Thailand – Budget

Thailand – Budget

Chiang Mai

Many foreigners choose to make central or southern Thailand their home and a majority of them end up settling around Thailand’s third “country,” Chiang Mai. Since the 1800s, the Thai city of Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West, some come for the weather, and others are attracted to the low cost of living.

It’s an area rich in history with a culture distinctly different than central and southern Thailand.

About 435 miles north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is nestled in a fertile river valley surrounded by mountains and enjoys a more temperate climate than other parts of Thailand. It’s an area rich in history with a culture distinctly different than central and southern Thailand. Many people who first experience Northern Thailand on vacation end up staying for years.

The heart of Chiang Mai lies within its old city walls. Here, dozens of ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist with public and international schools, residential and commercial neighborhoods. Street markets and festivals occur almost nightly, and a huge array of restaurants catering to all tastes can be found within walking distance of almost anywhere in the Old City.

Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls, though, and extends for several miles in every direction. Large shopping complexes are located along the superhighway, a multi-laned, controlled-access ring road that circles the outskirts of the city. Several “mega-malls” and huge multi-national grocery and department stores line the access roads to the superhighway. Between the Old City and superhighway are the condominiums that so many foreigners purchase, freestanding houses, terrace homes, and hundreds of independently-owned neighborhood stores.

One thing that Chiang Mai definitely has going for it is its weather. While the weather in Bangkok is hot and steamy year round, Chiang Mai has a cool season From December until the end of February, mid-day temperatures are generally in the low or mid-80s.

Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai

Thailand is one place in the world where you can still enjoy aspects of first-class living at economy-class prices. It is possible to stretch your retirement nest egg to enjoy a better lifestyle in Southeast Asia than you could afford anywhere else in the world. In Chiang Mai, where a retired couple could on less than US$1,100 per month, with housing prices so low, it’s no wonder so many expats have chosen to make Thailand their permanent home.

Buying real estate in Thailand is presents several difficulties. Of course, some retirees—particularly those intending to spend a long time in the country—may feel more comfortable buying their own property, regardless of difficulties or depreciation. Anyone residing in Thailand is responsible for paying taxes when buying or selling property, but there are no annual property taxes. All taxes and fees are paid upon the transfer of the property.

Luxury condominiums start at around US$49,500, and for around US$115,500, you could have an upscale and spacious place with a full Western-style kitchen, teak floors, installed phone lines, hot tubs, spectacular views and amenities such as swimming pools and golf courses.

Across Thailand, the standard of medical care is very high and costs are extremely reasonable. This has helped to make the country a popular destination for medical tourists, who find it much less expensive to fly to Thailand and receive treatment there, than it would be to have the same procedure done in their home country. Over 1.2 million foreigners sought medical care in Thailand in 2006.

Seeing an English-speaking doctor for a simple visit, for example, costs around US$20. Several hospitals in the city offer an international standard of medical care. Major surgical procedures are significantly less expensive than in the U.S. and positive outcomes are high. A heart bypass, for example, that would cost over US$100,000 in the United States will only cost around US$10,000 in Thailand. A total hip replacement in Thailand costs around US$11,000, yet the same procedure in the States is more than US$70,000. A simple MRI costs less than US$300, a saving of around US$700 compared to having the same procedure in the United States.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Chiang Mai, Thailand

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent THB 15,175
Gas THB 189 Used for cooking.
Electricity THB 1,322 No air conditioning installed.
Water THB 189
Telephone THB 378 Prepaid cellphone plan for 30 days.
Internet THB 755 Unlimited, 10 MB broadband.
Cable TV THB 755
Groceries THB 7,557
Entertainment THB 8,036
Total THB 34,902

 

Hua Hin

Hua Hin boasts miles of clean beaches, good year-round weather, and a large foreign community. The rich selection of restaurants, internationally accredited medical care, and nine town golf courses, with several more being constructed, make it even more appealing. It’s close to the cultural offerings of Bangkok, yet far enough away to be well removed from the chaos. Mountains, caves, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife can be seen at the seven national parks within a two-hour drive from town.

