Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai – Family Style!

I thought I would provide you with a list showing the cost of everyday things around Chiang Mai.  The list is a bit random, but I wanted to cover as much as I could for you.  If there is anything you are curious about, and it isn’t covered below, ask now.  I will do my best to figure out the price for you.

Cost of Living Chiang Mai Thailand

The cost of everyday things in Chiang Mai

The exchange I am using from Thai Baht to US $ is roughly 30 Baht to $1.


Thailand Inexpensive - Not for imports

All compared to a 16 oz bottle of water.

There are a few larger grocery stores and many small Tesco Lotus Express and 7-11 type stores.  The prices don’t vary much, but obviously the bigger the store, the bigger the selection.  We do most of our daily shopping at the small Tesco Lotus Express (similar to 7-11).

Chiang Mai Tesco Lotus Express

Once a week or so, we will walk a bit further to Rimping or Tops for our meats and a few “American” items (Peanut butter, Salsa etc).

  • Grocery stores – Tesco, Rimping, Big C, Tops (prices may vary slightly)
    • Nutella 750 grams is 309 Baht ($10)
    • Bread – loaf of sliced wheat or white bread 37 Baht ($1.05)
    • 4 Bananas 30 Baht ($1)
    • 4 Gala apples 79 Baht ($2.45)
    • Small round watermelon 59 Baht ($2)
    • Milk – 1 litre of skim milk 45 Baht ($1.50)
    • 10 fresh eggs – 49-89 Baht ($1.50 – $3) depending on grade level
    • Chips –  small bag 20-30 Baht ($.60 – $1)
    • JIF Peanut Butter 16 oz 153 Baht ($5)
    • Bottled Water
      • 16 oz bottle or 500ml  6-9 Baht for 1
      • 1.5 litre bottle 12-17 Baht ($.50)
      • 6 x 1.5 litres or a 5 litre bottle 45-69 Baht ($1.5-$2.10)
      • Bottle refill machines / stations can be found around town, often outside of 7-11 or Tesco Lotus Express.  The price to refill is anywhere from .5 – 1.5 Baht ($ to small to count)
        Chiang Mai Water Machine
    • Cereal –
      • Small individual box (30g) 10-15 Baht ($.30 – $.50)
      • Medium box (160-180g) local brands 80 Baht ($2.70)
      • Medium box (160-180g) of imported (shredded wheat, cookie crisp etc) 200-300 Baht ($6 – $10)
    • 4 pack of Yogurt 49 Baht ($1.50)
    • Butter 227g (1/2 lb or 2 sticks) – 85 – 120 Baht ($2.90-$4)
    • Cheese – it is all expensive!  Sliced American cheese (8 slices) 100 Baht ($3.10)
    • Ground Beef (lean) 329 Baht ($10.50) per Kilo (2.2lbs) roughly $4.75 / lb.
    • Chicken breast – boneless/skinless 139 Baht ($4.29) per Kilo (2.2lbs) roughly $1.95 / lb.
    • Pasta varies depending on brand and size 40-140 Baht ($1.25 – $4.30)  We buy a pack of Spaghetti for about 60 Baht ($2)
    • Salsa 16 oz jar 90-300 Baht ($3-$10)
    • Flour tortillas – 8 pieces 100-220 Baht ($3.10 – $7)
    • Frozen spring rolls pack of 8 are 49 Baht ($1.50)
    • Cream cheese 8 oz Philadelphia 148 Baht ($5)
    • American candy (limited) is about 25-30 ($.45-$1) Hershey, Snickers, M&Ms.
      Cost of living in Chiang Mai
    • Coke/Pepsi 1.25 or 1.5 litres range from 23-30 Baht ($.45-$1).  16 oz bottle is about 15 Baht ($.50)
    • Canned Campbell’s Soup is about 52 Baht $1.30. (Chicken Noodle, Tomato, Minestrone, Vegetable, Cream of Mushroom)
      Cost of things in Chiang Mai
  • Markets –
    • Thai style baggy pants 120-220 Baht ($4-$7)
    • 6 Bananas 30 Baht ($1)
    • 1 Rotisserie chicken 130 Baht ($4)
    • There are loads of items to choose from and the prices are similar across the various markets. (Sunday Market, Saturday Market, Night Bazaar, etc)
  • Eating out –
    • Street food –
      • Most items on the street carts range from 30-60 Baht for an entree ($1-$2).
      • Freshly sliced fruit is about 15-20 Baht ($.50-$.70)
      • Smoothie or Fruit Shake 35-60 Baht ($1-$2)Smoothie Time Chiang Mai Saturday Night Market
      • Sushi 5 Baht per piece or 6 for 30 Baht ($1)
    • Restaurants – This can vary and cover all ranges.
      • There are a few local Thai restaurants that are the same price as street food.
        Favorite Eats - Blessed Food
      • Most are slightly more expensive at ($2-$3).
      • Of course if you are choosing western food or mall food, it will be far more expensive (western prices of $4 – $15 per person)
      • Coffee from a cafe will run from 50-90 Baht ($1.50-$3), of course there is Starbucks and that will set you back a little more.
  • Household Items and Toiletries
    Chiang Mai Toiletries

