How much it costs to overwinter in a warm country and if you can make money there
The heroine of our article Alexandra decided to change the usual way of life and for two years moved with her husband to Thailand, hiding from the Moscow winter. She shared her observations and experiences of the move, and also told us how to make money in a foreign country.
Autumn in Moscow is a sad sight. It is grey, wet and very sad. So I talked my husband into a gamble: he quit his job, we bought tickets to Bangkok, sold and gave away all our stuff, and in mid-September 2012 we left for the unknown.
Why did we choose Thailand? Three factors were decisive: it was cheap, warm and there was an opportunity to work remotely.
Let me stress: I will quote all the figures with a reference to a time when the dollar was 30 rubles, and 1 baht (the national currency of the kingdom) was equal to one ruble. We returned to Russia in the fall of 2014, and in December of that year the dollar began to rise rapidly and the ruble to fall. Accordingly, living in Thailand was becoming not so cheap.
Now most of Thailand’s resorts are closed to tourists, but some from the beginning of the summer of 2021 will open in test mode. For example, Phuket. It is possible to get to the fabulously beautiful island, but with a lot of effort.
For example, with a valid health insurance with coverage up to $100 thousand. Tourists must be vaccinated (the Russian vaccine “Sputnik V” is refused), spend the first day in the hotel, be tested, and in case of disease go to the paid quarantine.
When we arrived in Bangkok we had 3 thousand rubles and $100, which translated to about 6 thousand baht. We went to Pattaya, the most Russian city in Thailand. The air-conditioned bus ticket from the capital’s airport to our destination cost 45 baht per person.
In Pattaya, locals and Russians who live there all the time (by the way, there are a lot of them, most have lived in the city for a long time) recommended a decent guest house. We went to a new place by tuk-tuk (the local equivalent of a shuttle bus). The ticket cost 10 baht each.
After checking in and paying for 3 days stay (1.5 thousand baht), we went to the first cafe we found, where we left almost all free money.
In total: we spent 5.5 thousand baht for the first day. We saved the rest of money as much as we could: we brewed instant noodles and walked a lot.
Thai floating markets can take all the money out of you: the fruits and souvenirs sold there make you want to buy
Why save for months when you can get what you want right now? Take a loan at a rate of 6.9% in Sovkombank, take out a service “Guarantee Minimum Rate” and we’ll return all the interest at the end of the loan period. To do this, pay off Halva every month and do not allow delinquencies on the loan. You can apply in two clicks and we’ll credit your card or send it by courier.
We were planning to stay in Pattaya for at least half a year, so it was not very convenient to stay in a guest house. There are a lot of offers for rent in the city, and most of them are placed by Russian-speaking owners.
In the end we rented an apartment away from the tourist routes in a huge apartment complex with security, a swimming pool, and a laundry room, where the Russian diaspora lived. A small studio without a kitchen, but with a balcony, a fan, minimal furniture, and a shared bathroom cost 7,000 baht per month, and we had to pay water and electricity bills separately.
The apartment, to put it mildly, was not good: musty smell, a lot of household things, shady side and lack of cosmetic repairs are not favorable to long-term accommodation.
Once walking around the territory of the complex I noticed the announcement on the information board, that in this house to rent apartments from the builder. Upon contacting the office, I found our future apartment: large studio with separate kitchen, air conditioner, fan, balcony, bed, sofa, closet, refrigerator, a set of dishes and linens cost 3.5 thousand baht + ECU. Of course, we moved in (or rather, moved out) the same day.
The first month we didn’t turn off the air conditioning: Thailand is very hot, and we, not used to it, wanted to always be in a cool room. The first electricity bill made us love the heat: we paid 4.7 thousand baht. After that, we only used the fan and paid 500 baht a month for it.
If you need to take a loan for business development, purchase of an apartment, a car or just for personal purposes, you will always find a profitable solution in Sovkombank. We give loans of up to 5 million rubles for up to 5 years, and a comfortable monthly payment you can calculate on our credit calculator.
