‘Living a Comfortable Life on a Budget in Bangkok
As a long term reader of the Stickman submissions and reading the recent submission on living expenses in Thailand, I decided it was about time to contribute with my overview of the expenses I have in Bangkok.
I have lived here for 3 years and work as a freelance photographer. I am 28 years old and I live in the Ekkamai area, that's very close to the heart of Bangkok (for the people who are not familiar with the area I'm living in). I live in a studio of 30 square meters in a very quiet area and am 10 minutes walking distance from BTS Ekkamai (or 20 baht by motorcycle taxi).
I pay 5,000 baht for my apartment and an additional 500 baht for the electricity that I use. I have a brand new air conditioner in my room that I rarely use. Since the moment I started to live here, I bought a big fan, which is always on (thanx to Stickman's advice, in his article about living in Thailand and the fact that using a fan is so much cheaper then using an air conditioner).
There is a restaurant on the second floor of my apartment that serves all kinds of dishes for about 30 – 40 baht. I order their food about 2 times per day and for the rest I just have my meals outside, mostly at small restaurants in my soi, where I also found my favourite padthai restaurant (30 baht per dish). My daily expenses when it comes to food are about 200 baht. For this amount of money I have 4 dishes at 30 baht and an additional 80 baht I use for snacks that I buy at the 7 Eleven around the corner from my apartment.
There is also a salon in my apartment where I go to get my hair washed for 50 baht per time. I visit this place about 2 times per week. Mostly I spend time indoors since I don't like to visit bars, clubs etc. I do a lot of casual dating through the Internet and I mostly meet up with girls in my area. Then we have some food at Chester's Grill or just at some place on the street. Sometimes we end up at my place, sometimes we don't. However, I never lose too much money on all this, so that's a good thing in my opinion.
When I go out, I love to do street photography. I have a nice DSLR with some good lenses and when I go out I usually take the bus, BTS or the MRT. I avoid rush hours, so I can easily avoid the annoyance of being packed as a sardine in the subway. To go from my place to a park like Lumpini or Train Park (close to Chatuchak park) I pay about 40 baht per single trip. I always bring my backpack with a big bottle of water inside of it, so I don't have to waste money on buying drinks, etc. I find it very relaxing to do my photography here in Bangkok since there is always something happening in this city, and there are always people everywhere you go (but okay, that's for another submission, not this one).
I also need to make my visa run every 2 months (I've got a multiple entry visa) which costs me a total of 2000 baht per time. These are visa runs to Cambodia and just take a couple of hours each time. I got used to it by now and luckily it's just once per 2 months, so that's not that bad.
The 'funny thing' is that I am very happy here. I got enough female attention, enough to eat. I got a fast Internet connection for 600 baht per month and live fairly close to the heart of Bangkok in a decent studio apartment. There is even a swimming pool that I can use here and luckily the apartment I am living in is in a very good state. The place gets cleaned up each morning and it doesn't look dirty or sleazy. There is also a laundry service in my apartment, which charges 15 baht per shirt or jeans and 25 baht per towel. There are a few expats living at my apartment building, but mostly middle class Thais. My monthly expenses have total 12,000 Baht. And as I said, I don't have any shortcomings here in this city. Even though with this budget I can maintain a happy lifestyle with all the things I like to do.
Wow, you really don't spend much at all, in fact this is about the lowest total outgoings I have heard for a foreigner in Thailand in a long, long time. But hey, so long as you are happy, good for you!