I just realized that I never really wrote a post about my actual time in Thailand. How I got settled in, how I found my apartment, what I did on a day to day basis. I thought I’d write about it finally… just in case anyone out there is considering moving to Thailand. Also, I’d just like to relive my memories in this post.
First, I actually found my apartment on YouTube! I stumbled across a vlog about finding apartments in Chiang Mai. One of the videos showed about 4-5 condos around CM and one of them just caught my eye. It’s actually very easy to rent a place in Thailand. I went to the complex, went to the office and asked about any available units and they called someone and he met me within 30 minutes. He showed me a few different units and I chose one that day. I gave him the deposit and I moved in all within that week.
For Thailand’s standards, I was splurging a bit. I was paying about $375 a month for a one bedroom, one bathroom unit. A lot of the teachers that I worked with were staying at places that cost around $200 a month! I LOVED my place though! I know I was in a different country but I couldn’t give up some of the stuff that I was used to having in the states. For example, my place came with a washer, which I paid extra for. NO dryers though, they basically don’t exist in Thailand. I had to hang dry all of my clothes… after laundry day, my small place would be covered in all of my clothes. That was a whole process. Did I mention, it’s very humid in Thailand… yeah, good luck getting your clothes to dry fast. My complex was also very modern, to be honest, it felt and looked like a hotel. The kitchen was tiny though… and it only came with a refrigerator and a small microwave. Most apartments in Thailand do not have stoves or ovens. Let’s just say cooking got tricky at times. The one thing that completely sold me on this apartment complex… was the pool! It had the biggest pool in the entire city. Possibly the biggest pool I have ever seen, besides at a fancy hotel. Thailand gets hot, really hot… and I wanted to spend my days off lounging at the pool. The extra bucks… WORTH IT. Another selling point? They had 24 hour security! OH, and a gym!
My place was also right next to the biggest shopping mall in Chiang Mai. It was less than a 10 minute walk and I had access to 2 food courts, a huge supermarket, restaurants, a movie theatre, arcade, retail shops such as H&M to UNIQLO… you name it, they had it. I could also pay all of my utilities, wifi and cell phone bill there. Convenient was the key word for me… oh, because I didn’t have any means of transportation while I was living there. I know, I know… WHAT? Well, the first month I was living there, I had plans of getting a motorbike, because that is the sole means of transportation for most of the population in Thailand. BUT, in that first month, a teacher at my school got in a horrific accident and broke both of her legs and had to go back home to the states. THEN, a few days later, another teacher told me that on his way to school, he saw a bike crashed on the side of the road, with a blanket covering a body. That was it for me. I decided I am NOT riding a motorbike here. Thai people drive CRAZY! and not being used to their traffic laws or customs… I was not confident in riding one. Although, I look back on it and it did keep me from really venturing out on my own. Oh well, shoulda, woulda, coulda right.
Oh, besides my rent being SUPER cheap… let’s talk about my other bills and utilities. My cell phone bill was about $9 a month! My wifi… about $15, water $4, power $10 a month! I spent most of my money on food… well, if I ate Thai food everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner it would be super cheap. But sometimes, you just crave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a pizza! Anything imported was very expensive… such as peanut butter, American snacks, ice creams etc. Thai orange juice tasted funny to me so I had to spend extra and get the Minute Maid. By the way, no In N Out there… but I did find some places with decent Italian, Indian and Mexican foods. Nothing quite as what you can find here in the states… but it managed to hit the spot when the cravings hit hard. Another thing that I spent a lot of my money on were toiletries… I love my certain shampoos, lotions and body washes. Call me a girly girl or picky but whatever. I needed those things… and those things were not cheap as well. Well, they’re the same price as here if not a little bit more… but considering I was making a lot less monthly, it was expensive!
You can manage to live in Thailand and save a lot of your money if you don’t splurge on certain things. This is just what I did and spent my money on. I made a lot of sacrifices but I also didn’t want to sacrifice some things. It all depends on how you want to live.
As a teacher, I worked Monday-Friday, 7:30am to about 5 or 6pm. A normal day was from 7:30am-4pm but sometimes I tutored after to make some extra money. That was my work week… on the weekends, I spent a lot of time at my pool. But also went on adventures often. Chiang Mai has so many beautiful mountains, waterfalls and hiking areas. Everything wasn’t too far from the city as well. Another one of my favorite things were the night markets. On the weekends, there would be amazing outdoor markets all around the city to shop at, grab some amazing street food and just people watch.
Everyone is usually most curious as to what I made as a teacher in Thailand. In a broad answer, I tell people… if you want to be able to save most of your salary, Thailand isn’t the place but if you want to just enjoy your time there and travel around, it is a great place for that. But I’ll get into detail here. In order to teach English anywhere in the world, a TEFL certificate is usually needed… and also a bachelors degree in anything. Some schools hire teachers with just an associates degree but they get paid less. I have both my TEFL and a bachelors degree. The school I taught at was a bilingual school. I also taught more subjects than the other teachers in my grade. So, I got paid more than them. I made about $1,100 – $1,200 a month. But I also tutored 3-4 times a week after school… which I made about $100-$120 a month on top of my salary. For Thailand, I was actually making a pretty good salary. But I really didn’t save any of it because I spent it all on traveling.🤣 But that was one of my main reasons for moving abroad so, I don’t regret any of it!
There was so much to do there… but mostly, it was a great place to make my hub as I wanted to be able to travel all over Southeast Asia. From Chiang Mai, the tickets to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore… were super affordable! If you’re thinking about moving to Thailand, I say just do it. I had the most amazing time there. It was an experience I will forever cherish and always reminisce on.
Be brave and go.✈️