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Cost of Living in Chiang Rai

The cost of living in Chiang Rai is the cheapest in Thailand and the standard of living is very good.  You can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,300, live well on $2,000 or live very well on $3,000

The figures above and the costs below, are in US dollars and based on the year 2018

These figures are based on a single person.  As a married couple, food costs may be less because most women prefer to cook at home.  The figures for meals are really dependent on how often you want to eat Western food.  Typical Thai food will cost $1 to $2 per meal and Western food will be more like $5 – $6 per meal.

The rental figure on the $1,300 budget would be for an apartment in Chiang Rai city or a small 2 bedroom house outside the city.  If you choose wisely, you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for as little as $60-$90 per month.  For a nicer apartment with a kitchen and living room it could be around $150.

Your utility bill is largely governed by how often you use the air conditioner and what temperature is set to, most people keep theirs on 25c / 75f.

As an example, one of my clients is married with 4 kids. 1 is in primary school, two are in high school and one in university. They live in a medium sized 3-bedroom house which costs $200 per month. They are also paying for a car and their total expenses average about $2,000 per month. Most times they eat at home and the wife either cooks or buys at the market. They go out to eat once a week and a western meal for the 6 of them usually costs about $30.00.

Here’s a recent comment on one of my posts from a local expat. “we live very well on a budget of $870 monthly, all including! Only thing missing is a pool in our garden! That’s for 2 adults and 2 very spoiled dogs”.

In my opinion, living on $870.00 per month would be challenging but I do have a client who does all his own cooking and eats out once per week, he lives on $1000 per month.  He man is single and lives in a very nice city center condo where he pays rent of $437 (he could have gotten cheaper) and walks everywhere except for once a week when he takes a taxi to the supermarket.

Having said all of that, you could get by on about $1000.00 per month but you would have no health insurance and probably no car. You would be using taxis or a small motorbike and saving money for emergency medical care which by western comparison is cheap anyway.

My husband recently had an ingrown toenail removed; the doctor visit, surgery and medicine costs came to $15.00. My husband also has a complete medical check-up every year, this includes, a chest x ray, 12 blood tests, ECG, abdominal ultrasound and a physical exam by a doctor. The cost: $80.00.  My husband is also an insulin dependent diabetic and the cost of his medicine (Metformin, Diamicron and Insulin), is $70.00 per month.

As you can see, if you choose to retire in Thailand and live in Chiang Rai, you can have a good standard of living without dipping into your savings every month.

If you want to purchase a nice condo, you could get one for less than $63,000.00,  a 3 bedroom house for $93,000.00, a good second hand car for about $12,000.00 or a new car for around $30,000.00.