Living to western standards in Bangkok is as expensive as many other large cities in the world. Living most anywhere else in Thailand is significantly cheaper.

Certain tourist areas in Thailand will be more expensive than standard "up country living". The tourist areas include Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi and to some extent, Chiang Mai.

Housing: Location is the key. The cost of purchasing or leasing houses, condos and serviced apartments built to western standards vary considerably depending on location. Sea side houses and condos in Hua Hin, Pattaya and Phuket can be very dear when priced per square meter. It is common to see 1 room condos of 36 sq m (about 360 sq ft). *These can be priced from Bt 500,000 in Chiang Mai to Bt 5,000,000 in Phuket. A 120 sq m (1,200 sq ft) free standing house on 1/2 rai (800 sq m or.2 acres) can be built "up country" for less than Bt 1,000,000.

Rent: 5,000 - 10,000 per month. The lower end would be a single apartment room with air-con and fridge. More expensive rents may include two room apartments and a shared swimming pool.


* Caution : Generally, a foreigner cannot own real property in Thailand. There are some workarounds that involve company ownership. An attorney should be engaged if you are contemplating the acquisition of land.
Utilities:
Power -Figure a minimum Bt 500 (with no air conditioning) to Bt 3,000+ with moderate air con usage. This depends much on the region and elevation.
Telephone - Local telephone installation is upwards of Bt 6,000 to 8,000. Monthly rate is Bt 100. Each local hook up is Bt 3.

Mobile phones - are affordable, starting at Bt 3,000 and up. Calling plans vary from buying new able SIM cards to Bt 500/mth basic charge.

Water – it is up to 30 Baht /Unit.
Note: Condos and serviced apartments often act as middlemen for utilities. The surcharge will usually be 50% and up.

 


Laundry: here means washed and ironed, sometimes delivered. It may be handled either on a monthly basis or a per piece basis. Monthly might be something like 100 items for Bt 500 - 600.

Phone calls: Within Bangkok they are very cheap, approx. 5 baht per call from an apartment block. However surcharges on overseas calls from apartments can be very high - anything up to 150 baht per minute.

Entertainment
Movie - Bt 100 - 150
DVD daily rental - Bt 20 - 30
UBC cable service: CNN, BBC, Cinemax, ESPN, HBO, National Geographic - Bt 6,000 for lease and installation of box plus Bt 1,600/mth.


Food: Many apartments do not have cooking facilities; although many do have restaurants attached or are surrounded by numerous food stalls and restaurants. The following prices are a guide only and prices can vary greatly depending on the environment you are eating in.

Food stalls: A meal such as rice with spicy chicken or pork should cost between 20 and 40 baht per portion. Fried rice dishes are approximately the same price as are noodle dishes. Food stall food is on the whole tasty and safe, although it can get repetitive if you are not too adventurous. Better to eat with a friend and order more dishes for variety

 

Apartment restaurants: These tend to be slightly more expensive but they will deliver to your room. Standard rice dishes usually range from 35 - 60 baht per portion. The range of dishes offered is usually quite varied although obviously this varies from place to place. In addition, food from a food stall is often tastier than the fare offered in these places.


Restaurants:

Bangkok has a huge variety of restaurants ranging from those that are relatively cheap up to those that are expensive even by European standards. However, on the whole, in central Bangkok you can expect to pay between 60 and 100 baht per portion in a relatively nice restaurant. Frequently a huge range of dishes are on offer ranging from meat and seafood options, to those for vegetarians. When eating in a Thai restaurant people rarely just order one dish for themselves, instead ordering several to share between friends - an average bill for four (without drinks) would be between 300 and 500 baht.

European food:
If you have a craving for European food there are numerous options and all the fast food outlets are represented. Approx. prices are 50 baht for a Big Mac., 250 for a large Pizza Hut. European or'English' restaurants tend to be more expensive than their Thai counterparts with prices around 180 - 200 baht for fish and chips, or bangers and mash style meals.

 

Drinks: There are many kinds of drink as follows:

Soft Drinks - from 10 / 15 baht for a can, up to 50 baht a glass or more in an expensive bar or restaurant.

