Tieland to Thailand

Quit Your Job – Sell Your Stuff – Travel Abroad

"We spent last year selling everything and paying off thousands in consumer debt, planning our wedding, and ultimately figuring a way out of the daily nine to five. Twelve months later here we are living a truly free and location-independent lifestyle, currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand"

Chiang Mai Budget Breakdown

Shopping on a Chiang Mai Budget

Considering that we will have lived in Northern Thailand for 100 days tomorrow, we thought we would share the details of our Chiang Mai budget with those who want a similar life abroad. We live comfortably, but in no way has it been smooth sailing the entire time. We have gone from making $15,000 per month in the United States to $1,500 per month (or 45,000฿) in Thailand. As you can imagine, the ninety percent drop in income has been quite the adjustment, but we feel that our quality of life is better and we are happier because of it. Escaping your nine-to-five tends to have that effect! Remember this budget is for two adults, so if you are single count on spending considerably less while achieving comparable results. Let’s get down to business!

Monthly Chiang Mai Budget Breakdown

Chiang Mai Budget for Two


Our Chiang Mai budget allows us to live less than 1 km from the Old City in a newly built two bedroom, three full bathroom townhouse that we rent for 15,000 baht ($500 USD) per month. Our master bedroom and guest bedroom both have air conditioners and on-suite bathrooms with hot showers. We opted to use a fan in our downstairs living room. We have a Western style kitchen with a dual convetion oven/microwave. We also have one induction burner. We pay for government rate electricity (5 baht per unit), and our household water is taken care of by our landlord. We have a reverse osmosis water filtration machine (1 baht per 1.5 L) and laundry facility (30 baht per load) conveniently located a short walk down our quiet side street.

Chiang Mai Budget Kitchen

Angela making dinner with fresh local ingredients from our village market.


Make no mistake, we are big foodies. Sometimes we say our main reason for escaping to Thailand is just because of the food! Angela and I are really into all the different Thai flavors. We go out for dinner pretty much every evening. We typically enjoy one of the several different 30 baht (about $1 USD) food options at Chiang Mai Gate about five days out of the week.

Eating Street Food on a Chiang Mai Budget

Chiang Mai Gate is home to some delicious beef and chicken biryani

The rest of the time we really love discovering great little hidden restaurants throughout the rest of Chiang Mai and spend anywhere from 150 to 600 baht per meal ($5 to $20 USD), including a couple of beers. I was never a regular burger eater back home, but have found myself trying a new one about once a week for about 120 baht ($4 USD). You would be surprised what you can find here living on a modest monthly Chiang Mai budget!

Chiang Mai Budget Meal

One of many delicious $1.00 meals you can get on a Chiang Mai budget

Adult Beverages

We admit it, and we aren’t ashamed in the least bit about it, but we like to have a few beers or cocktails a couple of times a week. Could we live cheaper if we didn’t? Absolutely, but we don’t see the fun in that. Usually after one of our $1 feasts we like to make our way to one of the nearby bars. Loco Elvis is a Tex-Mex place just north of Thapae Gate on the inside of the moat, and is where you can usually find us. Yes, it’s a little touristy, and no, the drink prices aren’t the most competitive, but we still enjoy the lively atmosphere. Plus, our good friend that we met on our honeymoon works there, and she spends a little time teaching us Thai every time we stop by. It’s like getting beer and Thai lessons for 300 baht ($10) an hour which is very compatible with our monthly Chiang Mai budget. Can’t beat that!

Chiang Mai Budget Bars

Angela and our good friend at Loco Elvis


We bought a brand new 2013 300cc Honda Forza (probably the largest scooter in Thailand) soon after we moved here. We fill up its 11.6 liter tank about twice a month for 350 baht ($11.50 USD). Now that we live here, we wanted something that could easily carry our hauls from our local market and grocery store, or our bags for some possible road trips.

Chiang Mai Budget Honda Forza

Our very comfortable 2013 Honda Forza [that busted our first month’s Chiang Mai budget]

Plus, I have some lower back issues and after renting a small 125cc motorbike I quickly realized I needed maximum surface area to distribute the weight of my big ass evenly. If you are over six feet tall and 200 plus pounds and have experienced a ride on a Honda Dream, then you know what I am talking about. More like a nightmare if you ask me. In addition to our motorbike, we spend a couple hundred baht ($6 to $8 USD) on tuk-tuks throughout the course of a month.

