamin Goh says

        It me again, benjamin Goh. going again on sep 2013. It been two year since i last post on 2012. haha. how are you doing Mark? would like to check with you which neighbourhood are you living in? i thinking of staying in their local neighbourhood and experience their local food and local activities. do you have any recommendation for 4 person?.

        • says

          Hey Benjamin, good to hear from you. Things are good. I’ve seen gotten married now, so my lifestyle has changed a bit. I think a good neighborhood these days is the Udom Suk area – good food and experiences and still not too far away.

          • Benjamin Goh says

            Hi Mark, First of all congratz to you for getting married. Udom Suk look like a great place with good local food and experience.

            i really admire you that you can survive without paycheck and live in thailand =).
            Not everyone can do it. Most people wouldn’t be able to survive. Good Job. You my inspiration .

          • says

            Hi Benjamin, thank you very much, I appreciate it. I think it’s much about a mindset, and living an intentional lifestyle to pursue what you’re after. Are you living in Thailand?

  37. Kesang says

    Hi Mark,

    I absolutely agree with you on “We each have our own levels of comfort and it doesn’t need to be compared to others”….. looks like we’re on the same page!

    • says

      Great to hear we think alike Kesang! Comfort is very relative, and for myself (and you), I’m quite comfortable and thankful for food, shelter and good health.

  38. says

    How affordable and achievable. Great budget travelling/staying – it makes me want to pack my bags and run away to Bangkok. No cooking, exotic location, minimal belongings, freedom. Lucky I still have not unpacked my pack from travelling to Spain earlier in the year, all I have to do is chuck in a sarong, laptop and I am gone!

  39. Dave says

    First of all, let me say that if you are happy, then that’s all that really matters. I think your article is a great summary on how cheaply you can get by in a pinch in Thailand. However, I would hate if others read about the “VIP” lifestyle you mention and expect it to be anything more than subsistence living. Over the past 20 years, I’ve lived in Thailand 4 times: as a student (twice), poor worker (similar to your situation), and in a high-paying position. I’ve shared a crappy 5000 baht/month apartment, and I’ve had a 100,000 baht/month house (yes, it was a big house). Personally, I think it is all about goals (something you’ve mentioned in other articles). After living the subsistence life like you are now, I realized I could never meet my goals of having a family, traveling the world, and doing truly worthwhile work if I remained a teacher in Thailand. It is true everyone has their own definition of “VIP”, but sharing a small, kitchen-less, air conditioner-less, hot water-less, room 10km outside of the city center may be fine, but in no way is it “VIP”. There are also happy ascetic monks in the forest temples, but they would not claim to be living a “VIP” lifestyle. So, I would encourage people to experience life to the fullest, including spending some time in Thailand on the cheap. However, if they want to live there long-term as a VIP, they realistically need a lot more than $285/month.

    • says

      Hey Dave,

      Thanks a lot for sharing all your thoughts on this. I guess it all comes down to perspective. I didn’t choose the term “luxurious” or “fancy” lifestyle, because that’s definitely not what this is, but I chose “VIP” because in my mind a VIP is not so much about expenses or wealth, but about being comfortable and satisfied. Perhaps since VIP or any other suitable words are so subjective, it’s a challenge to come up with any word that would 100% be accurate to all our minds. Yes, this is how to live cheap, but I feel that I’m blessed to be able to live in Thailand for such a price while maintaing what I feel is a great level of comfort, and that’s what I was trying to prove through this article.

      I do agree with you, for others that wish to live in central Bangkok, this amount may or may not be suitable, but the lesson of the article, like you mentioned at the beginning of your message is what you are personally happy with.

      Thanks for checking this article out!

  40. says

    I’d like to see a follow-up video (to the one on how to tie a plastic bag like a Thai) about how to untie the bag like an expert. Without involving pricking the bag either.

    Also, as much as Bangkok has a huge amount of Thai food on offer, it all seems roughly the same to me. You’ve got your non-goopy spicy dishes, and you’ve got your goopy spicy dishes, and you’ve got things that are neither of the above, ie the bananas with “caramel,” the things that look like tacos became introduced to ikebana, and liquids meant to be consumed by a straw but often have vaguely pink or translucent things floating in them. Bones and Chaozhou-style soups also are common. But I don’t ever want to eat much while in Bangkok because A)the southern Chinese flavors ruin the day, B)goop in this sense isn’t good (although spicy can be) and C) the people cooking the food just whine and drone on about who knows what, whenever I ask to eat something (granted, I know about six Thai words/phrases). No matter where I go, I receive a prolonged, childish huff about whatever, and then they mumble under their breath, and I wonder why I’m wasting my time with their intangible acrobatics while I could just go to Soi Arab or an Indian restaurant. Bangkok, call me back when you’ve got khao neeo mamuang and pomegranates on every block instead of simmering oil slicks in large pots.

    • says

      Hi Jonathan, thanks for sharing your thoughts about Thai food and visiting Bangkok. I may have to do an follow up video about opening the contents of a rubberband tied bag… sometimes it gets messy!

      Sorry to hear about your bad experiences with Thai food. I do understand what you have said sometimes about the street food vendors, especially certain areas of town, aren’t always the kindest. But that being said, it’s the unfriendly vendors that stick out as remembering, while I still think there are far more nice friendly vendors in Bangkok than not. There are many many Thai dishes, but if you do begin eating on the streets a lot, many of the same dishes begin to re-appear, however, if you do search you’ll find a great amount of diversity. But getting some occasional Arab, Indian, or Japanese food is a great thing to do while in Bangkok too!

      Are you living in China now?

  41. Colin says

    Hi Mark.
    I posted this under one of your comments earlier instead of a new post. A very interesting article. However I do have a couple of questions.

    1. I believe you have to do an immigration run every 90 days? How much does this cost and therefore how much would it add to the monthly VIP life?
    2. What do you do all day? Do you work and if not? what occupies your time?
    3. I am assuming not all areas are so safe? How did you find a safe place to live?
    4. Its now over a year since your initial post, so how are the costs now?

    Thanks a million.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    • says

      Hi Colin,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Yes, either every 90 or every 60 days depending on what plans I have. I am still a traveler, not permanently living in Thailand so I tend to take long trips (maybe 2 weeks or a month) and get a Thai visa while I’m on a trip. The cheapest way to make a visa run is either to Laos or to Cambodia, and a round trip + visa + a few nights stay may cost around $150 – $250 per trip.
      2. I am a freelance writer and blogger and also do some social media. I’m still figuring out what exactly I do, but being able to live cheaply gives me an opportunity to try and make a living as a freelancer, while still having enough money to live on.
      3. Originally I had a few friends living in Bangkok and I lived in their area and then after that I just found places by exploring, just after getting a feel for the city. Here are some of my personal favorite living areas in Bangkok:
      4. Just for costs living in Bangkok in a studio apartment for me now, the costs are still quite similar – around $300 per month. But like I mentioned above in some other comments, this is just the cost of living in Bangkok – not including my insurance fees and anything I’m doing online or one time random costs (like purchasing a camera for example).

