Living in Thailand on Less than $28 per day - Bangkok and Chiang Mai

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We are a traveling nomad family that lives on a budget of $1,000 per month per adult - which is roughly $32.88 per adult per day. The expenses outlined below are for 2 people and are in United States dollars (USD). So, as a couple our budget is set for $65.75 per day or $2,000 per month. That number is a LOT to some people, and almost nothing to others - but it’s a decent budget for us to show you that traveling forever really is possible, even without a million dollars!

  • This isn’t money that we’ve saved up to travel the world either - it’s money that we earn each month from methods that we teach in our Nomad Guide. So, as the money comes in each month, we use it to pay for our travels - and you can do it too!

We learned a lot during our first year of travels, which is probably the best year to reflect upon if someone is trying to transition to a nomadic lifestyle themselves (the transition is more in-touch with where you are now).

  • You can learn more about the years that follow by checking out our “Living in…” series which cover our budgets and a few interesting stories that we’ve had while traveling in these countries.

Apart from earning money from blogging and investment dividends, we also earn money from a few social apps and have learned how to save money quite well while traveling. These methods can be learned here:

Without further ado, here is our Bangkok and Chiang Mai budget breakdown and how we lived on less than $28 USD per day per adult. Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions.

Accredited Online TEFL

Bangkok & Chiang Mai, Thailand

March 1 - April 29, 2019

Total Number of Days

60 days (60 nights, technically we had 61 days and luckily were let leave without any additional fees)

Total Expense

$3,820.14 USD + $456.76 USD = $4,276.90
NOTE: $3,282.05 not including airfare to Thailand - why mention this? Because everyone’s airfare to Thailand will be dependent on where they are from. The other expenses - while in Thailand - should be comparable for everyone.

Average Daily Cost per Adult

NOTE: $27.35 per adult WITHOUT airfare to Thailand.



Because we spent most of our time in Bangkok, with a few days in Chiang Mai, we have split this budget to show expenses for each. The first number is Bangkok, the second is Chiang Mai, and the third is the total.

Transportation (airlines, taxis, trains, subways, buses, etc.)

$1,271.21 + $184.06 = $1,455.27

  • Airlines: $994.85 + $82.42 = $1,077.27
    The airline tickets to get to Bangkok from Cape Town were quite expensive, taking up a full 78% of our Bangkok transportation expense and 68% of our total transportation costs.

  • Visa Renewal (additional 30 days): $126.75 + $0 = $126.75

  • Taxi’s and Grabs (like Uber): $111.93 + $10.48 = $122.41

  • Car Rental: $0 + $69.25 = $69.25

  • Metro (MRT, ARL etc): $26.52 + $0 = $26.52
    All mentioned in this How to get around Bangkok - Ultimate Transportation Guide

  • Gasoline: $0 + $21.91 = $21.91

  • Buses: $8.91 + $0 = $8.91

  • Toll (via a taxi with receipt): $2.25 + $0 = $2.25


$1,108.37 + $44.66 = $1,153.03

  • Airbnbs: $1,083.25 + $44.66 = $1,127.91
    The majority of our time was at Airbnbs, although we did stay at one hotel on the day that we arrived because we came in so late. NOTE: Airbnb’s are legal in Thailand for 30+ day stays and stays less than 30 days if permission has been legally obtained by the host.

  • Hotel: $25.12 + $0 = $25.12


$927.69 + $86.37 = $1,014.06

  • Groceries: $377.09 + $6.62 = $383.71

  • Fast Casual Type Restaurants and Food Courts: $199.38 + $7.65 = $207.03

  • Dine-in (table service) Restaurants: $199.06 + $59.91 = $258.97

  • Pastry Shops / Cafe’s: $115.63 + $8.64 = $124.27

  • Convenience / Street Food: $36.52 + $3.54 = $40.06


$219.85 + $131.21 = $351.06


$229.65 + $10.45 = $240.10

  • Travel Patches: $9.66 + $0 = $9.66

  • Donations: $10.93 + $0 = $10.93

  • Clothes: $66.49 + $6.43 = $72.92

  • Hygiene items / Bathroom supplies: $59.13 + $4.02 = $63.15

  • Laundry Machines & Soap: $44.70 + $0 = $44.70

  • Phone SIM & Data: $30.59 + $0 = $30.59


What does this not include?

  • Life Insurance 

  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Insurance + Medical (annual cost of $328 for a family of 3 - ask us how)

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Annual Fees for additional Insurance & Airport Lounges (annual net cost of $150 annually - ask us how)

While these are costs associated with our travels, they are not country-specific, which is why they are not included in this expense report. 

Accredited Online TEFL

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