The Cost of Living in Thailand - A Guide for Digital Nomads

9. Jan. 2023

Living in Thailand blog

Key Takeaways

  • Thailand's cost of living is low. For example, the cost of living in Bangkok — the 5th best country for ex-pats in the world — is $2,670 to $3,288 a month. 

  • Thailand offers multiple options for accommodations. You can expect to spend anywhere between $650 to $3000 per month on rent.

  • The average cost of utilities in Thailand is $62.34 per month, a stark contrast from $178.80 in the United States.

  • The cost of healthcare is just as unpredictable in Thailand as in any other country. The public system in Thailand doesn’t cover medical costs for digital nomads, so make sure you get adequate health insurance before you visit.

  • If you’re living in Thailand for 180 days, you will have to pay taxes which can be around 5% to 10% of your total salary.

Do you find the life you lead right now a little monotonous? Do you want to travel the world and enjoy diverse experiences? Do you believe there’s more to life than working 40-hour weeks for the rest of your life?

Then, a move to Thailand may just be the refreshing change you need! 

Thailand offers fantastic recreational opportunities to satisfy the adventurer in you while offering comforts that’ll allow you to take a step back from your hectic life. It is full of experiences that can help you recharge and regain a new appreciation for life.

If you're considering moving here, familiarize yourself with the cost of living in Thailand to make informed decisions about your move or workation.


Why Live in Thailand?

Thailand is affordable, so a little goes a long way.

Combine this with its incredible landscapes, its turquoise blue waters, affordable street food dishes like Moo ping and Khao man gai, and a wide selection of places for remote work and it becomes the ideal hotspot for those living the nomadic lifestyle.

Safe to say, Thailand will astound you and will have you coming back for more.

The low cost of living allows you to live a comfortable lifestyle where you can wine and dine, enjoy relaxing wellness treatments and massages, and go on adventures with financial ease. It also has a rich cultural scene and friendly locals to make your visit to Thailand unique, memorable, and fascinating.

The bustling metropolis of Bangkok, for example, has a vibrant nightlife and sophisticated rooftop bars — perfect for those who enjoy fast-paced lifestyles. On the other hand, the laid-back atmosphere of Chiang Mai is full of natural wonders and exciting places to explore. So, it’s ideal for those who want to take a step back, relax, and recharge in a peaceful, serene setting.

Whatever your lifestyle is in your home country, Thailand will easily help you build an enjoyable life abroad, regardless of how many weeks you choose to stay.

Are you tempted to move here for your workation? We’re right there with you. 

Here at Remote Year, we arrange everything you need for a comfortable stay, from accommodations, helpful local guides, and staff to a community of like-minded travelers to explore the area with.

Before you catch a flight to this wonderful city, take the time to learn how to become a digital nomad. It will help you maintain your work-life balance by letting you experience a new and exotic culture. 

So, How Much Does It Cost To Live in Thailand?

Are you wondering how much it costs to live in Thailand? We got you.  

How much it costs to live in Thailand per month will differ based on individual needs, wants, and budgets. As the food and utility costs are affordable in Thailand, you can expect to shell out anywhere between $650 to $3,000 per month — which is around 2.6 times less than what you’d spend living each month in the U.S. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to make some sacrifices in terms of facilities and amenities if you want to live on $650 a month — especially if you live in a popular or touristy neighborhood.

The upside is that it allows you to live like a local — think eating street food and using mototaxis or your feet to get around. However, living this type of life is not ideal for someone who wants to socialize and live in an ex-pat neighborhood.

So, how much it costs to live per month in Thailand will depend on your budget, but it will also be influenced by your personal lifestyle. You can expect your cost of living to fluctuate based on the adventures you want to splurge on, what kind of facilities you want to enjoy, and other factors.  

Do I Need a Visa To Live in Thailand?

That depends on how long you’re going to stay.

If you’re living in Thailand for a short period — say, 30 to 60 days — you can get a tourist visa. If you’re fromone of these countries, you won’t have to pay for one. Plus, you can extend it for another 30 days for $57 at the immigration office. You can also renew it by flying out and back to the country.