      Hope this helps and feel free to ask any other questions!

  42. Javier says

    May I ask you. How do you do to live in BKK all this time?
    The longer visa I get is just from 1 to 3 month, and that’s all…
    Thank you!

  43. Yee says

    Hat’s off yo you first, for your effort in saving. It is a real difficult goal to do that actually. Since the last Bangkok visit which I ve refered lots of the ur goumet experience, I am in love with travelling. I have a family, which makes my time n budget even more difficult, but I will try. Thanx for your inspiration post.

  44. says

    Sound like you are having a ball over in Bangkok.

    I totally agree with your budget and that this is very achievable. It gives a very good baseline of costs for those thinking of coming over to Thailand but unsure of how much they would need to live on.
    I expect that the shower water is warm for most months of the year so it is not too much of a hardship, but I don’t think I would want to go without a bed, even one of those hard Thai beds that come with the apartments.
    Keep the stories coming

    • says

      Thank you Stephen! This budget is definitely achievable, and exactly, it’s a base figure of what’s possible. Yes, most of the time the water is even too warm straight from the pipe!

  45. Max says

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your posting, for one being fondling the idea of going or not this really sets a good “operative” perspective of things. Thank you!


    Max in Costa Rica

  46. Lily says

    Hello Mark I just saw your page and I really digged it…so nice

    I am in Philipines now and I am thinking about going to bangkok for one month I would like to do muay thai training. (i am a total beginner)

    That’s my first time in Bangkok and I really know nothing.
    Could please tell me if there is website to find a room for one month and if not how should I do to find one…which neighborhood do you recommend me and do you have any idea of a good muay thai camp?

    Thank you very much and sorry to bother you.

    But I m kind of LOST



  47. Duy Tran says

    Hi everyone,

    I am going to live in Bangkok, my company address: 1040/19, Asia World Building, Soi Sukhumvit 101 (Punnawithi 34), Sukhumvit Rd., Bang- Chak, Phrakanong, Bangkok, 10260 / Thailand

    Because this is the first time I live in Bangkok, I would love to find out a cheap accommodation which is near my working place. Is there any accommodation with price $70/month?

    Thank you very much for your assistance


  48. cashlamb says

    Mark it can be done I live on $400 u s, have nice studio, big pool,and a Honda Phantom,15minute walk to PATTAYA Beach (8yrs Thailand). mark do you have a friend (Blogger) who leaves like me and you on East Coast of Malaysia.about 300-400k’s (base camp) south of the Thai boarder…best Blog in Asia, your the best………always quote prices for your readers

  49. kyle says

    Hi Mark, I am planning a trip to bangkok this summer for a two month stay, and got to say your breakdown was awesome. I had a question up at the top of your list but forgot it, oh yeah, how do you stay in thailand for so long if not married or working? I am confused as my friend has been there a few times and his stay was only 30 days, so he had to leave the country and fly to singapore (his choice of other country) to get his passport stamped again to stay an extra 30 days ( drive out of the country only gets 15 day stamp at border) any info would be good because I plan on one day ( hopefully soon) moving there myself, and where would be a good part of bangkok to move to, to be close to american cuisine should I not like the local cuisine?

    • says

      Hey Kyle, great to hear you also like Thailand. I try to get a 2 month double entry visa each time, which gives me 2 months and then I can extend each entry by a month, giving me 6 months altogether. I’m American, and that’s the best option for me, but it can depend upon your nationality. Try to get a 2 month double entry visa.

  50. Duy Tran says

    Hi Mark,

    Please help me one more thing

    I am going to rent a studio at 32/95-96 Soi Romklao 4, Romklao Rd., Min Buri, Bangkok 10510. But I don’t know if it is near my work place 1040/19, Asia World Building, Soi Sukhumvit 101 (Punnawithi 34), Sukhumvit Rd., Bang- Chak, Phrakanong, Bangkok, 10260 / Thailand?

    Many thanks for your help

    • says

      Hey Duy, I’m not fully sure where Asia World Building is, but I do know that Min Buri is quite a ways out. You may want to do a google map search for both of these locations to see exactly where they are.

  51. rezart says

    It’s awesome to see your breakdown… im planning to go bangkok this year…
    try to visit philippines also sir.. u will surely love the place also…

    • says

      Hey Rezart, glad you plan to visit Bangkok this year. I was in the Philippines a few years back and had an amazing time, would love to return again in the future. What part of the Philippines are you from?

  52. Prav says

    You know, you are so right about living “right”. In the western world, people just create opportunities for spending for no reason. Talk about owning a car, getting smog checks done, renewing your drivers license, paying for gas and getting your car washed. Are they all needed? Naay!

    Think out of the box, western world!

  53. rezart says

    i stay in cebu for a year… and in ilo-ilo for almost 6 months.. i really enjoy staying in the philippines… are you still in bangkok?

  54. anthony says

    Mark good luck and all the best to you and your girlfriend/spouse. You all have an exciting life and live it too the fullest. In my experience it gets more difficult travelling and adapting as one gets older. LOL>Take Care

  55. says

    Way to lay it out there on your expenses. I usually take out that much from the ATM every time I leave the room 😛

    I’m a drinker though…this budget is nowhere near feasible for the drinkers out there.

    Also, my apartment is usually right under 16,000 baht/month including utilities. It has in-house laundry, gym, pool, restaurant.

    More power to you, I couldn’t live like that, but it’s nice to see others out there enjoying their travels. Good luck with the site.

    • says

      Thanks a lot! Yah, it’s all about how we are comfortable living, and I’m sure I won’t want to live like this forever (especially when I have a family), but for the moment it works well – and I wrote this article mainly to show the possibilities. My fiance previously stayed in a pretty nice condo as well, I think it was 12 per month and included some great facilites as well.
      Thanks again, and all the best for you too!

  56. says

    You can save a lot more money cooking meals at home – although in that case, unless you are a good cook and can cook Thai food, it might become boring. I am in Indonesia and if I cook at home I spend only $70/month on rice, vegetables and cooking oil. I use a portable single-burner gas stove that uses the small butane cartridges. You can rent a small house here on the outskirts of Jakarta for $60/month. Electric is about $15/month if you don’t use A/C but with A/C on all the time it will be about $70 but I think it’s worth it. I never can adjust to the heat.

  57. says

    This is an awesome post! We are living the nomadic life and its great to get an idea of costs around the world. Thailand is high on our list and we hope to spend a few months there late this year. This post has given us a good idea of what we would be looking at if we decide to stay there long term. Thanks for such an informative post!

  58. says

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this really informative post; I have been looking into moving to Thailand recently so found this really helpful – thanks again!


  59. says

    Hello there!

    Currently traveling Oz and getting low on funds. As you have plenty of experience me and my friend were just wondering where the cheapest place to stay in bangkok is?

