Costs of living in Thailand 2020

Living Thailand
Sometimes people ask me how much it costs to live in Thailand. Well that all depends of course about how you spend your money. Some people spend a lot of money on entertainment or holidays or do buy expensive cars & motorbikes. So since 2012 I started to make a yearly overview of my costs of living in Thailand. My household consists of my wife, me and our dog. We are not living in a expensive place like Bangkok or Phuket, but upcountry in North Thailand. I like to travel and once in the 2 or 3 years I still go to my home country to see my family. Sometimes I also still like to eat good western food and like to drink a good glass of wine. In short we like to enjoy life but not over the top. For all postings about Costs of Living in Thailand click HERE. When you are considering to go living in Thailand you should also realise that if your income is coming from outside Thailand in foreign currency then your costs of living also depends on the exchange rate of the Thai baht. In 2008 the best rate was about 53 ฿ for 1 Euro, now it is about 36 ฿ for 1 Euro (and it has been about 34)! That is about 30% less income in ฿ 

1. Our house

We (or at least my wife) are the proud owners of a house and the land on what it is build. So no rental costs. 
  • Insurance costs of about 3.100 ฿ per year. 
  • Land & House Tax              97 ฿ per year, next year this will be more as there is now a covid-discount.
  • But in the future there will be maintenance costs. You could wonder if you should make a yearly reservation for that. And actually they're already a maintenance costs of buying a new sediment water filter 3 times per year at about 250 ฿ per filter = 750 ฿ per year.

Total per month = 329 ฿.

2. Utility costs

  • We have home delivered Crystal drinking water. 1 box of 24 glass bottels of each 500cc costs 67 ฿. We use about 9 boxes per month. So that is 603 ฿ per month. This is about 5.6 ฿ per litre.
  • Then we also have home delivered the big plastic bottles, each bottle is 20 litre and costs 10 ฿  We use this water for cooking and use about 2 bottles per month. So that is 20 ฿ per month. This is about 0.5 ฿ per litre. Wow that is 11 times cheaper as the bottles water!
  • For cooking we use gas, one big bottle costs about 460 ฿  Normally we use 1 bottle for 6 months, but due to the Corona Crisis that is reduced to 1 bottle per 4½ months. So that is 102 ฿ per month. Actually the last bottle we bought was 390 ฿ as it was another brandname. 
  • We use 3BB fiber internet for 750 ฿ per month. Actually since september 2020 we changed to a cheaper package of 629 ฿.
  • Then we use electric for our wash-machine, fridge, 1 air-conditioning, 1 hot-water machine, rice-steamer and of course lights and TV. This is about 950 ฿ per month. This is more as previous years. Why? Well we do not have public water, so we have a water-well. For that you need a water-pump to pump it to a water-tank. Then you need a water-pump to pump it into your house. And also for watering the garden the water-pump is working. And we have a huge fridge with freezer.
  • Both my wife and me have a post-paid AIS telefoon package at 321 ฿ per month. So total that is 642 ฿ per month. This is a little bit cheaper as last year as I did choose a cheaper package.
  • Garbage collection twice a month at 17 ฿ per month.
Total utility costs per month = 585 + 20 + 102 + 750 + 950 + 642 + 17 = 3.066 ฿.

3. Transport

Costs Toyota Hilux prerunner
  • Tax                 = 3.414 ฿ (the older the car the less tax you pay)
  • Insurance       = compulsory 645 + full insurance 9.800 ฿
  • Maintenance  = 5.000 ฿
Costs Kawasaki KSR
  • Tax                = 100 ฿
  • Insurance      = 345 ฿ (compulsory)
  • Maintenance = 100 ฿
Costs Kawasaki Z250
  • Tax                 = 100 ฿
  • Insurance        = 645 ฿ (compulsory but more expensive because 250cc)
  • Maintenance   = 2.000 ฿
Costs Honda Super CUB
  • Tax                  = 100 ฿
  • Insurance        = compulsory 345 ฿ + theft-insurance 750 ฿
  • Maintenance   = 200 ฿
Gasoline is a guess as I totally not look how much I spend at it. I also do not know how much gasoline the motorbikes are using. But the Toyota Hilux Prerunner is using about 1 litre for every 11 km. A calculated guess would be total of 1.300 THB per month (exclusive long distance traveling by car).

