Cost of living in Thailand Bangkok

Thailand is a kingdom situated in the subcontinent of South East Asia. Known as one of the fastest developing economies in Asia, Thailand is a hub for expatriates to settle in. The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. Where one US Dollar will typically make 30.3 Baht as of the current currency exchange. As a newcomer to the land, you may wonder about the cost of living. The cost of living in Thailand Bangkok, as like any other country, depends. This depends highly on the region you choose to live in, as well as your own habits.

As a foreign national living in Thailand for the first time, the first few months will not be easy to be frugal. This is because you may have to spend a lot of money to assimilate your lifestyle. Especially in terms of housing deposits and furniture. Moreover, you will also have to cover the costs of any relevant visa fees as needed.

According to the human development index, Thailand has a score of 0.755. This means that the country has a high standard of living. Moreover, Thailand has a GDP rank of 25th globally. This, is reflected by their GDP value of $504.900 billion. However, the cost of living in a new country is not simply dependent on their GDP and human index values, other factors are to be considered as well.

And most of these factors are based on an individual’s personal spending habits. However, one of the largest factors will always be the monthly cost of rent. Thailand is divided into four regions:

  • Northern Thailand
  • Central Thailand
  • Isan (Eastern Thailand)
  • Southern Thailand

In terms of cost, the Northern region is the cheapest. In turn, Central Thailand tends to run higher for costs. This could be due to the central region housing the capital of the country- Bangkok. Southern Thailand also is cheap in terms of cost of living. But it should be noted that not all regions offer the same in terms of utilities and other amenities.

When it comes to the cost of living, the easiest way for you to calculate an average amount would be to split costs into different groups. These can be generally the following: housing/accommodation, food, transport, utilities, leisure and entertainment, healthcare and childcare. Thus, the sum total of these costs would be the cost of living in Thailand Bangkok . For ease of reading each group will have a different section of the article dedicated to it.

Housing and accommodation

Housing/accommodation is one of the most variable factors when it comes to the cost of living. A one room apartment vs a house. A spot in the city’s center vs the outskirts of the city. All these variables are to be taken into account. For example, a high-rise apartment in Bangkok will be much more expensive than a small house in Southern Thailand. If the cost of accommodation is too high, you may always consider sharing a space with a roommate.

For comparison, a small studio apartment in Bangkok (outskirts) can cost up to 9000 baht a month. A similar apartment in Chiang Mi can be as low as 5000 baht a month.

Food and restaurants

Another unavoidable cost is food. However, it is also one that can vary depending on your individual habits. In general, doing groceries and cooking your own meals is much cheaper than eating out. However, this is not the case in Thailand. Where you will quickly find out that groceries are very expensive. Fortunately, meals from street vendors can be cheap.

However, in terms of more upscale restaurant’s costs can significantly be higher than groceries. Moreover, local dishes are oftentimes cheaper than other cuisines.

On general terms you may expect to pay a minimum of 10 baht per meal.


If one uses the public transport system, costs will be minimal. But if you use private cabs or your own transport, these costs will be exponentially higher.


Utilities such as electricity, water and internet are usually included in a rental package.  But otherwise they are relatively low.

Leisure and entertainment

Thailand is known as a shopping paradise. Where Bangkok alone has ultra-modern and sprawling shopping malls. As such, entertainment in Thailand is not hard to come by. However, depending on what you seek, this may run up your costs significantly. While there are several parks and museums that are free for all, cinemas and bars are much costlier. Especially if they are of close vicinity to the city center.


The costs of healthcare are moderate. Where a visit to a doctor can cost around 500 baht. But if you need to consult a specialist this may come to around 2500 baht.


If you are a family unit, you will need to take into account the cost of childcare and sin sod. This will include costs of daycare and schooling. You may also have to consider the services of a babysitter if needed.


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