    We are planning to stay for a month but whether that be in hostels or like you live in, an apartment we do not know.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    p.s. Only have around $500 Australian dollars left!

  60. michael bowman says

    I have back problems. How much does a massage cost there? Wish I could have one on a regular basis. Thanks a bunch.

    • says

      Hi Michael. In the central busy areas of Bangkok it will cost 200 – 300 THB per hour, but if you go to a local neighborhood it’s about 150 THB. BTW it’s about 30 THB or so to the $.

      • taxituna says

        Hi Mark. I had a great time reading your stories. Continue to keep up your great work. I have a question tho. With what visa are you staying in thailand with? Tourist visa or work visa or something else? How could I live in Thailand without working? Thanks!!!

          • says

            Hey Mark. Thanks for the prompt reply! I really like your blog because it focuses so much on asia. I am korean-american, have lived in many cities in the states. Also have lived in China and visited a few other countries as well. I am currently living in Busan, Korea. I see that you have visited Seoul, Korea. Anyways, my facebook page is “taxi tuna.” You can look me up if you’d like. Next time you visit Korea, you can get in touch with me thru facebook and drop me an email. I can show you around, introduce you to different korean cuisine you may not have tried, etc. Or next time I return to thailand, it would be my pleasure to bump into you. thx for a great travel+food blog!

  61. says

    Mark That’s great details you add in here… I’m a Blogger and flying this 21st… After this trip.. I’m planning to come to Bangkok and stay there for 2-3 months..and see how it goes… Thanks for great informative guide..

  62. Christopher says

    Hi there, great information here, really inspiring as I’ll be moving out to bangkok this summer with less savings than I’d originally planned. I noticed that this article is a couple years old now though and was wondering how the prices and your cost of living might have increased in this time? Thanks in advance for any reply!

    • says

      Hi Christopher, thanks a lot for reading this article. The article remains pretty much the same and as is, perhaps prices have increased a little in Bangkok overall, but it would still be possible to live in Bangkok for $300 – $400 per month quite well. As for myself, my budget has changed a bit, as I am now engaged and planning to get married!

  63. Glenn The Aussie Outcast says

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s really precious information for me because i am planning to stay in bangkok for a couple of months from April onward. I’ looking forward to the whole new experience like yours. So please tell me Mark if my budget is USD600 a month, and i’d like to live near to Skytrain or BTS (but not necessarily in the city centre), get an apartment with gym facilities, would it be enough? And where would you recommend? Appreciate your reply.

    • says

      Hey Glenn, good to hear from you. A condo in a good location with gym and pool will probably go for around 12,000 baht per month (around $400). So depending on your eating / drinking desires $600 would probably be enough, but might be a little more than that. You might look around On Nut, Ari, or up north in Lad Prao. Check out condos called Lumpini Suites and The Life. All the best!

  64. Zeb Ramcharan says

    hey Mark I was wanting some info on what part of town you live in. I am currently in Bangkok and looking for a more permanent resident

  65. Jake says

    I don’t mean to hate, but your article is grossly misleading. “How To Exist” or “How to Get By” would have been accurate. Living like a “VIP” involves much more than you detailed–by any sane persons standards. VIP’s don’t share rooms with nomads. And a VIP lifestyle most certainly has a kitchen and hot water. I mean those are an integral part of the most basic of living conditions.

    It’s nice that you share your experiences with the world. But you have a responsibility as a writer to tell a true and accurate story. You may catch extra eyeballs from people wanting to live like a VIP. But what you delivered in your post might be useful for anyone wanting to live one step up from a hobo. That’s a far cry from what you promised in your title.

    • says

      Hi Jake, I understand what you’re saying, and I also think that living and comfort are so relative that in order to understand what I mean by VIP it’s necessary for someone to read my entire article, not just the title. In my opinion a VIP residence doesn’t need to have a kitchen inside if there are 100 street stalls outside the door. And hot water? That’s hardly necessary in Bangkok.

      This article is meant to show a budget that’s possible in Bangkok – and in my opinion, since I’m comfortable, it’s a VIP lifestyle.

      • jason says

        I would consider this lifestyle you have discussed luxury my friend! I’m currently finishing my last year of university in canada and am really considering teaching english for a year there! Great article! I am curious tho, are there any fitness centres around?

        • says

          Hey Jason, thanks for reading! Yes, there are plenty of fitness centers around Bangkok. There are nice luxury ones just like in US or Canada, but quite expensive. Then there are more local gyms that might charge $20 – $30 a month. Then there’s an outdoor gym at Lumpini Park in Silom which is pretty cool – some of the weights are made from concrete filled tires. I think you’ll enjoy Bangkok!

  66. Tony Mitchell says

    Hi Mark,
    With regards to the Internet speeds here in Thailand I believe that 8 Mb per second is actually 8 megabits per second, not 8 megabytes. A bit is 1/8 of a byte and the abbreviation for megabyte is MB (with a big B). This explains why your Internet speed is only 1 MB/sec.
    The advertisements in Thailand for fast Internet access usually all use Mb to trick people into thinking it is super fast. Even their employees, when questioned, don’t know the difference between a Mb and a MB and think that the service is provided in MB.

  67. Bob says

    Hi Mark interesting article

    I would like to add a few points that would for sure increase most (almost all) peoples expenses.

    No matter how much you love love Thai food.Eat it long enough and trust me you will be buying western food some times.Western food its a lot more pricey than Thai food.

    Almost NO westerners share apartments in Thailand.

    If you have have air-con 98% of westerners WILL turn it on every now and then because it gets
    pretty damm hot some times…

    Guys girlfriends will be few and far between on a $285.06 Budget if at all….

    I see you have a picture of Durian in your picture on top..Well I really doubt you will be eating
    much expensive Durian on your budget..

    I would say to lead a rock bottom lifstyle and still have a some what decent life you would
    need 1000-1200 a month and this would hardly be living in luxury.

    2000 a month would minimal for a living the good life lifestyle even then you would still
    have to watch your budget a bit,,,

    • says

      Hey Bob, thanks a lot for your suggestions and tips! It also depends what part of Bangkok you’re living in, prices really fluctuate around the city. Yes, having a girlfriend or wife changes things!

  68. Kayla says

    Sounds almost unreal! Lol I can barely survive off of $1300 monthly in Louisiana but I am considering moving my son and I to Thailand to teach English for a year so this blog was quite intriguing :) thanks

  69. Annah says

    My friend wants to take a gap year next year and was thinking about moving to a foreign country. Do you know what a 19 year old girl with $3000 could do/ how she would live in Thailand?

    • says

      Hey Annah, hmm, will she have a source of income? Or is $3000 all of her money? A whole year on $3000 is probably not a wise idea unless she has some money coming in. That being said, Thailand is a great place to visit!