 

Beer - ranges from 35 to 65 baht for a large bottle in supermarkets (depending on brand). Food stalls will often offer beer with a small mark up. In a restaurant or bar expect to pay from 85-130 for a large bottle and in more up-market places anything from 120 baht for a small bottle of beer upwards.

 

Spirits - Local whisky sells for around 60-80 baht for a small bottle in shops and in a standard bar or restaurant it will be around 120 - 140 per bottle. Overseas brands are much more expensive, ranging from 550 baht for a big bottle upwards. Most Thai bars and restaurants do not have a wide range of spirits - where they do, expect to pay around 100 baht for a glass.

 

   

Wine - Is generally quite expensive 350 baht and up and is not usually available in restaurants other than those which are up-market. Restaurant prices for wine reflect this. However, you can sometimes take your own with you, if you pay corkage fee.

Clothing: A wide range of makes, local, imported and pirated are available with prices often relative to quality and/or brand name. As in Europe prices vary widely with where you buy!

Local goods:

Work shirt - 150-200 baht.
Work trousers - 200+ baht.
Skirts - 150+baht. · T-shirts - range from 70 baht upwards.
Underwear - Men around 75+ baht. Women - from 150+ baht.
Jeans - an average pair from a shop would start at around 600 baht. However, can be found cheaper in markets and street stalls.
Shirts - 150+
Shoes - from 300 baht for cheap imitation trainers to around 1000+ for more formal leather(ish) shoes.
Beach wear - very cheap if you stay away from brand names.
Suits - can be made to reasonable standard cheaply, from around 3000 baht depending on material.

Imported clothing:
Can appear very expensive when compared with local goods. e.g. Levis (not fake) from 2000 baht up. However, many imported clothes are probably less than in the U.K.

Toiletries & Pharmaceutical products:
A wide range of local and imported brands available. (All prices approx.)

Soap - 25 baht for pack of 6.
Shampoo - 20 baht regular bottle (local), 60+ (imported)
Toothpaste - around 40 baht (regular Colgate)
Toothbrushes - around 50 baht.
Toilet paper - 20 baht up for six rolls.
Deodorant - 150 baht (imported)
Shaving foam - 150 baht (imported)
Cosmetics - local brands are cheap (e.g. lipstick around 150-200 baht, imported brands can be very expensive)
Medicine- almost all supplies you will ever need are locally available from chemists at much cheaper prices than in the U.K.. Not all familiar brand names are available but you can easily find similar products. For those with asthma, inhalers are around 200 baht each and easily available. Boots now have several branches which stock a wide range of familiar products.

Electrical goods:
TV (12 or 14 inch) - from 3,000 - 6,000 (often available for rent from apartment blocks at 500 baht per month)
Video players - around 3,000
C.D. players - from around 3,500 for a very basic model (around 6,000 for something a bit better)
Fan - from around 500 baht. · Spotlights etc. are very reasonably priced.
Videotape rentals are very cheap - 30 baht a night for new releases.
C.D.'s are around 400 baht, cassettes 100 baht from Tower Records.
Cable TV is around 1000 baht a month for the full package, with channels such as H.B.O., Cinemax, BBC World, Discovery and several sports channels with a large amount of English football.

Post:
Stamps to Europe are around 16 baht per letter. Within Thailand post is very cheap - approx. 3 baht. A one page fax to the U.K. is around 40 baht but you may face a surcharge from places offering this service.

Golf:
The good news, Thailand has lots of courses. The better news, most are quite reasonable. Compared to the west, they are downright cheap. Most courses have a "sportsmen's day"... usually Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Typical greens fee is Bt 500 at the better courses. Even better news, caddies are usually available and their fee for 18 holes will average about Bt 150.

Scuba Diving:
Thailand has some fine diving. The seasons vary with shifting weather patterns. The 2 dominant areas are the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand. A dive with boat trip should cost no more than US$25.

Tennis:
It is growing in popularity in Thailand. Courts are available. Lighted courts are usually available only at resorts.

Nature:
Thailand has dozens of national parks. Khao Yai with its wild elephants in the central area, Khao Sok and the exotic bird species in the South and Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai province, the highest point in Thailand, are but 3 examples. These and many other parks have treks, rafting, mountain biking and camping.