Cost of Living May/June 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rent: Basic room near my CrossFit gym and the cool Nimmanheim area of town that I enjoy hanging out and eating out at. 5-10 minutes away from the main city center. The room is large, clean, has a small bar area with separate sink, a balcony, private western style bathroom, and a king sized bed. It also has air conditioning which I never use.
Monthly rental cost: 3,750 baht ($125US)
WiFi - 300 baht ($10US)
Utilities (Electric and Water) - 450 baht ($15US)
Cell Phone/Laundry/Cleaning/Random Things: 650 baht ($22US)
Subtotal for Rent and Bills: 5,150 baht ($171 US)
Breakfast: 30-60 baht ($1-$2US) for a fresh coconut and some eggs or Thai food at the local stalls and market.
Lunch: 120 baht ($4US) for a large chicken and avocado salad at Salad Concept or Grilled Chicken/Pork at a Thai Restaurant. You can also have stir fried Thai food as pictured on the left for 40-50 baht ($1.70US)
Dinner: Thai BBQ buffets are 129-149 baht ($5US) all you can eat. A rack of ribs at 3 Little Pigs, which is an American owned BBQ restaurant with amazing ribs costs 280 baht ($9.33US) and for the same price you can have all you can eat Sushi and Sashimi. These are the most expensive restauants in town with the exception of high end 5 star resorts. Most people spend less than 120 baht a night on dinner at Thai restaurants and even the nicest ones generally cost less than 200 baht ($6.66US) per person.
Beer and Alcohol is lot cheaper in Thailand than in the U.S. with a large beer averaging 60-80 baht ($2.50US) at bars. You can go out and spend $100US a night on alcohol which I'm sure some people do. But I personally don't drink often, only on special occasions.
Subtotal for Monthly Food Costs:
Breakfast 50 baht (average) x 30 days = 1,500 baht
Lunch 120 baht (average) x 30 days = 3,600 baht
Dinner 180 baht (average) x 30 days = 5,400 baht
Total Monthly Food Costs: 10,500 baht ($350US)
In the book 12 Weeks in Thailand I go into detail how I always buy a scooter/motorbike and sell it for around the same price as I bought it for when I leave, making transportation essentially free minus the cost of petrol/gasoline. On average I fill up my tank once a week for 100 baht.
Total Monthly Petrol Costs: 400 baht ($13.33US)
Upgrades and Add Ons:
CrossFit Membership (Monthly Unlimited) - 2,600 baht per month ($87US)
Pun Space Co-Working Office Space Membership - 3,499 per month ($116US) -
Upgraded 1-Bedroom Apartment with Kitchen, Living Room, Flat Screen TVs, and Sofas - 8,000 to 16,000 baht more than a basic room ($266US to $533US more)
Total Costs for my Upgraded Life including living in a designer furnished apartment, going to CrossFit six days a week, and having 24/7 access to a great office space: 14,099 baht ($469US more) making the Grand total $1,004US for living a luxury life in Chiang Mai with all of the amenities. Or $1,270US a month to stay in a 4 star hotel suite per month.
(Expect your electricity bill to be a lot higher when staying in these units if you use your airconditioning, up to $100US a month extra)
Things not included in this price: Flight, Airfare, Visa Costs, Alcohol, Clothes, Toiletries, Vacations, etc.
"Thank you Johnny! I really did not think it would be possible to move to thailand. I was nervous but your book describes every step so well! Thanks again for inspiring me to make the move!" - Will Sunderland