Chiang Mai Budget Motorbike Rental

The Honda Dream A.K.A Your Ass’s Worst Nightmare


We find most of the fresh food items that we need at our local markets, which are extremely affordable. Things like bread and yogurt can be bought at your nearest 7-Eleven or Tesco Express. For example, a packet of four yogurts costs about 50 baht ($1.60 USD).

Chiang Mai Budget Market

The local markets around Chiang Mai puts our grocery store back home to shame.


Nothing too crazy here. We get things like cat food, trash bags, cleaner, and detergent at our local 7-11 or Tesco Express as well. Rest assured there will be one of these small stores very close by. They’re everywhere! If you require more specific items, there are larger Tesco and Big C superstores just on the outside of the old city.

Chiang Mai Budget Tesco

Tesco stores have most anything you need and rival the big superstores stateside

TIP: Tesco takes credit card for those of you aiming to earn points. Remember to use a card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.

Personal Care

Always Chiang Mai budget friendly are the various spa services that scatter across the city. I get a haircut, shampoo (keeps the hair out of my motorbike helmet), and a head massage for 150 baht (about $5 USD). Women’s haircuts will run you anywhere from 350 to 1,000 baht. We spoil ourselves with a foot massage a few times a month, and both a one hour Thai massage or one hour foot massage will run you about 150 to 180 baht ($5 or $6 USD).

Chiang Mai Budget Massages

Be careful. Sometimes the water they wash your feet in is ice cold!


What is there to do on a Chiang Mai budget? Just about anything. From whitewater rafting to go-kart racing to ziplining, Chiang Mai is perfect for the outdoorsy type. There is also the Major Cineplex at the Central Plaza Mall, which costs 150 baht (only $5) per ticket on Wednesdays and is nicer than ninety percent of movie theaters we’ve been to. They offer a decent selection of movies with English tracks, but just make sure you buy your tickets for the new releases fast as they sell out early in the day, especially during weekends. If you get there too early, you can always grab some affordable (5 baht per piece), but tasty sushi in the food court. We love it.


As you can see from our $1,500 a month Chiang Mai budget we have allowed ourselves to save approximately $300 a month ($3,600 per year) for an annual month long trip back to the United States to visit family, or as a safeguard in the case that an emergency comes up. Of course, this will vary from month to month based on our lifestyle.

Not included in our Chiang Mai budget is the recent development of Angela securing a teaching position not far away from our neighborhood. Her salary will provide us with an additional $900 a month, which is an average teacher’s salary in Chiang Mai. She will work nine months out of the year, and we hope to save her entire salary for our future travels and to further cushion our nest egg.

What kind of budget do you sustain while traveling or living as an expat? We would love to hear how others are living frugally abroad!


Subscribe to get the latest posts about living and traveling in Thailand.

Plus you will get our eBook about how we make money as expats in Thailand.


Chris and Angela sold everything, paid off their debt, and left behind the nine-to-five lifestyle in the US. Today they live as full time expats in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Subscribe to their weekly Thailand Vlogs on Youtube! To see a full list of their blog posts all in one place check out the Archives. For more frequent updates follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Category: Budgets, Expat Life
  • Chris W says:

    Hi, I love Chiang Mai. Now thing is, I am a UK guy, 62 years old. Got a BA Degree, Diploma in English Language Studies and a CELTA. Do you think I could pick up TEFL work around Chiang Mai?

    August 28, 2015 at 5:05 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Possibly. Try your luck with the international schools because you are highly qualified. Since foreigners are eligible for retirement at 50 in Thailand, some schools may not consider you (but there are many options in Chiang Mai, so just go to another one!)

      August 29, 2015 at 9:41 AM
  • Pit says:

    Hi Angela and Chris,

    would you have a recommendation for a guide for us who has experience in where and how expats live in CM? We are a German-Japanese couple, have lived in Asia for 20 out of the last 25 years and will visit CM from Jan. 26 to Feb. 9. We want both to relax and have a look around and get an idea whether CM might be a place for us to retire. So someone who speaks good English and has a good grasp of the needs of expats in CM would be great for us.

    txs for your tips in advance

    January 19, 2015 at 4:21 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Pit, although we do not know of a guide, we offer a similar service ourselves. We’ve been expats in Chiang Mai for two years and know the in’s and out’s of the city. We’re an open book and offer Coaching Sessions if you would like to pick our brain. We can also design a custom itinerary or even offer you our Prospective Expat’s Express Chiang Mai Itinerary, which highlights need-to-know places for expats (shopping areas, excellent Western food, expats hangouts, etc). Let us know if this alternative works for you!

