How much does a meal cost in Thailand? More than you think!

I often get asked the question how much does it cost to live in Thailand. That is like asking how long is a piece of string. The answer will vary depending on what and where you like to eat. Take my meal today for example. Mega Bangna is a new shopping mall that has opened up in my province. It is the biggest of its kind outside of Bangkok. Many of the shops cater for the more well-off Bangkok citizens as do the restaurants. From our point of view, it is nice to have some city restaurants in our neighbourhood. Which is why I decided to check out the Bangkok Burger Co. restaurant. I had a very nice and filling meal there and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a real burger. However, you do need to consider the price. Their gourmet burgers, with chips on the side, are 195-350 Baht. This one is called a Bangkok Dangerous and comes with crispy bacon, fried egg, Thai green curry sauce & jalapeños. The price was 320 Baht though I had to pay an extra 40 Baht for the curly fries instead of the regular kind. I also asked for a bottle of water that cost me 40 Baht. So, the grand total, including service charge, was 471 Baht.

For some people, that is the cost of an average meal. Maybe more if you factor in alcoholic drinks. Now, before you say that all foreigners are rich and can afford it, let me add that in the packed restaurant I was the only foreigner. Who said Thais are poor? The Bangkok ones are certainly not. Have you been on the skytrain lately? So many have iPhones and in the mall today I counted half a dozen Thai kids walking around with iPads. To go back to the original question, if someone asked me how much I spend on a meal, then I would say about 30-35 Baht and that includes the drink. The amount of money that I spent on that one meal today is about how much I spend on meals from Monday to Friday. For the three meals that I eat on an average day, I usually spend less than 100 Baht and feel perfectly content. Take the picture above of my dinner yesterday. I had khao soi gai which is one of my favourite noodle soups. It came with a succulent chicken leg. Did this meal cost 471 Baht? No, it was only 30 Baht. The drinks would have been free but they charged me 2 Baht for ice. And that is basically the kind of meal I have every day here in Samut Prakan. If I lived and worked in Bangkok then I guess the story would be a lot different. And I probably would be a lot poorer!

10 responses to “How much does a meal cost in Thailand? More than you think!

  1. A lots of iPads in a country with a 9000$ GDP per capita just means social injustice.

  2. Center bkk or Samut prakan is similar, what are you saying ?

  3. I think this kind of diversity is one of the beauty of Thailand. You can have Michelin Star quality dinner for 10K+, or street food for 50. Both are great, delicious, and I love both!

  4. Yes , I find Bkk expensive now in many bars , eg Beer sometimes 120 baht equates to 3 euro ! And I stick to Thai Whisky not JD , same scenario as food prices

  5. Thailand Property

    Meal prices depends very much on what location you live and what kind of restaurant you eat at 😉

    I live currently in a small fishing village in the south and here you can have an OK Thai meal at one of the small restaurants in town including bottled water for 40 THB while the same meal at any of the beachfront restaurants sets you back from 120 to 200 THB 😉

  6. I usually spend about 25-40 baht per meal. What you pay for day is very realistic. The food is cooked and usually very healthy. I find it cheaper to eat out than to prepare my own food in Thailand.

  7. I usually pay about 30-45 baht for a dish of Thai meal but the most freaking expensive dish I used to pay was 100 baht for Pad Thai with Prawn at somewhere I don’t remember. I was a bit shock though LOL

  8. Come down here in Phuket. Everything is so frinking expensive, but my salary. LOL

  9. Paul Wilding

    Back home poor people eat junk because it’s much cheaper than decent food, in Thailand wealthy people eat junk because it’s much more expensive than good food.

    Near my home there’s a market stall that does a 35 baht Kai Rabert that as good as any food I’ve eaten in the best restaurants, along the road is the Pizza Company selling for 400 baht pretty much the most revolting uneatable pizza imagineable.

  10. Indeed we dream of a Bangkok, where food is available in the 25 to 45 Bath range. Even in MBK or Tesco Lotus Food Stalls, very creative dishes are available with reasonable price. A plate of steamed rice with some green vegetables taste out of the world in some places. The price above mentioned perhaps could be bought for a Sunday brunch.