How to live in Pattaya on 35.000 Baht per month
Make a budget of what you want to / can spend
Before you go you should first budget what you can spend. The main things you will have to spend money on are:
- Accomodation and utilities
- Food and beverages and toilet items
- Visa extensions
- Internet and telephone
For the sake of this article we consider a monthly budget of 35.000 THB which is really not much.
Accomodation and utilities
When you arrive in Pattaya it might be wise to check into a hotel first, because it could take you a couple of days or even a week before you find a cheap place that offers good value.
Once you are settled in your hotel you should go out and explore the town. Quite a few cheap deals can be found in central Pattaya (Klang) behind or on Soi Buakhao, in the village or in Nirun. You should check if there are supermarkets (Big C) or food markets nearby. You should also check how far the entertainment area’s and beaches are and other locations you plan to frequent. If you don’t do that you might end up spending less on accomodation but this could be offset by higher cost of transportation.
Ask Thais if they know cheap good value accomodation
The more time you spend looking for cheap accomodation the more likely you will find a good place but it might be easier and faster if you know some good Thai people who live in Pattaya. It is more than likely that they can help you to find a place for a very low price which still offers good value. I did this once and i found a furnished place for as little as 3500 THB per month with very good utilities.
Water and electricity
You should ask the landlord if the water and electricity is included in the monthly rent. If not you should ask how much they charge per unit. It should not be more than about 5 THB. Don’t forget to check the room thoroughly (while the landlord is present) before you decide to take it. If you use the above mentioned tactics you should be able to find a place for about 5.000 THB including utilities.
food and beverages
There are quite a couple of ways to save on food and drinks. One way is to go native. This means only eating at foodstalls on the street and drinking water and tea during the day. If you do it this way you will probably not spend more than 150 THB per day maximum, about 4.500 THB per month. This is not for everybody however, it takes time to get used to a Thai diet and you might not get all the nutrients you require. Furthermore if you like to exercise (weightlifting, swimming, jogging etc) this diet might not be sufficient.
5 high value meals for 6.000 THB per month
Lets assume that we want to keep a healthy dieet. We love to eat Thai food once or twice a day but the other 3 meals of the day (we do lots of weightlifting) should be Western style health meals.
We should not go to Western restaurants in Pattaya because they are expensive and we want to stay on a tight budget. Luckily there are lots of big supermarkets (Tops, Big C, Tesco Lotus, Carrefour) in Pattaya offering a whole range of Western food items. The first thing we should do is getting a discount card at those supermarkets. With this card we can get discounts on many food items such as vegetables, bread, diary products, fish and meat products. Vegetables, Bread, yoghurt, milk, fresh fried or grilled fish and meat items normally get heavily discounted at the end of the day, but you can only get them at discounted prices when you show your card.
So we should shop for meat, fish and diary items at the end of the day. We might be able to find good deals that last us a couple of days if we stick them in the fridge. Top it all up with some cheap canned kidney beans or other high carb products and you will have 3 very cheap but healthy Western style meals each day for as little as 40 Baht each. Don’t forget to stock up on water and some fruit juices because you cannot drink the tap water.
A lot of fruit is also important. I always advice not to buy fruit in the supermarket but at the Thai markets. The fruits there are generally more fresh (you can pick what you want yourself) and a lot cheaper.
The other 2 meals will be Thai meals. We can pick from hundreds of street stalls where they serve warm meals such as fried rice or fried noodles. You can also opt for boiled noodles or other foodstuffs from food vendors. There are unlimited options for finding Thai food in Pattaya at 40 Baht a meal. If you use this strategy your monthly food and beverages bill will be not more than 6.000 THB.
You cannot really save a lot on toilet items, but it might pay to shop around. Shampoo or toothpaste might be a lot cheaper in Carrefour then in Big C or vice versa. You should also look for promotion articles. Toilet articles are often on promo and these promo activities can offer you great discounts. You should be able to keep your monthly bill for toiletteries at around 1.000 THB
It depends what sports you plan to practise but your monthly expenses for sports can be as little as zero. If you go for a daily jog at the beach and for a swim in the sea every night you will stay fit but it will not cost you. If you want to join a gym you might be able to sign up for membership if you stay in Pattaya for a very long time. Tony in Walking Street offers one year membership for as little as 4.000 THB. If you only stay for a couple of months it might be better to pay per session (90 THB). Don’t buy any water or drinks before you go because you can get it for free. So lets say if you go to the gym 3 times per week you will spend around 1.000 THB on sports per month.
If you want to get around cheap you should try to walk as much as you can. Pattaya is very compact and most places can really be reached on foot. If you want or need to take transport you better stick with the songthaews or Baht busses that you see everywhere in Pattaya. They are blueish pickup vans and one trip is just 10 Baht and nothing more. Lets assume you need 2 round trips a day on average. Your monthly transportation bill will be 1.200 THB then.
This is not an item you should try to save too much on because you might regret it later. I cannot advise on packages but medical insurance should be covered at all times. If you plan to buy a motorbike or car you will also need a car insurance with liability coverage. My insurance package costs me 2.500 THB per month.
You should try to find a laundry service that offers a set rate of 10 THB per item (big or small). Then you can choose a package for lets say 300 items. Each time you send your dirty pieces they will be added off the total until you are at 0. This is generally cheaper than the normal laundry services, because these services charge more for big items such as pants (15 or 20 THB). These services offer less for socks (5 THB). What i always do is, i wash my underwear and socks myself. The rest i have washed by the laundry service. This way i save very much on laundry. My monthly laundry bill has never been over 500 THB.
If you stay in Thailand longterm you will have to extend your visa. The best thing to do is to get a tourist visa which entitles you to stay for 2 months with an option to extend for one month at 1900 THB. You can extend your tourist visa in neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia. You should budget about 2.500 THB per month for visa extensions.
Internet and telephone
I always take my laptop with me which has Wireless Lan. There are hotspots all over Pattaya (sometimes you even get a signal on the beach!!) so if you are clever you can keep your monthly bill for internet at 0 THB.
The only way to go is to get a prepaid telephone card and try to limit your calls as much as you can. Using SMS is a lot cheaper so try to stick with that as much as you can. My monthly telephone bill is about 700 THB.
What we spend so far is 5.000 for accomodation and utilities, 6.000 for food and beverages, 1.000 for toilet items, 1.000 for sports, 1.200 for transport, 2.500 for insurance, 500 for laundry, 2.500 forvisa extensions and 700 for telephone and internet. This is a total of 20.400 THB. This means that there is 14.500 THB left for entertainment during the day and night, because our budget was 35.000 THB.
This is more than enough to enjoy some daytime activities (go to the pool or beach in Jomtien, the zoo, cinema etc) and also enough to sample the nightlife. You will probably not be able to go out every night but quite a few times a week wil certainly be possible.
If you use common sense and look for bargains you will be able to live on 35.000 THB per month and probably less if you don’t go out too much. You won’t have to deny yourself much, just decide wisely where you spend your money on because a lot of things in Pattaya can be had a lot cheaper with consideration and some clever thinking.
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