      January 19, 2015 at 2:38 PM
  • Jenny says:

    Hi Chris & Angela

    It sounds like an ideal life. I recently had a holiday in Chiang Mai (early November) and am going back in March with a view to retiring there (just waiting out the lease on a house I have here). I find it difficult to live comfortably entirely on my pension here in Australia and I figure that I can do so very well there. Also I found it so interesting and full of life there with so much to do.

    I stayed at a guesthouse in Chiang Mai and whilst there the lovely owner told me they had a long term one bed studio apartment for rent which she showed to me (near her parents house). It was very spacious and beautiful with teak floors, high teak beam ceilings, balcony and also a covered outdoor area with tables and chairs, lovely garden – furnished with large kitchen area, fridge and sink (only a microwave though – but I suppose I could get a two plate electric cooker?), aircon, fan. It is behind a high teak fence with key entry. It includes water but electricity is extra. This will cost 10,000thb a month which to me sounds a good deal. Not sure about wifi, but the guesthouse a few doors down has the use of two free computers. It is in a little soi near Chiang Mai Gate in the old city just near the night food market.

    My only concern is that I going back there in the hottest time of the year and also burning off time. How bad is it? I don’t want this to turn me off living there. If I used my AC for 7-8 hours a day during this time, would my electricity go through the roof?

    Re health insurance? What is available in Chiang Mai for this? I am aged 67 so I think it wise to have something in place.

    I won’t be driving there, but everything is within walking distance and once I get the knack of the people taxis it should be fine.

    With cell phones, what does one do – just get a sim there?

    Thanks for your great advice. Your experience there sounds wonderful and I hope mine is too.


    November 26, 2014 at 4:02 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Hi Jenny. The place your friend showed you sounds wonderful! It’s in a great location too, with plenty of small shops, restaurants, and cafes within walking distance.

      As for the heat and AC, it’s hard to say how much will you spend. There are a few things to keep in mind:
      1. Do you like cool air (75 degrees or more) or frigid air (70 degrees and below)?
      2. Will your landlord charge you the government rate of 5 baht per unit or will it be more?
      3. How does your own body acclimate to heat? Do you start sweating at 70 degrees or are you comfortable at 80 degrees?
      4. Is the house surrounded by lots of shady trees or is the room you will spend most of your time in on the back of the house away from the sun (also, upstairs or downstairs makes a huge difference), or will does the house stand alone with the sun beating down on it from sunrise to sunset?

      The most we’ve ever paid was about $40 USD for the month at government rate running the AC from around noon to about 4 or 5pm at about 25 or 26 degree C. We never use it at night. There have been a few times where we just throw our hands up and take a trip to the mall for the AC!

      We also don’t recommend running the AC American style all day every day. You may find yourself going to the nearby guesthouse you mentioned at the hottest part of the day if your house gets too hot and just turn of your AC. It’s a great change of scenery plus it really cuts back on your electric bill!

      Check out our post here about cellphones and SIM cards. As for health insurance, Google “expat insurance”.

      We wish you all the best with your move!

      November 26, 2014 at 2:36 PM
  • Skins says:

    Great article. Chiang Mai is a very nice city and I hope to visit again soon. Oh, and nice bike! I rented that same kind of bike for my ride to Pai and Mae Hong Son. That Forza is fast a comfortable. Beats a 125cc for sure!

    November 23, 2014 at 2:17 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We only have great things to say about our Forza. Super comfortable for those long rides and amazing storage space. Never again will we ride a 125cc!

      November 23, 2014 at 8:50 PM
  • Chris says:

    Hey Guys nice blog and article. Currently sitting in BK, heading to Chaing Mai in a few days to check out the area as would like to move there and start teaching soon if possible. Can relate to the lower back issues as well! One of the reasons i left my job in the UK to travel was to embrace a more back friendly lifestyle, although thai roads are a little bumpy lol. What is the availability of tefl jobs up there like as i know it’s an increasingly popular area to work in..?

    October 29, 2014 at 11:36 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Haha, long bus rides especially aren’t good for the back! Chiang Mai is a popular expat location, so you’ll have to be on your A game when applying for TEFL jobs. The second semester just started and you may be able to take over a position that another teacher has left. Don’t forget to look into language schools that aren’t on a yearly schedule but have new students monthly, and it’s also popular to teach vacationing Chinese students here. Good luck!

      November 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM
  • Ken Upton says:

    Chris, I am a police Officer In Canada ready to retire. I am thinking we may like to teach English in Chaing Mai but we do not have Bachelors Degrees… With the TESL course, could I teach there? Thoughts?