The event that transformed Thailand’s oldest major beach resort from a small fishing village to the popular seaside resort destination that it is today came in 1911, when the railroad from Bangkok to Hua Hin was completed. Transportation to and from Bangkok became much easier and more convenient, inspiring members of the Thai Royal Family and Bangkok’s elite to build bungalows here.

In many respects, Hua Hin could be described as the San Miguel de Allende (Mexico) or Pedasí (Panama) of Southeast Asia—there is an expat community, but there are still enough local Thai people to keep things interesting. You’ll know and feel that you’re in a foreign country, but moving here does not require total immersion in a new culture.

There is always something happening in town. Besides the annual Jazz Festival and Kite Festival, there are soccer leagues, pool tournaments, darts leagues, book clubs, and running and cycling clubs—just a few of the numerous pastimes available for the entertainment of the many expats living here.

Cost Of Living In Hua Hin

Few other places in the world seem to match the attributes of a retirement haven as aptly as Hua Hin. Dollar for dollar, you can enjoy a much higher standard of living in Hua Hin than you could afford to have back home.

Rents in Hua Hin are almost always negotiable, at least to a certain extent. Your biggest decision will be whether you want to live right on the beach or prefer to live more inland. The beach is lined with condominiums and apartments, and many units offer direct ocean views. If you want to live right on the beach, plan on spending around US$800-US$950 for a furnished two-bedroom unit. If you prefer to live a mile or two outside of the city center and away from the beach, rental prices will generally be about half of that amount.

Paying a damage deposit is the norm; usually one month’s rent for an unfurnished place or two month’s rent for furnished units. Since the deposit is used to cover potential damages made to the property, it is especially advantageous for you to have photos taken prior to moving into the residence. If your landlord insists on an overly large security deposit, you may want find a different place to rent.

You’ll need to clarify who pays for repairs. Structural repairs, electrical, and plumbing problems are generally paid for by the landlord. The tenants pay to keep the property clean and maintained, as well as replacing light bulbs, fuses, fans, and any items that break during the tenancy.

In most cases, you’ll have the utilities in your name and will be responsible for paying them.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Hua Hin, Thailand

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent THB 16,531
Gas THB 315 Used for cooking.
Electricity THB 1,102 No air conditioning installed.
Water THB 315
Telephone THB 630 Prepaid cellphone plan for 30 days.
Internet N/A Free with Hua Hin Citywide.
Cable TV THB 787
Groceries THB 10,233
Entertainment THB 11,020
Total THB 40,933

Pai

Pai is located in one of the prettiest fertile valleys, surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in all of Thailand. It’s one of several small towns and villages scattered through the mountains of Mae Hong Son Province. This large, mostly rural province stretches from just west of Chiang Mai all the way to the Myanmar border. Pai is about 550 meters (1,805 ft.) above sea level, so the weather here tends to be cooler in the hot season than it is in the lowlands to the east.

With a population that is still less than 6,000, it is very much a small town. Pai is just 83 miles northwest of Chiang Mai, but with the winding, twisting roads, it feels quite removed. Though Pai continues to develop, it is doing so in a controlled manner; it’s a laid-back place.

The air is cleaner and fresher and the pace of life is much slower here, with all the ambiance of a congenial, small mountain town. Myanmar is only 40 kilometers (25 miles) directly north of Pai, though you would have to travel much farther to get there by road. The provincial capital of Mae Hong Son, with a population of just over 6,000, is 108 kilometers (67 miles) west of town.

If you’ve ever been to Big Sur or Carmel, California, to Boulder, Colorado, or indeed to any small, artist-oriented town, you have a sense of what is found in Pai. There are many art galleries in town, meditation and yoga are popular activities and locals are accepting towards people from all walks of life. Classes are offered in everything from martial arts to alternative healing. Community-minded Pai residents are involved in reforestation projects and helping disadvantaged minorities in the region.

One of the attractions of Pai is that as a foreigner, it’s possible to live a small town, Southeast Asian lifestyle without having to fully assimilate into Thai culture. English speakers will have few problems here, as many local Pai residents have learned the language and adapted graciously to the increase in tourism and foreign residents.

