Mar 17

Flag of ThailandAhhh! Thailand, the famous Land of Smiles. A wet dream for many, yet a fulfillable one if you see the influx of Farangs, who find a place to live long-term in Thailand over the last couple of years. Great tropic weather, friendly and beautiful people, relaxed beach life and a cuisine to die for – are there any more reasons to retire in Thailand?

Maybe cheap Costs of Living, compared to your motherland in Europe, the US or Australia. And surprisingly, Thailand can even score in this regard. Here is the latest update of prices for day-2-day items, in our tradition of cost of living comparisons for Asian holiday destinations:

Thailand is of course very diverse, from the most beautiful beaches in the South and a bustling capital with *everything* for sale in Bangkok, to the mountainous areas and striking rivers around Chiang Mai to the laid-back village life in Isaan, the country almost has it all.

About Phuket

Today we will especially look into Costs of Living in Phuket, a favorite beach destinations for short and long-term travelers. Phuket is located at the south-western part of Thailand, geographically an island, but connected via a long bridge with the main land. I used to travel to Phuket at least once a year in the 90’s and even more often when living in Singapore from 2003 onwards. Despite its recent over-development and character as a package tourist destination, it still has a strong pull and plenty of unspoiled beaches, less populated corners and is very affordable.

My last visit to the island is already a while back, so I asked Thomas, my previous landlord in Kamala beach, to update the price list for me. Thomas is a happy-go-lucky Southern German, who lives in Thailand already longer than a decade. He is happily married to a lively local woman and has 2 beautiful children. When he isn’t cruising the island on his Honda Shadow chopper bike; Thomas is renting out a few nice and clean apartments in Kamala beach. Besides that he is running an on- and offline store for jewelry and beads to keep him busy. Check it out on this site.

Here are the numbers:

Economic figures

The inflation in Thailand was 7% in 2008 and is seen as decreasing to 3-5% in 2009, despite the global economic crisis.

Good for you – if you earn your money in a country with less inflation and your base currency is stable or appreciating, you still save more or spend less over a year – even with rising prices in Thai Baht.

The Thai Baht showed plenty of volatility over the last couple of years. Especially against the Euro it became stronger, while the US Dollar or the Singapore Dollar mainly remained close to their historic exchange rates. Still, the country offers good deals for food, housing and everything you need to live a comfortable life.

Also bear in mind, that Phuket is one of the more expensive destinations in Thailand. So if you have less money to spend, you might want to consider more remote areas for your long-term stay.

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written by Chris

45 Responses to “Cost of Living Chart – Phuket, Thailand (in Baht, Dollar and Euro)”

  1. johnNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    It’s really strange to see that the inflation level in Thailand has dropped to a meagre 3 % lately despite the global economic crisis!

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Yeah, I was wondering about that as well when I read it on a government page. Will check up a bit further, if these figures are still accurate.

  3. bagman1No Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    hello anyone! i am a 60 year old man on disability collecting 850.00 p month. will the thai govt. let me stay there and live. been there 21 times since ’84 and now is time to settle. will this be difficult? thanks to anyone much appreciated, bagman1

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    bagman, you might want to check out this forum for the appropriate visa for you. There are so many contradicting rumors regarding Visa currently, that it’s hard to keep up.

  5. QuickrouteNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    u$d 39 per night seems expensive especially to u$d 279 per month – that’s quite a differential – why?

  6. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Quickroute, those are average examples. There would be probably a difference in standard. If you stay as a daily tourist somewhere you would certainly rent a nice hotel room, where they change bed sheets and towels daily and clean up after you – renting a small apartment is usually a different thing. It would probably have a bit lower standard and you would be responsible yourself to clean or provide amenities like TV, internet or else.

    But then, everything is relative – there are simple rooms for less than 1.400 Baht available also, as a backpacker you get a small shack for as low as 300-500 Baht, but do you want to live a whole month in it?

    Myself, 3 years ago, I spent around 8.000 Baht per month for a small, clean apartment without TV but with fridge, while staying in guest houses for anything around 800-1500 for shorter trips through the country side.

