Can you live in Bangkok on $1000? 

Can you live on just $1000 a month in Bangkok? What kind of lifestyle will that be? I’ll attempt to cover that in this short article.

Let me get right to it, can you live on $1000 in Bangkok:

Yes, it’s possible to live safely and enjoyably on $1000 pr. month in Bangkok, but it will require a lot of discipline and you won’t have enough for any real travel. 

If you want to live a little more comfortably and be able to afford to occasionally travel then you should aim for $1500 or ideally $2000.

If $1000 is all you got, then you’ll just have to make do. I’ve made a “$1000 budget in Bangkok” part, to show you just how I’d divide my expenses on such a monthly budget. 

How much do you need to live in Bangkok for a month?

To answer that question, it would entirely depend on you. What are you looking for? Are you young, healthy and looking for adventure or are you getting up in age, grown used to comforts and with a few nagging health issues?

It’s not going to be the basics that get you in Bangkok, but the insurance, the healthcare, the steak dinner and western comforts.

Surviving in Bangkok is cheap, but not as cheap as elsewhere in Thailand

Bangkok, and other parts of Thailand, like Chiang Mai, can be very, very cheap to survive in. And the funny thing is that just surviving in Thailand can be quite a lot of fun. You won’t freeze to death here. You won’t be homeless either, because rents are low, if you know where to look. 

Food and rent can be very cheap in Bangkok. It’s perfectly possible to find a clean, nice apartment with a western toilet, aircon and a (cold) shower for as little as 5000 THB ($150) or even cheaper if you can deal with squat toilets and fans. You won’t find it on AirBnB though, that’s for sure.

Cost of food has gone up recently, as it has everywhere, but it’s still cheap to eat streetfood, particularly if you’re not a bigger person who needs their proteins for gains. Basic dishes like Kao Mun Gai (chicken rice), can be as little as $1.5. 

Is $1000 enough in Bangkok?

In my opinion, yes you can live for $1000 in Bangkok, but only if you plan your stay well and make sure to have a buffer for expenses saved up and an open ended ticket for a flight home.

Will $1000 give you a high quality of life? That’s entirely subjective. Living in Bangkok can be very exciting, particularly if this is your first time in the city and many popular activities here, such as food, partying and exploring, are cheap.

However, if you want to live a comfortable life, I’d recommend upping your budget to $1500 or even $2000 a month. 

That’s a topic for another post though, so let’s keep with our imaginary $1000 budget.

$1000 in Bangkok – Monthly Budget

This is how I’d divide my budget of $1000 (35,000 THB) in Bangkok, if I had to:

  • Cheap apartment (aircon, western toilet) – 5000 THB
  • Electricity and utilities – 1000 THB
  • Health insurance – 2000 THB
  • Medication – 1000 THB
  • Haircut – man – 250 THB
  • Haircut – woman – 500 THB
  • Phone and internet – 1500 THB
  • Thai language classes and ED visa  – 5000 THB
  • (Tourist Visa every 3 months, monthly average – 3000 THB)
  • MRT/BTS Rabbit card – 2000 THB
  • Taxis, motocys – 1500 THB
  • (Rent scooter + gas – 5000 THB)
  • Streetfood meals every day – 5000 THB
  • Fruit, noodles, snacks – 2000 THB
  • Home supplies, toiletries – 2000 THB
  • Clothes – 2000 THB
  • Laundry – 500 THB
  • Outdoor gym and fitness – 500 THB
  • Entertainment and dating – 2000 THB
  • Clubbing and bars – 1 pr. week – thai style – 2000 THB
  • (Clubbing and bars – 1 pr. week – western style – 5000 THB)

Which comes out at … 35.000 – 40.000 THB or about $980 to $1120 for a month of living expenses in Bangkok – depending on your choices.

Mind you, this is a tight budget. There’s literally no room to go over, though unlike other budgets, this includes health insurance and proper Visa costs. I’ll go into both below, but I’ve really tried to make this budget both safe and realistic.

This budget assumes a lot of things, namely that you won’t go out a lot! There’s no room in this budget for Starbucks or Pizza Hut or any such luxuries. You’re on a strict budget and a strict diet of streetfood, though I did include a generous 2000 THB for entertainment and dating, where again, you’ll have to be creative. 

I suggest being comfortable being single or finding a partner that enjoys spending time at home, because you’re not taking her or him out for dinner very often.

Wait … how come some Youtubers live on less than that?

I’ve seen some of those budgeting videos and they can seem convincing, but most of the time it seems to me that they’re skipping some important things like insurance and visa costs.

And those budgets are generally with no allowance for unforeseen expenses.

However, I know that some people can and do live on less than what I budgeted here. I think it can be done for sure, but it helps if you have some decent savings already, so that you can feel safer not getting the best health insurance etc and if you can pay for a proper VISA ahead of time, such as an ED visa and so on.

In any case, let me know if you agree with my budget in the comments!

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