  70. says

    WOW! I love the budget. Although I have traveled long term on a fixed amount of money, I have never lived quite so close. I do a lot of international house sitting, although now I am more of a digital nomad, and so for the price of an airline ticket, I often stay in beautiful houses in areas of supreme natural beauty for up to 90 days. It is so much fun to hear how other people are doing it.

  71. Matt says


    You still in BKK? I have come to Chiang Mai for a year but I am seriously thinking about going back to BKK – it’s so boring here!

    I can budget for 50,000 Baht a month.

    Ideally I’d like a 1 bed with hot water and AC. Kitchen not needed.

    Also need to have high speed internet installed (dont want to use a communal wi-fi)

    A Thai friend said she used to rent a studio around Sukhumvit for 10K a month. Not bad. What do you think about a 1 bed around there? Or can you think of an area that is further out, with good local Thai food but easy to get to the Skytrain from? Maybe like 10 stops out or something?


  72. Jolyon Gray says

    Hi Mark,

    Budget is roughly what we will be getting through month (however accommodation will be higher @ 6000 THB p/m, this is paying more for a location near MRT & BTS).

    The one part that did widen my eyes was entertainment, 700THB a month? I get the whole food thing, but there is so much to do in BKK my budget would be at least 10,000THB a month for that! Cinema, Parks, trips to Hua Hin, Cart Racing, etc. We don’t drink very much but 700THB would just really be sitting in the apartment every day?


    • says

      Hey Joe, cool good to hear you live on a budget in Bangkok too. That 700 is just a guide of possibility… sure some months I spend more on entertainment, but it all depends of what you consider as entertainment – I just love to take walks and take photos – and that doesn’t cost much!

  73. Tom says

    Hi Mark,

    It is really reassuring to read this post. I am starting a teaching internship in a few months, in a much more rural part of Thailand than Bangkok (therefore, hopefully cheaper?). The school are providing accomodation and covering my utility bills, but only paying me 12,000BHT a month for the six months I am there. I was quite worried that this might not be enough to live comfortably while I’m there but, judging by this, I should do pretty well!


  74. says

    i’m student just planning to go thailand for study is there any kitchen system if i want cook myself i have budget 9000 thai baht

    • says

      Hi Asim, you can always buy a small gas bottle with a burner attached to cook on – although some apartments don’t allow this. Another thing I did was I bought an electric skillet – not great for big things but for cooking small things it worked well!

      • indu says

        Hi Mark,
        Thank you for your post. Recently my husband got job offer in Bangkok. He got offer of 2500$ per month including cuttings. We have 3 years kid. I heard education is very costly there in bangkok. Please help us how much we can save out of our salary after our cost of living and kids education. I am M.Phil. holder in physics. Is it easy to find the job there for me.
        Thanks in advance

        • says

          Hi Indu, good to hear you’ll be coming to Bangkok. To be honest, I have no experience with how much schools cost. You can get a house in Bangkok for about 12 – 15 thousand baht per month, and food is affordable, but not sure about school. All the best with the move!

          • sandy says

            Hello sir,
            How are you,
            Plz sir kindly guide me. I am Indian
            I have got opportunity form bankok for a job in 1000$.
            they will deduct 100$ for rent & 100$ for accomodation. bal 800$ after this som tax deduction lumsum I will receive 750$ permonth. i.e 750$X59.59 exchange rate. divided by 1.93 Thai bahth.apx 23156 Thai bahth I will receive i cash in hand.
            In this how much I can save, food expenses transport exp. elec bill,internet.
            what you think how much i can save
            I ma pure vegeterian & I donot drink & don’t like parties

            Plz guide me.

  75. Andy says

    Dear Mark, what part time job would you suggest for a foreigner who live in Bangkok. I just recently lost my job and still searching for one. Your tips are really useful esp during current hard time. GBU

  76. Sean R says

    Hi all
    I have been to Bangkok twice and am planning to stay there for about one to two months starting from September 2013. I was just wondering if anyone can recommend someone that I can connect with to check the possibility to rent a studio near to the city or walking distance to the train station.
    I am looking for a studio around THB5000 to 10,000 – anything cheaper than that would be good but must have a good gym as am planning to get a trainer to get me back in shape!

    Since am also looking for a personal trainer I also would appreciate if anyone can suggest any male trainer that can hep me with this. Also possible to be trained by other travelers if you need some work but please let me know your monthly rate. I need a workout plan that will help me to build muscles and get rid of the fat!

    You may write to me directly at

    Thank you all!

  77. Sean R says

    Hi Mark

    I just posted about my intention to stay in Bangkok and get a personal trainer.
    I also have watched your video about your travel and food. For your information, this time around am traveling to Thailand for a purpose of training to get a better body!
    So this time around I wanted to live like locals and eating the street food and not so much like last time I where stayed in hotels and eat in restaurants.

    Have you also travel to Melbourne and Sydney? Any ideas on the cheaper options to do this once I have stayed in Bangkok?

    • says

      Hey Sean,

      Thanks for stopping by. No I have never been to Australia, though I’d love to visit sometime in the future. As for places to stay in central Bangkok, I don’t know any specific places, but for your budget you might want to search around the On Nut area. Not sure about a gym though, you might have to pay around 12,000 or so get a place that includes a gym. Another idea is to get a cheaper local studio and then go to a local gym which might cost about 2,000 per month for membership.

  78. Eric says

    Hi Mark, great work. Your videos made my girlfriend and I smile. Great to see someone enjoying life as much as you are and we both wish you every success (not that you need it with an attitude like yours). All the best mate.

  79. Rob says

    Hi Mark,
    Great site, loads of useful information. I’m just starting to look at traveling extensively in asia and you have definitely given me some idea’s. Teaching esol is one I considered previously, but how easy is it to find work (not just in thailand but also other countries in asia)? And what about work visa’s? Also, am looking to do a lot of backpacking and hiking which for me means a lot of hammock camping, do you know of any regulations I should be aware of?

    • says

      Hey Rob, good to hear from you and glad you’re going to do some traveling. As for teaching English it all depends if you have a University degree it’s a lot easier. I can really only speak for Thailand, and it’s very easy to get a job, even walking up. For S. Korea, I think it’s a little harder and you must apply online, but could be some exceptions. If you sign a contract for a year of teaching, the school should give you a work permit. For backpacking, I’m really not sure, haven’t done much of that. Some places will probably charge, but I’m sure you can get away with free camping in plenty of places too. Sounds fun!

  80. says

    Hi Mark!
    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read. I appreaciate your honesty and precision on the prices.

    This is the kind of writing that leads to reflection and interesting debate. It’s good to open the eyes of people living in ultra expensive and competitive places with poor quality of life. You prove that it’s possible to live well hacking the scams of the society .

    Cheers buddy!

    • says

      Hey Nelson, great to hear that, thank you so much. A lifestyle is all relative, but sometimes I think some people over-treat themselves and forget about the real necessities which are enough to live a very comfortable life with the right attitude.

