Famous for its vibrant street life, cultural landmarks and red-light districts, Bangkok is Thailand’s only cosmopolitan city among small towns and villages. While the general cost of living in Thailand is sensible, Bangkok can be expensive depending on how expats choose to live.

The 2022 Mercer Cost of Living survey ranked Bangkok as the 106th most expensive city for expats out of the 227 cities surveyed. Fortunately, expats working in Bangkok earn high salaries and can enjoy an excellent quality of life while building a solid nest egg.


Cost of accommodation in Bangkok

As is the case in most major cities, the closer to the centre one lives, the more expensive accommodation will be. Bangkok is well known for its traffic jams, so commuting may not be an attractive option for many. Owing to this, most expats live in serviced apartments in the city centre and the areas and suburbs close to public transport hubs. These typically come with cleaning services and sought-after amenities, such as gyms and swimming pools.

Non-serviced apartments are also available at more reasonable rates. Expat families generally live in Western-style suburban gated communities on the outskirts of Bangkok, but this option is significantly more expensive. Expats will also need to account for utilities, which can add up quickly due to Bangkok’s hot weather and the need for air conditioning.


Cost of transport in Bangkok

Bangkok boasts efficient and extensive public transport infrastructure. Expats will have access to the BTS Skytrain and MRT at fairly reasonable prices. Expats may also purchase the reloadable Rabbit card to reduce their commuting expenses. Taxis are also abundant and are a cost-effective way to get around Bangkok.

Expats who can brave Bangkok’s congestion and erratic driving can save by hiring or purchasing a motorbike. Those looking for a more adventurous mode of transport should look no further than the tuk-tuks and songthaews. That said, tuk-tuks can be quite steep as they are mainly geared towards tourists.


Cost of eating out and entertainment in Bangkok

Bangkok is a foodie’s paradise, with an abundance of street food markets and fine dining restaurants. The Thai capital is most famous for its incredibly cheap and tasty street fare. Still, expats yearning for a taste of home will be catered for with 10 Michelin-starred restaurants serving cuisine from around the world at a slightly higher but still affordable cost.

Thanks to Bangkok’s three red-light districts, revellers will not be disappointed in the city’s nightlife and lifestyle options. Expats can find everything from budget bars to high-end clubs offering more expensive drinks and entrance fees.


Cost of education in Bangkok

Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, boasts an exceptional public education system. The only downsides are that public schooling is not free for expat children, and the language of instruction is Thai. For that reason, most expat parents send their children to eye-wateringly expensive international schools. Some expats may be lucky enough to have this cost included as part of their relocation package, those who don’t will need to budget carefully.


Cost of living in Bangkok chart

Prices vary depending on the product and service provider. These are the average costs for Bangkok in January 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

THB 22,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

THB 10,200

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

THB 70,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

THB 33,000

Groceries

Dozen eggs

THB 69

Milk (1 litre)

THB 59

Loaf of bread (white)

THB 65

Chicken breasts (1kg)

THB 111

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

THB 150

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

THB 1.58

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

THB 533

Basic utilities (average for a standard household)

THB 2,720

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

THB 1000

Big Mac Meal

THB 200

Cappuccino

THB 75

Coca-Cola (330ml)

THB 18.02

Local beer (500ml)

THB 80

Transportation

Taxi rate per km

THB 41

City-centre train fare

THB 44

Petrol (per litre)

THB 41.32