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Bangkok, by and large is believed to have an affordable cost of living. This is the enticing factor for foreigners who come and settle here for good. While the scale of salaries does seem enormous here, some studies have rated Bangkok one amongst world’s 20 most expensive cities. That being said, the cost of living in this city does depend on your personal lifestyle preferences. If you live like a Thai no problem , but if you live like upscale foreigner in Bangkok Thailand expect it to be as expensive as every other city. One can live easily on a average social security check from the United States for example but do not expect to go to the best restaurants or clubs every day. We will sort through some of the typical expenses here for you so you can have a better idea of the cost on living in Bangkok.
In Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand and as a major financial hub of South East Asia, accommodations are definitely not cheap in some areas. The price does depend largely on the location and amenities. The western style apartments with all modern facilities like air conditioning and internet in prime areas like Siam and Sukhumvit can cost much more yet very affordable to most. While searching for an apartment you may want to keep in mind its proximity to the skytrain or MRT station. Considering the snarling traffic that Bangkok is so famous for, it would be preferable to take an apartment in areas connected by the skytrain lest you end up wasting your time struck in the traffic jams.These prime locations will cost more than something more our of the way for example. Significance has to be placed on how easy your location will be to get to and from. As Bangkok is famous for traffic problems. A quick ride on the BTS (skytrain) will make all the difference in the world to your misery level verses being stuck in a taxi for hours.
The basic rooms with amenities like a bathroom with toilet and shower, some basic furniture, basic electrical appliances like fridge and fan and measuring no more than 30 square meters may cost between 5000 to 10000 Baht. However this will greatly depend on many factors. However such rooms are generally located in the newer suburbs which may need to be accessed by taxi or other transport from the nearest MRT or skytrain stop. If so you will need to consider the neighborhood (decent friendly neighbors, good security) and also remember that traveling to and fro especially in the rainy season may be an adventure in itself. You should look over some of the properties on our web site to get a more realistic idea. The descriptions and location will be important information to consider.
Better rooms can be had at ten to fifteen thousand baht per month on the main artery road in Sukhumvit. Generally within walking distance from the skytrain and MRT, these apartments are cleaned and maintained regularly. The other benefit would be the English speaking staff usually available for work in these buildings at a nominal fee. Also the standard of furniture and appliances like air-conditioner and fridge and televisions are much better.
If you can shell out 15000 to 35000 Baht (roughly $1000), you can get the best two bedroom apartments measuring between 50 and 150 square meters and in prime and easily accessible areas. Quite obviously these accommodations come with a great many benefits. Typically this would be with a pool , good 24 hour security, and many things like a gym. These will also be the newer places.
We at Bangkokfinders have listings for most of the prime areas here in Bangkok and with our English speaking staff communication is easy. So again look over our listings.
Utilities in Bangkok must be paid of course such as electricity unless its included in the rent. The main utilities you may need and are charged for are electricity, cable TV, water and internet. Each one has a seperate bill to pay with separate company of course. What many people do is have these payments automatically deducted from their personal account which can be arranged with your Thai Bank such as Siam Commercial.
Internet is available at a very nominal fee of 500 Baht depending on speed. Some internet connections may require activation of phone lines costing around 200 baht each month. The internet is variable in Bangkok and you just have to check around with others in your building or try one or two companies before you decide which is best. We use True internet and this is along with our mobile as well.
The most important utility bill you will be paying in Bangkok is the electricity bill. Some apartments may charge only the per unit rate enforced by the government while some add a surcharge of their own. If the total per unit adds up to 5 baht your electricity bill may get quite expensive. The other factor that could raise your electricity considerably is the air-conditioner, especially if it is an old unit. On an average you can expect to pay around 2000 to 3000 baht for the electricity bill.
Water is every where in Bangkok in fact you may get sick of the rain at times. Your water bill will also depend on what you buy if you were to buy imported water to drink all the time of course it will be costly. Water, used for shower and washing needs may come up to 200 to 300 baht a month. Tap water is safe for drinking in Bangkok and hence you do not have to source out your drinking water needs. Outside of Bangkok maybe drink bottled water. Rumors persist about the water but thats what they are. While renting the apartment check if they have a purified water dispenser or you can also have bottled water delivered to your doorstep if you like yet no need in Bangkok Proper.
The second major bill you will pay for your stay in Bangkok will be for the cable TV especially if you want English channels.
Bangkok, thanks to its diversity, is a gourmet city. You can get excellent Thai cuisine and food at the street stalls and night markets quite cheaply. Foreign food like French, Indian, and Mexican are also available but very expensive.
Bangkok is also packed with western style supermarkets which stock beer, wine and other American and European food products. There are also the western food chain cafes like Au Bon Pain and Starbucks where you get sandwiches and café latte for 100 and 70 baht respectively.
Your food bill per month will depend on how you eat. We have found that one can actually eat very well for 200-300 baht per day if your willing to eat like the Thais.If you stay with western style food at the malls your food bill can be like it is any city. Yet most of us adapt to the Thai food healthy and fresh.
If you like fresh fruit its every where from the street vendors to even finding some growing near the street you walk on. The tropical fruits in Bangkok are endless in variety and taste. You can eat a different fruit each day of the week.
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