Readers' Submissions

Cost Of Living

  • Written by Jurgen
  • October 20th, 2006
  • 4 min read


My pension is about 30,000 baht a month. With that money I really live like a king, alas not in Bangkok.

The breakdown is as follows. A two bedroom house in Chiang Rai costs me 2,000 baht a month, this includes a kitchen and large living room. Diesel fuel for my car is about 1,000 baht a month. Electricity and water together about 800 baht. One local lady cooks me food and washes / irons my clothes at 2,000 baht a month and she is very happy, this includes the money spend for food. ADSL Internet is 680 baht a month. Clothing and other incidentals are about another 1,000 baht max.

Altogether I spend lets say 8,000 baht a month. In other words I can save 22,000 baht a month from my meager pension. This leaves enough money for an occasional beer etc.

I could not be better off in any other country.

If I read how much people actually spend in Thailand I consider they must be mad to throw money around as if it grows on trees. I live in a high security village; if the security people don’t know you they don’t let you enter the compound. At night they have patrols to check for safety.

I am at this time in Perth, Australia, for personal reasons, but I keep the house, our neighbors look after it and make sure all is ok.

Believe me, I am not missing out on anything. If I want a lady there are plenty around without charges, just for the fun of it. Also Chiang Rai has very beautiful surroundings. Within 20 kilometers drive you are right in the mountains. Every three months I drive to Maesai for a new entry stamp, it only takes ½ hour drive there on a dual lane highway.

We had a house in the city center but due to trouble with my wife’s older sister we decided to sell it. That’s the reason I decided to rent a place. Very nice and friendly neighbors all around, no problems at all and they do help each other out. They are mainly business people so maybe they are better educated as most.

As far as I am concerned I will spend the rest of my life in this beautiful area. My wife has to stay for another few months in Perth to get her permanent residence visa; once she comes back to Chiang Rai she will be building a house here. This is from her own money; so far she has saved 23,000 dollars. But as her house will be close to the parents “and the older sister” I prefer to stay at my rental place. That way I prevent possible trouble in the family.

Anyway I still don’t understand how much money people spend in Thailand. Ok, Bangkok is expensive and so probably is Pattaya, but just the same, I can not see any justification to spend 100,000 baht or more each month. If I feel like it I eat in a European restaurant for 150 baht or so. Ok, you have dual pricing for tourists, however I always get charged Thai prices without asking for it. Actually it's quite funny, many times Thai friends ask me to buy a few things for them as I get better prices from the dealers.

Chiang Rai is a relatively small place and everybody seems to know me. There are not that many farangs in the city. Many times I am greeted by people whom I don’t seem to place. Also my house normally costs 2,500 baht a month; however they only charge me 2,000 baht. Why that is I would not like to guess.

So for people on a limited budget, come to Chiang Rai. You can have the time of your life for very little expenses. But make sure that you have a multiple type O one year visa, that way you will have no problems at all. Do not come with a monthly visa, you will get into problems. Also, getting a drivers license is here very easy. If you have a one year multiple entry visa you can lease a car, no problems at all.

I am very happy here and feel like I have it made. I have everything I need without spending a whale of money for nothing. However be warned, if you are a barfly or whore monger this might not be the place for you. People do watch you and you can lose face awfully fast, the result would be that no decent people want to interact with you. Well this was originally a short reply to Stick, but it went out of hand. That’s the way things seem to have a habit of doing.

So again if you want a nice place to retire, come to Chiang Rai, you will not regret it.

Best regards,
Jurgen

Stickman's thoughts:

For someone who wants a quiet life, I am sure it would be a nice spot.