    August 31, 2014 at 3:34 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      This is a touchy subject. Legally you cannot teach without a Bachelor’s degree or higher. It’s just Thailand’s law. However, you’d have to find a school or hiring agency that is willing to look the other way or accept an online “life” degree (usually costs a few hundred dollars). It has been done! We’ve always recommend earning a TEFL before teaching in Thailand because it’s a qualifier on your resume and it definitely prepares you for teaching English as a second language. Good luck!

      September 2, 2014 at 9:52 PM
  • Ken says:

    Hi guys!! Great blog. My wife and I are coming over for a visit to Chaing Mai in 2 weeks. Just wondering about the possibilities of a permanent move some day. We are 50. What type of work can you do there? Can Canadians/Americans seek employment there? Many more questions but will hold it to that. I have checked out the rents; very nice! Ken

    July 30, 2014 at 4:50 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      You are eligible for a retirement is at 50+ and that will get you a one year visa, renewable every year as long as you meet the basic requirements outlined on a Thai Embassy website. Although the most popular way to make money is to teach, the general rules is that foreigners (i.e., Americans and Canadians) cannot be hired for a job that a Thai citizen can do. So, you can’t be a bartender, or a lawyer or a doctor or retail clerk… but you can be a teacher because you are a native speaker, which Thai’s aren’t. Or, you can have an American or Canadian company sponsor you and send you over on a business visa. Also, you can often work as a freelance writer/editor/photographer, a stock trader, online gambler, online teacher, or do online sales etc etc. There’s ways to find work, you just have to be flexible. Good luck!

      July 30, 2014 at 11:52 AM
  • Michelle says:

    Hi Guys!! I am so glad to have found your blog. I have been an expat for about 7 years now and have lived in Honduras, Germany, Kuwait, and The Bahamas. I have also done this all with my children as a single mom, talk about adventure :) Now its time to find a location where we can stay long term and I am able to save money. We love Thailand and are actually planning to move there within the next few months. I will graduate college in November as I have elected to do my final classes online and I am currently working on my TESOL Certification as we speak with hopefully plans to teach English. Do you think I will have a hard time finding a place to stay and where would you recommend a short term stay while the children and I look for our place. Any tips or helpful information you can think of that may help me better prepare. Thanks guys look forward to hearing from you

    June 24, 2014 at 1:51 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Congratulations on your big decision to move, Michelle! There are hundreds of hotels and guesthouses to stay at in Chiang Mai while you look for a permanent place to live. However, we can recommend The Bliss. It is very clean, offer month to month contracts (prices drop if you book longer stays), and it’s in a posh area just northwest of the Old City. The apartment has a kitchen, balcony, and Western bathroom. If we remember correctly, a two bedroom place goes for about 20,000 baht ($600) a month. The prices listed on their website are for daily rates, but email or call them for specifics. We think you’ll love it!

      July 5, 2014 at 10:55 AM
  • james says:

    Is it possible to leave within a $1000 sing dollars budget every mth for a couple? We live a simple lifestyle, eat simple , dnt drink nor smoke. Just need an accomodation that is modern living, safe, convenient to market or shopping mall.

    June 22, 2014 at 11:08 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Everyone’s lifestyle and spending habits are different, but even at $1000 a month for two people is quite tight. The best way you can afford to do this is find a place a little outside the main city but near a Thai market or shopping area so you can get things you need. Strive for $150-300 a month accommodation. Also, you will probably spend twice your budget on your first month as you settle down – getting a cell phone, renting a bike, buying a few things like kitchen stuff, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc. Our motto was to be happy. And we knew that living in a small but cheap space was not fun (we needed our space), or living out of a serviced apartment (felt like a hotel room) was no good for us either. Or not being able to afford the option for a Western meal a few times a week or a night out for drinks. Ask yourself, what can you live with out, and are you ok with not spending money on entertainment (movies, restaurants, touristy things, drinking, crafting, memberships to places, etc). It was too restricting for us to take all of that out. Once again, we wanted to be happy, and upping our budget by a few hundred dollars (ours was also originally $1000 a month) made all the difference in the world. But, you may be really laid back and enjoy a life just watching TV or reading a book or lounging in a hammock all day, and eating Thai food every meal – all very much affordable. Life is certainly different! Hope this helps.

      June 23, 2014 at 4:25 AM
      • james says:

        Ya we want to move to a lower pace environment, happy and have time to do some volunteer work, relax, sighseeing cos we are sick of the robotic 8-5 office job and sg is not the place to achieve that anymore. Its fast, expensive for food, housing, healthcare, over over and i mean really overcrowded. I was thinking of renting out my current house in sg and use the rental yield every month to stay in chingmai. However it would be good to to have some part time income to be more stable. Any idea what freelance or online business can we do to generate some income monthly?