  81. Amy says

    Hey Mark,
    This looks pretty good to me, and I’m a middle aged housewife trapped in suburbia! I hope it all goes well for you! I’m totally into your blog!

  82. says

    a very very informative and lovely article man! loved it! I really like when you put on exact spendings and do a cost of living for a month. that’s what i (and probably all serious travellers) need. never heard your site before but now it’s in my fav list. hope to meet you somewhere!


  83. Shey says

    I like your breakdown.
    I will be travelling to Thailand this nov 11 to 16.
    Pls can u share me bus routes and mrt routes connecting from
    Bangkok airport to central to tourist spots. I feel I will get lost.
    Thanks so much. I watched all your videos.

    • says

      Hey Shay, great to hear from you. From the airport you can take the train into the city and from there you can connect to the BTS or MRT. Hope you have a great trip!

  84. says

    You know what Mark, I did frequent your blog and Youtube channel a lot before I went to Thailand, but I wish I had read this posting. You’re living on like 1/5 of what I have spent in BKK during the same amount of time. Granted, I did some shopping but even with all that it shouldn’t have costed that much. While there were a lot of delicious looking street food, I had a hard time figuring out and ordering them (even after extensively studying your videos and jotting down the names in English!) When I found something I like in the cart I couldn’t figure out where to go and eat, so towards the end of my staying I stuck with predictable foods.

    Spending less than $30 on entertainment! Now I’m not a big clubbing person either, but where I live you can EASILY spend $30 or more over one night even if you don’t drink.

    Floating market: I went to one recommended by you on one of your videos, I think it was called Khlong Lot Mayom in Thaling Chan? It was on the outskirt of Bangkok. I had to go to either the last or close to the last BTS station and then take a cab from there. That alone costed me almost $500.

    Transportation also – I tried my best to avoid taking taxi, which I believe did help with my budget, and I did stay within BKK, but I think I definetely spent more than 1,000 THB for transportation. I did get the Rabbit Card for BTS and I did often take non aircon bus (not by choice, that was the only one available to my hostel) but still it turned out to be more than I thought it would. I’m imagining since you live outside of BKK (though close) and you seemed to be legally working there, you would spend more on transportation. How do you manage? I’ve also noticed some places just can’t be reached by bus. On those occasions I did take cab a few times.

    Another thing about your apartment – Do you have a fridge? My body can manage without the air conditioner. However, I’ve noticed some of my stuff can’t, like my herbal teas absorbed the smell around, it tasted kind of disgusting, the vitamin pills couldn’t stand the humid weather and they started cracking, and I suppose my chocolate bar was repeatedly melted and hardened again it was very rough to taste and I didn’t like it ( it was from a prestige brand with a long to go until expiration date it shouldn’t have tasted like that). I also noticed the books and some other stuff don’t handle the humidity very well. How do you manage?

    Thanks for your input and I await your reply!

    • says

      Hey, thanks for checking this out! At the time of writing this guide, I was living this way, and it was a very good way for me to live – I had everything I needed, and I could save money, as well as not make much money while I was investing time into blogging and other online projects. No, I didn’t even have a fridge, but if I wanted something cold, I’d just grab a bag of ice from the market or 7/11. However, times for myself have changed a bit – mainly getting married! So I’m not living like this anymore, I’m spending more money. However, this guide is definitely still possible!

  85. Cristoir says

    Hey Mark :)

    A friend and I will be starting with the SE Asia lifestyle in June 2014 – We plan to travel around a lot but it sounds like a great idea to use Bangkok as a base camp. What kind of Visa would I need to apply for? is it an ordinary tourist visa?
    Are there any particular parts of the city you would recommend renting in?


  86. says

    I decided to live in Bangkok after reading your post. Stucking with a stable life in 1 country for 22 years makes me feel tired. But your useful info makes me believe that I can change my life.
    Thanks so much

  87. says

    I am a Vietnamese girl. I wanna try a new life in Bangkok around 1 year. How can I get the multiple entry 1 year visa in Thailand? Because I won’t work for any company in Thailand so I am afraid that I can’t get visa there.

    • Nico says

      Hey Nhung. Maybe you could consider the ED visa, a 1 year visa for people coming to learn Thai language. There are many schools offering this year lessons + visa for about 24k-25k baths. If you can afford to pay for this year lesson session than you could stay a year in Thailand without visa problems and start learning to speak Thai (a must). :)

  88. Joakim says

    I saw this post and it’s awesome!

    I just have 1 question, what about health insurance? Which do you have/prefer and the cost.

    • says

      Hey Joakim, no this price guide doesn’t include insurance, it’s mainly a guide for “actual” living costs – house, food, water. I have a separate expat insurance.

  89. says

    Hey Mark,

    Thank you for sharing these invaluable information, it´s very useful for everyone who things that travel is only for rich people.

    I will follow for now on your post, that are very interesting.

    Have a great time.

  90. Nico says

    Hey Mark !
    Thanks for your interesting infos here !
    Planning to move for some months i was mainly thinking about my monthly cost of living and also finding a good but <10k bath appartment.
    You made me beleive i could be able to find that as just as you i'mnot an AC guy and a lover of Thai street food 😉
    Anyway will check the rest of your blog as i just discovered it through this post.
    In which part of Bkk are you staying?
    Oh and I thought consecutives tourist visas were now not easily given after 6 month a year stay… Never had any problems with that ?
    Hope you're still doing good, thanks again for your infos

    • says

      Hey Nico, good to hear from you. Yah, you’ll be able to get a decent place for under 10,000 THB, and can get one in a good location. Now, I’m in the Bang Na area of Bangkok. About the visa, so far I haven’t had any problems…

      All the best with the move!

  91. Rain says

    Mark! Your blog is really useful for me. I can get more information from it. I plan to go to live in Thailand with my lover soon. I am looking for a comfortable place with acceptable price for living. I worry about money to spend in Thailand. I just want to live in the area where have Cambodian people there. During that I want to take Thai language course with acceptable price. I would like to ask you how can I find a job at there also? I am waiting for your response. Thanks.

  92. says

    Hi Mark

    Great “Live like a VIP” article, as usual.

    Mark, could you please name one or three great, cool, more quiet, leafy neighborhoods to live in, in Bangkok?

    Thank you very much, Mark


      • Nico says

        Great to hear that Mark as Ari was indeed where i planned to look 1st for an appartment end of feb.
        I like its quietness while close to lifefull areas and with victory monument really close too via BTS.
        Though i’m not sure about how easy to find a not expensive one as all i’ve seen for now through internet are often 10k and more a month… Anyway i’m still having hope to find something there and a friend already told me about a 7k app.
        Oh and if you’d be in Bkk in the next months i’ll be happy to meet you around for a drink and of course a typical meal like the “boat noodles” 😉 Ciao!