Remember that you can’t work on a tourist visa, so consider getting a Thailandsmart visa to live and work in Thailand legitimately.

If you’re planning on living in Thailand for longer, you can apply for the newly-introduced digital nomad visa, which can cost roughly $1,370, or get a Thailand Elite Visa for $18,000. It will allow you to stay in Thailand for years at a time without the hassle of multiple visits to the immigration office. 

Or, to save yourself time and energy, you can also use a visa service to help you easily research visa requirements and navigate the visa application process as needed.

Cost of Rent in Thailand

How much does it cost to live in Thailand for a year? That’s a question we get pretty often from digital nomads, and the answer is not that simple.

The cost of living per month depends on rent which is the single biggest expense one will probably have while living in Thailand. That said, housing costs in Thailand are 35% to 75% cheaper than in the U.S., so you can still live comfortably for less.

How much you spend on rent per month will depend on where you stay in Thailand.

In Thailand, expect to pay $1,000 per month for a luxury house and around $250 to $565 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Rent fluctuates depending on the availability of amenities and how close the place is to transportation.

In terms of rent for different regions, Koh Samui will cost more than the average city in Thailand. Here, you can expect to spend $462 to $565 a month on a one-bedroom apartment.

Low-rent places like Chiang Mai can cost around $278 to $600 a month for a one bedroom apartment. Rent in Bangkok is $486 to $594 per month and has lower rental prices per month compared to Pattaya, Phuket, and other touristy areas.

You’ll observe the same pattern for two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments.

If you’re traveling alone, you can share a room with another digital nomad to cut costs and get your rent down to $200 to $300 per month.

If you’re looking for something even more affordable, rent a room in a hostel or an Airbnb. However, keep in mind that it might not be that near to transportation options which will likely increase your travel time. Sometimes, it might not even have enough space for all your belongings, so be sure to do a quick look around before you seal the deal.

Utility Costs in Thailand

Electricity and water in Thailand can cost around $30 to $71.88 a month.

Something to remember: Thailand has a tropical climate, so utility costs will go up depending on how often you use air conditioning each month.

Internet Costs in Thailand

As a digital nomad and remote worker, you will need a reliable internet connection — and Thailand is sure to please you in that regard.

When working and traveling with us at Remote Year you don’t have to worry about your WIFI connection! One of the perks of being a part of the Remote Year family is knowing that you will always have comfortable workspace arrangements and reliable internet connections.

In Thailand, you can get decent internet data which you can use on your mobile phone, along with 100 minutes of call time for as little as $10 per month. Note that this speed is insufficient for watching movies on streaming platforms like Netflix.

So, if you want quality time with your TV or laptop screen, consider getting home packages. They cost $25 per month and come complete with 50 MB per second of internet speed, 4 GB phone internet, and a basic TV package.

If you work on the go, you can also take advantage of the thousands of free WiFi spots that are spread across Thailand.  

Cost of Transport in Thailand

Thailand has different public transportation options available that cost differently from city to city. So, how much you can expect to spend in a month will depend on the mode of transportation you use and how often you use it.

Taking a bus can cost $0.20 to $0.60 per trip. You can expect to pay around $13 to $71.91 per month for transportation. It’s easy to end up spending more — about $40 — if you take the BTS (skytrain) or MRT (subway train). Taxi rides and tuk-tuks, on the other hand, are $1.05 for one kilometer, almost half of what you’d pay in the United States. If you regularly grab taxis to get around, you can expect to pay around $172.59 a month.

To save costs, you can rent a bike for $15 to $30 or a car for $431.41 a month.

Keep in mind that foreign licenses are not accepted in Thailand. So, you will need an international driver’s license or will have to get a Thai driving license to drive a car or bike in Thailand. Having private transportation offers freedom of movement, which is great as long as you’re prepared to deal with the chaotic traffic on the road. 