For the first few months, we cooked at home or went to the nearest European-oriented café. The average bill for two was about 400 baht if you do not luxuriate. For groceries we took a cab (120 baht) to the local equivalent of “Ashan” once every two weeks and stocked the fridge with food.
A standard set of products from eggs, ham, greens, meat, sausages, bottled juice, milk from Germany (yes, almost all milk is imported there), bread and vegetables cost us about 2 thousand baht. We bought fruit from a tent not far from the house, and we did it almost every day: fresh watermelon, mango, passion fruit and lychee cost about 150 baht for a full bag.
Total: a month of living in a rented apartment with grocery shopping, dinners at tourist cafes and cooking at home cost about 20,000 baht. After reviewing our expenses, we decided it was expensive to cook at home on an electric stove, much cheaper to eat at local cafes. A bowl of soup there cost 50 baht, a huge portion of rice with shrimp – 60. This significantly saved our budget.
What to live on and how to earn money
As I said before, in early 2000s many Russians invested in real estate in Pattaya. I know cases when Muscovites sold their apartments in the capital, and bought three studios with this money, lived in one, and rented two.
The price to rent an apartment with all conveniences and with a view of the Gulf of Thailand ranged from 25 to 60 thousand baht. The total was not a bad income.
I’m a photographer, and I’m not tied to an office. My shoots, although not frequent (I’ll tell you why later), did not bring a lot of money. On average, I earned about 15 thousand baht a month. I mostly shot on islands far from the mainland, away from the tourist police, and only by acquaintance (friends of my friends could apply and book a shoot).
The thing is that without a work permit in Thailand, you can get into huge fines. Photography is also a job. People with a lot of photographic equipment will certainly attract the attention of the police, and you have to pay a fine on the spot. Or go to the station and pay an even larger amount officially.
I often turned down wedding photo shoots so as not to risk it. Later I signed a contract with a popular travel blog and sold them pictures of nature and beaches of Thailand. In total, I was paid four thousand dollars for seven months of cooperation.
My husband is a programmer. He also did not depend on office work, but his earnings were much more than mine. My husband was running one project and was earning about 70,000 rubles a month.
We put half of the money away in a savings account, and half of it we lived honestly at our pleasure.
Plus every month we had to renew our visa. We did, as most people do, visaran: we drove to the border with Cambodia, crossed it, and then came back. And got a new visa for a month. It was free, except for the minibus ticket to the border. We paid 150 baht for the ticket one way and spent the whole day traveling.
One time we had to spend the night in a very cool hotel at the border because our bus broke down. We paid 600 baht for a wood and natural stone room. Breakfast was included.
You have to hunt for beautiful shots, but with caution: the local police can fine you if you are a commercial photographer without a permit to take pictures
I want to tell you 3 more real stories that happened to my acquaintances. They all worked in Thailand.
Pattaya nightclubs attract visitors from all over the world, so they try to have their dancers also from different countries: this attracts the audience. One nightclub was actively recruiting go-go dancers from Russia, and my friend Ira was also offered to work there.
The contract provided round-trip plane tickets, a work visa, a house for all the visiting dancers to live in together, per diem money, and a salary at the end of the contract. The sum was almost ridiculous, but the opportunity to get away for four months for free in the summer worked, and Ira flew.
The contract was very strict: all dancers were to return after work no later than six in the morning (when the club closed), to sleep in the house, it was strictly forbidden to bring guests, and not to sleep at home on their day off.
Ira made a pretty decent amount of money every night on consummation. Consummation was a tricky process designed for tipsy guys. The scheme is as follows: a dancer approaches a guy in the hall and asks him to buy her a cocktail. One condition – the drink must be non-alcoholic. There is only one such cocktail on the bar list and it costs 400 baht. For comparison, a bottle of local whiskey and four cans of Coke cost 600 baht.
Part of the consume was taken by the club and part went to the dancer. For four months of the contract, Ira was able to put aside about 60 thousand baht and received a settlement – 20 thousand baht.