  93. says

    Hi Mark,
    I enjoy your Blog. To live simple in Thailand or the Philippines sounds great but I’m spoiled and need more in my life. I have been living in Great hotels around the world for 8 years now and truly enjoy the luxury. I love good hotel restaurants, big beds with fresh sheets every day and CNN. Keep writing..great job.

  94. paul stevenson says

    Hi mark
    im in bangkok in october for 3 months my cousin lives there im backpacking around laos cambodia vietnam china south korea & japan finishing in august 2015 im looking to rent in bangkok from aug 2015 could you recommend a decent clean apartment to rent like u do or your friends do
    thanks paul

    • says

      Hey Paul, great to hear you’ll be coming to Thailand and traveling around Asia for a while. As for places to stay, you could check out Attawimol Place, an apartment near Victory Monument that costs around 5,000 THB per month. Otherwise I would recommend just doing some walking around once you arrive, and stopping in at some places, where you’ll be able to find 3000 – 4000 THB per month places. Also you could do some searching on sites like Hope this helps!

      • paul stevenson says

        Hi mark
        thanks for info on rental in bangkok
        I know your very busy mate I sent u a message on chinese visa
        could yiu give me as much info as u have
        thanks paul

  95. Sabeen says

    Hi Mark,

    Good to read your page.

    I need your advice for myself. I am a Pakistani, I am going to live with my Girl friend in Ban bung Chonburi Thailand, they all do hotel business there. I am also interested to start small business there. I am going at the end of March, I want bring something with me to sale there, not in big quantity but in small as a sample. I can have a stall near their restaurant but i don’t know what i can sale there?

    Please suggest.



  96. Jonas says

    Hi buddy

    Thanks for the article, really helpful!

    I’m going to Bangkok for the 2nd time next month and wondered:

    Where do you find landlords for studio apartments for $108 a month? Want the same when I go there :-)

    Thank you.


      • Nico says

        Hey Mark, hey Jonas!
        I just arrived in Bkk a few days ago and after 2 days of (slow) walks to check studios around Victory monument we found ours.
        There were quite a lot of available places to stay so i just confirm what was sayin Mark just walk around and check…
        Now here the prices are a bit higher cause at 5mns walk from the bts but i really like the area, with lots of food stalls around.
        So it started at 6000 baths with a lot of them around 7500 baths for a 25 to 30 sqm studio “a la thai”.
        Enjoy your stay Jonas!

        • says

          Hey Nico, good to hear from you. Glad you found a place near Victory Monument. When I first lived in Bangkok for the first 2 years, I also lived about a 10 minute walk from Victory Monument, and I think we paid about 5000. Good price in a good location!

  97. Tom says

    Hi Mark

    I have the option to retire in 2 and a half years at the age of 56 and on the current exchange rate I believe my monthly income (index linked) from pensions would be in the region of 61,000 Bht per month after UK taxes. Is this more than sufficient, can you think of any emergencies that might result in a shortfall.

    I note the requirement for visa runs but assume that this is affordable within my budget.

    Finally – is this the sort of life for a young person or would it also suit a man of 56 (non drinker, non smoker and no interest whatsoever in Ladies/Men of the night or ladyboys :-))

    I lived in the far east for 6 years while serving with the forces and have always wanted to return as it is such a beautiful and friendly area.

    • says

      Hey Tom, great to hear from you and glad you’re considering retiring in Thailand. With 61,000 you can live very comfortably in Bangkok, or in any other city in Thailand. The lifestyle here, might be a bit better for a younger person, but a more suitable condo or even house in Thailand can run anywhere from 8,000 – 15,000. So you could get a nicer place with more space. And then it sounds like mostly just small necessities and food. I think on you budget you’ll have well enough for a pretty good lifestyle in Thailand. All the best!

  98. says

    HI, I am planning to take up an offer in Bangkok. The package seemed great at 120000 Baht per month, but now I am finding out that even with that i can’t afford kid’s education. Most of the english medium schools that I checked out are charging close to 400,000 baht for kindergarten. That seems insanely expensive to me

    • says

      Hey Soumya, good to hear from you. Hmm, yes I think private education can be quite pricey in Bangkok. But I really personally don’t have any experience yet with schools. Hope you can work it out.

    • says

      Hi Bruce,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You have every right to disagree with my article. I didn’t delete your comment because you disagree with what I said, I deleted it because you used bad language, which I don’t allow on my site.

      If you’d like to re-leave a disagreeing comment with acceptable language, I’d be happy to accept it.

      Also, in the article I don’t say it’s going to be a VIP luxury life for everyone – the article is only showing how it’s possible to live off $285 per month, and enjoy life. In the article I clearly state the guidelines of the budget and that I live on the outskirts of Bangkok. No, it’s not the lifestyle for everyone. Money is not the only thing that makes happiness.

      My intent is not to make any disagreements with anyone, but to just demonstrate what’s possible. There are many in the world who would consider it a privilege to live in a place as nice as Thailand for $285 per month.

      You’ve been living in Bangkok for 7 years now? Where are you from? Are you based here permanently, working?

      Hope you’re doing alright.


  99. Juna says

    HI! I just recently came across your blog and I am desperately seeking for an apartment as cheap as the one you’re in, to stay for a month. May I know where this is? I can’t seem to find your email. :( Thanks! I will be moving on the end of May.

    • says

      Hey Juna, good to hear from you. Will you be sharing with anyone? 2000 by yourself is pretty low, the conditions won’t be very good, and you’ll probably have to sign a 6 month contract with 3 months down payment. Look in some areas outside of town, maybe about Mo Chit or Bang Na. All the best.

  100. Heidi says

    Thank you for this site. As one of the nomads you mentioned since 2003, it’s been very useful in planning my move to Thailand last month.
    I had to laugh at your major expense being food, that’s mine too! FOOOOOOOD!!!!

  101. mosabbir says

    wow..that’s lovely..would you mind to share me the location of your place so that i can give a shot….??? so much thanks

  102. Jodie Gibson says

    Hi Mark,

    It’s so refreshing to hear so many amazing things about Thailand! I am currently living in South Africa and I’m seriously considering moving to Thailand next year to do the whole teaching English course for 6 months to a year. Do you still live there? I would love to know more about it all, please please please email me!

    Thanks so much, I have many questions if you dont mind answering.

    • says

      Hi Jodie, great to hear from you. Yes, I currently live in Thailand. It’s a great country, and despite the recent political situation, things are very peaceful and life continues on as normal. I think coming to teach English in Thailand would be a wonderful idea. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  103. says

    Thank you so much for posting this,

    I am moving to Thailand from Canada and I am afraid of the culture shock and temperature difference.

    Your videos and information are helping me a lot. Thank you.

  104. John D says

    great blog here.. i’ve been in Thailand alot . so just wondering when you apply for your double entry 2 month tourist visas in cambodia , which city or entry point in cambodia do usually do this at if you don’t mind saying ?