Cost of Healthcare in Thailand

The cost of healthcare can be unpredictable, but we’ll try to give you a rough idea.

Thailand has a public healthcare system where you can receive high-quality medical care at lower costs than most Western countries, but you will have to deal with long queues. Remember that Thai healthcare does not extend to ex-pats, so visiting a private hospital is the best way to take care of medical concerns.

A visit to a private hospital can cost $43.14 to $86.29. This price can go up to $287.64 per night for standard rooms to $2,876.70 for the ICU if you’re admitted.

While healthcare in Thailand is affordable, costs can quickly pile up.

So, invest in travel insurance for ex-pats. If you want to stay in Thailand under thelong-term resident (LTR) program, you must prove that you have health insurance coverage that’s worth at least $50,000 to be eligible.

That said, if you’re looking to fill your prescriptions without visiting a doctor, you’ll find that many pharmacies are up to the task in Thailand. The pharmacists are helpful and knowledgeable. Medicine and birth control pills here are available at cheaper prices than those offered by private hospitals and most government facilities.

It can be smarter to get worldwide health insurance rather than coverage for just one country. International health insurance plans vary in cost, with annual premiums typically ranging from $500 to $8,000, depending on the coverage and provider. With such a diverse range of healthcare options available in Thailand, having the right insurance can offer peace of mind and ensure you receive top-notch medical care, all without breaking the bank.

If you are in Thailand for just one month or a few months, you should also look into travel insurance for Thailand which usually covers delays, cancellations and trip interruptions, lost luggage, and emergency medical care costs. There are many affordable options that offer great coverage and peace of mind.

Cost of Food in Thailand

How much you can expect to pay for food in Thailand depends on how often you cook your own food or head out to local eateries and luxury restaurants. Let’s dive into the details so you understand how costs factor in.

The Cost of Groceries in Thailand

Groceries are 2.3 times cheaper in Thailand compared to the U.S.A.

Buying groceries, which can cost around $180 per month, is a great way to keep your overall cost of living in Thailand low. To give you a rough estimate, we’ve compiled a list of essential items and how much you can expect to pay for them.

  • Apples — $2.30 per kg

  • Bread loaf — $1.20

  • Cappuccino — $3.50 in ex-pat neighborhoods (less in local spots)

  • A pound of chicken — $0.88 to $1.08

  • A pound of beef — $3.90 to $4.76

  • A dozen eggs — $1.40 to $1.71

  • Milk — $1.60 per liter

  • A pound of potatoes — $0.49 to $0.59

  • A pound of rice — $0.44 to $0.54

Milk, cheese, and wine can be more expensive in Thailand than in the U.S. You can expect to spend $1.60 for a liter of milk, $5.61 to $6.85 for a pound of cheese, $14.11 to $17.64 on a mid-range bottle of wine, and $1.37 to $1.67 for a domestic beer.

Cost of Eating Out in Thailand

Thailand offers a top-tier gastronomic experience — think spicy dishes and curries —  yum! Safe to say, this is one area where you can expect to overspend.

You can expect to pay around $0.86 to $1.15 for Pad Kra Pao Moo at street stalls, $1.50 for a simple meal like the sweet-savory pad thai, or about $1.32-$9.8 for a fresh, made-to-order meal like Gaeng Daeng (red curry.) If you eat regularly from local hotspots, you can expect to spend around $172.56 a month.

If you eat from mid-priced restaurants, prices increase. You can expect to shell out $19 to $24 if you eat somewhere fancy, which means you’ll pay around $287.55 a month. If you have nights out, they can set you back by around $90 per month.

Your balance of Western food and local food will impact how much you spend in a month. While we recommend having a detailed budget, be sure it’s flexible enough and allows you to enjoy the plethora of flavors that Thai cuisine offers.

Traveling With Remote Year

Remote Year helps you explore the world with a community that shares the same interests as you — while staying on top of your full-time job and career plans.

