Breakdown of living expenses in Bangkok
Bangkok is the only city where locals earning 9,000 baht ($270) live in a decent way. Housing in Bangkok is not as expensive as other cities. The affordable cost of living in Bangkok is one of the reason foreigners try to relocate themselves. On average Bangkok is cheaper to live than western cities, expats can experience great combination of luxury and convenience. It is very attractive when it comes to housing and food. People who aim on spending loads of money can easily do so in Bangkok. There is an exclusive market for rich with an increase in middle class, although majority of the population falls in poor side so there is large market at cheap rate which makes it more comfortable for expats.
Although it should be taken into account that most of the expensive areas in Bangkok are mainly expat areas and places such as Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui etc. are two times more expensive. As most of the Bangkok residents earn around 15,000-20,000 baht a month, which means that there is plenty of market and facilities to meet requirement of all budgets.
This is where we can drill down into:
The main expense when living somewhere is accommodation and Bangkok has a wide variety of accommodation suitable to your taste. Prices for space can range quite considerably throughout the city, depending on the location just as any other city around the world. Where larger condos and serviced apartment provide with great facilities and best location can range up to 70,000-90,000 baht a month for 2-bedroom furnished apartment. Though you can still find 20,000-30,000 baht accommodation in a type of townhouse or furnished apartment with swimming pool and gym. This will be little out of the city but will give same luxury and space in cheaper price. With BTS and MRT transportation it makes it convenient to travel within city.
You can also find reasonable good studio apartments in city close to the sky trains and underground trains for around 10,000 baht (plus or minus 2,000 baht). Living around Thai neighborhood is much more reasonable in Bangkok if you have a tight budget.
Usually expats spend on average of 15% of their salary in housing compared to 30% or 40% in the western cities.
There are a lot of restaurants in Bangkok, whether being street vendors, inexpensive established restaurants or fancy ones. It is very affordable when one considers broad availability of delicious and cheap local dishes. If you eat as a local, you can get by your day with breakfast, lunch and dinner in fewer than 250 baht counting couple of cuts fruits in break time.
A proper meal from street side vendor consisting of rice, meat and some vegetables including soft drink would cost around 50 baht. There are also upper scale restaurants for expats which will set you back over 1,000 baht for a dinner or two. There are plenty of venues to find decent food and western food is obviously going to be more expensive then local fare.
Transportation costs are among the best bargains in Bangkok. There is no need to own a private car in Bangkok unless you travel around the town in regular basis. Petrol price is about 30 baht for gasohol 91 and around 27 baht for diesel.
The cheapest way to travel long distance is to use bus or van, but best served are BTS Skytrain and MRT (underground train) with single ticket costing 15-42 baht. You can also purchase 15 or 30 trip passes which is valid for a month. Taxis which run on meter are also faired at good price. Price starting from 35 baht and charging 8 baht per km as you go on. Finally to avoid any long walk on hot day you can also take motorbikes which you can find in front of every street and takes you fast to your destination in budget depending on your destination.
However, the best way to travel in Bangkok is by a Boat Taxi. Thais have certainly utilized their dykes efficiently. Knowing that traffic is a major concern in Bangkok, these boats can go to almost all the places in the city centre to residential areas where buses would take almost double the time to get. So, boat taxis can go from The Mall Bangkapi to Pratunam in less than 45 minutes with only 20 baht. On the other hand, buses could take 2 hours.
You can go further in the boat taxi to old Bangkok (Thonburi or Khaosan road) areas to see the amazing temples of Bangkok.
In Thailand movie releases on Thursday with two main cinemas, Major and Sf cinema city. You can find both theaters in mostly all the malls / department stores in Bangkok. Movie tickets cost about 140-180 baht depending if you seating on deluxe or premium seats. Wednesday being a movie day where price fall to 90-100 baht. On Weekends the price could go up to 300 baht.
Water bill normally comes out to be around 150-200 baht; even if you use your own washing machine the charge won’t exceed over 200 baht. Whereas Electricity expense can range from place to place and mostly depends on the use of air-conditioner. The common range of electricity falls between 800 – 1800 baht per month for air conditioner in one bedroom. Make sure you get new air conditioners with 5-stars logo as older air conditioner consumes more energy. Service apartment or big condominiums can cost around 7 baht per unit whereas normal rented apartment would be around 3-4 baht.
If you prefer using landline then you can get that from TOT and True, who provides with their internet service. It charges 3 baht per call to any other landline in Bangkok for any duration of time. Although landline is rarely used now, mobile phones are more common devices and prices are quite reasonable. TRUE, DTAC and AIS are the main carriers with good packages fitting your needs. There are prepaid and post paid plans that you could choose from. You would need to register yourself before buying any sim in Thailand since new laws and regulations of the government.
Usually, one minute of calls cost 1 baht which also includes some minutes free in a package deal. On average the spending should not be more than 1,000 baht.
Internet is more like a compulsory item in your list of expense. Many serviced apartment and condos provide high speed internet which cost around 600 baht for 10 mbps. You can also get internet in form of Edge or 4G in your cellular device. There are different package costing around 300 baht or less for 1 GB of internet per month.
Best cable TV service you will get from is True Vision. Although, there are a lot more as well. You won’t feel that you are away from home (unless you really want to). They provide with normal, silver and gold packages which cost around 1,500-2,500 baht per month. It consists of around 50 channels including local and popular international ones such as ESPN, BBC, CNN, Star sports, AXN.
Example of a normal cost of living in Bangkok for expats
|Daily menu in the business district||150 ฿|
|Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar)||150 ฿|
|1/2 Kg (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast||75 ฿|
|1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk||80 ฿|
|12 eggs, large||75฿|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes||80 ฿|
|500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese||300 ฿|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of apples||90 ฿|
|2 kg (4,5 lb.) of potatoes||71 ฿|
|0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket||50 ฿|
|1 bottle of red table wine, decent quality||650 ฿|
|2 liters of Coca-Cola||50 ฿|
|Bread for 2 people for 1 day||50 ฿|
|Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area||35,000 ฿|
|Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 2 people in 85m2 flat||2,500 ฿|
|Internet 8MB (1 month)||700 ฿|
|40” flat screen TV||18,000 ฿|
|Microwave, known brand, 800/900 Watt||2,864 ฿|
|Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.)||175 ฿|
|Hourly rate for cleaning help||70 ฿|
|1 pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||2,500 ฿|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M, …)||750 ฿|
|1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas, or similar)||3,300 ฿|
|1 pair of leather business shoes||2,500฿|
|1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas||40 ฿|
|Monthly ticket public transport||1,000 ฿|
|Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 Km. (5 miles)||200 ฿|
|Medicine against cold for 6 days (Frenadol, Coldrex, …)||60 ฿|
|1 box of 32 tampons (Tampax, OB, …)||115 ฿|
|Deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.)||105 ฿|
|Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.)||80 ฿|
|4 rolls of toilet paper||50 ฿|
|Tube of toothpaste||60 ฿|
|Standard men’s haircut in expat area of the city||250 ฿|
|Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub||500 ฿|
|2 tickets to the movies||360 ฿|
|2 tickets to the theater (best available seats)||1,500 ฿|
|Dinner out for two in Italian restaurant with wine and dessert||1,800 ฿|
|1 cocktail drink in downtown club||250 ฿|
|Cappuccino in expat area of the city||100 ฿|
|1 beer in neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt.)||120 ฿|
|1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff (no discounts or plans)||1.90 ฿|
|1 month of gym membership in business district||3,000 ฿|
|1 package of Marlboro cigarette’s||85 ฿|