Cost of Living in Thailand while Living in Chiang Mai
Cheap cheap and cheap!!! Those are the three words you were hoping to read right? If you’ve opened this blog post then you’re probably thinking of making a move out here like we did. The cost of living in Thailand is obviously a major factor in making that decision so you’ve clicked on the right link. Thailand is the obvious choice for a relocation to South East Asia, whether it be temporary or permanent. But is it as cheap as everyone says it is? We think it is and you’ll most likely agree if you keep on reading our costs of living in Chiang Mai, South East Asia’s most liveable city.
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We’ve lived here long enough to be able to give you a full breakdown of our monthly cost of living in Thailand while living in Chiang Mai
So let’s get straight to it! Remember, these costs are for two people. We’ve also converted to GBP and USD to save you the job. I know, we’re so kind! 🙂
Thai Baht – 14000
GBP – £322
USD – $399
Renting an apartment while living in Chiang Mai is our biggest cost of living in Thailand. We live in a fantastic modern condo/apartment development in the Santitham area just north of the old city. For 14000 baht per month we have a 1 bedroom apartment with gym, pool, parking, security and free bicycle hire. Before moving in, we looked at a range of 1 bedroom places from 12000 – 15000. This is enough cash to find something nice while living in Chiang Mai. If you are on a really tight budget then there are plenty of cheaper studio options from around 8000 baht per month.
If you’d like more information on how to find and rent an apartment in Chiang Mai then please read this – How to Find and Rent Apartments in Chiang Mai
The post also includes lots of pictures of our own place so you can see what you get for what we pay.
Thai Baht – 1000
GBP – £23
USD – $28
Utility bills while living in Chiang Mai include just electricity and water which are paid for separately. This is obviously going to vary depending on how much you use your air conditioning or how many showers you take. We’re two people, taking 1 to 2 showers each a day with the air con on for at least 12 hours a day. On average we pay 900 baht per month for electricity and 100 baht for water. A very cheap cost of living in Thailand when compared to home!
Eating Out (Lunch & Dinner Everyday!)
Thai Baht – 6000
GBP – £138
USD – £171
One of the great things about living in Chiang Mai is the incredibly low cost of eating out. We’re lucky to live in Santitham which is a very local area. With lots of locals comes lots of cheap eating options. It’s cheaper for us to eat out every lunch and dinner than it is to buy food from the market and cook. It’s crazy!
No matter where you’re living in Chiang Mai, you’ll have access to cheap street food stalls and eateries. So if you are on a tight budget then food will not make much of a dent into that.
Average eating out costs generally fall into these three categories:
Street food/Market/Local Eatery – 50 baht per main (£1.15/$1.42)
Thai Restaurant – 100 baht per main (£2.30/$2.84)
Western Food Restaurant – 200 baht per main (£4.60/$5.68)
We eat at Street food/Market/Local Eatery 90% of the time so paying just £1 per main each. Often cheaper! The food is great as well. Think chicken Pad Thai, pork stir fries, large noodle soups and spicy seafood salads. Yum!
All Beverages (Water, Coffee/Tea, Smoothies, Soft Drinks & Beer)
Thai Baht – 4500
GBP – £103
USD – $128
We’re hooked on Chiang Mai’s awesome coffee scene and delicious Thai teas. They’re something we’ve tried to cut out so not to effect our cost of living in Thailand too much but we’ve ended up surrendering. Most of our monthly beverage cost goes into buying Lattes and Iced Teas everyday of the week. We’ll probably have no teeth by the time we leave here but it’ll be worth it! There are coffee shops and stalls all over the city so it’s hard to say no.
