The Cost of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand - A Monthly Break Down

The below is how much it cost us to live in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a full calendar month.
From the 7th February 2012 to the 7th March 2012.

There are many apartments on offer in Chiang Mai. Some that are a lot cheaper than the one that we stayed at, others that are way more expensive. There is no shortage of choice. We chose to stay at Ban Jed Yod as it was close to the dentist that we spent a lot of time at throughout the month and the apartment also had a proper desk and chair!

Divide the amounts in Baht by 30 to get an approximate amount in Australian or US dollars.

Ban Jed Yod - studio room, aircon, desk decent chair, wifi, cable tv, really hot shower, and kitchenette
9000 Baht for 7 February 2012 - 7 March 2012
14000 Baht for deposit (to get back at the end of the month)

Utilities cost: Water and Electricity
Water - 180 Baht for the month
Electricity - 1232 Baht for the month (This is a lot. We had the air-conditioner on more than was probably necessary)

Purchases to make our apartment a home for the month:
Kettle -  was provided otherwise it would have cost around 250 Baht from Tesco's Supermarket.
Toaster - 250 Baht from Tesco's Supermarket
Plastic bowls - 4 - 39 Baht in total
Plastic Plates - 4 - 39 baht in total
Mugs x 2 - 25 Baht each (50 Baht)
Mat for the front door - 20 Baht
Liquid hand wash - doubles as hand wash, dishwashing detergent - 30 Baht
Clothes detergent - 79 Baht (had a washing machine to use!)
Toilet Paper x 12 Rolls - 60 Baht
Margarine - 80 Baht

Clean and comfortable bedding that included a fitted sheet, two pillow cases, two awesome pillows and a comforter duvet was provided.

We also had two sporks that we used for cutlery.

Manual Scooter - 2500 Baht per month
Petrol - 120 Baht per week just riding around town

Mobile / Cell Phone
We bought a smartphone ready sim that will give us both phone credit and 3G internet access and would spend around 100 Baht per week for phone / internet usage. This is on a bad week when we would GPS map a motorbike ride for example. (400 Baht per month)

Grocery Costs of what we bought regularly to eat (all approximate prices):
Bread - 17 Baht for a half loaf of multigrain bread (2 per week)
Milk - 39 Baht for 830mls of milk (1 per week)
Lipton Tea Bags - 70 Baht for 25 Teabags (2 per month)
Peanut Butter - Skippy - 80 Baht for 170gms (1 per month)
Strawberry Jam - 50 Baht for 400gms jar (1 per month)

Restaurant Costs:
As we don't cook anymore, we tend to eat out for lunch and dinner. Examples of food pricing is below. Prices vary if you eat at a roadside stall or in a restaurant.

Iced strong coffee with milk - 15 Baht to 85 Baht
Hot Latte made from proper coffee beans - 35 Baht to 80 Baht
Thai Chicken and Rice Dish - 25 Baht to 120 Baht
Thai Noodle Dish - 25 Baht to 120 Baht
Spaghetti Bolognaise - 39 Baht to 230 Baht
Japanese Ramen Soup - 39 Baht to 120 Baht
Sashimi Set - 59 Baht to 230 Baht
Steak and fries on a plate - 69 Baht to 250 Baht
Duck breast with peppercorn sauce, fries and salad - 59 Baht to 250 Baht
Glass of House white or red wine - 50 Baht to 150 Baht (same wine!)
Margarita cocktail - 80 Baht to 200 Baht

Living in Thailand can be very cheap if you want it to be. We didn't go to a lot of fancy restaurants but we were able to eat out every day, sometimes three meals a day plus snacks, and it was still very cheap. Our eating out budget would range from 150 Baht to 400 Baht per day for the two of us. If averaged out to 300 Baht per day, we would spend 9000 Baht per month for the two of us.

Total Expenditure for the calendar month:

9000 Baht - Apartment for the month
180 Baht - Water for the month
1232 Baht - Electricity for the month

647 Baht - Once off buying stuff for the apartment

2500 Baht - Transport for the month
480 Baht - Petrol for the scooter for the month

400 Baht - Mobile / Cell Phone Credit

562 Baht - Groceries for the month

9000 Baht - Eating out costs for the two of us

24001 Baht - The cost for a month living in Chiang Mai, Thailand (around about)

Converted to Australian Dollars = $800 for the month or $200 per week.

