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  • Writer's pictureBarrett B.

This country has the best value in the world. Beaches, Rent, Food, Hotels, Safety & more!

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

People are always looking for that next place to stretch their savings. Well the search is over. I've found a place where your money may go three times farther when comparing your life in the USA. It's just a fact. All my expenses are a fraction of what I pay back home. (If you want a summary of what I spend per month, scroll to the bottom)

Time lapse of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok from day to night.


First a little background on me. I'm an American TEFL English teacher but I have a company back home in Arizona where I make most of my money. When I'm in


Thailand I usually work part time at various language academies. I spend half the year in Thailand where my money goes 3 times as far. The photo to the left is Kanchanaburi, Thailand.


Why is Thailand the best value? Let me explain.


FOOD:

The average Thai meal is $1.80 (rice, fresh fish, meat, egg, curries, soups, vegetables) if you find a mom and pop place. Some people back home think you'll be eating noodles and soup non stop. That just isn't the case. The food is fantastic, cheap and clean. You'll see various Thais eating at a shack or decent restaurant. Don't sit back and think, jump in and get something tasty. A common sight are local fruit vendors pushing carts with fresh fruit that they slice up right in front of you for $.50. And if you wonder about the quality its just as fresh and juicy as anything you'd find at your local grocery store.

What if you don't want Thai food? Well the price will go up but you are still looking at a reasonable cost. Pizza, American food chains, Mexican and etc.. Your average price will be around $5-7 for a meal unless you go for beef steak.


Here's another amazing convenience, food is everywhere for the most part. In America you have to get in your car and drive somewhere. Here it's literally around the corner everywhere. It's easy, fast and in most cases a lot healthy (be careful of some of the oily stir fried food or super sugary drinks)


HOTELS:

It's very typical to have a nice room that is safe and clean for $15-20 an night and this also includes sitting on the beach or staying downtown. These places have A/C, international TV channels and obviously daily housekeeping to keep your room tidy. If you want a pool and more amenities then the price goes up but not that much. You might be looking at $30-40 for a really nice spread not to mention a breakfast buffet once in awhile.

 

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES:

  • Snake Farm (Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute) watch masters of their craft milk the venom from a king cobra

  • Crocodile Farm (Samut Prakan) - expert croc trainers walk into a enclosure full of live crocodiles. One of the guys even puts his head into the mouth of these ancient reptiles

  • Songkran Festival in mid-April turns Thailand in to a no holds bar water fight. Music and beverages go hand in hand with the watery chaos

 

AIRFARE:

Domestically with carriers like Air Asia, Lion Air and Nok Air you can get domestic destinations for $20-30 one way. I'm not kidding. Internationally you are looking at places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Siem Reap and Kuala Lumpur for a modest $40-80 one way if you book it a bit in advance. Most of these flights are from an hour to 2 and half hours long. Again the value is just mind blowing.


SAFETY:

Some people are wondering about the safety here. Besides the over excited motorbike drivers, this place is completely safe. You can realistically walk down almost any street at 2am. Yes that's right. I've lived here for over 8 years. The saying goes something like this, don't mess with the natives and the natives won't mess with you. This includes doing something idiotic like getting drunk and acting like you own the place. Remember where you are, so respect it. There is a huge belief in Karma here and it seems to go a long way.

 

FORGET THE CITY, WHERE ARE THE BEACHES?


The photo seen here is near Koh Chang which is about a 2 and half hour drive from Bangkok. Most of the beaches are just as dreamy and movie like as what you may expect. Crystal blue water, white floury sand and enough snorkeling or scuba diving to make anyone happy. Obviously near Bangkok the ocean isn't that great especially in places like Pattaya where the ocean is a bit dirty. Once you get out of town then you'll find some ideal and extremley affordable places.


MY FAVORITES FOR BETTER KNOWN AREAS:

  • HUA HIN - bigger city, less people but more to do and you can drive there in 3 hours

  • AOU NANG (KRABI) - down in southern Thailand, you'll need to fly (1 hour). More people but not as bad as Patong in Phuket.

  • KARON (PHUKET) - again down south but this place is near Patong, you'll need to fly 1 hour 10 mins) then get a taxi. I'm addicted to waves so this is my favorite place. From May until Sept. you can find good size waves.

 

WEATHER:

Hot and humid beats cold and snowy any day. I grew up skiing in Colorado and loved the snow but at some point as you scrape the ice off your windshield in sub zero temps you are thinking screw this! The weather here is 82-92 F with humidity but as you go north it gets cooler. The benefit here is t-shirts and shorts, flip flops sometimes and a nice temp at night. During the days its definitely hot but over time it feels like a nice summer's day.


