Thai Romances

The Best Cost Comparison of Retirement in Thailand. No 1 Choice!

Martin Cooney
October 21, 2020 • 17 min read • Click for comments
Updated: April 20, 2022
Your retirement in Thailand will be amazing

Thinking of retirement is daunting. But retirement in Thailand is the No. 1 choice of many westerners.

Rising costs, stagnating wages/salaries, and over-regulation take a toll on your ability to seek better wellness in your life.

Why should you consider Thailand as an alternate country to retire?

Pricing in Thailand is significantly lower than in Western countries. Compared to Australia, Bangkok's rental costs are up to 62% lower, with dining pricing up to 89% lower. Maximizing your purchasing power provides financial longevity and a better lifestyle. Choosing Thai cities as Burriam and Khon Kaen offer an additional 50-75% rental savings compared to Bangkok.

Recently I took a two month trip back to Sydney with my Thai girlfriend, after a six-year stay in Thailand.

I want to share why that visit should help shape why you must consider looking for a better lifestyle for yourself and future-proof your wellbeing.

Financial Cost of Retirement in Thailand

I run several Internet-based businesses, drop-shipping online products, some affiliate websites, and I have a small-team SEO business. Because of these businesses, I've always chosen inner-city living for meetings and better Internet speeds. My retirement in Thailand has meant living costs have dropped as much as 70%

Accommodation Comparisons

Sydney $AU (Thai ฿)Bangkok $AU (Thai ฿)Difference
Apartment / Condo$2,820 p/m (64,000 ฿)$1,060 p/m (24,000 ฿)-62.50 %
Electric$230 p/m (5,300 ฿)$66 p/m (1,500 ฿)-71.30 %
Internet$80 p/m (1800 ฿)$37 p/m (850 ฿)-53.75 %
Mobile / Cell Phone$35 p/m (800 ฿)$23 p/m (530 ฿)-34.30 %
Total -$3,165 p/m (71,600 ฿)$1,186 p/m (26,800 ฿)-62.50 %

Retirement in Thailand extends my financial longevity by more than double 62.5% ( and that's just for rent and basic utilities).

The gaps don't just stop there, though.

How do you measure the value disparity when it comes to quality, speed, and service?

  • The cramped Australian apartment floor layout compared to the better floor plans in most modern Thai condos.
  • Apartment repairs such as air-conditioning. Most tradespeople tend to arrive late; Australian ones don't bother to show up at all and never tell you. Time is money, and I wasted mine on many occasions.
  • The Thai Internet I use is fiber-based and (based on speed tests) was also 66% faster with zero data caps. It is subtle, but slow Australian broadband deliveries again cost you more in the pocket.

Once you've enjoyed what Thailand has to offer, coming back to Sydney was like devolving to the stone-age.

The Bangkok cityscape
Great affordable living in Bangkok at a fraction of the Western price.

The Relative Cost of Food

My Thai girlfriend and I eat out every meal; Thailand is a take-out country so dining out is the norm. Thai people love fresh food and produce. Most Thai people live in small single rooms, so they love to eat out with friends and family.

We're in the same habit, partly because of the food smell and avoiding the preparation and clean-up. But it's just a better experience when eating out with other people.

Plus, freshly cooked meals in Thailand are ridiculously inexpensive.

RestaurantsSydney $AU (Thai ฿)Bangkok $AU (Thai ฿)Difference
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant18.00 A$ (407.10 ฿)3.10 A$ (70.00 ฿)-82.81 %
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course100.00 A$ (2,261.68 ฿)36.72 A$ (830.56 ฿)-63.28 %
McMeal at McDonald's (or Equivalent Combo Meal)12.00 A$ (271.40 ฿)7.96 A$ (180.00 ฿)-33.68 %
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)8.00 A$ (180.93 ฿)3.10 A$ (70.00 ฿)-61.31 %
Cappuccino (regular)4.18 A$ (94.56 ฿)2.95 A$ (66.64 ฿)-29.53 %
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)3.16 A$ (71.48 ฿)0.79 A$ (17.82 ฿)-75.07 %
Water (0.33 liter bottle)2.70 A$ (61.06 ฿)0.38 A$ (8.66 ฿)-85.81 % kindly provided the above table.

