How to live on $500/mo in Bangkok as a Digital Nomad🇹🇭
Hi, I'm Manabu.
Today's topic is as follows:
How to live on $500/mo in Bangkok as a Digital Nomad.
The followings are the table of contents:
- 1. How to live on $500/mo in Bangkok as a Digital Nomad
- 2. My monthly living expenses are currently around $650
This article aims to spread the information on how to make your life easier.
Digital Nomad is a kind of hidden method of a new economy. Arbitraging your life expenses, the difficulties of your life become much easier.
About the author
I'm a founder of CodeBegin, an online programming school for Japanese, as well as an influencer with over 800,000 followers on Twitter and YouTube. I've been living in Thailand since 2017.
1. How to live on $500/mo in Bangkok as a Digital Nomad
In a nutshell, here is the detail:
Those who live in advanced countries may think it difficult to believe. But it's true. Let me explain.
Food: $12/day (400THB/day)
It's possible, but lack of nutrition. That's why I've already changed my lifestyle. I'll explain that later, but first, let me explain the old me's style.
Breakfast: 50THB (=$1.5)
Here's an old tweet from July 2018.
#バンコク5万円生活 朝ごはん編— Manabu (@manabubannai) July 23, 2018
You can see the photo of Stir-Fried Morning Glory with Rice. I eat this food almost every day because I love it.
Lunch: 105THB (=$3.15)
I ate Udon, thick Japanese noodles made of wheat flour.
#バンコク5万円生活 ランチ編— Manabu (@manabubannai) July 23, 2018
The taste is normal. I ate it every day because the restaurant is nearby.
Dinner: 120THB (=$3.6)
I ate Fried rice, vegetables, and Yogurt.
#バンコク5万円生活 ディナー編— Manabu (@manabubannai) July 24, 2018
Obviously, it's a lack of nutrition. That's why I've already changed my eating habits. I will explain my current eating habits in the latter half.
Hotel: $4.8/night (160THB/night)
There are sooo many cheap hostels in Bangkok. You will be surprised by the price and quality. Despite the low price, the quality and cleanliness of the hostels are excellent.
Example: BACKPACK STATION
Let's search the hotel using Agoda:
I stayed at BACKPACK STATION, a low-cost hostel with air-conditioning and a co-working space. The photo is as follows:
The price is just only $3/night. It's sooo cheap. If you can afford to pay more, see the following Airbnb listing:
For your reference: Airbnb is Illegal in Thailand. This was confirmed in a court ruling in 2018. You can't rent out a property for less than 30 days unless you have a hotel license.
The prosecution would apply to the owner of the condo, not the person renting while on holiday; though it would be most annoying to be flung out and have to find new accommodation, and potentially lose your booking money.
If you want to use Airbnb, it's much better to rent for more than 30 days. Actually, I have an experience of being got out. My rental fee has been refunded, so there is no big issue. But getting out and finding a new place to stay was exhausting.
WiFi: $19.5/month (650THB/month)
WiFi is really cheap in Thailand. I love it.
You can see the price menu above. My recommendation is below:
- Unlimited internet@4Mbps: 650THB/mo
- Unlimited internet@6Mbps: 850THB/mo
Actually, I've been using "Unlimited internet@6Mbps." But my contract is not monthly, but yearly. If you choose a yearly contract, then the price is 3,500THB/year(=290THB/mo). So in terms of dollars, that's $8.5/mo.
Best co-working space
If you want to work in a co-working space, then TCDC is best. Here is the photo that I've taken:
TCDC（タイ・クリエイティブ&デザインセンター）というコワーキングスペースに来てみた。やはりバンコクは最強ですね。1日利用が450円ほど。立地は街の中心地（プロンポン駅横）。Wi-Fiが神の速度。 pic.twitter.com/JlPsgmCuo8— Manabu (@manabubannai) July 20, 2017
It's a clean and wide space for Digital Nomad and Thai students. The prices are as follows:
- Drop-in: 100THB/day (=$3)
- Annual membership: 1,200THB/adult(=$36), 600THB/student(=$18)
If you look at other articles introducing co-working spaces in Thailand showing the other places, I definitely recommend you to go to TCDC. It's much better.
Total: $520/month (17,450THB/month)
Again, here is the summary:
You may think, "What about the prices of other items?" To answer these questions, I'll dig in more:
- (1) Visa fee
- (2) Airplane fee
- (3) Leisure expenses
(1) Visa fee
It depends on your passport. For Japanese like me, I can stay in Thailand for 30 days without a visa. Getting a Thailand Elite Visa is a good option to stay longer or live in Thailand.
Thailand Elite Visa is a residency program that allows you to stay in Thailand for 5 to 20 years. The cost is estimated to be around $20,000 (depending on the period you want to buy).