      • John D says

        That’s great and thanks for your quick reply. Its good to know that one can still get double entry tourist visa in Phnom Penh, but that must be a grueling long ride if you took a bus overland from Thailand to get there. Its not too far to the Cambodian border, but then getting all the way to Phnom Penh…. Did you take the long overland trip by bus when you went there?

        • says

          Hey John, the last time I went to Phnom Penh I stopped for a few nights in Siem Reap, to break up the ride. Yah, taking it all in a single journey would be a pretty long trip.

  105. Dilip kumar says

    Hello, I m from india, i want to know something about bangkok, i want to stay in bangkok for sometimes, how much cost in USD per month i have to manage? can you give me some idea?

  106. Ernest says

    Haha hi Mark din know I would bump into u here. Saw u on youtube. May I know which part of Bangkok is cheap? Thanx…

    • says

      Hey Ernest, good to hear from you. Basically anywhere you get out of the main part of the city, and away from the BTS or MRT – you could try Mo Chit / Chatuchak, Lat Phrao, Bang Na, or somewhere across the river in Thonburi. All the best.

  107. Ling says

    Hey, I’m planning to stay in bangkok or phuket for awhile on my trip coming up in a month. Came across your post. Any idea how or where can I find a place to rent? Been searching but no luck. :(

    Great post by the way!

    • says

      Hi Y, yes it’s still doable as long as you live a bit outside of the city center, and as long as you have some self control when it comes to spending. You can do it.

  108. Mort says

    Mark – Glad to see you are still answering this FANTASTIC article you wrote.

    I will be spending hours reading all your other articles, comments and your videos.

    I found you when I GOOGLED – monthly cost to have bottled filtered water delivered to your apartment in Bangkok Thailand.

    I am glad you mentioned the fact that everyone should learn basic Thai Language and of course – other must haves are – dual dictionary – dual book of store signs, road signs, etc. – guide books, maps, etc. Where I live in USA – there is a large Vietnamese Buddhist Monastery with a Retreat – that is open to public for services and 3 day stays, daily tours, etc.

    The area has always had a large Asian population of mostly Thai and Vietnamese for several decades – but also others from all SE and Asian countries. I am hoping to meet someone there that I could hire to tutor me in basic Thai language. Then of course I would take language courses once I arrived in Bangkok.

    I only want to live in a unfurnished 2 bedroom apt. or condo building in as safe an area of Bangkok proper available – but really there is no safe place in any town or city now-a-days. The 2nd bedroom would be my computer, hobby room as I will be living with no roommates – at least 4 floors up for safety from most burglars – and flooding as we both know how it floods there – and buying or paying a local to make me a sturdy rope ladder in case of fires. Even though I am thrifty – my expenses are going to be much higher per month.

    Have questions that I would be very grateful – if you can answer for me – either here or send me a private email when you have the time. No hurry as I will be leaving in in July or Aug 2015 – before the full monsoon season.

    1. cost for high speed internet per month per computer
    2. is the price still around 1 Baht per liter – 19 Baht per 5 gallons – of bottled filtered water you buy and carry home
    3. cost to have each 5 gallons of bottled filtered water delivered to your apt. door.
    Which I would also use for cooking unless I can buy stage 4 faucet filters and extra cartridges for. I allow for 4 liters
    a day – just over 1 gallon – so that is 120 liters a month.
    4. is the cost to have laundry done – wash, dry, fold, on hangers, etc. still around 40 Baht per kilo – what a friend paid a couple of years ago. I was told that Thai do not want farang doing laundry in their coin laundries – machines. And the drop off laundries in apt. buildings and hotels are too expensive at 20 baht or more for each piece – not including bedding. Of course – I would much rather find and pay a local resident – even if higher – so I do not have to worry about lost clothing and no fabric softener, etc. being used and me supplying the detergent I want used.
    5. the water heater you said you used to heat your coffee – is that a hand held immersion type – metal prongs on end of an electrical cord – or is it a 4 cup or 6 cup electrical water kettle – or other appliance.
    6. my electrical expenses are going to be much higher because – I MUST have air conditioning as I cannot stand any humid, rainy or hot weather when relaxing at home – sleeping – or stuck in traffic in vehicles or buses – or going long distances, etc. Out shopping and sightseeing, etc. is of course OK.
    7. I also must have Hot water for showers – even if I have to take a shower earlier or later than the peak times.
    8. plus being a vegan – I would rather buy local vegetables, fruits, berries, roots, flowers, tea leaves, fungus, mushrooms, seaweed, spices, rice, grains, nut milks, seed milks, etc. from the locals instead of from stores – or make my own milks and non-mammal and non-animal yogurt – and cook my own food instead of going to restaurants or buying from street vendors unless I know they are total vegan. And yes – I know the Thai language for – organic – GMO Free, vegan, no mammal, no animal, no meat, etc. and also have it printed on a cheater card – in case my accent is poor.
    I have purchased the majority of my food items from local Asian markets for decades and only use Telephone Brand
    Agar-Agar from Thailand along with many other products from Thailand.
    So – I need an apartment with a large enough kitchen for a stove with an oven, a refrigerator, cabinets and either counters to place an – ice maker, rice maker, and other small appliances I use – on – or I will buy a long table to use for same.
    9. And of course – I will not be driving myself – but I also want a private parking space for co-worker’s and friends to park when visiting.
    10. also if not allowed to have a bicycle in my apt – then I would need a small – lockable – storage area at the end of the parking space or elsewhere on the premises.
    11. I do not smoke tobacco products or anything else – or do any illegal drugs – or drink alcohol – and I do not frequent night clubs unless it is for a party, wedding, etc.
    12. my entertainment money would be for going to museums, sightseeing, live theater, restaurants, bubble tea aka boba tea and going to all the great markets in Bangkok, books, chess, mahjong and other hobbies of mine.
    13. I will be buying all small appliances, etc. I need once I get there – only bringing my laptop, amateur radio base equipment, metal detecting equipment, backpacks, hiking and camping equipment.
    14. Also do you know if Organic – GMO Free – vegetables, fruits, berries, rice grains and other foods, etc. are easy to find in Bangkok or not.

    Thank you so much for your time.

  109. jostence says

    Will 900 usd be good to live thare and have a nice apt i am a hermit i buy food and thsts it invest the rest also. I am wondering if i like it why cant i get a longer stay say for 2 or 4 years with out issues

  110. Randy says

    Retired U.S. veteran want to move to Thailand in a couple of month, are there many U.S. vets living there? Hope to meet you when I arrive there. Thanks for the blog

  111. nasi says

    Hi Mark.

    I just found your blog and specially the Cost of living in Bangkok post and really am amazed. I am currently planning of a 3 month trip to Bangkok and have small budget for it as i am in between work t the moment. I was wondering if you are still in Bangkok and if the cost is the same or hiked up? also just to ask, I know you said that renting flats always need a 2 month deposit , is that the standard or can one get away with 1 month or no deposit?


  112. says

    Mark, that is some detailed first hand experience guide I would say. I was planning for my trip, and doing a search when I got this info.

