Cost of Living in Thailand - Page 1

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retirement in thailand concept More than any other question asked by potential expats sending emails to Retired Expat is: "What will it cost me to retire to Thailand?"

And quite naturally, they seldom if ever give us a hint about their lifestyle. So our standard answer begins with a phrase Professor Howell often used in Econ 101. "It all depends."

So we decided to make a handy budget calculator that can give you an estimate of your budget required to retire in Thailand

Note: For convenience, all of our comparisons will be to western prices as we understand them.

Factors that influence cost of living in Thailand.

How well and where you plan to live. That may sound like two factors, but they are so intertwined that they need to be addressed as one. And “how well and where you live" is at the top of our list.

One of the better 2-bedroom serviced apartments or condos off Sukhumvit in Bangkok can go from Bt 50,000 - 200,000 and up. You might see similar prices on the beach in Phuket.

A nice house in a nice neighborhood in Bangkok will rent from Bt 25,000 to pretty much as high as you want to go. Travel outside Metro Bangkok a bit and cut your rent in half. It will probably save you some serious money on your nightlife spending as well.

Up country generally means outside Bangkok and outside a primary tourist area. Up country, rental prices plummet. Even in touristy and expat laden Chiang Mai, some serious shopping will get you a liveable house for Bt 6,000/mo on a long term lease.

Good quality apartments in the smaller up country are scarce, but should be in the Bt 3,000 - 4,000 range.

Type of Lifestyle in Thailand

Lifestyle is the budget maker -- or breaker. If you plan to live like a wealthy playboy, make sure your bank account is fat; and fed on a regular basis.

A night out on the town among the ladies can easily set you back Bt 1,000 to 10,000 -- even more if you like to "ring the bell".

Food here is fresh, good and cheap -- so long as it is Thai food. Western food tends to be expensive and usually not up to par with good western restaurants. Wine is quite expensive compared to the west. Beer is about the same price as one might expect to pay in western supermarkets.

Transportation in Thailand is one of those issues that needs some careful thought. If you aren't really sure you will stay in Thailand long-term, consider renting rather than buying.

Cars are quite expensive. Basic pickup trucks start at Bt 600,000 or so and a small Mercedes Benz will go for Bt 3,000,000. Import cars are taxed on engine displacement. Cars with gasoline engines above 2 liters will cost significantly more than their 2 liter counterparts. Diesel engines cars, usually trucks or conversions to SUVs, get a break and are more expensive above 3 liter engine displacement. Buying used cars here is risky at best. Cars can be rented for as low as Bt 30,000 per month.

Motorcycles are very common forms of transportation. Why? Limitations on parking space, especially in urban areas. Even the urban areas of smaller towns can get pretty crowded.

Cost of owning and operating. A good small motorcycle can be purchased for Bt 50,000. Rental at Bt 250-350 per day is common. Just as for cars, larger displacement motorcycles are very expensive. For that reason large frame bikes with small engines are quite common.

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