The rest of the cost is buying the cheapest bottled water from the local store, soft drinks and of course a cold beer now and then at a bar. We are kind of on holiday after all! 🙂
Average cost for each of these items are:
Coffee/Tea/Smoothies from a coffee shop – 50 baht (£1.15/$1.42)
Coffee/Tea/Smoothies from street stall – 20 baht (46p/57c)
6 litres of bottled water from a store – 20 baht (46p/57c)
Can of soft drink from a store – 15 baht (34p/42c)
Small bottle of Chiang beer from a bar – 60 baht (£1.38/$1.71)
Large bottle of Chiang beer from a bar – 90 baht (£2.07/$2.56)
Thai Baht – 2500
GBP – £57
USD – $71
The only food groceries we buy are breakfast items as this is the only meal of the day that makes sense to eat at home to keep costs down. We try to eat healthily at breakfast so just buy the following items which we found to be more expensive than in the UK:
Milk – 45 baht per litre (£1.03/$1.28)
Yogurt – 50 baht per large pot (£1.15/$1.42)
Corn Flakes – 90 baht per 375g (£2.07/$2.56)
Museli – 180 baht per 1kg (£4.14/$5.13)
Large banana bunch – 55 baht (£1.26/$1.56)
Pineapple – 30 baht (69p/85c)
Melon half – 50 baht (£1.15/$1.42)
Thai Baht – 400
GBP – $9.20
USD – $11
Thanks to our awesome location we don’t often need to take public transport. We have everything we need on our doorstep and are able to walk to most other areas in less than 30 minutes. Yes with all the walking we probably have to wash our sweaty clothes more often but we like the exercise. However there are times when a tuk tuk or songthaew (shared truck) is needed for longer distances.
The average costs for a tuk tuk or songthaew to and from anywhere in the city are:
Tuk Tuk – 100 baht (£2.30/$2.84)
Songthaew – 20 baht (46p/57c)
Broadband for our Apartment
Thai Baht – 700
GBP – £16
USD – $20
It’s important that we have wifi in our apartment since we are working on our blog most of the time while living in Chiang Mai. For just 700 baht per month we had 5G broadband installed by a company called Sinet. It’s fast enough for everything we need including watching Netflix and other on demand services.
Mobile Phone Local Sims
Thai Baht – 500
GBP – £11
USD – $14
Like at home, there are a few mobile providers to choose from in Thailand but they are all pretty much the same price. They all offer monthly tourist tariffs which you can terminate at anytime. We both went with AIS and pay 250 baht each a month for 1GB of 4G internet data and a bit of free phone credit. Obviously the more 4G data you need the more expensive it gets. Most providers offer data packages of 1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 8GB and 12GB. The most expensive coming in at around 1200 baht. So far we have not needed to buy any extra data or phone credit so the cheapest plan has been fine for us.
Thai Baht – 1300
GBP – £30
USD – $37
Living in Chinag Mai isn’t all about work work work for us (sorry for putting Rhianna in your head). Of course we get out of the apartment and do things now and then. We’re not that boring. Thankfully there are lots of free things to do while living in Chiang Mai like visiting temples, museums, browsing markets and hikes in the surrounding jungle. That’s why we don’t spend a lot of money on entertainment so therefore doesn’t effect our cost of living in Thailand very much.
We do like a good film so go the cinema every week. We were pleased to find the state of the art SFX cinema in nearby Maya shopping mall which shows the latest English language film releases. Seats are just 100 baht (£2.30/$2.84) each on Wednesdays and not much more at other times.
Medical and Dental
We’re not going to add this to our total monthly cost of living in Thailand because visiting the doctors and dentist is not something we do monthly. However we have already visited both while living in Chiang Mai so thought we’d share those costs as it’s something most expats in Chiang Mai will need to do during their stay.
The other week I went to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital to get my left eye checked out. We were a bit concerned that something wasn’t quite right with it. A full eye examination by a professional eye doctor and a general health check came to 544 baht (£12/$15). We’re pleased to say that there is nothing wrong with my left eye!
Last week Shelley went to the dentist for a check up and full teeth clean which came to 600 baht (£13.81/$17.11)
Other Non Essential Costs while Living in Chiang Mai
These are not essential costs while living in Chiang Mai but is useful to include for those potentially moving to the city.
Massage – Up to 300 baht for 1hr (£6.90/$8.55)
Laundry – 35 baht per KG (80p/$1)
Moped hire – 1000 baht per week (£23/$28)
Mens Haircut – 200 baht (£4.60/$5.70)
Gym Membership – Up to 2000 baht/month (£46/$57)
Our Total Cost of Living in Thailand while Living in Chiang Mai
So here’s our total monthly costs at today’s exchange rate on 10th October 2016.
Thai Baht – 30,900
GBP – £712
USD – $884
Considering this cost is for EVERYTHING, for two people, we think it’s very cheap. Even at today’s shocking GBP conversion rate due to the rapidly sliding pound. Thanks BREXIT!!!
If you wanted to, you could even bring this total cost of living in Thailand while Living in Chiang Mai down if renting a cheaper place and cutting out certain items like daily coffee shop visits. To compare to living in our hometown of London, it would cost double this amount for just the rent alone in many parts of the city.