Actual Costs of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand - CrossFit, Coffee and Chilling Out

I've been living in Thailand off and on now for the past four years.  I usually come for 12 Weeks at a time, but sometimes spend 6 or 9 months here straight.  In my book, 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap, I break down every trip's expenses starting with my first trip to Koh Tao, Thailand then Koh Lanta, and finally Phuket. During my first trip, when I lived in Koh Tao, I used an excel spread sheet to break down everything from my daily coconuts, to chocolate bars, laundry detergent, tooth paste to dental floss.

But now that I'm over the hump, I'm just going to give you the major expenses as everything else is cheaper here than back home anyways.

Here is my actual living costs here in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Room - I have a single room with an attached western style toilet and hot water.  I don't have a kitchen, but I do have a mini bar where I do some light cooking.  

Cost is 3,200 Baht per month ($107US) 

I had to put down a 4,000 baht ($134US) deposit but the place is month to month with no contract.  Total for 1st month move in, 7,300 baht ($244US)

Wifi/Utilities: Water, Electrically and Internet is extra, but the good thing is there are no contracts.  I have air conditioning in my room but I never use it as I have a great breeze with my windows and fan.  Wifi is 300 baht a month ($10US) and Electic/Water is around 600baht a month ($20US) 

Subtotal for Accommodation including all bills: 4,200 baht a month ($140US) 
Edit: (Last month's actual cost for rent/wifi/fridge rental/electricity/water was 4,295 baht $143US)

Food Costs: I've been cooking a lot lately using a $10 table top burner I bought as I want to eat Paleo.  Mostly I eat chicken breasts and vegetables cooked in grass fed butter with a side of sweet potatoes.  

Chicken Breasts - 80 baht ($2.67) per kilo (2.2lbs) 
Vegetables - 15 baht (50cents) per bunch (2.2lbs)
Sweet Potatoes - 10 baht (40cents) per serving (pre-cooked)
Anchor Grass Fed Butter from New Zealand (90 baht $3US per stick) 

Average Meal Cost for Lunch/Dinner: 80 baht ($2.67US) 

If I were to eat Thai food, the average breakfast/lunch would be 30-50 baht ($1US - $1.67US) and for dinner it could be up to 150 baht ($5US) if we went somewhere good and had big portions.  

Cheapest possible food costs: 30 baht ($1US) per meal Thai Food.  

My Monthly average food costs: 7,800 baht ($260US) which is actually on the expensive side as I'm eating Paleo and going out to nice restaurants often.  

Chicken Stir Fried with Onions and Peppers plus a fried egg.  35baht ($1.17US)

CrossFit Gym Membership:  Back in the US, CrossFit gym memberships range from $150 to $250 a month depending on if you're in San Francisco, LA or in a smaller city.  Here in Chiang Mai it is 2,600baht ($87US) per month for unlimited classes.  Exercise is a big priority for me and I really love the personal training and group support of CrossFit so I happily pay the monthly membership cost even though it's almost the same cost as my rent.

Muay Thai Membership:  I've stopped doing Muay Thai for the time being, but I was paying around 5,000 baht a month ($166US) for membership, an unlimited pass twice a day would be 8,000 baht ($267US) but if you read my book  you'll see why I never pay more than 5,000 baht a month for Muay Thai.  If you're interested in the sport, check out my Muay Thai blog where I traveled around Thailand training at the best Muay Thai and MMA gyms.  It's

Subtotal for all fixed costs:  Rent/Food/Gym Membership: 14,600 baht ($487US) 

Motorbike Rental: You'll want a scooter to get around.  They're fun to drive, use almost no gas, and you can park them anywhere.  Average costs to rent one are 1,500 - 2,500 ($84US) a month.  Personally I bought a 2nd hand used motorbike instead.  I paid 13,500 baht ($450US) for it 6 months ago and it's still running perfectly fine.  When I leave I'll sell it for $350US to the same shop I bought it from or to a friend.  

Gas/Petrol: Motorbikes use very less gas, so I average less than $10US a month driving around, even though I'm scooting everywhere around the city and into the countryside often for weekend trips.

Coffee: Sitting here in a very nice coffee shop with free wifi and having truly gourmet coffee, I spend 55 baht ($1.84US) for an iced Americano  

A latte at impresso 55baht ($1.87US)

So in total with my coffee addiction, rent, food, crossfit, and living the great life in Chiang Mai, Thailand on the cheap.  I spent around $600US a month which is 18,000 thai baht.

How much do you need to make to live the 4-hour workweek lifestyle you desire?

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  1. Seems even cheaper than Pattaya.
    Entertainment is always the biggest outgoing by far tho.

  2. This is great to read. Although it was a long time ago, are the prices are probably still relevant? I'm considering the move to thailand for 6 months to try it out and save some money.

    1. Hey Trevor, still possible on a super tight Thai budget but most people spend around $1,000US a month to live a bit nicer.

      Cheap rooms in the best area are usually 6,500 baht a month ($184.82) but you can find cheaper if you're 10 minutes away on scooter.

  3. Super pumped that people like you are out there Johnny. You literally inspired me to begin my own drop-shipping store from your podcast. And gave me the belief in myself to set my departure date for Chiang Mai this July. Keep rocking on brother and will hopefully see you over there soon!


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