The Thais favorite pastime is preparing, serving and eating many “aroi” (delicious) dishes. There is no shortage of restaurants in the city. In addition thousands of street vendors offer their version of standard Thai delicacies. Food is available everywhere, on practically every street, at all times of the day and night. Many other ethnic foods (Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian, Malaysian, Indian, Arabic, German, etc.) are also available at very affordable prices. Recently my friend and I ate a three-course dinner at a Vietnamese hot spot, more food than we could eat, and the bill came to a little under $10.00. A similar meal from a street vendor would cost well under $4.00 for two. The Old City has its fair share of clubs, bars, restaurants and eateries, all a little pricier than the places that the locals frequent.
The following provides an overview of some of the per month costs of living in Thailand:
|Rent:||Studio Apt. (approx. 350 sf. ft. furnished)$ 120.00/mo**|
|Food:||(prepared by street vendors) $140.00 avg/mo|
|Motorcycle Rental:||$80.00 avg/mo|
|Gas:||current price 5.50/gal|
|Entertainment:||varies depending on what you are interested in. Could run $300+ (visiting attractions in the Old City, etc.)|
** Rents can be much higher if you opt for a one or two bedroom place. I found a nice studio in a 2 year old, 5-story condo on the west side of town with the mountains just a little to the west.
The cost of healthcare in Thailand is much lower than in the US or in most European countries. A friend of mine just purchased a full hospital plan at one of the best hospitals in Chiang Mai for 19,000 baht a year, that’s about $650. The coverage allows for a semi-private room and no deductibles. I have not purchased a plan yet but I did have a motorcycle accident in my first 2 months here. The emergency room fee was 0 dollars and I received 10 days of antibiotics and re-dressing of the wounds for 6 days…the total cost was about $ 38.00.
Chiang Mai has a greater number of outdoor attractions than any other city in Thailand. Some of the key attractions include the elephant farms, where one can ride and play with elephants in the streams as they bathe. The Tiger Kingdom offers an opportunity to play with tigers (no one has been eaten yet!). True adventurers can zip-line through the forests. Chiang Mai sports the highest canopy in the world, just a few miles to the north of the city.
There are numerous reasons why many people choose to move to Chiang Mai including the low to moderate costs, the climate, the food, the friendly people, the attractions, the beautiful scenery and more. I’ve met many “Farang” who agree with me, they would not go anywhere else to spend and enjoy their golden years.
So, do your homework and I hope to see you soon walking the streets of beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand.