A Typical FANTASTIC Day Living in Thailand: Daily Life Schedule and Cost of Living

On a typical Thursday back in Los Angeles I would wake up at 7am, rush to work, maybe grab some fast food along the way.  Have lunch with co-workers or eat at my desk, and either eat dinner at home in front of the TV or maybe go out with some friends to dinner somewhere.  I'd like to say I'd squeeze in an hour at the gym, but that rarely happens.  Oh yeah and there would be at least a half an hour commute each way, up to an hour if there were to be traffic.

Daily expenditure in Los Angeles:

Breakfast: $5 (Two McDonald's Sandwiches)
Lunch: $6 (Chinese 2-item combo)
Dinner: $20 (Casual Restaurant with friends - $15.99 plus tax and tip)
Gas: $11 (I spend around $80 a week, so divided by 7 days) 
Rent/Bills: $50 (It's easy to forget since we pay monthly, but you can break it down per day)

*Bills would include Rent, Gas, Water, Electric, Cable, Internet, Cell Phone, etc.

Total typical day's expenses:  $92US

Wow, did I really spend that much every day?  My math must be wrong...but if I multiple that by 30 I get $2,760 a month which was pretty accurate.  When I was making $48,000 a year working at my office job in Los Angeles, I took home around $3,000 a month after taxes and I spent pretty much all of yup, that's about right.

Almost exactly what me and my cubicle looked like.

A typical Thursday in Chiang Mai, Thailand:

I woke up at 9:30am and decided to lay around for another hour while listening to the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, whom is one of my favorite comedians that has interesting guests on his show weekly.  

I went for a short walk to enjoy the sun, fresh air and to pick up a  fresh coconut at the local farmer's market and have breakfast.  ($1.83)

Getting a call from an American girl I've been hanging out with recently she asked me if I was keen to meet up and grab a coffee, the coffee shop was next to a health food shop so I opted for a Coconut Kiefer instead for some good probiotics.  ($1).

I went home to cook some lunch because I've been trying to eat a strict Paleo diet and it's too tempting to have rice and Thai stir fry when I'm out.  I watched an episode of Shark Tank and ate some chicken breast and kale.  ($1.30)

Then it was time to do some work, around 1:30pm I met up with my buddy Kurt, a successful entrepreneur as part of my daily routine.  Expect that instead of going to our normal coffee shop Impresso, I asked him to meet me at Mango Tango, a cafe with amazing desserts. Not at all Paleo, but I was craving some Fresh Mango Pudding covered in Mango Puree.  ($2.83)

At the cafe, I used their free wifi and worked on a website for a new online business that I'm in the middle of building.  Something about being out of the house makes me a million times more productive, and having Kurt there working on his own projects next to me is great for both bouncing ideas off of each other but also for the company even though we're often busy doing our own thing.  

At 4pm it was time to get ready for CrossFit.  It only takes around 2 minutes for me to get from my apartment to the area with all the coffee shops and cafes, Nimmanhaemin road, which is the Thailand equivalent of the East Village in Manhattan with tons of bars, clubs, live music, cafes and coffee shops.
I park my motorbike back at my apartment, change into my gym clothes and walk to the gym which is only 5 minutes away.  

Today at CrossFit we did a double strength workout day, in preparation for a long conditioning workout tomorrow.  We started with 6 sets of Strict Shoulder Presses starting at 75kg and dropping down to 70kg (154lbs) then did 5 sets of front squats (70kg) with knees to chest air jumps after each set. (Daily rate divided by monthly cost $2.88)

Thursdays is our Full Rack of Ribs night at 3 Little Pigs, a southern soul food BBQ restaurant here in town.   A big rack of juicy BBQ ribs, two sides and free cornbread (which I didn't eat) - Total $8.  The funny thing is, this meal is by far the most expensive meal I ever eat in Thailand, but because there isn't any tax or tipping at most restaurants the total ends up being a lot less than even a standard meal in the U.S.

The Owner of Three Little Pigs

On my way back home, I decided to get a massage.  I used to really love Thai Massages, but recently I started enjoying listening to Podcasts on my iPhone while getting a foot massage instead.  It's one of the most relaxing things in the world and I feel productive while doing it.  So for $6 I got to sit back in a comfortable chair while having my feet rubbed for an hour while I listened to episodes of the Lifestyle Business Podcast.  

Daily Cost of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand:

Breakfast:  $1.83
Coffee: $1
Lunch: $1.30 
Dessert: $2.83
Dinner: $8 
Massage: $6
CrossFit Membership: $2.88 per day (if paid monthly)
Rent/Bills: $4.45
Gas: $0.45

Total Cost of Living Per Day:  $28.74US

Monthly Cost if I were to eat the most expensive dinner every night, have coffee twice a day, and get a massage every single day of the month:  (none of which I actually do)  $862US.  


Not only is it less than 1/3 of the cost living here verses back home, but my quality of life and free time is incomparable.  If I were to add up the costs of getting a massage, paying for CrossFit in the states, and going out for coffee my daily costs would double and I still wouldn't have free time to do it.  

If you're working online anyway, or you're starting your internet business.  Stop throwing away money and stressing out back home.  Read "12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap" and figure out a way that you can start living a fun, stress free, productive life for way less than you are now.  My real cost of living is closer to $600 a month because I don't feel the need to get 30 massages a month or eat the most expensive meal every night for dinner, I'm perfectly happy doing it once a week.  But think about it, for $862 a month you it's crazy knowing that you could!

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. Hi Johnny! Read your book and booked the flight! Arriving TMT on the 26th May for 3 months. Half scared, half excited!

    1. Hey Allen, I'm glad you read 12 Weeks in Thailand and booked your flight! Thats AWESOME! You're going to have an amazing time. Be 100% excited.

  2. Hey Johnny,

    Awesome blog you have here mate, stumbled across this by accident through youtube!

    Can you let me know how you maintain your Visa in Thailand?


    1. Hey Anth, glad you found my blog. What funny cat videos were you watching on youtube when you found it? The best source of Visa info for Thailand are the forums at - Check it out!


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