One notable thing missing from this list is a visa run. We have previously written a guide to doing a visa run from Chiang Mai

We lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand very comfortably! We could have taken a cheaper apartment for the month, used the air-conditioner less, ate less expensive food, went out less etcetera. But we didn't. And we were happy.

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  1. Steve 13 May, 2012 at 17:37 Reply

    Hello Tanya and Andrew (T&A…lol). Nice information in this blog. You lived a pretty nice life during this month by most expats standards but certainly not extravagant. It’s important that you noted, for anyone never having been to Thailand, that comfortable living can be done for “very cheap”. Very recently, Thailand was ranked in the top ten places in the world for retirement. Many factors were considered including costs, crime, entertainment, infrastructure and health care to name a few. Good job as always!

    • Andrew 14 May, 2012 at 11:24 Reply

      Hi Steve. It certainly is possible to live far more cheaply. Although we tend to live a fairly simple life we made no special effort to reduce our costs. If we had devoted some time and energy to seeking out cheaper alternatives we could have easily have cut our cost of living by quite a lot.

  2. Vicky 22 June, 2012 at 23:41 Reply

    Truly is fascinating how cheap the cost of living is in Thailand! Especially if you aren’t traveling around and going on tours/excursions all the time! Seems like a great place to stay for a month to relax and work on the blog!

    • Tanya 23 June, 2012 at 22:32 Reply

      HI Vicky, thanks for reading and commenting :) It certainly was a great place to stay and work on the blog… however… we did get up to way too much while we were living in Chiang Mai so we didn’t really catch up! Oh wells, we will just have to stop in another exotic place :)

  3. Lawrence Michaels 5 July, 2012 at 21:40 Reply

    The cost of living in Thailand is always an interesting discussion, but it is really hard to generalize. I can live in Phuket for about 30,000 baht a month, but Phuket is more expensive than Chiang Mai. I found that the biggest factor is how often you go out/drink. Alcohol accounts for about 50% or more of the monthly budget for a lot of people living here.

    • Tanya 6 July, 2012 at 10:16 Reply

      Hi! We haven’t visited Phuket yet. It is on the Thailand must visit list. It is interesting how people have this thing where they have to prove that the way they live is the cheapest. We know people who can live in Thailand on a third of what we spend per month and they probably have just as much of a great time as we do, but the difference is either that they have fan rooms with no kitchenette or they only eat at 25B pad krapow gai stalls three times a day. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It is just that when we live in a place, we still want to be able to experience everything that is out there!

  4. M 7 November, 2012 at 10:48 Reply

    Great blog. We’re also off travelling soon, and will be starting with 3 months in Chiang Mai before heading for to China and then Europe. I’m intrigued that you managed to spend so little in Chiang Mai, so am wondering if you missed anything off the list. Apart from eating you don’t seem to have paid for anything. I always have additional costs that seem to mount up, so just wondering how you managed this, as I wish I could.

    So, didn’t you spend any money at all on massages, entry fees, buying clothes, visa runs, etc. I think I could stick to your basic budget, but then would end up with lots of extras for these other costs.

    • Andrew 14 November, 2012 at 11:45 Reply

      Hi. It’s worth mentioning that we lived in Chiang Mai back in 2009. That means that we’ve done the touristy stuff previously. We have friends still living there and also know our way around town. As a fresh arrival your cost of living could well be somewhat higher at least for a few months. It takes a while to search out the cheapest and best food etc. In this month Tanya was also going to the dentist pretty much every day. That meant that activities like getting massaged were rather rare.

  5. Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai For Digital Nomads | Roaming Profit 20 June, 2013 at 12:03 Reply

    […] Nomadic Notes – Cost of living Thailand: Living in Chiang Mai for $505 a month – Cost of Living Breakdown in Thailand – Cost of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand – The Cost of Living Luxuriously in Chiang Mai – The Cost of Living in Chiang Mai for Our Family of Three – Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand – Cost of Living • Chiang Mai – The Cost of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand […]

    • Tanya 15 October, 2013 at 09:38 Reply

      Well done! We find that spending time in cafes set up for our digital nomad friendly lifestyle breaks our budget these days…. 75b ($3) for a banana shake. Gah! That and pizza. There are so many awesome but quite pricey pizza places in Chiang Mai!

  6. Barry Bagby 27 May, 2014 at 09:17 Reply

    My wife and I are heading for Chiang Mai in March for a year and have been there before and love the place we have just turned 65 and would like to use Chiang Mai as a base to explore other countries my wife and II have a pension of $650 a week and would like to stay till we are 70 .We are looking forward to our adventure.

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