I live in Asoke, Bangkok for quite a few years and, same as many of us, complain that prices in Thailand are getting too high. Many times I hear from Thais and farangs (Western foreigners) that nowadays living in Asoke (or Silom, or Sukhumvit …) is same as staying in Manhattan, New York. Is that really true? Can I afford same lifestyle if move to New York? Yesterday I decided that I need to get to more insights and understand  – is that true or simply emotional?

Can I maintain same lifestyle in New York as I do here in Bangkok?

Here is what I found out.

Let’s say I spend ฿ a month in Bangkok assuming rent of condo in Asoke. How much will I pay for the same lifestyle if relocating to New York?

Food in Asoke Bangkok

Let’s start with food – that’s what we need every day. Meal in inexpensive restaurant: in Bangkok we all pay around 6฿ (1.70 $ – based on current exchange rate), while in New York it costs around 635 ฿ (18$).  This is pretty much about eating Thai food. What about foreigners? OK, an average McMeal at McDonald (or equivalent Combo Meal) in Asoke or other area of Bangkok costs 160.00 ฿ (4.54 $). In New York we will pay more than 280 ฿ (8 $) for the same. And if you aim to have a meal for 2 People in mid-range restaurant (three-course) in Asoke Bangkok, you need to prepare around 800 ฿ (22.70 $). Same mean in New York usually costs no less than 80 $ (or 2,820 ฿). And all this – without beer or other spirits. If compare all food and drinks, then the whole picture looks like this:

Some of you will say: “Common, in Bangkok I buy go to a market and buy staff even cheaper. You are right, still markets exist in New York too, that is why let’s compare market prices as well. In Asoke I buy 12 eggs on market for average of 56 ฿ (1.6 $), while for the same 12 eggs in New York you will need to pay about 3.55 $ (more than 125 ฿). I like tomato and buy a kilogram in market for about 42  ฿  (1.2 $). Same in New York will cost me almost 5 $ (about 175 ฿). If compare market prices in Asoke or other central Bangkok area with New York, then the whole picture looks like this:

Transportation in Asoke Bangkok

Do you think I will talk here about traffic jams in Bangkok and especially in Asoke?

No way – I don’t move my car out of parking slot unless I need to go outside of Bangkok. I use taxi, BTS, MRT – as all of us. Sometimes I use boats and often – motorbike taxi (yes, that’s the most useful vehicle in Bangkok – for those who don’t know). How much it costs here and if we compare with New York (all what we can to compare – not motorbike’s one), how much we will pay if live there. The easiest way to compare is a starting price in taxi. In Bangkok we start from 35 ฿ (1 $), while in New York Normal Tariff starts from 2.50 $ (more than 88 ฿). One kilometer taxi in Bangkok costs 6 ฿ (0.17 $), while in New York we will pay 1.69 $ (59.69 ฿).

What if we buy a car? For Toyota Corolla 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) in Bangkok we need to prepare about 818,500 ฿ (23,220 $), while in New York it costs actually 12% cheaper – 20,290 $ (715,175 ฿). That’s cool! If compare transportation prices in Asoke or other central Bangkok area with New York, then the whole picture looks like this:

Transportation prices between Asoke Bangkok and New York

I would like to continue this interesting comparison and to bring more numbers to compare Bangkok (especially Asoke where I live) with New York. Let me find more data about cost of utilities, consumer good and certainly about real estate prices. I will publish it soon, Keep watching on our blog – we promise an interesting staff to be published here soon.

Read Part B now

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