My girlfriend and I always look for new food places to eat. Well, she does more than me; I reap the benefits lol.

While Numbeo figures above clearly shows food is more than 60% cheaper than eating out in Sydney, the reality is even larger. My retirement in Thailand costs continue to get better and better.

Most Thai people opt for outdoor dining in makeshift local restaurants, eateries built by locals and run by locals. Meal pricing is considerably cheaper.

An example below is a meal for two people.

Compared to Sydney, Thailand is 89% cheaper for meals.

I'll reiterate; there's no reason to ever cook at home, in "The Land of Smiles." Yet another 'retirement in Thailand' reward that you can have too.

4 Thai food dishes & a meal for two people.
4 Thai food dishes & a meal for two people. Try to get this in Sydney.


Sydney differs significantly from Bangkok when it comes to transportation and getting yourself around the place.

Bangkok has a comprehensive, cheap, and extensive public transport system. The MRT and BTS rail systems are world-class and affordable for the masses. These transportation networks are also extremely clean and always on time. If you want your retirement in Thailand then easy transportation is a must!

But there are times when it is more economical to grab a taxi ride. And retirement in Thailand, with a taxi, is as easy as a cheap Grab rise - install the app on your smartphone.

Taxi RatesSydney $AU (Thai ฿)Bangkok $AU (Thai ฿)
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)4.00 A$ (90.47 ฿)1.55 A$ (35.00 ฿)-61.31 %
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)56.68 A$ (1,281.92 ฿)5.31 A$ (120.00 ฿)-90.64 %

The majority of times, I've used the Grab app in Bangkok. Clean and efficient service, plus polite and friendly drivers. As an average, most fares around Bangkok run me out to $AU8 (180 ฿) - there is simply no reason for me to consider owning a car here.

Sydney is overpriced in comparison.

Holiday Costs

My girlfriend had never been to Australia before.

I wanted to give her a memorable experience. I decided to spend a week at Hamilton Island, comparable to our recent Phi Phi Island weeks holiday.

Hamilton Island - $AU (Thai ฿)Phi Phi Island - $AU (Thai ฿)Difference
Accomodation$3360 (75,098 ฿) - 7 nights inc breakfast$2015 (45,500 ฿) - 7 nights inc breakfast-40.00 %
Flights$843 (18,942 ฿) – return flights for 2 people$232 (5,240 ฿) – return flights for 2 people-72.50 %
Total -$4203 (93,950 ฿)$2247 (50,227 ฿)-46.53 %

The Phi Phi Island holiday was still 46% cheaper than Australia's Hamilton Island. But the comparisons don't just stop there.

There are several crucial caveats to remember in this comparison:-

  • Phi Phi island is one of the most visited areas in Thailand.
    • Our bungalow was top-tier and five steps from the beach.
  • The Hamilton Island rooms were about the cheapest I could afford
    • A comparable room would have cost me $AU5,250 for the week.
      • Which would make Phi Phi Island 62% cheaper !!
  • The service staff across all areas in Australia are not in the same class as Thailand.
    • The excellent staff makes for a better holiday, peace of mind, and richer experience.

Thailand is jam-packed with beaches and low-cost resorts and bungalows than the tourist-havens such as Phi Phi Island. A retirement in Thailand means cheap and a much wider range for holidaying variety.

Phi Phi Island long boats.
Enjoy exotic Thai beaches at a fraction of Australian holidays.

Ko Lan near Pattaya is a short bus ride from Bangkok. The island is a favourite with local Thai people and has many hidden beaches, away from the crowds. Seven nights in a bungalow sitting over the top of the water runs at $AU860 (19,200 baht) or half the Phi Phi price.

A short plane flight can get you to an oceanfront resort at Thung Wua Laen Beach, near Chumphon. $AU470 (10,500 baht) for seven nights, including breakfast.

