The Cost of Living in Phuket
After living in Phuket for more than 7 months I decided to do a little breakdown of my monthly living expenses. Phuket is widely regarded as the most expensive place to live in Thailand, just ask a local Thai. I can’t really confirm or deny that because I haven’t lived anywhere else in Thailand yet. That being said it is still much cheaper than living in Australia, in fact I could live a much more luxurious life at a much cheaper price so here is the breakdown of my cost of living in Phuket.
Accommodation 10,000 THB ($385 AUD) per month
I was very grateful to have found such a luxurious condo to live in. The Base Condo Uptown is located in Phuket Town and I got a good deal at 10,000 baht per month (usually 14,000 baht per month). Of the 3 condos I looked at it was the best one. It had a beautiful swimming pool, a well equipped air conditioned gym, full time maintenance crew doing tasks like building maintenance, gardening, cleaning, lobby front desk management and 24 hour security guards. Our condo was fully furnished, air conditioned and sound proof! (great for music).
Food 9000THB ($346 AUD) per month
I had a budget of approximately 300 baht per day for food, and that was more than enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner at local restaurants. A meal would cost between 40 and 60 baht. Once or twice a week I would stock up on bananas, paw paws, grapes and other fruit. For example a fruit haul would be Banana Bunch – 60 baht, half/kg of grapes – 100 baht, paw paw 20 – 60 baht. Occasionally I would buy a coffee which I found some really good local coffee for around 25 – 60 baht per coffee.
Once or twice a week my girlfriend and I would go out and eat together and that could cost a bit more, depending on where we ate. Local Thai restaurants would be cheaper while western food can be more expensive at 150 – 500 baht per meal.
When she wasn’t working I would buy her food which doubled the daily expense. So if we ate local for the day I would spend 50 baht x 2 for breakfast, 60 baht x 2 for lunch and 60 baht x 2 for dinner plus drinks (340 baht for 2 people).
For the 7 months I lived there I only cooked at home once. I made a pasta dish for 2 of us, the ingredients from the supermarket in total cost 500 baht (I could eat out at restaurants for 2 days for the same price). It’s much cheaper and more convenient to eat out in Thailand than it is to shop at the supermarket and cook at home.
Beer 1,200THB ($46 AUD) per month
At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic I drank a lot of beer, only because it was so cheap. A 3-pack of Chang Beer 650ml bottles costs 156 baht ($6 AUD) from the 7-11. A carton of beer (12 x 650ml bottles) costs 560 baht ($21.57 AUD). Because Phuket is a tropical island I am never far from the ocean, and the close vicinity to the ocean technically makes me a pirate, not an alcoholic according to the pirates code of conduct.
Utility Bills 2,400THB ($92.43 AUD)
The internet was already connected when we moved into the condo so I started paying for it from the date we moved in. It was AIS fibre internet, faster than internet in Australia which included free digital TV (internet TV) which was mostly Thai channels any way. Internet was unlimited and cost 650 baht per month ($25 AUD).
Water cost approximately 250 baht per month. ($9.60 AUD)
Electricity cost 1100 to 1500 baht per month ($42 – $58 AUD). That includes water heater in the shower, 2 air conditioners, and the lights/TVs etc.
Mobile Phone 325THB ($12.52 AUD) per month
I use DTAC for the mobile phone service in Thailand. I pay 325 baht per month for 100 minutes of talk time, texts, and data for the month. I used mostly Line for talking and texting so I never really used the talk time, only the internet data. And it was more than enough for the month. Line is an internet Application kinda like Skype, or Facebook messenger and it’s crazy popular in Asia. Everyone uses it, even mainstream businesses will list their Line ID as a main form of contact. Now that I think about it, the only way I communicated with real estate agent was talking and texting with LINE.
Transportation 3,894 THB ($150 AUD) per month
I hired a motorbike by the month and the monthly rate is 3,300 baht ($127 AUD) per month. A full tank of gas cost 60 baht ($2.31 AUD) and usually lasts 3-4 days. That was my main form of transportation around the island, and I really never used and public transport. Taxis in general in Phuket are controlled by the Taxi mafia so they don’t use meters, instead they have a set price which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of Thailand. I work at home online, so I had no regular commute to work. I would take Cherrie to catch the staff van on a daily basis and that trip was about 10 minutes each way. My other regular trips on the motor bike was to restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, leisurely rides thru the beautiful hills of Phuket and of course to the beach (and back to the pirate ship).
Entertainment and Leisure 1000THB ($38.51 AUD) per month
My condo was close to Chillva Market a really fun night market with specialty local food, clothes, random accessories, bars and live music. The food options are always interesting so we often head down there to eat and drink. Also Phuket Old Town had some great live music, markets and food. Other entertainment in Phuket includes going to the beach with friends, soaking up beach vibes, swimming, drinking beer and exploring the natural beauty of the island on a motorbike. I never really go to night clubs or party much. Occasionally I would go shopping for new clothes too.
Sometimes a man has to do a border run. It’s a condition of the 6 month tourist VISA (which cost $250 AUD). Depending on where I went the cost would vary. A return flight to Kuala Lumur for example cost 2800 baht ($107 AUD) and accommodation ranges from 800 baht to 1300 baht per night ($30 to $50 AUD). So that’s a good excuse for a holiday and an expense which came only every 3 months.
So there’s my basic cost of living in Phuket. I paid for 6 months of rent up front (60,000THB) $2,310 AUD, and I would take out roughly 39,000 THB ($1500 AUD) per month for living expenses. You can have more life for less money in Thailand, it’s true.