When I came to Thailand for the second time to spend the winter, I decided to calculate the minimum living cost for myself in Pattaya. I rented an apartment in Jomtien Beach Condominium for 8500 baht and decided that I would live one month with minimal expenses.
I was not interested in partying and excursions at this stage, I just wanted to live in the country at a minimum cost. This greatly reduced my needs and reduced the monthly spendings in Pattaya quite a bit. The first thing I figured out was that I usually spend the most money in my life on small things, which at the end of the month end up being 50% of all the expenses. I decided to give them up.
There are a lot of cheap fruits in Pattaya, so I decided to eat more fruits, thus changing my usual diet.
Note: Most markets in Pattaya are tourist markets. They do not target local Thai people, but tourists and “Farang” (the word Thai people use for foreigners and expats). So, if you want to save on food supplies, you need to buy them in the places where the Thai people buy them as well. How to find such a market? Ask the Thai people!
I found this place two kilometers from my condo. I got up in the morning and walked to the market, buying groceries for 3-4 days. Prices there were on average 1.5 to 2 times cheaper compared with the touristic markets (e.g. the market on the South Street).
Personally, I do not eat at specific hours of the day, so division into breakfast, lunch and dinner is rather theoretical.
My low-cost meal in Pattaya:
Breakfast: coffee or tea, yogurt for 13-15 baht, sometimes a couple of sausages.
Sometimes I’d eat noodles out of a cup in the morning, worth a penny.
After more ggoaling, found another picture of the noodles I used to eat:
Don’t even ask why it’s called “Mama” noodles.
While designing my diet, I encountered some problems. I had to stop eating bread. In Pattaya, they rarely sell wheat bread – and I didn’t like the rice bread, so I didn’t eat it.
When I wake up, I am usually not hungry, so my breakfast is always small.
Oranges, mangosteen, watermelon, bananas, carrots, pineapples, rambutans, salak (snake fruit), dragon fruit, pink apple, santol. After a while I stopped eating durian (it is tasteless), pineapple (due to an allergic reaction) and mango (the taste wasn’t good enough in my opinion).
When I didn’t feel like eating fruit, I would get some prepared food in 7/11:
Usually, I would go for dinner to a Thai diner and get food there for around 60 baht.
Important: I didn’t cook anything myself. You could save even more money if you cooked on your own. There was a microwave, a kettle and even a steamer in the condo.
Other costs: drinking water took about 80 baht per month.
The total cost of food was about 3500 baht per month.
Other costs were around one thousand baht (trips to Koh Lan, Songteo, clothing, massage, etc.), as well as about 500 baht of public utilities that needed to be paid.
My minimum cost of living in Pattaya:
Accommodation: 8500 baht + 500 baht communal spendings.
Food: 3500 baht per month.
Other costs: 1000 baht.
Total monthly cost: approximately 13500 baht.
What I would like to say about this budget is that it’s very extreme. The point is that, usually the largest amount of money is spent on snacks and unplanned expenses. Besides, when I lived on this budget, I did not pay for girls, went to bars nor spent money on any extras – this is how I saved a lot of money.
Sometimes I’ve had attacks of binge eating. I found a way out of this situation: when I wanted to eat a lot between the meals, I ate carrots. The girls know this saying: “If you want to eat, eat an apple.” In Pattaya, apples are imported and expensive, so it is better to eat carrots (which cost around 25 baht).
Oddly enough, I thought I’d lose weight in a month of such a strange diet (dominated by fruits and vegetables) – but no such miracle occurred. At the end of the month I weighed myself, only to find that my weight had not changed at all.
If you want to beat my minimum budget, it can be easily done if you rent a cheaper condo.