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Expenses to Get Setup in Bangkok (Thailand Tuesday Installment #6)

When I left off last week we had been in Thailand for a total of 17 days, we had spent time in Bangkok, Tak and Chiang Mai and we had spent $6026.11. All this without moving into an apartment yet, though we did find a suitable place. This week I’ll go through the expenses for getting set up in the apartment. If any of you are considering moving to Thailand (or any other overseas location) this can serve as a potential guide to your expenses to get setup in Bangkok. Keep in mind of course that your expenses can vary wildly depending on your needs and wants 🙂

When we arrived back in Bangkok on the 24th our place was all ready to go. Well mostly ready to go anyway. The nice thing about Thailand is that almost every apartment, condo and house for rent comes completely furnished. So we were set with beds, sofa’s, tables, refrigerator, tv and a host of other things. Of course fully furnished doesn’t always mean FULLY furnished, so we did have some expenses to complete our home in Bangkok.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the expenses let me tell you about our criteria for choosing an apartment. Bangkok has all manner of accommodations, from small studio apartments at 5000THB ($167) per month all the way up to penthouse condos with monthly price tags exceeding 500,000THB per month($16667). To be honest though, those of you living in major US cities might be surprised to see what you can get in the $3000-5000 per month range.

Our major criteria was that the apartment be close to public transportation. We don’t have a car and even if we did traffic in Bangkok is among some of the worst in the world. We also wanted a quiet street and a fairly large apartment. Those of you with kids know that they need room to explore and grow. If there was a pool and fitness room that would be a bonus, but was not necessary.

In the end I think we got somewhat lucky. We found a place off Sukhumvit Road that was within walking distance of the elevated Skytrain and within a 3 minute motorcycle ride to the subway. There is a park just 10 minutes away for our daughter. Several grocery stores that cater to Western tastes, numerous restaurants and nightlife as well as all the usual Thai shops and food stalls. We did get a pool although there isn’t a fitness center. The apartment is a huge 2078 sq feet so there is plenty of room for our daughter. All this for just 28,000THB ($933) per month. Considering the area we got a great deal on this place as similar apartments in the neighborhood rent for 2-3 times as much. Here’s a picture of the view from our balcony:

Now that you have some idea of our accommodations let’s take a look at what it cost to finish furnishing. First off, there is a 2 month deposit required on the apartment so right there went 56,000THB. Internet and cable hookups also required a deposit of 2000THB each, so as soon as we moved in we were down (a refundable) 60,000THB ($2000). That brings our total costs to $8026.11.

Now it was time to finish furnishing our new digs. We needed towels, sheets and pillows (13494THB – $450), a crib and high chair for the baby (21,394THB – $710), kitchen utensils, pots/pans, dishes (28385THB – $950) and groceries to fill the fridge (23,095THB – $770). We also splurged on a butcher block table for the kitchen since counter space was limited (20,600THB – $685). I have several miscellaneous and cash expenses recorded (17,626THB – $585) which were likely for transportation and food and we added to our wardrobes with some weather appropriate clothing (12,535THB – $420). Finally, we bought a water dispenser and a dvd player (15,990THB – $530). Total cost to this point $13,126.11.

As you can see it isn’t too expensive to get yourself set up here in Bangkok. Our total was for a family of three, so if you are coming as a couple you could probably get away with $10,000 for start up costs and if you are single you could probably get away with less than $8000. Try doing that in any major city in North America or Europe.

I hope my posts are giving you all some ideas. I know I’ve read posts and comments on other blogs indicating that the owners would love to travel more or even become expats themselves. As you can see it is very doable and with minimal expense. To get an idea of what you would end up paying moving forward on a month to month basis stop back next week.

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