Living on a Teacher’s Salary in Thailand: 20 Things You Can Do for Under $10

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3 minutes


Before leaving for Thailand to teach English, one of the biggest questions I had was what my quality of life would be like living on a teacher’s salary. My monthly salary was 28,000 Thai Baht (about USD $860), which wouldn’t get you much in the U.S.

However, the teacher’s salary is generous, my school covered rent, and Thailand is unbelievably cheap! I was thrilled to learn upon settling in that it’s possible to not only pay for necessities (food, laundry, etc.) on a teacher’s salary, it’s also possible to travel, save, treat yourself to the occasional shopping spree or fancy meal, and take advantage of all the amazing cultural experiences that your area will doubtless have to offer.

I quickly learned the best places in town to spend my bulging pocket of Baht. Here is a list of 20 things under $10 to do in and around the city where I lived, Chiang Rai:

Go to the Balloon Festival in Singha Park

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Sip some fresh green tea at Choui Fong tea Plantation

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Take a pottery class with a local master at I’m So Clay Pottery Studio

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Get an intricate gel manicure at Flamingo Salon

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Buy a refreshing peach iced tea with cream cheese whipped cream at Fluffy Cheese Tea

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Visit the Buddha in a Cave Temple

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Purchase a used book from Orn’s Bookshop (and enjoy it alongside a bowl of delicious beef noodle soup!)

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Spend a night dancing to live Thai music at Tawan Dang Club

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Catch a 100-baht movie on Wednesdays at City Plaza in Chiang Rai

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Spend a day at beautiful Mae Sai Waterfall

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Take a ride on a manually operated ferris wheel in Pai

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Visit Chiang Rai’s famous Blue Temple

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Take a 90-minute Muay Thai (kickboxing) class at Pound Boxing Gym

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Spend a day by the pool of the Pimann Inn

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Rent a bicycle and spend the day biking around Singha Park

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Enjoy an organic, all-natural smoothie bowl at Full Moon Wellness Café

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Taste the best latté in town at Baker Boy

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Play the bells and take in the view at Doi Tung Temple

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Watch the Clock Tower lights show every hour on the hour

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Taste Thailand’s classic Chang beer while taking in the sunset at Chivit Thamma Da

Image courtesy of Julia Pike

Visitors to foreign countries may be distracted by expensive tours or fancy gifts. However, veteran travelers know that the most rewarding experiences are little, intimate connections with local culture. And these connections are often cheap or free. Of course, there are never just twenty things to do in any city; who knows what experiences I’ll uncover next in Chiang Rai!

Julia P.

Julia is a participant on InterExchange's Teach English Thailand program.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation