Posted Date: March 11, 2021
Thailand is known for its temples, white sandy beaches, and incredible food. But it’s also known as being one of the most affordable places to live and travel.
From rent prices as low as $300 per month, it’s no wonder nomads and remote workers flock to Thailand.
This guide will provide you with an estimate on transportation, rent, food, activities, insurance, and phone plan costs. By the end of the article, you’ll have a good idea of the cost of living in Thailand for a month.
Let’s get started!
First things first, when you arrive in Thailand, you will receive an immigration stamp that lets you stay in Thailand for 30 days. This means from the day you arrive, you can only stay in Thailand for 30 days, otherwise you will get penalized for overstaying your visa.
If you would like to stay longer than 30 days, then you can apply for an extension at the Thai Immigration Office. The fee is 1,900 Baht ($62) for the extension. You will need to apply for this before your initial 30 days are expired.
This is important to note because if you do plan to stay in Thailand for one month, then you will need to make sure that you are staying no longer than 30 days at a time.
For those of you that would like to stay in Thailand longer than a month or two, you can apply for a 60 day tourist visa before arriving in Thailand. Once you are there, you can extend that visa for another 30 days, giving you a total of 90 days in Thailand. The fee to extend your tourist visa is also 1,900 Baht ($62).
Our Experience Living in Thailand for One Month
In 2019, we traveled around Thailand for one month. Our itinerary took us from the busy streets of Bangkok to the ruins at Ayutthaya to the hills of Chiang Rai.
We mostly stayed in Airbnb’s with the exception of one night when we stayed in a hostel. We signed up for a few activities – like an elephant sanctuary and a cooking class. Other than that, we just rented scooters and rode around to different waterfalls, hot pots, and temples.
For food, we ate at street carts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food in Thailand is incredible! I thought I knew what “good” Thai food tasted like until we got to Thailand. Yep, it’s that much better.
So how much did our month around Thailand cost us?
~$2,600 for the two of us. ~$1,300 per person.
Accommodation cost us ~$700 for the month. Our average cost per night though was around $22/night, which is pretty average for Thailand.
Overall, we are middle-of-the-road spenders, in between hostel life and hotel life. We always travel on a budget but try to maximize our experience at the same time.
Note – The rest of the numbers in this guide will be based off of one person unless otherwise noted.
Accommodation in Thailand
Accommodation is one of the main expenses that impacts the cost of living in Thailand.
The cost of accommodation in Thailand depends on where you live and how often you plan on traveling around.
If you are traveling around, then the cost of accommodation will go up because you won’t be able to get any long-term stay discounts. If you plan on staying in one place for a month, then your cost will go down because sites like Airbnb offer discounts for monthly stays.
If you are traveling around Thailand, you can expect to spend between $600-$800 for one month’s worth of accommodation.
Of course, there are always cheaper places and more expensive places, but this is how much you can expect to spend if you are on a budget but aren’t a broke backpacker.
Here’s an example of how much an apartment on Airbnb costs In Thailand – this is how much we would feel good about spending per night:
- Bangkok – $25/night
- Chiang Mai – $22/night
- Phuket – $25/night
One place for the month
On average, you can expect to spend between $400-$600 per month for a decent place.
Here’s a few examples of monthly prices:
- Bangkok – $300-$750/month, on average you can find a decent place for $500
- Chiang Mai – $300 – $750/month, you should be able to get a place with a pool for $500.
- Phuket – $400-$900, on average you can get a nice place for $600-$700
The Thai islands are much more expensive than up north. If you plan to stay on Phi Phi island, Koh Samui, or Krabi, you can expect to spend at least $600+ for accommodation per month. If you want a nice house, you’ll be spending at least $1,000+, which isn’t bad if you think about renting a villa with a pool for a month.
Food in Thailand
Food in Thailand is very affordable, and by that, I mean it’s really cheap. We spent on average around $1-$3 per meal in Thailand.
We ate at street carts or local restaurants for all of our meals and snacked on local fruits or treats from 7/11 throughout the day.
Here’s a breakdown on the costs of food:
- Street cart/local restaurant – $1-$3 (30-90 Thai Baht) per meal
- Nicer restaurant – $4-$8 (120-250 Thai Baht)
- Ice Cream cone – 50 cents (15 Thai Baht)
- Cappucino – $2 (60 Thai Baht)
- Bag of fresh fruit – $1 – $1.70 (30-50 Thai Baht)
- Local beer – $1.70 (50 Thai Baht)
- Bananas (1lb) – $0.50 (15 Thai Baht)
- 1.5L waterbottle – $0.50 -$0.65 cents (17-20 Thai Baht)
Expect to spend $10-$15 per day max if If you plan on eating at local restaurants or street carts.
If you want to go really cheap, then you can definitely spend $8 or less.