    There is so much choice, it’s hard to give a one and only definite price for everything.


  7. VivNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi Chris
    Do you know anything about getting Visa for Thailand from Australia


  8. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Viv, no idea, never tried that. My only experiences are with the Visa on Arrivals in Thailand and the Visa Runs. But then, this is all from 2-3 years ago, the rules changed quite a lot over time. I’m not even sure if you can apply for a tourist visa beforehand, although that should be possible. You might have to check other resources. :(

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Viv, some update regarding your question: Twitter Buddy KevinRButters had to say this reg. the topic, maybe it helps:

    KevinRButters@nomad4ever try this information Australia is the same as UK/USA any questions, just ask.

    Thanks Kevin!


  10. danNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    thank all of you for your insight, seems like the best thing to do is do it all from Bangkok. dan everyone is helpful thanks dan

  11. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    There was a deflation in Thailand? That is bad… It means that people stopped buying. And it could force closures of local businesses. Deflation is worse than inflation especially during this crisis. :(

  12. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Ryan, maybe due to the political unrest of the recent weeks? I wasn’t even aware that there was currently a deflation in Thailand.

  13. christinaNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    how much should i bring if im going over there for a hol for 3 full


  14. christinaNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    do you think S$200 is sufficient for a 3-day stay in Phuket?


  15. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    christina, wah liao! If you live frugal and have booked/paid your flight and hotel already, then I would say it’s perfectly possible to survive on only 200 SGD for 3 days in Phuket. Just bear in mind that the Taxi Mafia will probably also take some part of your budget, if you haven’t arranged for airport pickup with your hotel. Airport is circa 1 hour away from the action.

    I would bring some more money or have a least a bank- or ATM card handy, just in case, to not getting stranded. ;-)

  16. danNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    chris, you are right. This visa business in Thailand is very puzzling. i did contact the attorneys you sent. they were kind enough to email me back. My view, place some cash in the right hands!!!!!Man it is puzzling

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    dan, yeah, it doesn’t look like it gets any better. But what to do, right? Who wants to find a way, will find a way; pretty tough, if that involved lawyers already. :-?

  18. LawrenceNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Hi Chris,I have retired early,and have been living in Koh Samui for nearly 3 years.I have just found your site while researching Goa,which is my next destination in November.I notice some confusion concerning various visas (they change the rules every 5 minutes!) There is a very useful website your members can visit which answers most Hope this is helpful.Keep up the good work,great website……Lawrence

  19. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Lawrence, thanks for the tip! Yeah, the Thai Visa is really confusing, it’s maybe their way to control, what kind of tourists they’ll get. High Rollers preferred probably. :D

    I’m interested to know what you think so far about Goa (being in Thailand) and what you expect to be different or better compared to your current location. Can you please elaborate a bit more? ;-)

  20. chrisNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    The largest COL factor for every traveler/single person who does not own property outright, rent, is conspicuously missing from your list. You should have included minimum figures to make this list relevant.

  21. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi chris, it’s in there. Just scroll down to ‘housing‘. ;-)

  22. DubrovnikNo Gravatar CROATIA Says:

    Wow, Cigarettes (20 Marlboro) only € 1.18 … Like 5 times cheaper then London..

    Many tnx for the tips, im Flyin to Philippines in August !


  23. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Anywhere in Asia (maybe with the exception of Singapore) it’s most certainly cheaper than back in Europe. Have a great trip… :D

  24. DubrovnikNo Gravatar CROATIA Says:

    Tnx Chris ! ;-)

  25. ChantelNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


    That’s a great chart, thanks!! I’m looking to fly into Southeast Asia in September and live for as long as possible in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and then move down to Australia and work a bit before flying back to Canada. Could anyone make an estimate of how long a very thrifty beach/cliff/island seeker could live in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines with $2000 CAD (inc everything besdies airfare)? Also, does anyone know of any resources to look up/read about Southeast Asia/Australia trips?

    Thanks so much eh!!

  26. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Chantel, I would believe, if you live very thrifty and resourceful, you can make it maybe through 3-4 months with this amount of money. That’s the most I would get out of it, but everyone is different.