        June 23, 2014 at 6:31 PM
        • Chris and Angela says:

          Renting out your house is a great way to secure that monthly income. Anything that you can sell (via Craigslist, eBay, yard sale, etc) will also provide a bit of cushion while you’re over here.

          If you’re not looking to teach, there are several online options. We’ve met several day traders, as well as people who’ve already come over with an online business. You can do affiliate marketing for popular products easily bought online, buy and sell expiring URLs, freelance writing for travel companies, copywriting for overseas businesses with English-speaking clients, and stock photography to name a few. It takes dedication and there is a bit of a learning curve for all of these options, but they can be the perfect avenue to generate the funds you need to cover what your rental payment doesn’t. Good luck!

          June 26, 2014 at 12:42 AM
          • james says:

            Great, thanks for your advice. Hope i can do something about it and make it happen within the next year.

            June 27, 2014 at 6:16 AM
  • John butler says:

    I love Chiang mai. As I native English can you get teaching job with out any qualification’s in Thailand. Met a back packer that said he got a job teaching in a orphanage with out qualifications. I have spend a fair bit of time so my Thai is good I’m interested teaching and helping people learn English.

    June 22, 2014 at 6:43 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Knowing a bit of Thai will really help you if you want to teach English. You don’t necessarily have to have past experience teaching to be hired. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree, you can get a business visa and work permit along with the teaching gig. We also love Chiang Mai!

      June 23, 2014 at 4:27 AM
  • Ed Levenson says:

    Great article.. You guys seem pretty cool and I enjoyed that.. I’ve only been to Bangkok and Pattaya a bunch or times.. I watched Anthony Bordain in Chaing Mai tonight and it re-kindled my asian leaning ways and maybe I’ll meet you folks in that bar you mentioned, some day.. Take good care..

    June 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Chiang Mai definitely has different feel to it than Bangkok and Pattaya. Well worth making the trip and adding another Thai city to your repertoire. And Anthony Bordain rocks. We’ve been to some of the places in the Chiang Mai episode!

      June 2, 2014 at 11:29 PM
  • Dean Chaudhry says:

    Great job guys! Hey any idea how much condo and auto (or motorbike) insurance would be in CM? Is there property tax there? I was told there isn’t. I’m heading there in August, would love to meet you both!

    April 10, 2014 at 1:16 AM
  • Andy says:

    Awesome! This is exactly the sort of line item info I was looking for. I’m looking at where to move (for my first expat-y locale!) this coming September. India is highest on my list of desirability, but I’ve really enjoyed reading about your experiences in Thailand and am grateful for the details you always include.

    March 26, 2014 at 4:11 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We’re glad the post provided what you needed to possibly make you lean towards relocating to Thailand. You’re welcome!

      March 27, 2014 at 9:33 PM
  • Jacob says:

    Great article Chris and Angela! i am moving to Chiang Mai in two weeks to begin a TEFL certification class then teaching somewhere near Chiang Mai. Thanks for the information and will look forward to future posts.

    October 31, 2013 at 7:56 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      No problem Jacob! We hope the best for you. Good luck with your TEFL and your job search. Let us know if you need any help!

      October 31, 2013 at 9:43 AM
  • stella says:

    Mmm – i live in Thailand, it’s ok, but i certainly wouldn’t rave about the food in the way you all do. Compared to the healthy Mediterranean diet, Thai food is over-salted, ( including MSG ), over-sugared, over-spiced and often over-fatty. Eat too much of it and you will get fat and even very sick. ‘Thai food’ is just an obsession for many foodies, so it would never grab me as i only eat to live, not live to eat.

    October 26, 2013 at 8:25 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Hmm Thai street food is one thing, but I definitely would not lump in all Thai food as being unhealthy. You can eat healthy anywhere, and with all of the fresh ingredients in Thailand you would be silly not to take advantage. If you speak a little bit if the language you can easily have you food prepared any way that you like i.e. Less salt, no MSG, etc.

      We love Thailand and absolutely love Thai food. Being a certified nutritional consultant I have no problem saying it. Like I said, you can eat healthy anywhere in the world if you make the effort. Thanks for the comment.