(2) Airplane fee
You need to go abroad before expiring your short-term visa. In this case, there are several options:
The screenshot above is from Skyscanner. The following are the prices for the airplane tickets:
- Singapore: $40~
- Cambodia: $46~
- Vietnam: $43~
- India: $60~
- Laos: $61~
These are so cheap; therefore, I occasionally go to Cambodia or Laos to enjoy my vacation.
(3) Leisure expenses
You can't live without leisure, right? Here is the summary of these expenses:
- Beer: 100THB/glass in the bar
- Movie: 100THB (depends on the time)
- Massage: 200THB/hour (depends on menu)
The above is just an average price, which means if you go to an expensive place, the price will massively grow. Thailand has no inheritance tax, so the gap between the rich and the poor is huge.
2. My monthly living expenses are currently around $650
This chapter will explain how I live in Bangkok with $650/mo without any stress. As a precondition, I live in Bangkok with my wife. As a result, the total cost of living is $1,300.
- Room: 30,000THB/mo = 900USD
- Food: 13,500THB/mo = 400USD
In addition to the above, there are three other costs; 1)WiFi, 2)Leisure, and 3) Eating out. The total monthly costs are about $300~$500/mo. It really depends on the restaurant we go to because the price is totally different.
Room: 30,000THB/mo = 900USD
I don't want to open my condo, but I will show you the condo where I lived before.
バンコクで家賃10万の家😌— Manabu (@manabubannai) August 4, 2020
The video shows the co-working space in the condo. There are three co-working spaces there, as well as pools, a gym, and a garden. Can you believe it? It's just 900USD/mo. If you want to see more, please visit here.
*For your reference: the condo is located in a suburb. It takes 20~30 minutes to go to the center of Bangkok. It takes more than 60 minutes when there is heavy traffic. In that case, it's better to use a train.
If you want to live in the center of Bangkok, I recommend you to check this property where I previously lived.
The rent fee is between 15,000THB~70,000THB($450~$2,000). The price will rise if you want a nice view and a bathtub. *You can try this property from Airbnb. But again, a short stay with Airbnb is illegal, so it's better to stay there for more than a month.
Food: 13,500THB/mo = 400USD
There are so many stalls in Thailand. You can quickly grab your food at a low price. For example, like this:
最近はチャリ移動です😌— Manabu (@manabubannai) September 25, 2021
However, the problem is poor sanitation. My wife and I had previously been infected with the virus. After that, we decided to cook for ourselves.
I don't know how to cook, even the name of vegetables. I can't remember anything unless I'm curious. That's why my wife cooks for me all the time. Reall appreciate it.
Automation of shopping
You can use HappyFresh, the grocery delivery service that allows you to shop from your favorite supermarkets via our Android and iOS app. It is extremely helpful. You can pick up your groceries within two hours of placing your order.
Tips: How to meet a new person
There are meetups occasionally in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. You can find them by searching Nomad List Meetups. Or You might be able to find meetups hosted by co-working spaces.
Some meetups were held, for example, by The Company, a co-working space and flexible office rental service for startups. However, the meetup's main topics are diverse. It is not only related to Digital Nomad but also to the entertainment industry, growth hacking, and other more.
Living in Bangkok is a great choice
Last but not least, living in Bangkok or possibly Chiang Mai is a great option for Digital Nomad. Because, as a Digital Nomad, you may want to start your own business, don't you?
Actually, selling your time to the company is an easy way to make a living. However, you will never be rich as long as you sell your time.
You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity - a piece of a business - to gain your financial freedom.— Naval (@naval) May 31, 2018
Previously I was a web developer. My work is to create a website for my clients as well as SEO. So I could earn enough money to live. But I was always busy at that time.
Even though I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted with whomever I wanted, I couldn't enjoy my life because I was too busy.
After that, I decided to start my own business. It was really tough, but I made it. Now I have two streams of passive income; 1) from my Blog and Youtube, 2) from my investment in Crypto, which generates passive income through DeFi.
If you live in Thailand, you can live at a low cost, which means you'll have more time to try new things.
The more you try, the more chance you can get.
However, your odds of success are reduced if you don't have time to attempt new things because you're too busy.
My next goal: Global market
My next goal is to expand into a global market. I'm a well-known blogger in Japan who could make more than $2 million. But, the global market is clearly much larger than the Japanese one. So I'll try to profit from the global market.
And I'm somewhat confident because my monthly expenses are very low, I can continue with my challenge without worrying about money.
This is a significant advantage for me. And it's the same with you. If you choose to live in a country such as Thailand, you will have an advantage.
Okay, that's all for my blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via Twitter. I'd like to assist a personal creator or programmer in reaching a new stage in their lives. Thanks!