    Renting rooms weekly/monthly (cheaper rates) instead of daily would reduce your housing costs, eating at local stalls/warungs instead of tourist restaurants would reduce your meal costs. Using public transport/buses/jeepneys/tuk-tuk/multicabs instead of renting a bike, car or anything else (not that it would be possible with that low budget) is obligatory.

    Have a great trip! ;-)

  27. Harry YurutenNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Very informative thank you.

  28. LauraNo Gravatar NEPAL Says:

    hey, theres some really helpful information here, though i wonder if you could help me out a bit more. ive been travelling in india for months and we’re heading to thailand in another month or two. my sister is planning to join us for a holiday hopefully in koh phangan. im trying to help her budget her trip, she only wants a two week holiday or so and as im backpacking ill be doing things on the cheap. how much is comfortable to live off for two weeks on the party islands? not including flights ect and ill bear in mind the extra for drinking and other such luxuries. thanks oxo

  29. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Laura, I wish I could help you with planning the trip for your sister, but that will be rather difficult. I don’t know her – I have no idea, what accommodation she prefers, how much food she eats (and where, at the road side or in fancy restaurants), if she likes to shop, party, drive a car, bike or prefers a driver or walks, spends her day at the beach or whatever. That’s why I created the above chart, to give a tool for other travelers to calculate their own expenses. Just look up the appropriate columns, add maybe a good 30% to include inflation and for safety reasons and you have a rule-of-thumb idea. More is really not possible from far away…am sorry! ;-)

  30. LauraNo Gravatar NEPAL Says:

    haha thank you chris…i was just looking for a round about figure of how cheaply you could live for 2weeks, as were all students ect and the cheaper the better….but you do have a point…and i presume we shall be celebrating lots… your chart is helpful…but hmm im just looking to give her a target figure to save for….don’t worry ill work it out, thanks anyways

  31. danNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    always good stuff, have chucked the lawyers and in march hope toshare a bowl of noodles Chris. time to get off my behind and go……………just do it to it. thanks for everything Chris.

  32. GeomarrNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Hey, I am a Namibian citizen with a Diploma degree and I also recently did my TESOL in South Africa, I just want to inquire will I be able to get work if I come to Thailand and when is the best time to look for work??
    Please help

  33. Malin HotelloNo Gravatar REPUBLIC OF KOREA Says:

    Just want to say that Thailand is incredible to say the least, I loved each minute of it. I went with a few close friends on a trip. It was perfect for us, and I can honestly say it would be perfect for your experienced tourists… or unexperienced. So you should visit Thailand too! :p

  34. KristelNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks for putting this together! I think I will be volunteering about 90 km from Phuket so I’m guessing even cheaper the further you get from the city, right? Sometimes in traveling though I’ve found commodities are more further from town, but rent is less. I found this very helpful in getting a general idea though. Thanks!

  35. KristelNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


    I found quite a wide variety of jobs both volunteer and paid in Thailand in my search. There are many 3rd party organizations connecting volunteers for a fee to schools, orphanages, etc on one end of the spectrum and others paying quite a good salary in addition to free room and board, especially if you have TESOL. I can’t remember off hand where the actual paid jobs were but a quick Google search for “jobs, teaching, English, Thailand, paid, TESOL” or some combination of that should do the trick. Some ask that you be a native speaker, but even if you aren’t from US or UK you sound like you could easily get a job. I looked at other countries too and Thailand seems to have a lot of opportunities and they are fairly easy to get. Good luck!

  36. Claire SmithNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Great article, as mentioned, the main tourist area’s such as Phuket and Koh Samui pull in a lot of the mafia who collude to fix taxi fares and push tourist prices up. So your nearly always better to book in advance and use your accommodations transportation if possible in these places.

    For the more “out in the sticks” area’s buses are really cheap way to get around and if you wait along any road and have an idea where your heading there will probably be a converted pickup truck taxi (called songtow) or air conditioned small minibus that if you flag down will stop and take you.

    So, in conclusion, a map and time on your hands will save you a fair bit of cash if your really wanting to make your travel budget last!