      October 26, 2013 at 8:53 PM
    • charlie reeves says:

      My wife is Thai and I eat Thia food every other day at least. Love it

      November 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM
  • Sarochin says:

    Thank you for being bold and for sharing very useful information. We plan to relocate to Thailand within the next 4 to 5 months. You mentioned Angela got a job teaching in Chiang Mai. If it’s ESL related teaching, did the job required a CELTA/TEFL certification? Would you recommend CELTA certification over the TEFL certification, or does it really matter in getting a ESL teaching job in Thailand? Thank you.

    September 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      The three requirements for teaching in Thailand are: Posses a Non-Immigrant B Visa, a bachelor’s degree or higher (does not have to be a degree in teaching or English), and a (120 hr) TEFL certificate. A CELTA is not required for a job, although I know someone who has it and says it is helpful if you plan to teach adults. From my experience, a TEFL is what is needed to teach school children and I am not sure if a CELTA and TEFL is interchangeable.

      I earned my TEFL certificate after moving to Chiang Mai because it was convenient for me, but it is possible to earn it in the US.

      September 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM
  • Frank says:

    Great post, very informative! My mom has been living in Chiang Mai now for 5 years and has a quality of life there that she could never afford in Canada. You guys probably pass her every day at the Chiang Mai gate! That food looks great.
    You’ve done a great job with the blog!
    Frank (bbqboy

    August 30, 2013 at 10:43 PM
    • Chris says:

      Thanks for the great comment Frank! I bet we see your mom here all the time and don’t even know it. It is absolutely incredible how well one can live in Chiang Mai as opposed to their western home countries. The people are beautiful and the country as a whole is just waiting to be explored. There is so much to see and do and the culture really makes this place a cut above the rest in our opinions. We love it!

      August 31, 2013 at 9:32 AM
  • alienheartbeat says:

    good budget. the numbers gel well with my experience. Though I spend a fair bit more on equipment (and less on “adult beverages” 😉 ). Main costs of travelling are hotels and long distance travel, so if you can take an apt and stop in 1 place for a while, expenses are reasonable. I use a local base, leaving most of my stuff there, then explore the countryside.

    re health insurance. I mostly self insure. BUT: I do have International SOS (~$300+/yr) in case I need to be airlifted out of anywhere) and IHI/BUPA with a min threshold of $10k, in case I need to have my head and legs replaced.

    Expect to pass though Chiang Mai in late Sept (2013) on way to Laos for a few months.

    August 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks! Yes, the adult beverage category is an ever changing one, but we aren’t afraid of spending a little money on relaxing with a couple beers or cocktails.

      We are still researching different health insurance options at the moment. At this point we self insure being that baseline healthcare in Thailand is so cheap. We do, however, agree that having something to cover you in the case of a major accident is very smart. We are covered if anything was to happen to us while on our motorbike, which quite honestly is the riskiest activity that we participate in on a normal basis. We do want to get some kind of blanket coverage in the event that something happen that would require us to be airlifted, etc. *knocks on wood*

      Enjoy your time in Chiang Mai! Hope it treats you as well as it treats us :)

      August 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM
  • mary says:

    I have been looking into living abroad and this is one of the best sources of info so far. You have really got your s**t together. I will be visiting Thailand with a couple of friends this Feb. for a month. So excited to eat my way around the country. I can retire in three years with a fairly decent pension of about 2000.00 from my company plan. Then when I am 60 I can get a Canada pension of about 800.00 per month. Chiang Mai is where I want to live. That seems to be a good cheap base for traveling around the rest of SEA. I was in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia about four years ago and I loved it. I so do not want to work. Just want to eat and wander till I die…thanks for the very informative post…you guys rock.

    August 14, 2013 at 10:22 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Mary, thank your for such kind words. We have been working hard in between our delicious Thai meals! I hope your upcoming trip really confirms Chiang Mai as being a solid retirement destination for you. We love it here and we just cannot stress it enough. We get a kick out of your “eat and wander till I die” retirement outlook! I can’t think of anything else that we would rather do ourselves. Stay in touch and please keep us in the loop. Good luck and take care!

      August 19, 2013 at 10:20 AM
  • Geraint Lewis (@tolstitoo) says:

    Very interesting budget. I live much further south and prices are different. Having visited Chiang Mai I found it so much cheaper then Phuket, especially for food. One thing I notice is missing from your declared budget is Health Insurance. As someone who is currently paying back a 1.2 m Bht emergency health care cost please, please, make sure that you are adequately insured.