During the rainy season you'll see large thunderstorms with giant monsoon storms bringing fat raindrops as the evening sky lights up with bolts of electricity. I'm not exactly sure but because of the positioning of Thailand they don't seem to get any hurricanes (cyclones).


ACCOMMODATIONS - APARTMENT / CONDOS:

I rent a one bedroom apartment with a small kitchen and balcony for $300 a month including water and electric. Oh I have a resort style swimming pool and a fitness center. Oh ya did mention for $10 I can have a maid service to clean my room. Yes I said it!


Now remember I live outside of Bangkok a bit. If you want a high-rise place in the city with a pool and fitness center you're looking at $500. It's cheaper without the amenities. You obviously can rent something too for just 2 weeks. I suggest just get a home base (a room) and then walk around the area and ask other apartment managers what deals they have.


CONVENIENCES OF HOME - INTERNET, TV, CELL PHONE SERVICE

If you are staying longer and working here (even part time) you will pay $30 a month for all the above. Yes you heard it here. INTERNET, TV, CELL PHONE for a combined price of $30! This is global tech company called TRUE. If you only want a SIM card and are here for a couple weeks, it's about $10 a week or less.


PHARMACIES/ HEALTH CARE /HOSPITALS:

International hospitals are almost everywhere. Many prescriptions are just over the counter without consulting a doctor. If you need it, you can probably get it asap.


PROFEESIONAL MASSAGES:

Another dream come true is a $5-8 foot or body massage. They are usually not too far away. This is nothing short of a complete luxury that never gets old. I usually play a lot of tennis and these shops are life savers.


7-11 AND CONVENIENT STORES:

Why would I add this? Because the convenience is amazing in Thailand. Almost on every corner you can walk into a 7-11 or Family Mart and get anything you need 24 hours a day. I walk 2 minutes from my room and get whatever I'm craving or that emergency razor to shape at anytime of the day or night. It really is something I've gotten used to - coffee, milk, detergent, toilet paper, a rice bowl or a frozen yogurt. It's all there. :)


PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION:

Taxies are everywhere and they start at $1. How does a brand new Toyota Corolla with leather seats sound for your taxi? Well most of the taxies are in good shape and the drivers are polite.


Have a phone, just get the GRAB app and order your taxi to your door (Ladies might want this is you are feeling uneasy). Again the total for a 30 min ride will be around $5.


If you want to use the TOLLWAY, the price goes up $2 for a 30-40 minute ride.


PUBLIC TRANSPORTAION:

Subway, yes there's a subway! $1-2 rides anywhere 4 subway lines go

Mini vans or Buses are $1 to selected stops

Sky train is around $1.50 (in downtown areas but expanding soon)

Large Buses with A/C are $5 or less when you travel 2-3 hours away to another city


THE THAI PEOPLE:

Thailand is known as the "Land of Smile." Do yourself a favor and ask some people who traveled to Thailand what the people were like. Most will give the people are positive review.


Most of the populous is friendly, kind and welcoming. If you need any assistance they will certainly help you. Just remember to be respectful because you are in their country.


NIGHTLIFE:

As a friend of friend from NYC told me, "Bangkok is like New York City 2.0." The quote actually carries a lot of weight. It's an international city that was voted on CNN as the top tourist city last year. There are all kinds of tapas bars, ice bars, dance clubs, rooftop venues, relaxing cafes, party or dinner boats, low end and upscale restaurants and anything else New York City has (minus Broadway). Whether you want to party all night or just take it easy there are diverse areas of the city just like any major place - China town, Middle Eastern section, International areas, good old Bangkok from back in the day.


LANGUAGE ISSUES:

In general, downtown and any other large cities in Thailand are better educated. English is spoken enough to get around and to order whatever you need to order. If you are looking for intellectual fluent conversation amongst Thais you probably won't get that but there are plenty of foreigners and some well educated Thais that speak the global language.



SUMMARY OF WHAT I SPEND MONTHLY:


Rent - $320 a month

Food - $12 a day x 30 days = $360 (some days $8)

WIFI, TV & Phone = $30

Sports/Drinks/Taxies = $100

_________________________


TOTAL = $810

***If you teach part time you can easily make $800 a month





FOLLOW ME ON:

✔️BARRETT IMPORTS - https://barrettimports1.com/


FOLLOW MY LAST ADVENTURE IN THAILAND HERE:

✈️ 🇺🇸 ➡ KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK, THAILAND




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