  37. Sean B. KellyNo Gravatar NORWAY Says:

    I am now 35 yrs. Old, and a disabled U.S. Veteran (I use a cane). I lived in Pattaya from 2003-2007, I left after the coup against Thaksin, also because of the European Holiday types Driving up inflation, the drastic dive the U.S. dollar took, and the 6 month visa law in country a year. I know you mentioned you haven’t been in awhile, but are those issues still Issues there. Also, I make less now, small trust fund dried up, only $1,400 U.S. a month now (versus $1,700 a month before), do you think that’s enough to move back and live there. I can’t stand the states, almost everyone has an attitude and is snobby (I know I sound snobby), decreasing freedoms and liberties, raising prices, High cost of living (I rent a room in a guest house for $583 a month, it’s just a room with a bed, T.V., sink, no A/C, heaters not on enough, shared Kitchen and bathroom, , and Electricity ). While there I rented a 3 bedroom 2 bath + kithchen 2 Car Carport, yard with Mango and shampoo tree, furnished, for 15, 000 baht per month. I can’t stand it here. Thanks for your honest opinion, Sean

  38. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sean B. Kelly, even though your monthly disposable income is a bit reduced compared to a few years back, it should be still possible, to live a fairly good life in SE Asia with it. Personally I would avoid Pattaya, but just because I don’t like the whole place, there are more beautiful and even cheaper spots in Thailand, although you might struggle to find the whole range of entertainment options you could have there.

    Also, as an American, you might want to research the Philippines a bit more, which sees many American Retirees and Expats and is still very affordable, english-speaking and culture-wise pretty similar to the US: The Visa System is also better and more transparent and the Dollar still hasn’t lost all its shine here.

    It all depends on your preferences! I hope you can make the step and get out of there, as I agree with your observations regarding liberties and quality of life almost completely. :D

  39. Sean B. KellyNo Gravatar NORWAY Says:


  40. gary childsNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    hi ive lived in thailand for the best part of ten years now, and its getting pricy now gary from pattaya.

  41. seanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    hey chris! i live in the u.s. i wanted to spemd about 2-3 months with my girlfriend in thailand to get in the best shape of my life. how much money should i bring including the ticket costs??? we like to party alot so keep that in mind and shes kinda a diva about having internet and cable:) tyvm.

  42. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sean, only you can answer that for sure. I can only give you hints in form of the above spreadsheet on how the costs will be. What I would do is not bring too much cash, but a good ATM card with low fees. Then you can withdraw according to your needs and have less wads of cash hanging out of your pocket. Safer and easier to control your spending habits. ;-)

  43. AndreeaNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    HI Chris,
    I’m looking to spend the winter holidays ( a month) with my boyfriend in thailand ( bangkok, phuket and other islands) and maybe a few days in singapore.
    can you give me some advices about places that might be less crowded (some beaches and islands maybe)
    And how cand i find accomodation at an affordable price that i can rent weekly not by the night? i am looking for something clean and nice , nothing fancy.
    What kind of budget should i have in mind for thailand for about 3-4 weeks ( without travel costs) ?

  44. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Andreea, currently I can’t give you any up2date advice, as I haven’t been in Thailand over the last 2 years. Generally I can only recommend to move around and find a place that suits you. Travel is still cheap in Thailand and you can easily find affordable accommodation a bit away from the touristy crowds. Talk with other travelers, look around and keep your eyes open. I would maxium book the first 2-3 nights in before-hand, if just booking a flight without hotel makes you feel uncomfortable. The best deals are most likely to be had, when you are there, because your bargaining power is higher, as you can always walk out and find something better, if quoted prices seem to high to you.

    Just take the numbers in the above spreadsheet as a starting point, maybe with 30-40% added due to inflation and price development over the last 2 years and you should have a good clue on what to shoot for.

    Have a nice trip! ;-)

  45. fortunatoNo Gravatar PORTUGAL Says:

    hi im 38, and i will go to kho samui, with my wife an 2 childrens 8 an 9 years,i need toknow more or less .how much is the cost of life there…!! more or less. house supermarket and school .montly

    thank you

    best regards fortunato

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