By Arabella Freeman, ESL Kindergarten Teacher in Tak
Generally, have you found things in Thailand to be cheap or expensive?
Unless it is something that is imported from a Western country, everything in Thailand has been incredibly cheap! This is particularly true with the food, you can eat out at a restaurant with a full meal, drink and desert and pay less than £5 (or equivalent in Thai Baht).
What has been so cheap that it left you speechless?
I remember when I ordered in my first food delivery in Thailand (something I never do at home because I love to cook and it is often expensive) and being blown away by the price – I had ordered in a full meal and it cost me under £2 (delivery fee included!).
Is anything more expensive than in your home country?
I’d say that maybe imported items can be more on the expensive side, with specialist shampoos/conditioners and foods (e.g. Haribo sweets, Cadbury chocolate) being close if not more than their usual price back in the UK.
How much does it cost to eat Thai food, in a restaurant and delivery?
In most restaurants in my city, you can eat out every day of the week and not spend more than £20 very easily. It is even cheaper to eat at school, with meals costing around 20 Baht (equivalent of 47p) and being very yummy authentic to Thailand. As discussed delivery can be cheap too, but this is dependent on where you order from (again, more Western foods like pizza are likely to cost more money).
Either from a shop and a bar, is drinking alcohol expensive?
Like anywhere, alcohol will definitely be the more expensive drink to buy when out in a restaurant or a bar. But I would not describe drinking alcohol as expensive here, particularly in party cities like Bangkok where you can buy big buckets of cocktail for 200 Baht (equivalent of £5). Beer is the popular drink of choice here, with Chiang and Leo being the most popular and cost approximately 100 Baht each when in a bar. Another popular and sweeter drink ‘Spy’ (similar to a wine cooler) is 60 Baht a bottle and for me, it is a preferred alternative to beer.
Do you think you will be able to save money in Thailand?
Although our monthly salary (approximately £785) is not considered a lot by UK standards, in Thailand it is an incredibly high salary that is very easy to live on (if you budget). Many non-government teachers live on close to £240 per month and still order takeaways for their meals and coffees most days. Some teachers are able to save a third or even more of their salary each month to spend when they go travelling in the holidays.
What do you spend the most on each week?
If I am being generous, I would say that I spend around 1000-3000 Baht per week. Although this depends on whether I travel to another province at the weekend, where inevitably I’d spend more on bus tickets and hotels (although these expenses are still much cheaper than the UK!).
On average, how much do you think you spend each month, and what on?
Being on 33000 Baht each month, my biggest expenses are on rent for my house (5000 Baht), renting my bike (2000 Baht), house bills (approximately 600 Baht) and phone bill (300 Baht). Like many teachers, I also try to save around a third of my salary each month (10000 Baht). Anything outside of this I consider to be disposable income and is normally spend on weekend trips, eating out/ordering in and socialising.