    I am flying on 21st of this month will share my experience when I’ll b eback.

    Best wishes,

  113. Raju says

    Hello Mark,
    Really I appreciate your helping especially for foreigners by giving your advices.
    I also want your help regarding my stay at bangkok. Could you please let me know the average expenses per month for me, my wife and daughter. Also is it safe place to live with family. My daughter is 2 years old, she can adjust to that weather. I also got one opportunity in Rayong what do you suggest, Bagkok or Rayong.
    Thank you very much in advance.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


  114. martin says


    Thats definitely budget !! Here in Pattaya for 8000 Baht a month you would get a nice condo(hot n cold water), balcony,swimming pool , TV with Cnn etc .

    So it all depends on what you want…add a few beers every evening and 1000 USD a month is becoming normal !

  115. Maria Alberto says

    Hello Mark,

    Can you explain the process of migrating to Thailand if you can. Some country do not have too many restrictions like the Phillipines; do you have to leave the country every year and step right back in to renew the visa in Thailand. I am debating where to go… Thailand is way cheaper than the Phillipines. Thank You.

    • says

      Hi Maria, hmm, I guess it depends on where you’re originally from, where your passport is from, and what your motives are. Do you plan to move to Thailand permanently, or just for a couple years. You could start a business, be a student, or be on a tourist visa. Is overall cost of living cheaper in Thailand than in the Philippines?

  116. ASEANApat says

    It is almost always assumed that everyone on the internet is in their 20’s.

    That the poster did not mention medical insurance or costs gives away that he is young and thinks he is invincible.

    This post is great if your back can tolerate sleeping on a traditional SEAsian bedding mat on a concrete floor in an unairconditioned room whilst being bitten by insects. There are mosquitoes, and many types of ants that bite. The budget does not include a small 110cc motobike, something that nearly everyone in SEA owns. There is no airconditioning, which is a necessity to anyone not young.

    You are thinking comfort. To someone not 20-something, aircon is a medical necessity in the 35C heat and 70% humidity of SEAsia.

    Water. You will need to drink many litres of water per day, chilled from a local seller is best to help cool you down.

    I live in SEAsia and have lived in other Asian nations. This post is extremely misleading and the ‘VIP’ word should be removed as it borders on lying.

    A more common budget would be a total of $500 to $600 a month for someone living in a modest 2 br furnished apartment $300 and spending $300 a month of food and sundry. To live in a nicer apartment would be $500, and then up the food to $500 a month. On $1,000 a month, you will live a very comfortable life in most of SEA. Don’t forget major medical insurance and exvacuation coverage. Anything small you can afford out of pocket.

    To *actually* live like a VIP in SEA requires this:

    -$1500 to $3000 per month for a serviced modern condo in a new tower hi-rise with security, a garage, an elevator, furnished and with all mod cons. Alternatively you can buy one for $200k to $500k USD.
    -$750 a month for food to dine out at the many western -style restaurants that charge $20 for a plate.
    -$75k to buy a new or lightly used modern imported SUV.

    That’s how VIP’s really live in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

  117. Pete says

    this post must be a joke. youre not living like a “VIP” youre living like an unskilled factory worker or 7/11 clerk scraping by on minimum wage… and at least those guys have a huge family to share the costs

    for someone who claims to love food dont you ever want to eat at a nice restauarant instead of low quality street food all day? also what about costs for visa and health insurance? somehow all these “live on 1 cent a day” posts always conveniently seem to ignore those cost factdors

    to each his own mate but it rather go back home and get a proper job instead living such a miserable existence

  118. James McCabe says

    Excellent post! You should seriously write a book. I met a man on a bus in Thailand(retired military) that told me “you need $3,000/month to retire in Thailand.” I have a buddy who lives in Pattaya for less than $1,000 (and who drinks way too much). Mark, you’ve answered the question that many writers about Thai living have not- how little could you reasonably survive on in Thailand. When I travel alone, I like to see how little I can spend. There are many scams in Thailand: jewelry stores, inflated train tickets, tuk-tuks drivers overcharging, etc. But the studio apartments, fruits/vegetables/street food, city buses, water from purification machines, phone cards, cheap Internet plans that you cite are the answer and many expatriates don’t understand them
    . I spend too much on: espresso coffee, Italian restaurants, tours (bungee, ATV, white water rafting) when visiting Thailand. I usually visit Thailand annually, and may retire there someday.

  119. Ismail says

    Sawasdee khrap Mark ( : kob khun khrap for all information about Thailand and Thai culture & foods..Ive been 5 times in Thailand (bangkok, pattaya, phuket) after this trips, Im in love for everyhing in Thailand as you do..I just want to ask you a few question because you lived in bangkok more than me..

    * which is the dangerous places or areas or sois in day & in night in bangkok? (Because a gang (a few young boy) got robbed my friend 2am in night in suttisan area in bangkok) if i know, whih areas is safe, i would go to this outskirts and looking for apartment for me..

    * you got married with a suay mak Thai girl..i saw ur wedding photos in facebook..i hope, you will be happy all ur life Mark! Im wondering one thing this case: did u give any sin sod or dowry to the girls’s family? & are u supporting her parents or sister (sending money)? I met a few Suay mak Thai girl in bangkok, everything going to be serious and girls’s family want me 300.000 baht for sin sod (dowry) after all, they asked me support money every month between 5000-8000 baht) this is too much cost to me because im not a rich guy :(

    * & finally Thai foods, i just want to ask u one question..Are the vendors selling hygienic foods? Because if not hygienic food, after we eat, we got sick..u know everything is open in the street..dusts are coming to the food and we will eat all this foods..look perfect but is it hygienic? Thank u for set up this site..

  120. says

    I’m hopping your fiancé likes traveling to?! I wish you the best ! Many more far far travels!
    Keep up your smiling! Your Enthusiasm! your blessed & have blessed the youtube Community! Thanks!

  121. says

    Hey,dude, mark,whats going on in thialand as of 7/15/15, well myself and my wife are planning on moving to thialand for ever. So what about a pass port, do we still have to get a visa? Can we live on 2200 dollars a month around the Chiang mai area,and is it a guiet area, because we both are up in ages, but not dead?


  1. […] Living in Bangkok, I’m used to eating insane amounts of fruit for cheap. Fruit in Seoul on the other hand can be quite pricey. 1 stalk of banans runs around 3,000 Won ($2.63) while oranges cost around 5,000 Won ($4.38) for 6. Strawberry’s were the best deal when I was there, for 3,000 Won ($2.63) per box. Itaewon […]

  2. […] How To Live Like a VIP in Bangkok for $285.06 Per Month IO: I have an article coming out soon on the cost of living in Bangkok. This is someone living on the somewhat extreme end of things (for a foreigner anyway), but it’s a great breakdown of what type of lifestyle you can have on little money, and an excellent example for leading a simple, fulfilling life. Interesting website overall too. […]

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