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Bangkok: Thailand’s Most Affordable Expat City

From experiencing unique cultures to moving abroad for a more affordable lifestyle, there are plenty of reasons expats travel around the world and visit various countries. No matter the reasons, the cost of living has to be one of the most considered factors when choosing where to stay.

In light of the data collected from expat tax services company Greenback, Bangkok was rated the fifth most affordable city for expat individuals and families among 184 countries and 43 major cities. Here are the numbers you might be interested in:

Average monthly cost of living (Individual) Average monthly cost of living (Family) Inflation rate (2023-2024)
THB ฿66,928 (USD $1,891) THB ฿116,549 (USD $3,293) -1.1%

Tempting, right? Although the cost of living depends mostly on your lifestyle, you can certainly live a quality life in Bangkok – with a fraction of the cost back home. Unrealistically, contrary to the global inflation trend, Bangkok has a -1.1% inflation rate, meaning that you have greater spending power compared to last year.

In this Pacific Prime article, we will go in-depth on the cost of living in Bangkok from five perspectives: accommodation, food, entertainment, transport, and healthcare – to help you understand what it is like to live in Bangkok with a budget and make an informed decision on whether to move to the city.


The average monthly rent in Bangkok is THB ฿20,000-25,000 (USD $565-706), of course, depending on the area you want to live. Renting a property will always probably be your biggest monthly expense. To fully settle in the capital city of Thailand, you’ll want to find an apartment to call home.

If you happen to be a little bit tight on budget, living in an apartment 20 minutes away from the city center is going to save you a lot in accommodation expenses.

Rent outside the city center can go as low as THB ฿5,000-8,000 (USD 141-226) /month. That said, it is not recommended if you have to commute to work as these places are usually far away from major transports like BTS or MRT.

Most expats opt for a private apartment or condo as these are the most cost-effective choices. Not only are you close to the hustle and bustle of the city center, some private establishments also have facilities like swimming pools and gyms and come with fully furnished rooms – saving you time from endless furniture shopping.

Note: Depending on how much you use the air-con, the utility bills could add up. Thailand’s tropical climate makes the weather humid and hot nearly all year round. To save costs, make sure you turn the air conditioning off whenever you are not using it.


From street food hotspots to mid-range restaurants, Bangkok has a plethora of choices to offer. To your surprise, cooking is actually more expensive than eating out in Thailand. As a budget expat, it is best to get your hands on cheap food from street food establishments or low-cost restaurants.

For example, the nation’s famous dish, Pad Thai with fresh meat/seafood/tofu and egg can be bought for as little as THB ฿90 (USD $2.50) from Thip Samai, a famous restaurant known for being friendly to your wallet.

More budget opens up a wider range of restaurant choices. Paying extra allows you to experience a more traditional restaurant vibe in a somewhat decent restaurant. You can also choose a day or two to sit back and cook at home, using fresh produce from local markets or supermarkets.

Nonetheless, here you can find affordable and delicious food regardless of your budget.


Entertainment in Bangkok is a lot of fun – having a few cheap pints in a local bar, subscribing to a gym pass, watching a sports competition… Anything you can think of!

If you are looking for something unusual and unique, look no further than Muay Thai Kickboxing. It can be viewed live for THB ฿300 (USD $8.50), or even less. Sports lovers are going to enjoy every moment of the show with all those compact actions going on.

If you’re lucky enough to explore cultural events in Thailand, such as the Chiang Mai Water Festival, you might be amazed by the fascinating culture and the friendliness of the people. it is worth every penny you’ve spent on such unforgettable memories.

Alternatively, you can head to cinemas, bowling alleys, and arcades in mega malls during evening times to spend some quality time with your friends or family. Whatever you name, Bangkok has it all at an affordable cost.


Transport in Bangkok comes with a great deal of diversity, you can get around the city with various transportation.

Bangkok is home to two high-speed railways – the BTS and MRT. A day pass on the BTS will cost around THB ฿140 (USD $4), or you can try getting on the unconditioned buses for THB ฿15 (USD $0.40).

If you are in a rush, go for a Grab taxi. Although the taxi fare is a little bit more expensive (THB ฿55 (USD $1.55) starting, THB ฿3 (USD $0.09) per kilometer after) than hailing a taxi on the sidewalk, you do not have to worry about the language barrier, or being scammed by going the long route.


A consultation with a private general practitioner (GP) or specialist will generally cost between THB ฿500 (USD $14) and THB ฿3,000 (USD $85). It is costly, but you enjoy shorter wait times and access to cutting-edge medical technology and quality healthcare in return.

Thailand has free public healthcare, but expats are excluded from this perk. Hence, most expats secure international private health insurance to cut costs in the long run. The monthly premium for health insurance with basic coverage ranges from THB ฿5,415 to ฿10,865 (USD $153 to $307).


With cost-effective accommodation, food, transport, entertainment, and healthcare available in the city, Bangkok has lived up to its name as the fifth most affordable expat city in the world. Expats are offered options for whatever budget, making it an ideal location to move in.

Pacific Prime has over 20 years of experience as an insurance broker, and we compare plans from worldwide insurers to find you the best deal that suits your healthcare needs and budget.

For all things insurance, we have a team of insurance experts who can provide impartial advice and support you throughout your insurance journey.

Contact us today for more information about insurance or get an obligation-free quote!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Thailand
Eric is an experienced content writer specializing in writing creative copies of marketing materials including social media posts, advertisements, landing pages, and video scripts.

Since joining Pacific Prime, Eric was exposed to a new world of insurance. Having learned about insurance products extensively, he has taken joy and satisfaction in helping individuals and businesses manage risks and protect themselves against financial loss through the power of words.

Although born and raised in Hong Kong, he spent a quarter of his life living and studying in the UK. He believes his multicultural experience is a great asset in understanding the needs and wants of expats and globe-trotters.

Eric’s strengths lie in his strong research, analytical, and communication skills, obtained through his BA in Linguistics from the University of York and MSc in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Bristol.

Outside of work, he enjoys some me-time gaming and reading on his own, occasionally going absolutely mental on a night out with friends.
Eric Chung