We do all the planning — from accommodation to arrangement of co-working spaces — so you can focus on getting the most out of your stay hassle-free. If you’re a new digital nomad, we recommend starting with our 1-month work and travel trip, which is sure to give you a taste of the many workation trips to come. 

What It’s Actually Like Living in Thailand

The ex-pat community in Thailand is flourishing, and plenty of co-working spaces and networking events make the country an alluring option.

Take Bangkok, for example.

This affordable city is a hub for digital nomads. It’s the perfect balance between work and play. Thanks to its impressive community of ex-pats, you’re sure to find people who enjoy the same things as you. It’s a great place to establish connections while enjoying quality downtime with similar-minded locals and foreigners.

Here, you can enjoy diverse experiences like watching a movie for as little as $4.82 or enjoying Mekong alcohol.

We also list some of the most amazing things you can do in Thailand so you can prepare accordingly.

Check Out the Grand Palace

The Grand Palace, located in the heart of Bangkok, is prized for its detailed architecture. It is spread over an area of 218,400 square meters and requires a minimum of 2 hours to explore by foot and get the most out of your visit.

Entry is $14.32 per person, but you can expect to spend more on private tours.

Something to note: the Grand Palace has a strict dress code. So, wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders, or you won’t be allowed entry.

Visit the Floating Market

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market has fresh fruits, souvenirs to take back home, and ready-to-eat meals you can enjoy. The canals have a very Venice-like feel, so jump in a boat and get ready to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Entrance is free, but if you can, we recommend you take a private tour which costs around $150 per person for a touristy experience while living like a local.

Get the Famous Thai Massage

Thai massages are ultra-relaxing, and you’ll feel so much better after having one. They have a definitive edge over the massage parlors in your hometown and can invigorate you for as little as $6 to $10 per hour.

Take a Trip to Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi appeared in movies featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and James Bond, which explains why it’s so popular among locals and ex-pats.

This stunning island is located in Krabi, and you can access it for just $5.71 per person. Keep in mind that the island doesn’t have any roads, so you’ll have to indulge in some light cardio to explore its two gorgeous main beaches.

For the best views, we recommend hiking up to the island’s viewpoint. You can thank us for the recommendation after soaking in the views!

Final Thoughts

Thailand is the ideal spot for digital nomads, but knowing what to expect in terms of the cost of living in Thailand can help you make more informed budgeting decisions for your workation.

Some people might spend more because they enjoy nights out and luxury restaurants. In contrast, others can live on a modest income while enjoying the best of Thailand with fewer facilities and amenities. On the whole, it’s surprisingly affordable, which explains why so many digital nomads are ready to pack their bags and head out to this blissful country.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much money do I need to live comfortably in Thailand?

According to Numbeo, the average Thailand living cost is around 36.73% lower than the U.S. Hence, you can live in Thailand comfortably for around $1,500 a month. However, it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra $500 in your budget to spend on local cuisines and experiences. 

What is the cheapest place to live in Thailand?

Thailand is well-known among digital nomads for being an inexpensive place to live. If you’re considering making a move to Thailand, you can reduce your monthly costs of living by staying in Chiang Rai ($700 to  $1,000), Kanchanaburi ($800 to $1,000), Chiang Mai ($870 to $1,100), or Ko Chang ($1,000).

How much is a meal in Thailand?

It depends on what you’re eating.

A cheeseburger can cost $1.70, and a simple meal in a cheap restaurant can cost $1.90 — perfect for those on a budget. If you’re craving a taste of home, you can get a McMeal at McDonald’s, which can set you back by $5.80.

Is it cheaper to eat out or cook in Thailand?

Cooking is a great way to keep your food costs low in Thailand. That said, many street stalls offer mouthwatering food for as little as $1.50. So, you can enjoy the top-tier gastronomic experience of Thailand while staying within your budget.

How much tax do you pay in Thailand?

If you spend more than 180 days a year in Thailand, you can expect to pay a 5% tax on income between $4k to $5k and up to 10% for a $15,000 income. Before you visit Thailand, check whether your country has a double tax treaty with Thailand to prevent double taxation.