Alright, so the display photo for this post isn’t actually my room – it’s sort of a common area for the residence. Anyone staying here can use the room to chill. I’m actually sitting in that room right now as I’m typing this. Ooh… there we go – one of the gogo girls just walked by. She wants to play pool but “maybe later” I said, “have to work”. Yeah, life is rough :)Anyway, it seems that the most common questions I’m getting about living and training in Thailand are regarding the expenses. I figured I’d do a post strictly about what sort of monthly expenses you can expect and of course, how to cut costs. Believe it or not, I’m on a pretty tight budget myself.
I’ll start off by saying that the average Thai person in this area works full time and earns around $200-300 a month (sometimes not even that). The people in other regions of Thailand earn a lot less but this is somewhat of a touristy area so there’s more opportunity. I should note that just because a Thai person can get by on $300 a month, it doesn’t mean you can. As a foreigner, you pay a premium to visit this country.
When you go shopping here, very rarely will you see a set price on the items. The Thai’s pay one price, the foreigners pay another. It’s possible for us “falangs” (foreigners) to get the Thai price, but you have to be able to speak a little bit of Thai and convince them that you actually live here.
Like anywhere else in the world, accommodation costs vary depending on how nice your residence is. The Thai people will often find a room that costs 4000-6000baht a month and 2..3..sometimes 4 of them will share, and split the cost of the room. For 4000 baht a month, you can find a basic, yet decent fan-room that’s liveable. Add about 2000 baht to that upping it to 6000 and you can find something with an air conditioner and a TV.
Now, as a foreigner, it’s tough to find such deals. They’re out there though if you look hard enough and negotiate a long term rent (especially during “low season”). Low season months are humid & rainy and high season months are sunny and clear. The weather is at it’s best here when it’s at it’s worse in the western cities that experience the cold winters (for me, it’s Canada).
When paying such low rents (4000-6000baht), you’ll need to keep in mind that your electric and water costs are not included. What a lot of places do (especially to foreigners), is advertise the low monthly rent to get you to sign, then charge you inflated electricity costs. I was checking out this one apartment here in Pattaya (R-Conn Residence) and they advertised a monthly rent of 10,900 baht per month, but they billed the electric costs at 8baht per unit. The real cost for electric is more around 5 baht per unit so you have to be careful with that. It’s a scam!
Right now I’m paying 12,000 baht per month (all inclusive) for a great place with everything I need and more. Everything is brand new and my room has a comfortable bed, TV, DVD player, hot water, safe and most importantly, WIFI internet so I can keep these logs up to date. Here’s a video tour I took for you guys to see..
As I mentioned in another post, the selling point for me wasn’t JUST the room. The fact that there’s about 20-30 hot coyote dancers around here every night didn’t hurt my decision. Here’s a quick clip I took of lower level of the building. Disregard the girl with the big ass that’s dancing like a duck though.. haha. Oh, and the girl on the far left (the one that’s giving me the look of death at the start), she’s the “stage 5 clinger” I was talking about in my last post.
Another thing I love about Thailand is the food (as if the beautiful women, nice weather, great training and friendly people weren’t enough). Here, if you want “western food”, you’re going to pay western prices. It’s Thailand, so I stick to the Thai food. “When in Rome” .. right?
Finding cheap meals in Thailand is an easy task. There’s roadside stalls set up pretty much everywhere selling everything from BBQ chicken skewers to .. well .. bugs! They eat some unusual things here but I suppose it’s the norm to them.
The skewers sell for 10 baht each (which is about 33 cents) and you have a choice of chicken, beef, pork and even hot dogs.
Cost of Training
This is pretty straight forward. Different gyms charge different rates. Just check the gyms website to see how much they charge. The average is between 6000-8000 baht per month. Anything less than 6000 baht is cheap and anything over 8000 is pretty expensive. Keep in mind though, this will usually get you two-a-days and included in every session is personal pad-time with your trainer. Just think of how much that would cost back at home? It’s worth it, trust me.
Cost of Entertainment
You just came for the training (sure you did). Even if that’s so, this is Thailand. There’s a lot of temptation to go out and party. I say, train hard during the week, party hard during the weekend. Even the Thai’s take Sunday off, so you can go out and have a good time on Saturday nights. It’s part of the experience of living in a different country. And I have to say, the experience of having hundreds of hot Thai girls screaming “sexy man”, “handsome man” at you from all angles is pretty cool (even if they’re just after your money).
A night out can be done cheaply here with ease. They sell alcohol everywhere in Thailand and it’s legal to explore the streets with a beer in your hand. I just hit 7-11 and grab a San Miguel light for about a dollar. Or, if I’m out early enough, you can just hit happy hour and get dollar drinks at one of the bars. The local stuff is cheap (Singha, Tiger, Sangsom).
What’ll get you though is when an unbelievably hot Thai girl comes to sit with you and requests a “lady drink”. Think of it like buying a girl a drink at the club in your home country only the cost of “lady drinks” here are jacked up so the girls can earn a commission off them. If you only go out once a week or two (like I do), then whatever, buy the damn lady-drinks and support the economy.. they’re still only around 4-5 dollars (about the same or even less than you’d pay back at home).
Cost of Transportation
The longer you stay here, the less you’ll end up paying for transportation. By western standards, the transport in Thailand is unbelievably cheap so you’ll overpay and still be amazed at what a good deal you think you’re getting. If you’re staying in Phuket, you’ll want to avoid the “Tuk Tuk’s” because a) they’re overpriced and b) the drivers are Thai mafia. That was the first piece of advise that was offered to me during my first visit to Thailand “be nice to the Tuk Tuk drivers” because yes, they can make you “disappear”.
I find that the best (but not the safest) mode of transport is motorbike taxi. You can get pretty much anywhere you want for less than 100 baht. I pay 100 baht to get to Sityodtong from where I am and it’s a LONG way out. Here in Pattaya, they also have what I like to call “baht busses”.
These busses just drive all over (usually at random) and when you see one, you just wave it down and hop on the back. When you get to where you’re going, you just ring the bell, hop off and pass the driver 10 baht. The only downside to these “baht busses” are that the stops aren’t announced so you really have to know the area (which I don’t .. yet).
Cost of Relaxation
I have to mention the massages because they’re one of my favourite things about coming to Thailand. After a hard day of training, your muscles ache and you feel like you’re about to die. Well, after a nice foot or oil massage, you’ll feel as good as new. There’s more massage parlours around here than convenience stores so you’ll be able to find one of every block. The average cost of a 1 hour foot massage is about 200 baht and for an oil massage, about 300 baht. Don’t worry, that’s only about 7-10 dollars. I got a foot massage the other day and she even went so far as to cut my toe-nails. They really take care of you here. And if you opt for the oil massage (which I highly recommend), you may just get an offer for an “additional service” which of course, like everything else in Thailand, is “up to you”.
If there’s anything I left out, just leave a comment below and let me know.
THINKING OF GOING TO THAILAND TO TRAIN?
I’ve developed a 70 page guide that profiles everything you need to know about training in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. In the manual, I discuss the visa issues, the Muay Thai camps, the different areas, the transportation, the food, the culture and customs, the girls, the scams, the safety issues and most importantly, how to save a ton of cash along the way!