Cost of living in Thailand: A guide for parents of international school students

Thailand is a popular destination for tourists and expats because of its great weather, good food and wonderful people. Thailand is also home to outstanding international boarding schools like Rugby School Thailand. But one of the biggest reasons people move to Thailand is the relatively low cost of living.


The average cost of living in Thailand for expats is around $1,500 to $2,000 a month. If you enjoy the finer things in life like dining at fancy restaurants and shopping for designer items, living in Thailand will cost you more. But you’ll be spending relatively less than what you would spend in Europe or the United States.


What is the cost of living in Thailand?


Living expenses in Thailand vary depending on the region. The cost of living in the seaside city of Pattaya, for instance, is lower than that in Bangkok, the country’s capital and largest city. If you’re planning on living in Thailand permanently, this article will give you a clearer understanding of your basic expenses.




Visas are a vital element of the basic expenses of living in Thailand. The cost of a visa will depend on the type of visa you choose and your marital status. 


Short-term visa


For parents who only plan to stay for a few months, getting a three- or six-month visa is the ideal option. Here’s the current cost of a short-term visa.



3-Month Tourist Visa

6-Month Visa

Application fee



Minimum savings required



Non-immigrant visa


This type of visa is more expensive than a short-term visa, and filling out the necessary forms can be time-consuming. The list of requirements you need to accomplish before you can get a non-immigrant visa is found on the Thai embassy website, while the costs are as follows:


Multiple-Entry Visa 

Valid for 1 Year

90-Day Immigrant Visa/3-Month Visa

Application fee



Minimum savings required





The cost of housing in Thailand depends on where you plan to live. Accommodations are cheaper in the suburbs and are more expensive by the beach or in city centres. Houses and accommodations in Bangkok are the most expensive, while the cheapest ones can be found in the northern parts of Thailand. Here’s a sample breakdown of the average cost of rent in the different regions of the country.



House Type



House with four bedrooms, two bathrooms outside of the city centre

25,000 to 80,000 baht ($833.51 to $2667.24)


House with four bedrooms, two bathrooms outside of the city centre

50,000 to 100,000 baht ($1667.03 to $3334.06)

There’s also the cost for utility services like electricity, water and internet.




Electricity and water

500 to 2,000 baht


500 to 700 baht



Thailand is a haven for food lovers. You can find a variety of street food, gourmet restaurants and fast-food chains everywhere, and they’re available at affordable prices. Western and vegetarian restaurants are also found across the country, although they are more expensive.


Type of Food


Grilled meat or mushroom

10 baht per skewer

Curry meal with rice, meat and vegetables

40 to 50 baht per serving

Small bag of pineapple

10 to 20 baht


20 to 30 baht

Western cuisine

150 to 250 baht



 You’ll also find a wide selection of beverages in Thailand, from water to smoothies to alcoholic beverages.


Type of Beverage



30 baht for 5 litres

Shakes and smoothies

30 to 50 baht


100 to 250 baht



Transportation costs in Thailand are relatively cheaper compared to the US and Europe. There are various options when it comes to public transportation, like the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS), taxis, Grab, MRT and buses. If you have your own car, you’ll be thrilled to find that fuel prices are also lower in Thailand.


Type of Transportation


Premium gasoline

30 to 50 baht per litre


15 to 52 baht


7 to 8 baht


Base rate is 40 to 50 baht


16 to 42 baht per journey on one line

70 baht if you’re changing lines on your journey


55 baht for the base fare

3 baht per kilometre for the first 5 kilometres

6 baht per kilometre after the first 5 kilometres

2.3 baht per minute



The hospitals in Thailand boast modern equipment and high-quality healthcare services. Pharmacies are also well-stocked, so it won’t be a problem to find the medicines you need.


Type of Medical Service or Medicine


Consultation and check-ups

500 to 2,500 baht


20 baht


50 to 150 baht



If you’re planning to stay in Thailand permanently or for an extended period of time, you need to get good medical insurance. This will cover certain medical emergencies, inpatient and outpatient services. There’s a wide range of insurance companies and plans to choose from. It’s recommended that you get in touch with these insurance firms for a free quotation and price comparison.




Thailand has a wide selection of excellent international boarding schools and bilingual schools to choose from. If you’re looking for a school that offers a high-quality British curriculum, Rugby School Thailand is your best option. The tuition fees will depend on what year level your child is currently in. Here’s an example:



Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Annual Fee

Pre-Nursery (Full Day)

168,000 baht

147,000 baht

104,000 baht

419,000 baht

Year 3

238,000 baht

208,000 baht

149,000 baht

595,000 baht

Years 9, 10, 11

302,000 baht

265,000 baht

189,000 baht

756,000 baht

Besides the tuition fee, there are additional school fees that contribute to the total amount you have to pay if you plan on sending your child to an international boarding school.

Entertainment costs


Here are some ideas for how you can spend your free time in Thailand:


Type of Entertainment



150 baht per ticket on movie day (Wednesday) 250 to 300 baht on other days

Swimming pools

50 to 100 baht entrance fee

Gym membership

5,000 to 8,000 baht for a six-month membership

The exact cost of living in Thailand depends on various factors, but compared to Western countries, living in the Land of Smiles is affordable. Low living costs and high-quality education are just some of the top reasons families move to Thailand. 


Rugby School Thailand is an international boarding school that offers premium-grade education based on a British curriculum and co-curricular activities to mould your children into well-rounded and successful individuals. Got questions about our school? Feel free to contact us today.

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