Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand on ~$600US a Month Budget, OR LESS.

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Good day,

Last night I went out and had a great time. Spent a total of $13.33us aka 400b. That included a cab to and from the scene, 4 large Changs, a strong vodka redbull, shawarma and a a soup. That got me thinking and basically put together a possible budget for living in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

What kind of lifestyle could one live here, if so incline? I’ve decided a few things are of importance and they include getting in better shape, eating like a king, getting massages, meeting strangers over drinks and playing golf. Threw together a random shablesque routine and budget.

Went for a stroll today into the mall, the day before I found a very good gym on the top floor. It’s got everything one needs AND MORE. Seriously, it has all the basic free weights you need including dumbells, machines, everything.

Unless your a gym rat or a lady who loves cake and feels the need to run on the treadmill daily, you won’t go daily, maybe 2-3 times  a week and then rest up / eat well so a monthly pass is not required. It’s 50b a day pass and each day of the week they have free yoga, aerobics and dance classes. I don’t think I’ll use any but yoga could be interesting, who knows who one may meet?

Anyways here is a sample budget I put together for how one could live a very fun filled life for $600us a month. One could spend the rest of their time just relaxing or doing whatever like playing on the computer,  watching movies, fishing, whatever…

  • Gym – 3x a week – 150b – $5US x 4 (Monday / Thursday / Saturday)
  • Massages – 2x a week – 260b – $8.67US  x 4  (Tuesday / Saturday)
  • Drinking – 1x a week – 500b – $16.67  x 4 (Friday – Incl. cabs, drinks etc…)
  • Golfing – 1x a week – 240b – $8us x 4 (Wed- Incl. cabs & 2 beers)
  • Rent – 1 month – 7500b ~$250US –  (If rent 3 months + & save ~$45 / month)
  • Food – 1 month –  5400b aka $180US (Can be a glutton on this)
  • Random – 1 month – 900b – $30US (cleaning, swimming, this, that, whatever)

I have not paid a full months rent yet so I gave it a conservative estimate of $250US which is $90US for utils, water, internet etc… I have no idea how much it will cost, don’t use the A/C that often but starting to more often. That said considering the rent is 5000 baht, I doubt utils will ring in at half of rent, who knows?

This whole thing is done to show you how you could live here. Please bear in mind that if one is budget conscious, you could do it on way less. I mean way way way less. Hey, I’m saying way less, ok?

180baht a day on food is a lot when you can get a great feed for 40baht or less.  You can eat anywhere including restaurants, just avoid the tourist traps.  If you wish to cook for yourself, stuff is incredibly cheap. I know a vegetarian lady who often cooks meals for a family of 3 that cost ~15b, total…

Also if you aren’t a drinker, 500b on a night is a lot if you’re smart. That said if you basically just show up and start drinking and have all your drinks in one of the more popular clubs, it’s not that much, at all. To put it into perspective a large Chang costs 42b… One could drink 8 and well…

Basically I’m sure you could live here very comfortable with a fast wifi connection and have all the time in the world to do whatever it is you wish for $500us a month or less in an apartment.  Now, if you’re here with your gf or bf, split rent in half…

Finally, the rent is for a solo apartment. If one was a teacher or something, most I know rent out a house, getting a room and pay 1750-2000b each… You can really live here cheap if you wish.  Get where I’m going? Not saying I adhere to this budget but would like to give you an idea of what you could do, if one were so inclined.

If retired, why not look into these places for winter? Forget Florida and the “Early Bird Buffet” deals. The world is your oyster, time to slurp them up like it’s going out of style.

Tip of the hat,

P.S:  Wrote this Saturday, went out again last night and spent 180baht, total. This budget is very high actually.

P.P.S: Golf course mentioned is one of the cheaper ones, still high end ones are much less than wherever you live. That said, if you plan on playing golf 3-7 times a week, this $600 budget isn’t so “applicable”, yes?

Search Du Jour!?: “bali month budget” – Result.

Author: SHABL

8 thoughts on “Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand on ~$600US a Month Budget, OR LESS.

  1. Great post Rob – you’ll have to do a little spreadsheet of all your budget posts to see which country/city comes out on top. That’d be very interesting!


  2. Hey! what a great site. I found this while researching cheaper places to live. I live currently in Spain on 1,668.00 U.S. dollars per month. I’m taking a beating on the dollar to euro exchange my wife who is Russian does not work. I am really thinking that beautiful Thailand is the place to be. Thanks for the information! It is always helpful to hear from people that actually live there.


    1. Some lady just posted $485 a month. Chiang Mai is cheap, kinda slow for my tastes but affordable. Glad it’s useful & good luck!

  3. Wow…I am so happy for you. It must be great to travel to new places and live for awhile. I am fresh out of college. Man, I would love to do this. I want to teach. One day I will visit. Have fun. Your budget is great!

  4. Rob Nice post, I live in Chiang Rai and have a similar standard of living. $600 is a good benchmark once you know your way around. In January I documented 31 days living with just $400 was a bit of a challenge falling slightly short.. give me a shout if you get over my way.

    1. I always usually spent about $750 but I also went out a lot and didn’t watch my wallet. I will contact you and keep living the dream!

  5. This is a very cool write up. I plan to retire early and already own a condo in Cha Am. Now after reading this im feeling better about the idea.

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