For nicer restaurants, I would plan for at least $15+ per day.
Transportation in Thailand
Transportation around Thailand is affordable and convenient. I was surprised by how cheap it is to get around.
Once we got to a destination for a few days, we would always rent a scooter and just drive around. It’s much cheaper than taking tuk tuks around all day and it’s add a level of adventure to the trip.
Here are a few examples of how much it costs to get around:
- Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai – $45-$60 round trip, $22 one way.
- Overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai – $37-$57, if you book ahead online. If you book in person, it’s cheaper. We paid about $30 per person at the train station for an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
- Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai (4 hour ride) – $7
- Daily scooter rental – $5-$8/day (150-250 Thai Bbaht)
- Monthly scooter rental – $80-$150 / month depending on location
- A tank of gas for scooter – $3-$3.50
- Taxi – ~$5 for shorter distances
- Tuk Tuk – $3 – $4 for shorter distances
Activities in Thailand
The cost of activities will totally depend on what you want to do. We planned a few big activities (elephant sanctuary + cooking class), but other than that we just rented a scooter and traveled around to different temples and hiked to waterfalls.
There are a lot of low-cost activities in Thailand. Entrances to temples are around $1, and you can always rent a scooter and drive around to different locations for the day.
Here’s how much some of these activities cost:
- Full day elephant sanctuary $78 per person
- Full day cooking class $48 per person
- Full day snorkeling tour of Phi Phi islands – $55
- Temple entrance – $1 – $1.60
The number of activities you do will greatly impact your cost of living in Thailand. If you are wanting to spend less money, see if you can cut out any expensive activities and replace them with a more affordable alternative that is just as fun.
We always travel with health insurance, and you should too. You never know if something is going to happen, and you don’t want to be stuck with a huge medical bill in a foreign country.
On our trip around the world, we spent $272 per month for the two of us ($136 per person) for our insurance. We chose a plan that worked more like a typical insurance plan – it had a monthly payment and deductible.
We got our insurance through GeoBlue via Health Is International.
Here are a couple of other insurance options:
World Nomads has affordable travel insurance with extensive coverage – from health emergencies to lost baggage – they got you covered. It is important to note that World Nomads mainly covers emergencies – emergency medical and dental, emergency transportation, emergency evacuation, etc.
I have used World Nomads a couple of times now and have been happy with my experience. You can buy insurance from weekly trips up to 180 days at a time.
Standard plan – ~$115/month
Explorer plan – ~ $205/month
Safety Wing is a newer insurance company on the market, and I have read a lot of positive reviews from other travelers. There a couple of options – the nomad plan is like basic travel and medical insurance. The remote worker plan is traditional insurance – covers you for appointments, routine care, treatments, etc.
Nomad travel plan – $40/month
Remote plan – $153/month
Overall, insurance costs are anywhere between $40 – $205/ month per person.
Phone Plan in Thailand
You will also want to budget a phone plan into your monthly expenses.
We mainly used local SIM cards in Thailand because they were affordable and worked really well. The SIM card cost us around $8 for 2-weeks worth of data, so you can expect to pay around $15-$20 for a month of coverage in Thailand.
You can purchase local SIM cards at the airport when you arrive. Otherwise, you should be able to find them at convenience stores.
Google Fi is another mobile phone plan option. This is mainly for U.S. customers since you have to activate the plan in the U.S. in order to use it. With Google Fi, you get coverage in over 200 countries without having to change out your SIM card. Google Fi connects to the fastest local network once you land in a new country.
For one person, it’s $35/month for unlimited data (minimum of 3 months). Or $20/month + $10/GB of data used.
The price goes down a bit if you add other users onto your plan. So if you can share a plan with someone, it’s better for both of your wallets.
Overall, except to pay between $15-$35 per month on a phone plan.
Cost of Living in Thailand for One Month
Now that we have all of the different costs covered. What is the cost of living in Thailand for one month?
I would expect to spend anywhere between $1,000 – $1,500 as a budget traveler. Remember, this guide is not for broke backpackers, nor is it for fancy folks.
Here’s an example of how much an average budget traveler might spend:
Accommodation – $600
Food – $350
Transportation – $150
2 Expensive Activities – $130
A few less expensive activities – $50
Insurance – $115
Phone Plan – $15
Total Cost – $1,410
If you plan on traveling with friends or with a partner and can share accommodation, then your price per person will go down significantly.
This is meant to act as a general guide, so you can always tailor it to your itinerary if you plan to do more activities or stay in a nicer/cheaper place.
Let us know if you have any questions or tell us about your experience staying in Thailand long-term!
Hey you two!
Thank you so much for this post! I am going there soon with https://www.yachting.com/en-gb/thailand-yacht-charter and then I will stay there for few weeks!
Thanks for the info.