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» Living-in-Thailand

How much money do I need to live in Thailand?

This is an extremely difficult question to answer, you will find people on some Thai related forums saying it is impossible to live in Thailand on less than 100,000baht per month, some say you can scrape by just about on 50,000baht per month, but lets have a look at how the Thais do.

The average monthly salary in Thailand is about 5,000baht per month, out of this they have to pay their expenses as we would do in our home countries, ie food, drink, housing, utilities and all the other things that we have to pay for, so lets say we have 40 million Thais living on that sort of salary, they aren't dieing by the thousands of starvation so it is possible to live on that, but it probably isn't the sort of life you would want to lead.

The most common work here for English speaking foreigners is teaching, generally these people will earn on average 28,000baht per month, this is a very good salary for them as normally their only qualification is a few week course at one of the ESL schools, in Thailand this is a great social step upwards, going from the mindless tedium of working in some factory doing the same thing day in and day out they suddenly gain social standing and respect from the locals, obviously they are ridiculed by expats and proper teachers that are on a expat package type salary, but, they get to live here and enjoy themselves, albeit not to the same scale as those on the big expat packages.

One of your main daily expenses will be food, often it is much cheaper to eat out than actually going to the market or supermarket to buy ingredients, you can find extremely cheap Farang Food here, or maybe eat at a Thai Food Stall for less than 20baht, or even Thai Restaurants from 25 baht upwards.
More cheap Thai Restaurants Here.
For more expensive restaurants in Pattaya and the surrounding area here is a good link, Restaurant Reviews

To see how far your money will go in Thailand check out the exchange rates at Thai Baht Currency Exchange.

Electrics in Thailand

The voltage in Thailand is 240volts, in the main tourist areas, ie Bangkok, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai etc you will find that very few electric outlets actually have an earth that works, also if it rains you can expect power cuts and brown outs and spikes in the electric, this also happens when it isn't raining as well, so you really do need to protect your expensive electrical equipment.
In the non tourist areas it will be very rare to find electric outlets with an earth.

Thai plugs are generally a two pin affair and when you plug them in you get quite a nice miniature firework display which can be quite impressive, most fires in buildings in Thailand are caused by faulty electrics, this is not taking into account Southern Thailand as most of them there are now caused by bombs or arsonists.

While walking around in Thailand please be careful about what you touch, lean on, and how you swing your arms, you don't want this to be you. Man dies from Electrocution while walking in South Pattaya


Many main tourist areas in Thailand the tap water is now drinkable, this I wouldn't recommend as just about every building draws their water from their water tank where it is stored and you don't know how many years since the last time they cleaned out the tank, how many dead animals are in the tank etc, water is available in bottles and costs between 5baht and 15 baht for 1 to 25 liters, with the large 15 and 25 liter bottles of water you do need to buy the bottles initially and then you just exchange your empty one for a full one plus 10 to 15baht, although there are more expensive brands, the bottled water is generally quite safe, other sources of water can kill you though.

Crimes and the Police

If you are ever arrested in Thailand you really want to try and bribe the arresting officers before you get to the police station, once you are in the police station then more officers will become involved and the amount generally will go up, if bribery is not an option make sure you phone and inform people of where you are being held and why, as soon as you have signed your statement you will be taken to the cells and that will be your last chance to contact and inform people of where you are for the next few days, you will need people to bring you food and drink as neither are palatable from Thai jails.
The police will generally set a bail bond rate, this will be set ridiculously high for what the crime you are charged for, ie a crime that will end up in a 500baht fine at court the bail can be set at 50,000baht, for everyday you spend in jail 200baht is knocked off of the eventual fine that the court imposes.

Foreigners convicted of any crime in Thailand have to be deported, the deportation has to be to their home country by that countries national airline, preferably a direct flight if that is available, Thailand police or immigration in no way will help with the cost of tickets or the purchasing of tickets, this the foreigner has to arrange himself whilst in detention.

After conviction the foreigner will be again locked up and transferred to Bangkoks IDC, the foreigner will be held there until there flight is due, they will then have to pay the police to take them to the airport and escort them to their flight, at this stage they will take the handcuffs off.

Here are some pictures of one of Thailands jails and prison transport vehicles. Thai Prison Cell.

Here are some pictures of the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center. Suan Phlu Detention Center

Obviously it is best to try to have no involvement with the Thai police, in most countries if you do no wrong you will not have any problems with the police there, but here in Thailand the police do not have a very good reputation, from kidnapping the locals to extort money, to Thai police killing tourists.

