Before embarking on a journey to a new city I am sure you all look online to see what things cost. This way you have some idea of how much you will spend when you arrive. I know I certainly spent many hours pouring over internet sites to try and get a good idea. Below we have broken down what we found to be the cost of living in Bangkok.
You have various options of transport in Bangkok. The train is by far the fastest and most cost effective. There are a few train lines in Bangkok the main ones being the BTS Sky train, the MRT, and the Airport Rail link. Costs range from 15 Baht to 60 Baht per journey depending on distance. You can get a daily pass for 130 Baht but that is not interchangeable between lines. Trains are fairly regular. However, if you are used to the underground in cities such as London you may need to get used to waiting a little longer. The trains are pretty clean and quite often busy. They all have air conditioning so you should never feel uncomfortable when using.
The cost of Alcohol depends on location and is definitely something you need to put in your cost of living in Bangkok. A Beer in a central location will cost you about 90 Baht for a small bottle of Singha. 100 Baht and upwards for a Heineken. If you are buying in a shop then four cans of Singha (330ml) will set you back 135 Baht. This can vary greatly though as I found a decent bar outside the tourist area showing Premier League football. They only charged 90 Baht for a large bottle of Singha. Wine is expensive with a bottle of Jacobs Creek Chardonnay coming in at 595 Baht.
Water and soft drinks
Most street market stalls will give you a cup of ice when you order your meal and you help yourself to the water. In Thailand you are never sure if the water is from a bottle or a tap. I like to make sure so I buy my water in a bottle. A 1.5L bottle of water is about 14 Baht and a 500ml bottle about 10 Baht. Iced coffee and Tea start at 20 Baht and there are some delicious varieties of both are readily available in the markets.
Food is of importance when thinking about the cost of living in Bangkok. A basic chicken and noodle dish you should expect to pay 35 Baht for a small portion and 40 for a bigger portion. A Chicken dish with rice is often about 40 Baht as well on the street. If you want to go to a restaurant there are so many options it is impossible for me to list them all. We ate in a restaurant that was very clean and ordered a green curry this was 60 Baht but you can go to a Japanese buffet and pay 500! It depends completely on what you want and the level of luxury you are willing to pay for. McDonalds is about 155 Baht for a typical Big Mac meal and branded Ice cream stalls will charge about 220 Baht for a couple of desserts.
Cost Of Living In Bangkok
The price of accommodation varies hugely and is the biggest factor to consider when thinking about the cost of living in Bangkok. Let’s start with hotel style places. You can stay in a basic hotel in your own room for around 525 Baht a night. You can alternatively go for a more luxurious approach and spend several thousand. When looking into apartments/Condo’s the cheapest I have seen was 4700 Baht a month excluding utilities. TV, Fridge etc. all in it was about 7000. I know there are cheaper out there but it was right next to a train station so easily accessible. Upon visiting the place it was very very basic and not the sort of place you would want to stay in if you could afford better. (minimum contract was for three months)
You can get a nice studio/one bedroom place with gym and swimming pool outside of the main areas for about 10,000 Baht. If you want to stay in the centre there is no limit to what you would pay. However, do not expect to pay less than 20,000 for a very small place. The contracts will most likely be a minimum of a year to get a good price.
If you are like me and decided not to change any money before you came you can get a pretty good rate for your money in most high street exchange shops. When I went the actual exchange rate was 52.60 Baht to 1 GBP and still managed to change at 52.35. If you have large notes to change you will get an even higher rate. Otherwise, there are cash machines everywhere for you to withdraw money. You may need to take your passport with you as the shop will advertise that you need it although they will not always ask to see it.
Phone unlocking and cost of calls.
When arriving in Thailand both myself and my partner had mobiles that were tied to UK service providers. With us visiting various countries we decided to pay to get them unlocked. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 and the cost was 2000 Baht!! Ouch!!! and my girlfriend has an iPhone 5s and this cost 1500 to be unlocked.
I would certainly recommend getting this done in your own country before you arrive as I know I could have got mine done in London for about half the price. Once unlocked we both got pay as you go sim cards with a company called Dtac and for 399 Baht a month (excluding Tax 7%) we get 3GB of 3G data a month which should be enough to keep ourselves updated with the world around us.
If at any point the cost of living in Bangkok feel out of reach there is a solution! Cheap Charlies Dive Bar is one of the cheapest places to go for a few evening drinks. It is not the most glamourous of places you have ever been. It is, however, a Bangkok institution!