What’s The Cost of Living in Thailand for Americans?

Transport Tuk Tuk Bangkok Thailand Street

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Asia is becoming more and more popular as a retiring destination. The more Southeast Asia develops, the more foreigners it attracts, especially since it’s very affordable while being a beautiful exotic location. One person can live without financial worries on $2000/month. Those who budget carefully could even live with $1200-$1500/ month. Compared to the US, the cost of living in Thailand is 40% lower.

Thailand Housing & Utilities

The main reason why living in Thailand is more affordable than in the States is because housing is on average 60% cheaper. If you choose to live in the heart of Bangkok a one-bedroom apartment goes for $600-$650, but the surrounding areas offer apartments for half that price. If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, prices in Bangkok have been increasing and cheap properties are hard to find. However, if you consider living in Pattaya or Koh Samui, these areas have the most affordable prices, ranging from $750 to $850/sq ft. 

The price for utilities would, of course, fluctuate, but the average stays at $110 for electricity, water, garbage, and internet. To this, you will have to add the cost of a landline, mobile phone, or both. 

Groceries & Dining

Groceries will probably take the most out of your budget, even though prices are much lower than in the US (except milk and dairy products). Imported products are obviously more expensive than what you’re used to, but if you want to significantly lower your grocery bill then you should buy local products from markets. You can find almost everything if you learn where to look for it, but cooking at home will, in some cases, be more expensive than dining out.

A meal for one person at an inexpensive restaurant can be as low as $2, and a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost around $10. These prices are much lower than the ones in the USA, so dining out won’t be a luxury anymore if that’s what you enjoy doing.

How to get around Thailand?

The main form of transportation in Thailand is by bus and a big part of the population relies on it. A one way ticket costs 80 cents, and a monthly pass goes for up to $40. Trains are popular for those who want to travel between cities. One of the unique forms of transportation are the Tuk Tuks, vehicles with 3 wheels that are tourist attractions by themselves all over Southeast Asia. They’re not very expensive usually, but scammers operate their business using them. Regular taxis cost around $1.80/mile.

If you prefer driving around in your own car or in a rental, gas costs $3.50/ gallon. 

The average salary in Thailand is $616 a month, but if we look at an income of $1500 a month, your money will go more or less for the following:

  • Housing: 23%
  • Groceries: 37.8%
  • Utilities: 4.4%
  • Transportation: 15.8%
  • Dining out: 8.4%

The other 10.5% is a good chunk of your paycheck to spend on leisure or various necessities which makes Thailand an overall affordable country to live in if you’re on an American income.

If you visit Thailand, it would be worth your time to go to Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai.

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