Certain nationalities tend to feature in the local press for certain crimes, so depending on your nationality here is a list of reasons why you might get involved with the police or become a victim of a crime.

British Citizen

Your most likely reason for having any involvement with the Thai police will be due to fighting, the odds are you will be overcharged or ripped off while you are drunk and you will start fighting with a Thai National, now in theory you would win this fight due to not feeling any pain because of your drunken state, and size and weight advantage, unfortuneately in practise you will lose this fight due to a load of other Thais joining in the melee and beating the shite out of you.

A typical example of a fight won and lost.


The odds are you will take to your hotel 2 ladymen, these 2 will then drug and rob you, now why you would want to take 2 ladymen to your hotel I have no idea, but this is what will most likely happen to you on your holiday.
Indian man drugged by a female prostitute, probably.
3 Naked Indians Robbed


Most likely arrested for prostitution, yes we know there is a lot of prostitution in Thailand but the locals do not like the competition, also 5,000baht for a short time is way too much, the locals on Walking Street are more used to the 1,000 to 2,000baht for a short time.
Uzbekistan Prostitutes arrested.


You will be a victim of rip offs and over charging, but due to your culture of tipping you will not even notice nor care.


See Indian above.


Due to your permanent drunkeness you will most likely be pickpocketed by a group of ladymen on Beach Road, this you will probably not even notice until you try to pay your next bar bill and then you will just assume you have spent all your money.
Occasionally you may find that a gang of Thai men will try to beat you to death or just beaten up and robbed.


Most likely ripped off by a ladyman in your hotel room as happened Here..


The Dutch are usually pretty lucky, although sadly this Dutch guy was Murdered.


I was not going to include Norwegians in this page, but this week they seem to have been in the Pattaya newspapers quite often, and you lot do seem to get quite a few problems in Thailand, maybe an idea to think about Spain as your holiday destination, just a thought, so lets have a quick look at these 3 Norwegians.

One Norwegian was Beaten into a coma, one died whilst drinking in a Jomtien bar, and the last decided to jump through a bar window.

Being Disabled in Thailand

Pattaya City Hall has allocated millions of Thai Baht to make Pattaya safe for disabled people, for people in wheel chairs manouvering around Pattaya and Jomtien is a veritable assualt course full of challenges and fun, if you make it to the curb on the other side of the road safely you then can enjoy the challenges of buildings 60cms away from the ramps entrance point, poles in the middle of ramps and other fun things of a similar nature.

Blind people have the joys of open holes in footpaths to contend with, sometimes they do put up a warning piece of string, but generally a tree branch sticking out of the hole is considered an adequate warning.

Even for the fully abled Pattaya and Jomtien can be a dangerous city to walk around in with the amount of construction work and lack of warning signs, as this Lady found out.

I should mention that if you do happen to injure yourself it is considered your own fault and you will have to pay your own medical costs, but luckily some of the hospitals are world class, and some of them are very cheap, unfortunately that generally doesn't go together though.

Beaches in Thailand

Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in the world, from the beaches on Koh Samet island which seem to be made from sand as fine as talcum powder, to the lovely Koh Larn just off the coast of Pattaya, to the islands around and including Phuket.

The beach in this picture is in Naklua and is part of Wong Amart Beach, a mere 1 km journey from the vibrant city of Pattaya and all its Go Go Bars.

Visas for living and Traveling in Thailand

When moving to Thailand you will need to find which Thai Visa is suitable for you and which are available to you, here you can find a listing of different Thai Visas and the terms and conditions that must be met.

Many foreigners living in Thailand are not able to get a retirement visa and just do visa runs and try to live as perpetual tourists, this is at this present time being clamped down upon by Thai Immigration.
To learn more about Visa Runs from Thailand visit our Visa Run Forum.

Thailand has many land and river border crossing points, you can learn more about them Here.

Driving in Thailand

Driving in Thailand can be a wild adventure of unpaved roads and trying to outlive wild drunken tourists and Thais that use the local roads, motorbikes and cars can be rented out very cheaply often without even having to show a driving license.

If you are involved in an accident and are road legal and in the right you will quite often be treated fairly, sometimes though this is not the case as can be read about here.

If you have any questions about driving in Thailand you can ask them here, although a lot is already covered in this forum, things like, Accidents, getting your car customised, and how to get your Thai driving license.