Pai’s rural setting offers other advantages, as well. It’s far enough away from any large city to provide peace and quiet and all the amenities that come with living in a small mountain town, but it’s only a four-hour drive to Chiang Mai. Some of the best medical care in Asia is easily accessible from Pai, as well as an abundance of shopping, dining, and cultural opportunities. 

Pai is a jewel in the center of one of the most attractive landscapes in Thailand. Several waterfalls and natural hot springs are located just a few kilometers from town. There are some excellent caves, camping and trekking opportunities, and a few elephant camps just a short drive away. Bicyclists can enjoy comfortable rides through the countryside, and motorcycle enthusiasts can pass endless hours of pleasure exploring the rural and mountainous roads which lead out of town in every direction.

Cost Of Living In Pai

With few exceptions, foreigners who move to Pai rent homes. In a town as affordable as Pai, there really aren’t many advantages to buying a house; at least until you’ve decided that you want to remain in the area for many years.
Pai is inexpensive, even compared to other Thai destinations; here, a monthly budget for a couple renting a home, including costs for food, entertainment, and utilities comes out to under US$700.

Until you’ve made the decision to live here, you may prefer to rent a vehicle. A small motorbike—typically 110cc or 125cc—costs about US$6 per day, including insurance and a helmet. Bicycles rent for about US$3 per day. Lower rates are available for long-term rentals.

For trips farther afield, many locals utilize the services of one of the local minivans that run east between Pai and Chiang Mai, and west all the way to Mae Hong Son. Minibuses depart throughout the day from Pai and are a safe and inexpensive way to travel.

The little government-run Pai Hospital is the only hospital in town. They have an emergency room, an operating room and surgical suite, and enough medical equipment to perform x-rays and basic diagnostic tests. They have an ambulance and an emergency medical technician to staff it. A visit to the doctor here costs about six dollars. However, this is a small hospital and not designed to meet the health care needs of someone with a serious medical condition.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Pai, Thailand  

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent THB 10,000
Gas N/A Included with rent.
Electricity N/A Included with rent.
Water N/A Included with rent.
Telephone THB 100 Prepaid cellphone plan for 30 days.
Internet N/A Included with rent.
Cable TV N/A Included with rent.
Groceries THB 7,500
Entertainment THB 5,000
Total THB 22,600

Phuket

Thailand’s Phuket Island is an internationally famous beach destination and rightfully so. Beautiful sandy shores separated by rocky headlands grace the entire west coast of the island. The Andaman Sea is warm, clear, and inviting—certainly one of Phuket’s main attractions.

There are few parts of the world that offer retirees more reasons to stay than Phuket. There’s something here for nearly everybody. Phuket has some of the most beautiful beaches and coastlines to be found anywhere, world-class golfing, beautiful mountainous countryside, and nearly a dozen unique and welcoming towns, all with sizeable foreign populations. The weather is tropically warm and English is widely understood. A tremendous selection of restaurants, cinemas, water sports, and a pulsating nightlife offer endless opportunities for entertainment. Phuket has something for nearly every budget, too.

More than 100,000 foreign residents have chosen to make a life here. That’s over 20% of the island’s permanent population. Others have come to Phuket to invest in real estate. With the right property, it is still possible to reap an 8% to 10% per annum return on your investment.

Cost Of Living In Phuket

If your idea of paradise includes a high-quality lifestyle, a reasonable cost of living, year-round tropical weather, and beautiful beaches, Phuket should be right on the top of your list. Rent, especially, is a global bargain. You can find a comfortable rental for as little as US$350 to US$400 per month, and most rentals come fully furnished.
Another factor in Phuket’s favor is the superb medical care, at a cost of 20% to 80% less than it would cost in the United States.