    July 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM
    • Angela says:

      Geraint, you make an excellent point to invest in health insurance if living abroad. We have casually looked into it, but when we finally do purchase health insurance, we will be sure to share our research and our final decisions with our followers. As with many other things in Thailand, it’s very affordable! At least we have medical coverage if we get into a motorcycle accident, which we purchased in addition to the regular policy offered through our Honda Forza. Thanks for the advice.

      July 27, 2013 at 2:02 PM
  • Brian Binns says:

    Hi Angela and Chris, You’ve got a beautiful website. Very clean, colorful and well put together. I know of you through JC’s website (RCA) . . . my name on JC’s site is “LA-TRADER” . . . I’m commenting on your Budget Post because even though I love Bangkok and lived there for 3 months this past spring, it seems that Chiang Mai is so much less expensive. Hard to believe the difference actually. And I am considering moving first to Chiang Mai . . . to get a financial foothold and make sure my online business isn’t going to tank . . . and if everything works out O.K., then move to Bangkok (like I said . . . I love that city.) I’m,single. But, I know sooner or later I will end up with a girlfriend. Not a bargirl. A woman my own age. A real relationship. (and all guys know this to be true . . . it just adds significantly to the expenses . . not complaining . . . that’s just the way it is,) . . . my main expenses will be Rent / Utilities / Internet (because I will be getting a $90 – $120 per month internet package. Also, I will be taking language classes full-time, as well as medical insurance (so that will add another $225 per month to the total cost.) I don’t really do tourist type things at all. Almost all of my day-to-day time will be spent at the 700 Year Stadium (they’ve got a 50 meter pool / and I do triathlon training 5 or 6 days per week) . . . and after that I basically will just be coming back home every day during the work week to do my Trading from about 2PM to Midnight Monday through Friday (Forex Day Trader) . . . , basically, I am estimating on doubling your monthly cost of living . . . about $2,250.00 $USD . . . does that sound reasonable for Chiang Mai based on your experience so far? Sorry for the long post.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:20 AM
    • Angela says:

      Keeping yourself occupied with extensive triathlon training and day trading certainly keeps you from spending money elsewhere. Another major area that quickly eats up a budget are the touristy day trips or weekend adventures, which you’ve also said you aren’t interested in. Based on the description of your average week and that you don’t spend much on entertainment, it sounds like you are very well off. From our experience, $2250 is excellent, even when you do meet a nice lady and start spending money with/on her, unless she has very expensive tastes!

      July 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM
  • Mike @ Thailand Blogs says:

    Firstly thank you for the follow on Twitter. What a great looking blog you have. Some super photos make it all the more pleasant.

    The article makes interesting reading, handy for making comparisons with my own living costs, which funnily enough are about the same.

    The only big difference is rent, here not to far from Phitsanulok in the mountains, a two bedroom detached house with a large garden, cost me a mere 3500 Baht a month. But of course I don’t live in a big city with all the handy facilities you have.

    I also don’t need to work so I chose my location to fit my interests i.e. the outdoors,coolish with fresh air and nature at hand to pursue my hobbies of wildlife photography and writing.

    I look forward to following you over the coming months to find out how things work out. Good luck on your adventure.

    July 27, 2013 at 9:00 AM
  • Jeff @ GoTravelzing says:

    The more I read about Chiang Mai the more I want to visit. I have not been to Thailand yet but it is high on my list. It is amazing how cheap it is to live there.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:53 PM
  • Chris says:

    Awesome break down, one of the best things about Chiang Mai is how easy it is to get to a market with fresh food to cook yourself. Enjoy Chiang Mai, it’s awesome.

    July 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM
    • Chris says:

      We are loving it so far. Enjoying our new simple lives without all of the distractions from back home.

      July 14, 2013 at 7:25 AM
  • Kevin says:

    Hey Chris and Angela, love your Blogg, I’ll be visiting Chiang Mai in November for the Loy Krathong Festival, I can’t wait to get back, it’s been 2 years but feels like a lifetime.
    I’m glad things have worked out for you guys, I look forward to more stories.

    July 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM
    • Angela says:

      There is something wonderful about Chiang Mai that keeps so many people coming back. Great decision to visit again during the beautiful lantern festival…we are looking forward to seeing it for the first time ourselves this November!

      July 6, 2013 at 5:40 PM
  • rogerluc says:

    Hi, RCA member here. Look forward to more of your stories and info. I’m VERY picky with food so my budget will be more than yours but I’m looking forward to being in CM in about 10 months to re*THAI*er!

    July 3, 2013 at 2:20 AM
    • Chris says:

      Thanks for following! We eat all kinds of food. We do like Thai food a lot, but a few times a week we do hit some of the nicer sit down western restaurants. If you look hard enough there are some really reasonable prices to be had. Love you reTHAIer idea btw! You should lock in the website domain name now haha.