You are now seven times better off, financially, than Hamilton Island.

Maximize your holiday time.

More time away means enriching your experiences and maximizing a better lifestyle. Smart ex-pats choose to live in Thailand.

Mental Cost

Both Bangkok (1,569 km² and 8.281 million people) and Sydney (12,368 km² and 5.23 million people) are busy sprawling capital cities.

After we settled into our Sydney apartment, my girlfriend asked, "Why are Australians so rude?".

That question is at the heart of the mental cost of living in Thailand.

While both countries appear to be full of the hustle and bustle, only one brings a calming nature. My girlfriend commented she was always being pushed, shoved, and jostled as she walked along the street or queueing.

Thai people never do this; they will wait patiently or slow their walking pace to match the person in front.

Despite Bangkok having 3 million more people, Sydney feels more chaotic and disconnected.

Thai people have a sense of calm.

Never discount your peace of mind when it comes to building a better life for yourself. I'd choose Bangkok over Sydney, any day of the week.

Medical Costs

Australia is a doctor's heaven and also the bane of the country's population.

Unfortunately, my girlfriend forgot to take her supply of birth control pills for our two-month Australian visit.

You can't buy 'The Pill' over the counter in Australia, as you can easily do in Thailand. We needed to head off to the local Doctor and hand over $70 for a medication prescription. Don't get me started on how Australian doctors are compensated but check out why Thailand is a cost-effective country for medical procedures.

Sydney $AU (Thai ฿)Bangkok $AU (Thai ฿)Difference
Two month supply of birth control pills$60 (1,350 ฿)$31.00 (700 ฿)
Doctor visit?Yes - $70 (1,600 ฿) for GP visit and prescriptionNot required
Total -$130 (2,950 ฿)$31.00 (700 ฿)-76.15 %

My Thai girlfriend nearly choked when I told her the high price of her pills lol.

Even the low cost for birth control brings you a richer quality of life in Thailand.

Coronary Angioplasty28200 $4200 $-85 %
Heart Bypass123000 $15000 $-87 %
Hip Replacement40364 $17000 $-58 %
Gastric Bypass25000 $16800 $-33 %
Hysterectomy15400 $3650 $-76 %
Lasik (2 eyes)4000 $2310 $-42 %
Dental Implant2500 $1720 $-31 %
Breast Implant6400 $3500 $-45 %

When the time comes that you need professional, cost-effective medical treatments and procedures, you'll be thankful you chose to live in Thailand.


Before you contemplate dating a Thai woman, have you given thought to your long-term financial prospects and how they play out as you get older?

For many people, moving to a strange and foreign country is a daunting prospect. It's a necessity for other people if they hope to 'live large,' 'live long,' and find an extraordinarily compliant Thai girl.

Join up today for free and get started.

Thanks to for providing some of the data used in this article.


What are cheaper cities to live in compared to Bangkok, Thailand?

Compared to inner-city Bangkok rentals at 22000฿ p/m, these cities are more affordable:-

  • Burriam at 5,100฿ p/m
  • Chiang Mai at 12,085฿ p/m
  • Khon Kaen at 10,000฿ p/m
  • Nan at 16,063฿ p/m
  • Rayong at 6,250฿ p/m

What are the best Bangkok hospitals offering cheap procedures for medical tourists?

  • Bumrungrad International Hospital
  • Bangkok Hospital
  • Praram 9 Hospital
  • Yanhee General Hospital
  • Samitivej Hospital
  • Bangkok Christian Hospital

Last updated: April 20, 2022

Martin enjoys Asian food, cute Asian girls and travel in South East Asia.
Martin Cooney
Enjoying Life in Asia/Pacific

Hi, my name is Martin. I have many friends in and traveled throughout the Asia/Pacific regions for the past 17 years. I am passionate in helping others with my insight and past adventures.

I hope you enjoy the stories I write and take a little something away from them. I've contributed to over 160 posts on travel, dating, marriage and relationships.