Overall, everyday living is considerably cheaper in Chiang Mai than in Phuket.
Taxi from the airport to any gym in Phuket would cost you around 600 baht ($20US) vs. to any gym in Chiang Mai would only be 150 baht ($5US).
The cost of going to watch a Muay Thai fight in Phuket is 1,200 baht ($40) vs. in Chiang Mai 400 baht ($13US).
Strict budget – Cheapest possible training in Chiang Mai per month
Budget Training in Chiang Mai and Phuket Photo Gallery
• Monthly training – Muay Thai and MMA = 8,000 baht ($266US)
• Accommodation – Fan room with own bathroom = 3,500 baht ($116US) (In Phuket, for this price you would have to share a bathroom).
• Breakfast – 3 Eggs or omelet – 20 baht per meal x 30 = 600 baht ($20US).
• Lunch – Thai food – Chicken basil with rice, fried rice chicken, mixed veggies with chicken and rice 40 baht x 30 = 1,200 baht ($40US).
• Dinner – Thai rood with a fried egg on top – 45 baht per meal x 30 = 1,350 baht ($45US).
• Drinks – Water only. Free at the Gym or 1 baht from a machine = 56 baht a month ($1.80 US).
• Entertainment – Visit one of 40 temples, hike a really nice mountain, mountain biking, sneak into a resort’s pool, play board games, watch TV and DVDs,
internet = all free.
Total cost for a month of training on a strict budget = 14,706 baht ($490 US Dollars) (Compared to Phuket’s 20,280 baht, $678US Dollars) . *You can save 3,000
baht ($100) by signing up for 1 class a day, instead of two, and training on your own on your off time. New total: 11,706 baht or $390US Obviously, just like
Phuket, you’ll want some extra nice comforts. The good thing however, everything from massages to taxi fare will be less than half the price of what it would
be in Phuket.
Pharmacy – Ibuprofen, muscle relaxant, pain killers, Muay Thai Liniment Oil, antibiotic cream, Tiger Balm, and rehydration powders (powdered Gatorade) 570
baht a month on average ($19US). Motorbike rental – If you want to go into town everyday or live far from the gym you can rent a bike for around 2,000 baht a
month; however, taxis are so cheap in Chiang Mai that I opted not to get one at all this time around. Instead, I bought a cheap mountain bike – brand new –
for 2,950 baht ($98US) and pay an average of 10-20 baht per shared taxi ride into town whenever I want to go. The absolute most you’ll pay for a taxi is 120
baht, even if you hire it privately, and need to go way out of town. Massages – Thai massages in Chiang Mai are often cheaper than in Phuket; they range from
120 baht an hour to 200 baht an hour ($4US – $6.60US). Movie theater/cinema – The movie theater in Chiang Mai is located inside the Airport Plaza Mall where
they show new Hollywood movies in English (Thai subtitles) for around 150 baht.
Actual comfortable budget per month – Including training, accommodation, food, and extras (weekly massages, movies and a motorbike) =18,116 baht per month
($603 US Dollars). There isn’t a crazy nightlife scene in Chiang Mai – as there is in Phuket – so you won’t be tempted to go out partying on weekends;
however, there are nice restaurants and some good bars to splurge at but, even then, it won’t cost you nearly as much as a night in Patong. Expect to add
another 800 baht per weekend which would include a nice steak dinner, buffet or Sunday roast, and a couple of beers with backpackers in town and maybe even
watching a Muay Thai fight. Since Chiang Mai is so cheap to live in you might as well upgrade your room to one with air conditioning and a view. Very
comfortable monthly budget per month = 22,316 baht per month ($743US) including a nice air conditioned room with refrigerator, TV, and wifi.
Actual spreadsheet of one month’s expenses in Koh Tao.
As you can see, my costs of living were a bit higher in Koh Tao for a few
In general, it’s a bit more expensive to live and eat there than Chiang Mai (and is more on par with living in Phuket), however, mainly it was because I had just arrived and wanted to live well, plus I was eating a lot of western food – there isn’t much good Thai food on the island. Additionally, prices are higher because I included every little thing that is often forgotten but you need to factor them in. So, whatever budget you are looking at above – Chiang Mai or Phuket – include an extra $100US per month (for random stuff that you won’t think about), such as your cravings for chocolate or beer. Also factor in another $100 for when your friends come to visit and you go somewhere fun or when a holiday comes up and you splurge a bit.
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