    • Toothpaste 26-89 Baht $1-$3
    • Dental Floss 60-89 Baht $2-$3
    • Shampoo – price varies by brand and size.  There are some familiar US brands like Head and Shoulders and other local brands.  I would say they are all comparable to the prices paid in the US.
    • Feminine products (tampons/pads) these items come in small quantities (8-12 pieces) and packages and run about 30-60 Baht ($1-$2)
    • Toilet Paper
    • Paper Towels
  • Transport
    • You can drive in Thailand, we did!
    • Red Songthaew is 20 Baht ($.60) per person within the city.  This is sometimes questioned when getting slightly out of the old city or crossing from one side to the other.  Living in Nimman (just outside the NW corner of the city, we are often quoted a slightly higher price to get to the opposite corner SE of town, like Night Bazaar).  Maybe 30 Baht ($1) per person.  We do our best to provide the destination in Thai and then they are often more accommodating.
    • Tuk Tuk’s are often 80 – 100 Baht ($2.60 – $3.30) for the ride (2-3 people) and they don’t seem to be as worried about the distance within the city.
      Tuk-Tuks in Thailand
  • Haircut –
    • This really varies and we have heard horror stories of just a razor being used to cut the hair.  Prices starting around 150 Baht ($3). We also heard of a great place off of Nimman Soi 13, not to far from us.  New York, New York.  This gets good reviews by the expats as “the only safe option”.  450 Baht ($14 USD), for wash, cut, head massage, and blow dry.

      Chiang Mai NY NY Hair

      Off of Nimman Soi 13

Monthly costs in Chiang Mai

We share with you our monthly costs in Chiang Mai for rent, utilities, internet, water, transport, SIM card/ phone use.  We can only share our expenses, but do remember we are a family of 4 and selected a 3 bedroom apartment in a popular area of town.  I did freak out a bit about the cost of Electricity too.

Thailand inexpensive - it was supposed to be

Occasional costs in Chiang Mai

These prices are meant as a guide.  They may vary slightly, depending on where you go.

  • Orthodontist – one check up 300-400 Baht ($10-$12)
  • Optometrist – free exam glasses and contacts vary in price.
    • We purchased one pair of glasses for 8000 Baht $249
      • frames were 50% of $100
      • lenses were transition with anti scratch and thin on sale 50% off of $400
    • Contact Lenses – from what I can gather, it is 190 Baht ($6.50) for a one month supply of the contacts that you take out and clean each day.  It is 520 Baht ($16) for a 3 month supply of those.
    • If I understood them correctly, a 2 week supply of disposable (everyday) contacts were 500 Baht ($16) .
  • Dentist (prices we or friends have experienced, different locations may vary)
    • Cleaning/polishing 600-900 Baht ($20-$30)
    • Full mouth x-ray 800 Baht ($25)
    • Single x-ray 200 Baht ($6)
    • Composite filling 600 Baht ($20)
  • Spa treatments –
    • Massage
      • Thai 150 – 250 Baht ($5-$8)
        Breakdown of Alan's First Thai Massage
      • Swedish/oil 250-300 Baht ($8-$10)
      • Manicure, pedicure, facial are each about 150-250 Baht ($5-$8)
      • Fish Pedicure 40-90 Baht ($1.30 – $3)
        Fish Pedicure Fish Spa Chiang Mai Thailand

Other resources to help guide you with the cost of living in Chiang Mai

If you don’t see something on this list, just let us know and we will see if we can find the price for you.  If you want to add to the list, please do so in the comment below.

What to do in Chiang Mai!

We also have a very all inclusive list of Things to do in Chiang Mai with kids or without.  This also includes our expenses living in Chiang Mai, where to eat and places to stay in Chiang Mai.
Things to do in Chiang Mai, a Family Friendly Chiang Mai Guide


This entry was posted in Chiang Mai, Finances, Thailand and tagged , , by Heidi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heidi

Heidi has a passion for travel and has been exploring the world with her husband and 2 kids, since August 2012. She's visited more than 50 countries and loves to write about their family adventures, mishaps and costs. She has been an inspiration to others wanting to live their dreams. Her travel tips, planning posts, cost breakdowns, accommodation, and product reviews are also very popular. Her current home base is in Spain. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, there is no extra cost for you and we may receive a commission.

6 thoughts on “Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai – Family Style!

  1. Heidi, thanks for doing all the work again. We were just talking about the cost of banana. lol I guess we wont be buying nutella when we get there next week. I’ll warn the kids now. Glad we like Thai food. I can’t wait to hear where and what you are doing next. Chances are we may be right behind you again.

    • You are the best Roxanne. So are you my puppet master? The one pushing by buttons and pulling my strings to come up with blog posts. 🙂 Glad it is of help to you. We went ahead and splurged on Nutella, often. Shhh, don’t tell the dentist. Take care and have a blast in CM next month. We will be waving to you from Laos or Vietnam. Should we leave a bread crumb or nutella trail for you? take care.

  2. The lesson in this post? Eat out yummy Thai every meal and forget about western food. I think I can do that without a problem 😉 I am a bit surprised by how much some of that stuff is though.

    • You got it! Stick to Thai and you are golden. We can for a few weeks and then can’t keep walking past that American peanut butter. Ha! Pick your battles. 🙂

  3. Great list Heidi. We spent a couple of months in Chiang Mai recently and loved almost every minute. The price of living is just mind-bogglingly cheap when comparing it to our home town of Melbourne. I can’t wait to get back to be honest. Where else can you get a world class Thai meal for $1-$2!!!

    • Thanks Chris! It is just great. I am very sad to leave, but also excited to see new things. It is great to eat out Thai food and have it so cheap and American food is American prices. We will have our monthly spend coming out soon.

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