You can live well in Thailand for less than $2,500 per month.
Where you decide to settle will have a large impact on your monthly expenses—a view of rice paddies from your balcony will be less expensive than looking out over the waves crashing onto a sandy beach. And a modern apartment in one of Bangkok’s many bustling neighbourhoods is not going to come dirt cheap.
There are still lots of opportunities to lead a quality lifestyle for not a lot of money in many places.
Here’s a sample monthly budget for two people living comfortably in Chiang Mai.
|Rent (furnished, 2-bed condo or house)||$790|
|Pay TV (top-of-the-line package)||$80|
|Electricity (no AC): $30 / Electricity (constant AC)||$130|
|Phone (basic cell phone data plan)||$25|
|Entertainment (dining out and other activities)||$130-260|
|House keeper (one day per week)||$80|
|Healthcare (four $30 visits to a doctor per year for two people)||$26|
|Health Insurance (outpatient coverage not included, $2000 deductible)||$400-650|
|Transportation (maintenance and fuel for 150cc scooter)||$26|
This gives a monthly total of $2,470 to $3,100, which would be a realistic budget for a retired couple living in various parts of the country and dining on a mixture of local and international foods. When you realise that Chiang Mai has a population of several hundred thousand and comes with all the amenities of a large, modern city, you can appreciate just how low some of these costs are.
It is certainly possible to live on less, especially in the smaller towns and more rural areas. You can still find studio and one-bedroom apartments available for under $400 per month. Buying most of your groceries at the local markets as opposed to the large international chains will save you a bundle. Finally, because of the relatively inexpensive cost of healthcare, many expats rely on savings for medical emergencies in place of purchasing health insurance with high monthly premiums.
Even after adding in a little extra money for travel and other extras, it is still a fairly low budget for a quality retirement in a tropical setting.
*Prices as of 2015