Cost of living in Thailand for expats on a budget

hua hin beach where cost of living in thailand is low for expats

Last Updated on May 27, 2023 by Ellen

Slow travel on a budget is always cheaper than vacations in resorts. Earth Vagabonds just wrapped up two months of living life in an exotic, tropical country. We’re happy to report the cost of living in Thailand for expats on a budget is relatively low.

So low, that when you see what we spent for a month on living expenses during our second month in Thailand, you might start packing your bags.

We previously shared our expenses in Bangkok from our first month in Thailand. This post breaks down the cost of living in Hua Hin for our second month in Thailand. To be accurate, we stayed in Hua Hin 29 nights.

Hua Hin is a nice beach town about three hours south of Bangkok on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand.

Hua Hin was our second month ‘back on the road’ after a two-year-long pause near Boracay Island in the Philippines during the COVID crisis period.

We Earth Vagabonds entered Thailand when various COVID-entry rules were in place, at considerable expense!

You won’t have that problem. First, officials dropped the mandatory testing and quarantine program. Next, it’s goodbye to the preregistration program and mandatory health insurance.

Cost of living in Thailand for expats on a budget

Our first month in Bangkok was more expensive, due to that mandatory COVID testing and insurance, plus the airfare to get there.

Hua Hin was far cheaper without those extra travel costs, and we daresay the cost of living in Thailand for expats is extremely affordable – even with inflation!

So what did Hua Hin cost?

The exact accounting is below.

Hua Hin budget breakdown

$521   Health
$372   Restaurant/bar
$295   Housing
$281   Groceries
$132   Travel (includes prorated visas)
$115   Supplies
$70    Charity / Gifts
$69    Excursions
$23    Local transportation
$1,878  total for 2 persons

Related: Grocery prices in Thailand

As usual, we try to stay under a $2,000 monthly budget.

Success this month! And without those darned health costs, we would’ve been under $1,400 for the month!

But wait– what was that huge health expense?

As you can plainly see, ‘Health’ was an exceptionally high expense during our stay. That is due to the hospital bills incurred when Ellen was hit by a car while riding a bicycle.

Thankfully, her only injury was a broken wrist. But the medical costs in Hua Hin are just the beginning. Further medical attention will be necessary in coming months.

Balancing the medical increase, our housing expense in Hua Hin was abnormally low — thanks to a great deal we got on a newly rehabbed studio apartment.

All in all, we found Hua Hin to be an enjoyable, laid back, and inexpensive place to hang out despite the bike crash and medical costs.

Slow travel tip: Americans can stay in Thailand on a tourist visa for up to 90 days, with extensions and fees. For more information, visit the official Thai Immigration site.

Next up: Malaysia

Now, since our Thai visas have expired, we’ve moved on to Malaysia. We were among the first Americans to go from Thailand to Malaysia at Pedang Besar (a land border crossing).

As we continue our slow travel lifestyle in Malaysia, there are, unfortunately, some budget-busting wrist treatments ahead. Stay tuned.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

theo and ellen at kuala lumpur train station

Thanks for reading, “Cost of living in Thailand for expats on a budget.”

Afraid of health care overseas? Don’t be!

Our special guide on global health care shows you:

  • 7 easy steps to find the right doctors and hospitals
  • Specific price examples for various medical services
  • What to know about medical visas
  • And more!

We go without travel health insurance, but many of the principles apply to those with coverage.

1 thought on “Cost of living in Thailand for expats on a budget”

  1. Wow! Your spending is mind-blowing, even with Ellen’s mishap! I know you’re eating well, and your place…err…Kortan’s crib… looked just fine to me. Thanks for sharing, and I hope the recovery is moving along (no pun intended)! I’m hoping we get to SE Asia next year, and I’m interested to see how close we get to your spending.

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