Cost of living in Chiang Mai

I’ve been out in Chiang Mai for pretty much exactly 1 month now, and have been getting lots of questions and messages asking about how much it costs to live out here! So, I’ve decided to do a write-up and also shoot a video (video at the bottom of this post) showing you exactly how much it costs me to live out here in Chiang Mai Thailand for a month!

Now, I live a pretty good life out here. You can definitely do it for cheaper than I do, and you can also spend a lot more! But, I think for most single travellers, this post will give you a great idea of the average expenses you should expect out here.
The following prices are a mixture of exact expenses, and also some guesstimates of what I think each expense roughly equates to.

Expense 1 – Accommodation = 6000 BAHT
Expense 2 – Utilities + Internet = 1500 BAHT
Expense 3 – Food = 7200 BAHT (4 x 60 BAHT Thai meals p/day)
Expense 4 – Scooter = 2300 BAHT
Expense 5 = Petrol = 200 BAHT
Expense 6 = Water = 750 BAHT
Expense 7 = Coworking Space = 3500 BAHT
Expense 8 = Gym Membership = 900 BAHT
Expense 9 = Laundry = 480 BAHT
Expense 10 = Extra Snacks & Food = 1500 BAHT
Expense 11 = Activities/Other Transportation = 600 BAHT

= $961 AUD
= $709 USD
= 490 GBP

That’s only about 830 BAHT per day on average, or just over $30 AUD which is insane! In Australia you would spend more than that just on accommodation alone!
Not to mention, I’m living pretty damn well out here too! There isn’t really anything that I’m wanting for or feel like I’m missing out on. If I want something – I buy it. If I want to do something – I do it. Simple as that!

Now, I do eat Thai food 95% of the time and that definitely lowers my costs. You could probably spend double what I do if you aren’t careful. You can easily pay 15,000 BAHT p/month on a massive apartment with a kitchen, or even an entire house. You could eat Western food at every meal, you could hire a large motorbike or even a car.
Another thing that really ramps up your expenses is drinking! If you’re going out and having a big night a few times a month, you can easily spend another 4 or 5 thousand BAHT for the month.
Yes, it is cheaper than at home, but it’s an expense that adds up nonetheless.

Now, on the other hand you can actually live out here for a lot cheaper than I do. I wouldn’t really recommend this, as I think spending just under $1000AUD like I do is cheap enough for a high quality of life – it can be done if you really want to bootstrap.

The following are some Bootstrapping Expenses over the period of 1 month:

Expense 1 – Long-Term Rental (3 months+) = 3500 BAHT
Expense 2 – Utilities (Minimal fan/TV use) = 1000 BAHT
Expense 3 – Food (Thai Only) = 7200 BAHT
Expense 4 – Water (Reverse Osmosis Machine) = 100 BAHT
Expense 5 – Laundry (Done yourself) = 180 BAHT
Expense 6 – Transport (Walking) = FREE

= $462 AUD
= $341 USD
= 236 GBP

Now I definitely do not recommend trying to live this cheap. Your quality of life will be a lot lower and for just a tiny but extra you can enjoy some luxuries such as paying for transport, doing some fun activities each month, and paying someone else to do your laundry!

I think that my expenses are a good example of what a person wanting to come out here to work should be looking to spend. My life out here is great. I have a great place with a pool, I have a bike, I use a great coworking space, I eat out for 21+ meals per week, I have a gym membership, I do fun activities each month, etc etc…. Life is good!

One other thing that you do need to consider are the additional costs of your flights into the country, and also the cost of your VISA. You will need to buy a VISA before arriving if you wish to stay longer than 30 days, and then every 60 days you will have to leave and re-enter the country, or pay to have your VISA extended at the embassy! So keep that in mind when setting out your budget.

Check out the video version of this blog post here:

I hope this post gave you a good idea of what it costs to live an awesome lifestyle out here in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

If you have any other questions about Chiang Mai and the associated costs, then leave me a comment below!


Adrian Ingram

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