All costs considered, including groceries, utilities, entertainment, and your own motorbike for transportation, a retired couple could live here on a monthly budget of as little as US$1,000. For this very low cost, you'd be buying a full and fascinating lifestyle.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Phuket, Thailand

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent THB 10,000
Gas THB 150 Used for cooking.
Electricity THB 2,250 Frequent air conditioning use.
Water N/A Included with electricity.
Telephone THB 480 Prepaid cellphone plan for 30 days.
Internet THB 590 Unlimited, 10 MB broadband.
Cable TV THB 1,413
Groceries THB 9,000
Entertainment THB 9,000
Total THB 3,2883

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Thailand – Budget

Chiang Mai

Many foreigners choose to make central or southern Thailand their home and a majority of them end up settling around Thailand’s third “country,” Chiang Mai. Since the 1800s, the Thai city of Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West, some come for the weather, and others are attracted to the low cost of living.

It’s an area rich in history with a culture distinctly different than central and southern Thailand.

About 435 miles north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is nestled in a fertile river valley surrounded by mountains and enjoys a more temperate climate than other parts of Thailand. It’s an area rich in history with a culture distinctly different than central and southern Thailand. Many people who first experience Northern Thailand on vacation end up staying for years.

The heart of Chiang Mai lies within its old city walls. Here, dozens of ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist with public and international schools, residential and commercial neighborhoods. Street markets and festivals occur almost nightly, and a huge array of restaurants catering to all tastes can be found within walking distance of almost anywhere in the Old City.

Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls, though, and extends for several miles in every direction. Large shopping complexes are located along the superhighway, a multi-laned, controlled-access ring road that circles the outskirts of the city. Several “mega-malls” and huge multi-national grocery and department stores line the access roads to the superhighway. Between the Old City and superhighway are the condominiums that so many foreigners purchase, freestanding houses, terrace homes, and hundreds of independently-owned neighborhood stores.

One thing that Chiang Mai definitely has going for it is its weather. While the weather in Bangkok is hot and steamy year round, Chiang Mai has a cool season From December until the end of February, mid-day temperatures are generally in the low or mid-80s.

Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai

Thailand is one place in the world where you can still enjoy aspects of first-class living at economy-class prices. It is possible to stretch your retirement nest egg to enjoy a better lifestyle in Southeast Asia than you could afford anywhere else in the world. In Chiang Mai, where a retired couple could on less than US$1,100 per month, with housing prices so low, it’s no wonder so many expats have chosen to make Thailand their permanent home.

Buying real estate in Thailand is presents several difficulties. Of course, some retirees—particularly those intending to spend a long time in the country—may feel more comfortable buying their own property, regardless of difficulties or depreciation. Anyone residing in Thailand is responsible for paying taxes when buying or selling property, but there are no annual property taxes. All taxes and fees are paid upon the transfer of the property.

Luxury condominiums start at around US$49,500, and for around US$115,500, you could have an upscale and spacious place with a full Western-style kitchen, teak floors, installed phone lines, hot tubs, spectacular views and amenities such as swimming pools and golf courses.

Across Thailand, the standard of medical care is very high and costs are extremely reasonable. This has helped to make the country a popular destination for medical tourists, who find it much less expensive to fly to Thailand and receive treatment there, than it would be to have the same procedure done in their home country. Over 1.2 million foreigners sought medical care in Thailand in 2006.

Seeing an English-speaking doctor for a simple visit, for example, costs around US$20. Several hospitals in the city offer an international standard of medical care. Major surgical procedures are significantly less expensive than in the U.S. and positive outcomes are high. A heart bypass, for example, that would cost over US$100,000 in the United States will only cost around US$10,000 in Thailand. A total hip replacement in Thailand costs around US$11,000, yet the same procedure in the States is more than US$70,000. A simple MRI costs less than US$300, a saving of around US$700 compared to having the same procedure in the United States.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Chiang Mai, Thailand

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent THB 15,175
Gas THB 189 Used for cooking.
Electricity THB 1,322 No air conditioning installed.
Water THB 189
Telephone THB 378 Prepaid cellphone plan for 30 days.
Internet THB 755 Unlimited, 10 MB broadband.
Cable TV THB 755
Groceries THB 7,557
Entertainment THB 8,036
Total THB 34,902