Total transport costs per month = 3.414 + 645 + 9.800 + 5.000 + 100 + 345 + 100 + 100 + 645 + 2.000 + 100 + 345 + 750 + 200 = 23.544 / 12 = 1.962 + 1.300 = 3.262 ฿

4. Travel & Holidays

As said I like to travel and stay in hotels. Sometimes cheap, sometimes not cheap. Most times we / I go by car or motorbike, sometime we / I fly. So this is for hotels and air-fare. Due to the corona crisis this will be much less as last year. But it is a guess anyway because I not really calculate how much I spend on this.

Estimated guess is total per month = 1.000 ฿.


5. Medical insurance

My wife and me have a good (international) healthcare insurance with Aetna in Thailand. Due to our raising age of course also the price did go up. Actually I did complain about that and told them I would be looking for another healthcare insurance and they did give me 10% discount.

Total costs per month for 2 persons = 6.750 ฿.


6. Food + Drink

For 2 persons + dog Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The latter 2 are for about 80% at home. Our style of food is a 60/40 mix of Thai & Western food. This costs are excluded food & drinks out of our home.

Total per month = 10.000 ฿

7. Staying here legally

  • Currently I am staying in Thailand based on an Extension of Stay based on marriage. Costs 1.900 + 200 + 200 + 500 = 2.800 ฿.
  • Due to the current travel restriction I do not have a Multi-entrey Re-Entrey Permit, so that saves me about 3.600 ฿.
Total per month = 233 ฿

8. Entertainment

This includes have dinner in restaurants, going for a drink, etc. But we are not party people and entertainment like this is very limited in upcountry Nan province. And due to the Corona Crisis this will be much less as last year.

Estimated guess is total per month = 1.000 ฿

9. Shopping

Like cloths, telephone, shoes, camera, laptop, printer, bicycle, jacket, helmet, furniture, etc. Here I am making a big guess as I actually do not have a clue. Must be said living upcountry makes live cheaper because there are no shops to spend to money.

Estimated guess is total per month = 2.000 ฿


10. Total

  1. Our House                        329
  2. Utility costs                   3.066
  3. Transport                       3.262
  4. Travel & Holidays        1.000
  5. Medical Insurance        6.750
  6. Food & Drinks            10.000
  7. Staying here legally         233
  8. Entertainment               1.000
  9. Shopping                      2.000
Total costs of living per month : 27.639 ฿  (that is much less as last year)


Remark : As I place this posting every year on some Facebook pages about living in Thailand I always get comments "Expensive .... can do much cheaper". And yes they are right you can live much cheaper in Thailand ..... but not with the same standard of living. My direct neighbours probably live with much less .... but they do not not have a comfortable house with warm-water shower, air-conditioning and washing-machine. They do not have a car and a big motorbike. They do not have an health insurance. They do not drink a bottle of nice wine once & awhile. They do not go on holiday to Krabi. They buy their cloths at the market. They do not have ADSL internet. Yes you can rent a one-room apartment for 2.000 ฿ per month, skip the health insurance, have a Honda Wave as transport mode, eat a rice-dish from the market for breakfast, lunch and dinner and only drink water. I am sure you can then survive for 10.000 ฿ per month or maybe even less. But that is not why I am living here in Thailand.

On the other hand you can spend also much more .... rent a nice villa with swimming pool in Koh Samui, drive a BMW, have a maid to clean the house and a gardener to take care the garden, eat in expensive restaurants 5 times a week, make holidays all over Thailand, party 4 times a week, buy expensive toys and cloths. 

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