      July 3, 2013 at 2:25 AM
  • GG says:

    Wow! I have to show this to my gf asap. we have been considering a move abroad, just need to find work first and foremost.
    Very encouraging that all this can be done on a shoestring budget.

    Thank you for sharing

    June 28, 2013 at 9:50 PM
    • Chris says:

      Northern Thailand is a great place to live. Cost of living is low an the people are great!

      June 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM
  • Evo says:

    Hey Great blog Chris & Angela, found it through members retire cheap. I look forward to reading/seeing more plus it’s a bit nicer than JC’s site and loads way faster!

    June 19, 2013 at 3:08 PM
    • Angela says:

      Glad you found us through JC’s site! We learned a lot from him before coming here, and hopefully others can learn from our experiences now that we are living here, too. We are working hard to get our blog running smoothly and to share it with many people – thanks for noticing our efforts :)

      June 19, 2013 at 10:51 PM
  • Ourjourneytothesea says:

    You definitely won’t get by that cheap in Australia lol. Man I miss Chiang Mai

    June 19, 2013 at 1:42 PM
    • Angela says:

      So we’ve heard! As beautiful as Australia is, it would be harder to live over there on our budget. Hopefully you can come back to Chiang Mai, if only for a visit!

      June 19, 2013 at 10:54 PM
  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says:

    Great breakdown! How did you go about finding your apartment? It’s just so darn cheap I don’t know if I can resist staying away from Thailand despite the fact we were there last year.

    June 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM
    • Chris says:

      Thanks! Isn’t Thailand amazing? We found our place through our friend Pui mentioned in the post. She has been a huge help showing us around, connecting us with our land lady, and finding cool things for us to do with our friends while they are in town. Having Thai friends has been wonderful. They are so accommodating and very nice to be around.

      June 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM
      • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says:

        Is your place on a one year lease? What would be the cost of renting a place like that by the month? Or for a two or three month period?

        July 14, 2013 at 5:46 AM
        • Chris says:

          Yes, we have a one year lease, but there are many places that offer month to month agreements. Could be a little bit difficult to find a house to rent for less than 6 months, but condos and apartments offering shorter leases are everywhere. You could look to pay on average around $300 to $400 a month for a comfortable place. Be prepared to pay a security deposit too.

          July 14, 2013 at 7:23 AM
  • Scott Sutton via Facebook says:

    Fantastic post! I look forward to seeing you guys on my next trip.

    June 19, 2013 at 9:31 AM
    • Chris says:

      Thanks! We definitely look forward to seeing you again too. I know you can’t stay away too long haha

      June 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM
  • Scott Shetler via Facebook says:

    That’s a really helpful post! I love a good budget breakdown, especially for a place I’m considering moving to at some point.

    June 19, 2013 at 9:23 AM
    • Chris says:

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! When do you plan on making the move?

      June 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM
  • Carmel says:

    Thanks for sharing this info! It’s always nice to see the breakdown of costs. Obviously housing is a little cheaper if you stay longer, but the incidentals are key.

    June 19, 2013 at 8:37 AM
    • Chris says:

      Yes, housing can be had for a even lower than what we pay. We love our location though. We have a couple good friends that live 10-15 mins out of the city and they pay half of what we pay for a 3 bedroom house!

      June 19, 2013 at 10:08 AM
  • Vince and Lin says:

    Thanks for the information Chris & Angela. We’ve enjoy following your blog and look forward to retiring in Chiang Mai in just over a year. Maybe we will meet up and we’ll buy you a beer or two.
    Vince and Lin

    June 19, 2013 at 4:20 AM
    • Chris says:

      We would really like that! Believe me…this year is going to fly by for you guys. Hope you are ready :)

      June 19, 2013 at 10:07 AM
  • Rachel says:

    Great post! When we get over there we are looking to live cheaply as well. We are prepared for our income to drop by knowing that we are going to be living how we want to live (not dealing with bosses that expect way to much from us). One of the reasons we choose Thailand is because of the food as well. :) After all, a happy tummy equals a happy mind!

    June 19, 2013 at 12:25 AM
    • Chris says:

      I could never live in a place with bad food! We are simply addicted to the food here in Thailand. I am glad you enjoyed the post. It always boosted our confidence to see how others were living in Chiang Mai while we were making the decision to move. Hope this did the same for you. Take care!

      June 19, 2013 at 12:30 AM

--Leave a Reply--