Living On The Cheap In Pattaya, Is It Worth It?
By Harry J
I lived in Pattaya a couple of years on a monthly budget of 800/900 Euros. An average of 850 baht equaled about 38,000 baht. This will have most guys shaking their heads in dismay, how can anybody live in Thailand on such a pittance and still enjoy it?
I think if you are not too spoiled for luxury and if you‘re a bit careful about how and where you spend your money, you can still get by on relatively little. It is often said that you need at least "x" amount of money to live happily in Thailand and if you can’t spend that much per month you better stay home in gorgeous England or beautiful Holland but again I think that depends.
It all depends on the lifestyle you want in Thailand. For me I don’t really need a modern and luxurious condo in Jomtien which would set me back around 20,000 in rent each month, I’m perfectly happy with a simple studio (approx. 4,500 baht) downtown. I’m not spending a lot of time indoors anyway. I also don’t need to dine in expensive western restaurants 3 times a day. If I want some western stuff I can buy it at Tesco / Lotus, Carrefour or wherever. I also don’t need to drink a lot of expensive stuff in bars and discos and I don’t need a girl every night.
In my opinion you have to look at other things if you want to make the move to live in Thailand. Pattaya has a lot of things you don’t find in Holland or England, and these things are either free or cheap. The weather, fruit, beaches, food, islands, lifestyle, pretty girls, smiles (Thais might smile less nowadays but you still find more smiles here per square kilometre than you find in the whole of the Netherlands) etc. are things that almost make it worthwhile by themselves to live here.
How did I spend my money?
Accommodation and amenities were a big part. I spend about 6000 a month on accommodation, electricity / water and internet. The apartment had a small balcony, good bed, fridge, hot and cold shower. It was furnished and there was a desk where I could work. Enough light came in because it had a big window overlooking a yard. I found it very cosy and most people who visited told me the same. I really felt at home there. I doubt very much if I would have felt better in a 5 star condo.
Food was another big item. I love to eat good and healthy because I doi a lot of sports. Thai food alone would not be sufficient. This meant shopping for western foods such as wheat bread, wholemeal pasta, beans and yoghurt which are relatively but not overly expensive. I also bought lots of canned tuna and eggs. In Thailand you can get a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and chicken which are not very expensive. 9,000 a month would cover my food and grocery bill.
Insurances were were the next big expenditure. Good health insurance etc is very important in my opinion. This is of course paid per year but would set me back an average of 5,000 baht per month.
One of the advantages of Pattaya over Bangkok is that it is pretty easy to get around. It is quite small and compact.. I decided not to buy a car or motorbike but to rely on public transport instead. Baht buses go nearly everywhere and frequently. I also enjoy walking (I know I’m mad). I wouldn’t spend more than 2,000 baht per month on transport.
Sports and leisure are very important and I opted for Tony’s Gym which offered a 4,000 baht membership for a year, roughly 350 baht a month. A daily jog and swim were free. I regularly visited a zoo, entertainment park, cinema etc which cost me approx 2,000 baht a month.
I’m not a big shopper for stuff like luxury items, clothes, electronics etc. For this including other miscellaneous services such as laundry etc, I forked out an average of 2,000 baht per month. For the visa renewal stuff I had to put aside about 1,500 a month.
This bill totals 27,850 baht. Minus entertainment this gave me a very nice (and for me) luxurious enough lifestyle. I did not feel I missed anything. I lived in a nice enough place, had good food every day, could practice sports in a good gym, jog on the beach in the early morning and could go wherever I wanted etc.
Now I had about 10,000 baht per month left in my pocket for entertainment. This does not seem like a lot and it actually isn’t, but I really don’t need to go out every night. On top of that I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke. Going out once or twice a week is enough for me, even in Pattaya. When I first went there on holiday I did like most and went out each and every night, but after a while that wears off (at least it did for me) and now I find other things equally if not more important than the nightlife. Of course I have to admit that the availability of girls and bars etc in Pattaya is one of the reasons I stay there. It is always nice to have it just around the corner in case I need it!
Anyway, with 10,000 baht I could get out about 6 or 7 times per month and could even take about 6 gorgeous girls per month for the whole night. In Holland I could not even get that many pretty girls in a lifetime!
So was it worth it living on a relative budget in Pattaya? I loved every minute of it and would do it again if I could. I’ll actually go back this year. I put my budget up a bit (everything in Pattaya has a habit of going up, including prices) and plan on spending about 1000 Euro per month.
This is proof that you can have a pleasant lifestyle in Pattaya for not a lot of money. Pattaya is a very good choice because you have all the amenities the average farang wants, beaches, it's easy to get around and yes, despite prices increases for most things worldwide, Pattaya remains inexpensive!
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