Slava came to Pattaya straight after graduation with his girlfriend. When she ran out of money she got a job as a guide in a hotel (she had a specialized education), and Slava started working at a kiosk in a busy tourist street and selling tours.
He identified Russians among the people passing by and spoke to them in their native language. This bribed many people, especially those who had just arrived, and Slava did quite well in sales. Slava’s average salary was about 50 thousand baht which was quite enough to live a comfortable life abroad.
Mikhail came to Pattaya in 2006 and decided to stay there for permanent residence. He did not renew his visa and stayed in the country illegally.
As he says, there has never been a problem: no one asks a European for documents. Misha does not work anywhere officially, but calls himself a “guide in the area”: he helps Russians who have come to settle in, finds a place to live, takes them on his bike to excursions and helps them understand the locals (he has learned Thai).
For example, Misha helped reporters from Channel One to shoot a report, taking them by car to the necessary locations. Misha takes exactly as much money for his services as the visitors think they need. On average, he earns more than 80,000 baht a month.
How much money do you need to live in Pattaya
One of the most popular questions from people who have not been to Thailand and go on a tour package: “How much money to take in Thailand, Pattaya, Phuket?” The necessary, as they say, to emphasize. The whole site pattayatrip.ru created especially for you dear readers, so that you can prepare and plan not only the route of travel and visit the various attractions in Thailand, but also to estimate the upcoming expenses.
Also there is another category of people who travel independently and it is extremely important for them to properly assess the budget of the trip for a long period. They ask the question, “How much money do I need per month to live in Pattaya?” Let’s figure it out together.
Let’s say right away that if you are unpretentious, you don’t care about comfort, you can cook your own food, stay at home or walk around, then you will only need 5500-6000 baht per month. This is not a joke, but a real sum of money to live on, or rather not to die from hunger and have a roof over his head.
Of course this is the most budget option and not everyone is ready to follow it. If you want a more comfortable environment, it is enough and 15,000 baht per month. At 40,000 baht you can live in Pattaya, even luxurious. Well, now, after such an encouraging beginning, in detail, let’s describe how much does a month of living in Pattaya.
Living on 5 500 baht in Pattaya for a month
So, the above mentioned amount of 5500 baht is not taken from the ceiling, and is fully consistent with the realities of Pattaya. So, how to live on it per month:
1. 1. 2500 baht – inexpensive accommodation in Thai private houses on the busy, busy streets or Sukhumvit highway. In a private room (one-room apartment) there will only be a fan. A shower with cold water and a toilet may be shared by all guests.
2. 1,800 baht – the cost of a visa-ran or visa (in total, a visa for three months will cost $40 + 1,900 baht).
3. 1,200 baht for food. But this is assuming that you will cook at home (electric stoves are sold from 350 baht), and not eat on the street. Although even if you buy in mobile vending machines, will not be much more expensive: a portion of rice there is 10 baht, a portion of chicken – 10 baht. Total of 20 baht. If you eat three meals a day will be 60 baht and 1800 baht per month. If you cook yourself, it is quite in the 1200.
Judge for yourself, what is the money spent:
– 200 grams of rice. 5 kg of rice in Big C and Tesco Lotus costs 90 baht, so 1 kg is 18, and 200 grams – 3.6. So you will spend about 4 baht a day on rice;
– 2 chicken legs. A kilo costs 60-70 baht, and 2 pieces will cost you 15-20 baht;
– 2 eggs. A dozen can be found for 35 baht, hence 2 eggs for 7 baht;
– A few tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots to fill yourself up with vitamins. A kilogram of each of them costs around 30-35 baht. Naturally, a kilogram for the day you can not eat, so you spend a day for vitamins 5-6 baht.
