Cost of Living in Bangkok
It’s coming to the end of our time in Bangkok now, so it seems the time to publish a few blogs summarising our experience of being an expat and English teachers in Bangkok, for the second time around. After our time living in Odessa, we wrote a report of our cost of living there. Now here’s a rundown of our cost of living in Bangkok – our Bangkok cost of living report.
These costs are based on two of us, of course!
Cost of living in Bangkok – Apartment costs
While our apartment while teaching English in Odessa was paid for by our school, in Bangkok we have to pay rent. We rent a one bedroom, 40 square meter apartment in a condo building called Lumpini Place. You can read more about our apartment and the area in this post.
We have a 19th-floor apartment close to the Phra Ram 9 MRT stop – two stops from Asok/Sukumvit and six stops from Silom. We’re basically in the middle of the city. Although our apartment is small, we have awesome city views, are close to the city and our building has a pool, gym, laundry, shops and many other amenities.
We pay 16,000 baht a month for our apartment. We had to pay two months deposit when we moved in.
Read more about our apartment and the area around Phra Ram 9 in our blog: Living in Phra Ram 9, Bangkok.
Cost of living in Bangkok – Utility Bills
Our apartment has two air conditioning units, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. We run the one in the bedroom all night, set at 25 degrees. We use the one in the living room when it gets too hot during the day, but prefer to open up the living area and let the air come through.
As well as the air conditioning, our electricity includes the TV, computer, electric hobs and appliances in the kitchen, and charging our various gadgets.
Our electricity bill in Bangkok ranges from around 600 baht a month in the cool season to about 1,200 baht in the hot (and sweaty) season.
We can pay the electricity bill in one of the ridiculous number of 7-11 stores that are literally everywhere.
Our landlord pays fees for the maintenance of our condo building, but along with this, we get a bill for water. It works out at about 200 baht a quarter. We pay this to the condo building.
We can’t drink the water in our apartment (you can’t really drink the water in Bangkok at all). There is a machine on the ground floor of the condo building which dispenses treated water. It costs 1 baht a liter. We fill up big 5 liter tubs and then put them in bottles in the fridge.
Internet and TV
We have a contract with True to provide the internet and cable TV. To be honest, since we only have the basic TV package, it only comes with about 3 channels in English. If you pay more, you get more channels. However, we watch TV online. The cable TV comes as part of the internet package, and oddly it’s more expensive if you don’t have the TV.
The internet is 20mbps which is fast enough to watch TV and Youtube videos.
We pay 799 baht a month for the internet. We pay this at True kiosks that you can find all around the city.
We have sim cards from True Mobile which are pre-pay, so we top them up regularly. We don’t use much data, preferring to use wifi and not to have our phones online all the time, so we spend about 200 baht a month on our phones.
Cost of living in Bangkok – Cost of Transport
We travel six stops on the MRT to work, from Phra Ram 9 to Silom. Each journey costs 28 baht.
We have a top-up card for the MRT so we don’t have to queue for a token each time. We top this card up about every 10 days, meaning we use about 300 baht a week, so 1,200 a month, for MRT transport.
We also have a Rabbit card for the BTS as part of our Bangkok Bank ATM card. We don’t use the BTS that often though, so rarely need to top it up. If we travel by BTS for work, we can claim this back.
It costs about 60-100 baht to take a taxi from most of the bars we go to back home at the end of the night. It’s about 300 baht to Suvarnabhumi airport by taxi from our apartment. It’s also 100-150 baht to Khao San Road.
Cost of living in Bangkok – Food
We order groceries from Tesco Lotus online to be delivered. In total, it costs about 1,500 baht a week, which includes fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, juice and cereals. We probably spend another 500 baht a week in Tops, to buy international products like free-range eggs and proper bread, and in 7-11 buying snacks.
We buy lunch every day during the week near work. This can cost 50 baht each if we buy Thai street food (find out more of this in our post on Street food in Silom), or 150 baht each if we buy something in a shopping centre.
At the weekend we eat out on Friday and Saturday night, and sometimes for lunch as well. Most of the time, this will be international food, as we get tired of Thai food continuously. A meal in a pub costs about 300 baht.
Cost of living in Bangkok – Going out
We like to go to bars at the weekend, but we aren’t particularly party animals. We’re much more likely to be found at happy hour than out later than 11 pm, which means we get some good deals. A pint of local draught beer (Singha, for example) is about 100 baht at happy hour and 150-200 outside happy hour in most of the pubs we go to.
Craft beer in Bangkok is much more pricey, about 250 baht + for a half pint, so we rarely bother with that.
We don’t like clubbing, so don’t have to pay entry fees.
On a typical night out, we probably spend 2000 baht.
Other costs for living in Bangkok
We pay for annual private health insurance, which costs about £1,500 a year. This covers treatment in private hospitals. We have insurance provided by our school as well, and this covers doctor’s visits and basic treatment.
It costs between £300 and £600 to fly back to the UK, depending on the time of year and the airline. We get paid holidays too.
In a typical month, we spend between 50,000 and 60,000 baht a month, without worrying too much about what we buy. We aren’t massively big spenders, but we also get paid a decent salary for English teaching in Bangkok. We prefer to save money to travel and have good holidays and trips home.
This is our cost of living in Bangkok. Others will spend more, others less. Hopefully, if you are moving to Bangkok, this will give you an idea of what your cost of living in Bangkok might be.
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