Chiang Mai Thailand first month living expenses report

So, it’s been a while since my last expense report, I’ll do one today for last month and my most recent one I’ll do tomorrow.

This is for our first 30 days in Chiang Mai, it’s said your first month somewhere is always the most expensive, this has been true for us, as our second month is much lower, so be sure to check back tomorrow. If you’d like to see our previous expenses, the reports are linked in the list below.

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

Chiang Mai Living Expenses

Chiang Mai Living Expenses

Chiang Mai Trip Expenses

  • Accommodation + electricity £213.38
  • Food, entertainment, living etc £702.12

Total £915.50
Cost per person £457.75
Cost per day (per person) £15.25

This is for the first 30 days we spent in Chiang Mai, during this time we went to Cambodia for 5 days, I’ve excluded those days from the spreadsheet and only included the first 30 days spent in Chiang Mai. We had a more expensive month in Chiang Mai than we had in Hanoi due to several reasons, one is memberships, our membership column is for anything we’d pay for monthly, e.g. Wifi, mobile phone data plans, co-working space membership, gym memberships etc.

Butterfly Pea Water

Butterfly Pea Water

The initial few days were our most expensive due to socialising with friends/family who were visiting, this is really the only time I drink now.
As I get ready to return to Australia, I’m reducing my drinking to zero, in my last 18 months before leaving Australia in 2006 I never drank once, excluding farewell drinks the 2 weeks before departure. When the weather is hot and sunny I have zero desire to drink, I consider this a good thing.
In Vietnam I drank Bia Hoi beer almost nightly but at £0.15 a beer 2% alcohol and freezing cold it’s rather desirable.

Some new costs we now have are room cleaning, laundry and eating out every meal except for breakfast. If we’re home, it’s either for swimming, resting or sleeping, everything else is taken care of.

Hiking Chiang Mai

Hiking Chiang Mai

Two of the main advantages of Chiang Mai for foreigners is it’s low cost living and permanent sunny weather, for this reason there is a very large number of Digital Nomads living here and working on-line, either running their own businesses or working remotely for employers back home, they’re literally everywhere!, many work in co-working spaces, however, if you go into any of the hundreds of cafes and restaurants in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai, you’ll find yourself either sitting next to someone working away on a laptop, checking orders on their phone, emailing clients from their tablet or a bunch of people discussing tech, e-commerce, coding, digital life etc, this is the norm and not the exception.

If you ever find yourself in Nimman and see a bunch of people in a restaurant on their phones, don’t be like the idiot in the image below, as they’re simply checking which tropical island to live on next, or how much money they’ve made from Chiang Mai today, or perhaps chatting to friends and family back home, perhaps it’s just a tourist glad to have some internet access.

I was once in a restaurant in Amsterdam and some tool started criticising a girl he didn’t even know, simply for “looking at her phone in a restaurant”, these people I call “the bored, face palmers” they’re that bored with their own life, that they need to criticise others and whenever I hear them, I want to face palm my self. For some people, being in “a restaurant” is something they do every day and they aren’t going to miss too much of the amazing restaurant excitement going on around them simply by looking at their phone.

Pool Baan Thai Chiang mai

Our Pool

The foreigners living here, tend to live well away from the tourist areas, everyone in this area is very friendly be it locals or foreigners and all bars shut by midnight, so there isn’t drunken zombies staggering around, sex tourism or even a single annoying hawker of any kind.

The food here is amazingly cheap and superb, there is no excuse for not living a healthy life style or atleast finding something that suit’s your taste.

A lovely street meal will cost anywhere from £0.45 for the best omelette and rice I’ve had, all the way up to £0.95 for the best seafood Pad Thai I’ve had. A lovely spicy Papaya Salad will set you back around £0.55, street smoothies, Ice Tea and Ice Coffee set you back around £0.50, while an Iced Green Milk Tea in one of the many trendy Cafes will set you back around £1 to £1.30.

Green Tea Latte

Green Tea Latte

Restaurant meals will set you back anywhere from £1 to £3, but will average around £1.50, anything over £3 would be something foreign imported and not of very good quality.

The other day I bought an Ice Cream Sandwich off a guy in the street for £0.18, it was a proper Ice Cream Sandwich, ice cream between 2 slices of bread, rather than the fake imposter version of Ice Cream between 2 wafers.

Our first month in Chiang Mai was nice and relaxing, everyday is like a beautiful summers day.

I’ll post my most recent expense report tomorrow and include a little more on life in Chiang Mai.

 

Why I’ve quit my job and moved to Latvia

ligoToo often I see articles by bloggers titled “why you should quit your job and move to (insert 3rd world country here)”, often with an accompanying lifestyle porn photo, you know the ones eg. a laptop by a pool.

The sales pitch is usually “it’s cheaper in country x, so work on-line there”, the reality is you have no safety net there, if you’re so sure of your on-line business plans and need to lower your living costs to bootstrap, then why not move in with your parents for a few months first, or crash on a mate’s couch or rent a cheap room in a local house with 5 poor uni students, then put that $2,000 for the flight and overseas living costs into your company, do some on-line courses etc, stay in your home town where there is less to distract you. If you’re bootstrapping there is no need whatsoever to have a beach 50 metres down the road.

Once your company is working well, then head overseas or better still, if you’re young and lacking real world work experience, get some solid experience in, move up the corporate ladder a little, the world isn’t going anywhere, it’ll still be there in 4 years time.

But this isn’t what most people want to hear, they want to see a laptop by the pool, a hammock by the beach and be sold a dream, have their reward now and work for it later, go away for 5 years, make enough money to survive then return home with zero experience. Now, you could learn a lot about on-line marketing, sales and the lot, but how about some office experience, how about paying attention to how companies you’re working for are run, noting this down mentally, most jobs in the world are in offices, get a good dose of reality, face to face with clients, work smart, invest hard, then reap the rewards.

I’m not saying slog out the 9-5 forever, you may be very successful on-line, but if that is your destiny you can do it from home and for much cheaper.

So why my title for this article? Well I’ve spent the last 9 years working smart and getting solid experience, all while working abroad in a first world rich/expensive country. I’ve built several revenue streams and can now branch out and reap my rewards, the reason for the move to Latvia is simple – my partner is from there and we’re living with her family for a month while we’re bootstrapping. How much will one month with the in-laws cost? $0, zero, nothing.

The one thing I’ve learnt over the last 15 years of working is don’t be in such a rush but always be planning and always be doing, be prepared to make mistakes, but be prepared to make sacrifices, moving to live by a beach and set-up your dream company isn’t a sacrifice.

Perhaps you’ll be able to simply pack up, move to paradise and bootstrap by some beach while instagramming life style porn to all your envious friends, but know that there is other ways to achieve your dreams. The key may not be to drop everything and run to paradise, it might actually be to work your butt off from home, then go abroad free like a bird, what is better than working from paradise? Being in paradise and not having to work.

Food for thought.

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