Comment was written on the I’m not a tourist post about what does it cost to live in Pattaya provided you aren’t out drinking and whoring every night. I might as well write a post about it.
First thing everyone needs to understand is I live in a Thai style place. That means, kitchen in actually on my balcony and the entire room is 24sq meters (around 300sq feet). I made this choice because I’m not in it much and I really don’t give a shit about it. The selling point was an American style bed versus a shitty Thai one that is rock hard. You have no idea what a good bed means over here.
For my sanity I am doing this is Thai Baht. Current exchange rate is 33 Baht to the 1 US Dollar. Easy math is 30 Baht to the Dollar.
I pay 6000 Baht a month, this includes my internet and cable TV that I never watch. On top of that I pay water, sewer, condo fee and electric. The water, sewer, and condo fee are like 450 Baht a month. Electric is at 1500 Baht a month. Electric could be less but I like to keep the fan going and I have computers on pulling in torrents.
So basically I have a roof over my head with utilities for 8000 Baht a month.
If you want a more Western style place the price goes from 10000-30000 Baht a month depending on how big and how fancy you want to go. With increased size comes increased utilities. It should also be noted that the further you live from the Beach the cheaper rents are. If you live in the burbs you can get a house for around 8000 Baht. You just aren’t going to be near the bars.
I tend to stick to the 150 – 200 Baht a meal plan unless I’m craving something. If you eat at the local joints and Thai food most main dishes are between 50-80 Baht. If you want Western food you will pay around 150 – 400 Baht a plate. Like if I crave pizza I’ll roll in and get a pizza for 280 Baht. I had ribs and smoked beef one night and it was 680 Baht.
Unless you have a family, it’s a loss leader to cook yourself. Food isn’t cheap unless you are going Thai style and that means going to a market and picking it up. It’s cheaper to eat out. Plus you don’t have to deal with cleaning dishes.
The prices I quoted are for restaurants. Food carts are cheaper because they specialize in one thing only. Depending on the soi you get it from the price fluctuates. The busier sois command a higher price while slower sois are cheaper. Fluctuation is around 10 to 20 Baht.
It’s not unusual to order a few different plates of food and eat and share it. Common with Thai’s and guys that come around here are used to sharing as well. If you don’t like other people touching your plate and food I highly recommend not moving here or eventually you will freak.
I own a bike. I bought mine second hand it was 29,000 Baht. Registering it and so on is like 200 Baht more. Fuel is around 120 Baht every 7 to 10 days depending on how much I ride. Petrol is subsidized by the Thai government so it’s rather cheap. It’s sold by the liter. I did have to fill my friends car and it was 700 Baht to fill it from less than a 1/4 tank.
If you don’t own a bike you are stuck to public transport. This means a Baht Bus (song taew), motorbike taxi, or grab taxi (think Uber). Fastest is motorbike taxi. Fare should be 30 Baht but they equally fuck over Thais and farangs so don’t feel abused when they charge more. I usually hand them 50 or 60 Baht depending on what I have on me. If I have a 50 Baht note fine, if not 3 20 Baht notes. If you want to go further then you increase your costs to 100-200 Baht. One thing of note is you are riding bitch usually behind a guy. Thais aren’t homophobic like Westerners so if you weirded out riding behind a dude sucks to be you. A motorbike is the cheapest form of transport affordable to the average Thai so it’s why everyone piles on on.
The Baht Bus is 10 Baht but you can only catch them on their routes. There are routes all over Pattaya and to Jomtein but just keep in mind that they won’t vary their route. You can hire one as private taxi but they tend to rape you. Pricing between 100-200 Baht. If you have a group of people it’s the fastest way to get everyone together. If you are doing a day out you can usually private hire one for like 500 Baht and they will just hang out and sleep while waiting for you.
Grab Taxi and similar services are around 80 Baht for short distances. The problem is you need to wait for them. That just sucks balls.
If you are going longer distances you take a bus. I haven’t done it but its much cheaper. You can get to Bangkok for 190 Baht versus 1000 – 1200 for a taxi.
Drinking And Whoring
If you live here drinking and whoring is a bit different. First off, most of us never pay a barfine unless its short time. We just get the girls number and call them later. Bar managers know we do it and don’t really give a shit. You just can’t be blatant about it.
If you do call a girl over and she knows you live here the price is 1000 Baht or 1500 Baht if its stellar service. You don’t pay anymore or any less. She knows why she is there and there is none of this fake romance bullshit they play with guys on holiday. If you like them and they like you they might hang out for a bit. Most of the time once chit chat is over you pay them and out the door they go.
It’s polite to have a drink in your friends bar. You pop in say hello, they usually will buy you a round if you are a loyal customer. If you are cheap and just want a drink 7-11 or Family Mart are your friends. You can get a beer for around 30 Baht for a 2 liter if you drink the cheap shit, can go up to 70 Baht for better quality and imports. Heineken is considered a local drink because it’s brewed here. Whisky, rum, and other stuff, provided its local will run around 100-400 Baht for a bottle. Anything imported will be between 800-1200 Baht.
One of the interesting things is stuff generally costs more here. If you think electronics are cheaper, I have bad news. They are usually more. Being from the US with low import costs electronics are cheap as hell back in the US. Over here, they have higher import costs so its more expensive.
You can get a lot of Chinese knockoff shit provided you aren’t looking for quality or durability. Some of its fine and some of it is complete garbage. The trick is to watch a Thai and see if they buy it.
For your shopping needs you can generally go to Big C which is like Walmart or Target but with a twist, it’s really a mall with other stores, banks, pharmacies, and food court. The store itself is where you pretty much buy anything you need. You can go to 7-11 or Family Mart but prices are higher and its smaller in size. So common, everyday stuff you go to Big C.
There are massive malls. Here in Pattaya its called Central Festival. I hate it with all my being so I never go there.
If you want to go native you hit the day or night markets and buy from vendors in the markets. I despise shopping on a good day so I avoid going to any of these places.
I refuse to cut my own nails, do my own laundry, or give myself a shave. I also do a weekly massage. Why? It’s cheap as hell.
My laundry bill is between 80-150 Baht depending on what I drop off. I can do coin operated laundry for 30 Baht but why? I have to wait there and dick around with hanging it up. When I have someone do it for me, comes back pressed and folded.
I get a manicure and pedicure for 300 Baht, or 150 Baht if I just get my fingernails or toenails done. I also get a haircut and shave at the same shop. Either is 100 Baht plus a 20 Baht tip.
I also get a 2 hour massage, generally a foot and back massage. Costs 290 Baht plus I give a 100 Baht tip. No happy ending or anything. I only do legit places for my massages.
Thats The Breakdown
Hope this all helps people understand what it takes to live here in Pattaya. The cost can fluctuate depending on your tastes and budget. If you want to live a simple, Thai style life you can fairly cheaply if you want more money for hookers and booze. If you want modern amenities you are going to pay more for it.
What you buy and what you do is always dictated on you budget. I buy local shit versus imported stuff. It’s just cheaper and I figure I live here might as well use what the locals do. Just because I used some brand at home doesn’t mean I need to use it here and pay twice as much.
The one thing I did know when I moved here was how much shit was going to cost. This was just because I have been coming here for so long. If you aren’t familiar with your chosen destination I highly recommend doing some recon before jumping all in and having no idea what it’s really going to cost.
Use this as guidance more than as a realistic guide. It may give you some idea what it’s like to live in Pattaya.