Budgeting in Thailand: Part 1

Budgeting in Thailand: Part 1

The cost of living in Thailand is a fair amount less than in Europe and the United States. This is why it is such a great option to come over to Thailand and teach English. You may earn a similar amount to what you do back home but your expenses are much less, which enables you to grow your savings. Not only is the cost of living low but the standard of living is not that bad either. When I was living in Amsterdam, I was earning double than what I am now but I was staying in a tiny apartment with 2 other people paying €590 per month. I now have my own studio in a condo block with 2 pools, a gym, a yoga room, games room and a sauna for half the price I was paying before. When I go grocery shopping I don’t have to keep checking the specials shelf as I am able to afford all the good things I want. The other benefit is the job is not at all stressful but rather very enjoyable and rewarding. How should you budget staying in or moving Thailand, in order to get the most for your moolah? This article will give you tips and tricks on how to keep things cheap while still living a very comfortable lifestyle in Thailand.


Depending on where you decide to live in the world there are different expenses you deal with on a monthly basis. Some of the places you will stay will include Wi-Fi and utilities as a part of the rent, while others you will need to account for those costs over and above your rent. Living in Thailand can be on either side of the scale, as you can land up spending enormous amounts, making it feel like your money is water and you’re living hand to mouth, or you can budget smartly live the same quality of life and save a decent amount to take back home.

When moving to a new country it is always important to take full account of your initial set up costs, as these costs are often underestimated, and this makes your first few months abroad trickier than expected. Below I have listed a number of various setup costs you will have to incur when moving over to Thailand. I am not able to give exact amounts for these costs as it will differ depending on your needs, but I there is a snippet of advice or best solution for each.

Initial Setup Costs

Travel Insurance

  • Most employers will offer a type of national insurance, but this will not be immediate, the application process can take a few months. Therefore you must come over to Thailand with your own insurance. Good companies to go with include STA and Flexicover.


  • Arriving in any new country is confusing at first and because you won’t know your way around you will land up spending more money than you budgeted on transport. Write up a transport budget and double it to be safe. Check out this article on transport for extra tips.

Visa Costs

  • Most countries can enter Thailand with no visa for a period of 30 days. You need to check what your passport allows. If you are applying for a tourist visa in your home country, to come into Thailand then bring around 20 000 baht cash ($600) with you into Thailand. The Thai government is clamping down on backpackers coming in and running out of money, and because of this, they are asking people to show 20 000 baht cash when arriving. This is not a cost but merely to prove you have funds to support yourself while in Thailand. The cost of the Tourist visa from home is 2,900 baht (Check the news on this as it is a recent change.

SIM Card

  • At the airport, you can purchase a SIM card with data for around 800 baht ($ 24) for the month. Thailand has Tourist SIM cards which last for 30 days and then if you do not top up after that period the number is recycled. Data in Thailand is affordable and inexpensive. A good provider to go with is TrueMove or AIS.

Hotel Cost

  • If you have decided to work for a Shane School then you’re in luck to save. Shane English Schools reimburse 50% of the hotel cost for your week of training, this is a great save. The hotel will cost you around 500 – 1000 baht ($30 max) per night.


The above costs or tips are only a few that I have to offer. They focus on some of the costs you need to consider before arriving in Thailand. If you are ever unsure of amounts or costs I am sure your future employer will be able to help out with information. When I landed my position at Shane they sent through an entire orientation booklet with all the costs I can expect to incur and which ones they help out with. Our school manager and Director of Studies were also always available to answer any questions I had. I was lucky enough to have all the information shared with me and that is why I want the same for you. Look out for the next budgeting in Thailand articles for more baht saving tips.

All the best!


Budgeting in Thailand: Part 2


Want more like this? Be sure to visit our Teaching Abroad Blog. Are you a teacher looking for the next level of your career? Check out our Teacher Training blog.

About the Author

Tatum Condon a 27-year-old South African girl with Irish family. Her dream growing up was to be a mechanical engineer for Formula One’s Team McLaren. Any sport which is in water, she does it. Even if the water is frozen, count her in. She is currently teaching and living in the land of smiles, Thailand, while sharing stories of my life adventures and experiences. She hopes you enjoy.