Total: 4 + 20 + 7 + 5 = 36 baht per day. 36 x 30 days = 1,080 per month. Add another half liter of vegetable, soy or palm oil for 30 baht and you get 1,110 per month. Round it up to 1,200 by adding some more fruit or coconuts (one costs from 20 baht). That’s how much you would spend on food if you cook for yourself. And the food will be very healthy and balanced: protein (chicken and eggs), carbohydrates (rice), fat (oil), vitamins and minerals (fresh vegetables). This way you can eat all your life and be much healthier than those who spend 5000 -10000 per month on fast food from McDonalds, rolls, chocolates and other useless products.
So, the total amount per month is as follows: 2500 lodging + 1800 visa + 1200 food = 5500 baht. Everything as we promised. Sometimes you have to pay for electricity and water separately, in which case the amount will increase by 300-400 baht (actually half of them will burn stove – and you won’t have anything else electric in the room. And the fan takes very little).
Of course, so live only units, because you can not rent a motorcycle, see some interesting places in the area to go on tours, and the sea will have to go at least 20-30 minutes (at this distance from the coast you can rent cheap accommodation in Pattaya for 2500 per month). And sometimes you want to diversify the food, and not to eat every day rice with chicken and rice with eggs. So now we present the best option for those who want to live in Pattaya with all the comforts and convenience.
A month of living in Pattaya for 15,000 baht
So, the second option is 15,000 baht per month to live in Pattaya. Here’s what it adds up to:
– 6000 – apartment rent with air conditioning, satellite TV, refrigerator, hot water in the shower, balcony and internet;
– 1000 – water and electricity. Very much eats an air conditioner, and without it you can settle for 500;
– 2500-3000 – rent of a motorcycle. For that price they offer motorcycles for a month at the intersection of Tappraya and Teprasit streets;
– 1000 – gasoline. A liter of gasoline in Pattaya costs about 25-28 baht. Consumption can be conventionally calculated by the formula: 1 km = 1 baht. Thus, for 1000 you can ride as much as 800-900 km;
– 2,700 baht for food. You will eat not only rice, eggs, and chicken, but also cheese, yogurt, and milk. Sometimes you will have dinner in a restaurant.
Total: 1800 visa + 6000 hotel + 1000 electricity + 2500 bike + 1000 gasoline + 2700 food = 15,000 baht per month. For this money you get a normal room with air conditioning, a variety of food and the opportunity to ride a motorcycle anywhere – if the sea or around the neighborhood or sightseeing in Bangkok.
Entertainment in Pattaya
We figured out how much money you need to stay in Pattaya, but the above amount does not include entertainment. Here everyone needs his own calculations. Approximately comes out like this:
– Massage – 150-300 baht;
– Girl from Beach Road – 1000 baht (if from a bar, you still have to pay off the institution 300-400);
– Cocktail in a nightclub – 150-200 baht;
– lunch or dinner in a restaurant – from 200 baht;
– A trip for a day of swimming on the island of Ko Lan (30 +30 – ferry back and forth, 50 baht – sunbed, lunch – from 150 baht) – from 260.
Thus, in addition to entertainment we get a month (the amount, of course, approximate): 3000 (massage every other day) + 10 000 (girl a couple of times a week) + 6000 (dinner at a restaurant every day) + 3000 (disco at a nightclub every other day) + 1040 (4 times a month on Ko Lan) = 23 040 baht. Total per month: 15 000 + 23 040 = 38 040 baht. Let’s round it up to 40,000, taking into account the periodic visits to drinking places.
Total: 20,000 baht for a month of a comfortable life in Thailand.
So how much money do I need for a month of life in Thailand? To summarize, the minimum cost of living in Pattaya is 5500 baht per month, and the maximum depends only on your needs. For example, if you do not need the paid love bar girls, a month is quite chic to live on 30,000 baht.
If you are not a party person and not a gourmet who visits restaurants every day, then you can live up to 20,000 baht. In our opinion, this is the average amount, which should expect those who wish to comfortably live in Pattaya. In principle, life in other resorts in Thailand is not very different in price, well, maybe 4000-5000 baht more expensive.