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The cost of living like a digital nomad for 6 months in Chiang Mai depends on a number of factors; quality of living, food costs, emergency funds, how much work you already have lined up, etc.

Everyone has a different opinion on this; after all, how long is a piece of string? There is no accounting for personal taste: I came on a one-way ticket with $2,000 in my pocket and small ongoing projects totaling around $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

This post will prepare you for the long-game and suggest a proper budget for a safe transition into the digital nomad life.

A Very Safe Estimate

Airfare (round trip) + Insurance + Startup Expenses + Monthly Expenses + Emergency fund

“Startup expenses” and “emergency fund” are more of a failsafe than anything. Startup costs mean paying deposits for a motorbike or an apartment, or to buy a motorbike outright. I suggest having $2,000 for startup costs.

Emergency funds are for any random medical treatment you may need outside of insurance coverage (i.e. a lot of insurance doesn’t actually cover you riding a motorized vehicle), if you break something that doesn’t belong to you, wake up in a bar bathroom with a 15,000-baht bill, whatever. I suggest $1,500 in emergency funds.

Insurance for 6 months through WorldNomads.com cost me $500 CAD, rates may vary.

In addition to this, if you’re living like there’s no tomorrow, you will still find it quite difficult to spend over $1,200 per month. I personally live on $3,000 per month with my wife and it’s quite comfortable.

So now that 6-month equation looks a little more like:

Airfare (round trip) + $500 Insurance + $2000 Startup + $6,000 for 6 Months + $1,500 Emergency

That’s an incredibly generous and safe estimate that is going to put you somewhere between $10,000 USD and $12,000 USD to live 6 months in Thailand (like royalty).

Total estimate: $10,000 – $12,000 USD

I’ve done it for much less, and most have. When I was struggling I was able to live on $600 per month. If you come with a nice number like that in pocket, you’ve earned yourself a lot more security than most arrive to Thailand with.

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