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Cost of living in Phuket as a digital nomad

Cost of living in Phuket, Thailand as a digital nomad in June 2022

Are you wondering how much it would cost to live in Phuket for a few weeks, or even months? 

I had the pleasure of living in Phuket, Thailand for 24 days as part of my digital nomad journey around Southeast Asia. And I kept track of all of my spending (literally ALL of it!). From credit card charges to cash spending, I made sure to document how much each meal, shopping, accommodation, taxi fare, and everything in between costs. Mostly as a way to keep track of my spending and budget while living abroad, but also to be able to share my experience and knowledge with you. 

Obviously, each person would probably spend different amounts based on their habits. But as a budget traveler, living off of my savings, and traveling slowly around the country, I tried to spend as little as possible but still be able to sightsee, eat delicious meals and enjoy my life abroad.

I separated my spendings into 10 categories. Some of these categories are everyday spendings, and some are things I spent extra money on or aren’t really a cost of living. Below the table, I explain each one in more detail.

Cost of living in Phuket

Necessary flights- $91 USD

This is the cost of my one-way flight from Singapore to Phuket. After staying 2 months in Thailand on a 60-day visa, I had to leave the country and re-enter with a new 30-day visa and Thailand Pass. So I went to Singapore for a few days before traveling to Phuket. This cost is gonna vary depending on where you’re coming from and if you’re only buying a one-way ticket or a round-trip flight, so I don’t really count it as a cost of living in Phuket. But I still added it to my Phuket spendings to keep track of how much I’m spending on flight tickets from one place to another, which IS a necessary cost nonetheless. 

Extra flights/transportation – $40 USD

While in Phuket, I didn’t really take any extra flights. But I did take a bus and a ferry (back and forth) to go to Koh Phangan for 5 days and celebrate the Full Moon Party, which came out to $40 USD for the whole journey. Other than that, I stayed in the city or took boat tours to explore nearby islands.

Transportation – $92 USD

Unlike Bangkok and Ching Mai where most of the transportation I took was on taxis or songthaews that you can grab almost everywhere, in Phuket I mostly booked cars through the Grab app. I found them to be cheaper than taking taxis or tuk-tuks in Phuket. But moving around Phuket is a little more expensive than in other cities I lived in, in Thailand.

So I minimized my use of them and tried to stay within walking distance of my apartment, which was easy enough while staying in Phuket Old Town. This really lowered my cost of living in Phuket expenses. But honestly, the most expensive part of this category was the taxis/grabs to go from and to the airport since it’s pretty far away from where I was staying. And, I also did spend quite a bit of money on transportation while in Koh Phangan. 

Long-term accommodations – $366 USD

Long-term accommodations are the hotels or Airbnbs I stay at for most of the time I’m in a city. In this case, I stayed at a condo called Supalai Park @Downtown (through Airbnb) near the Old Town. The condo was around a 5-10 minute walk to the main Old Town area, close to plenty of restaurants, and super close to a 7-eleven store.

I booked it for 28 nights, but ended up staying only 23 nights after my plans changed. The host was super accommodating and didn’t really mind once I told her. I also had to pay a bit extra in utility expenses, which is added to this category, and that came out to $30 USD. This expense will vary depending on the type of accommodation you stay at (like staying at a hotel, apartment, or staying at a hostel) and if you’re sharing the cost with someone else. 

Hotel getaways – $50 USD

While in Phuket, I knew I wanted to go to Koh Phangan for a few days to experience the Full Moon Party in June. So I booked a 4-night stay at a hostel by Haad Rin beach which is where the Full Moon Party takes place. I’m not a hostel person but this experience was great. I got to meet lots of new people, the hostel was right on the beach, it had its own restaurant and bar, and a big pool area. Definitely worth every dollar and super budget-friendly.

Food – $315 USD

Food is definitely one of my biggest expenses but definitely a necessary one. I honestly try to eat as much local food as possible, and I sometimes try to go for something “cheap” from the menu. But other times I would just get what I wanted regardless of the cost. With that being said, the average cost of my meals was around 200 THB [$6 USD], with most of them not surpassing 400 THB [$12 USD]. Part of this cost also includes a few beers or cocktails I would have with my meal, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like water, coffee, and smoothies. 

Alcohol – $80 USD

As I mentioned in the food category, some of the alcohol costs were just added to the full meal and not individually. But whenever I would go out for just a drink or actually documented the alcohol cost separately, I added it to this category. Alcohol is comparably cheaper than in the US. Most cocktails are around 100 – 250 THB [$3 – $7 USD] and local beers can go for around 60 – 120 THB [$1.80 – $3.50 USD]. My alcohol cost was a little higher than in other months because I did spend a week partying in Koh Phangan so I spent more on alcohol than I normally would. But I don’t regret any of it and I was still within my budget!

Shopping – $42 USD

My shopping expenses mostly came down to souvenirs, toiletries, and a few local clothing items and accessories. Since I’m aware I have limited space in my suitcase I don’t go too crazy with my shopping. Everything I bought was mostly necessary things like toilet paper, shampoo and conditioner, feminine products, and snacks. I also bought a few locally made clothing and accessories, like a top for the Full Moon Party and a really cute ankle bracelet.

Activities – $180 USD

Surprisingly I didn’t get any massages or went to the movie theater while living in Phuket, which is something I normally do. So my biggest spending in this category was 2 different boat tours to nearby islands. Each one was around $60 USD and they were jam-packed with fun activities. I also spent some money on extra perks while on the boat tours (like a photo shoot on a longboat and flipper rentals to go snorkeling) and a few more while in Koh Phangan (like entrance to a jungle party and glow-in-the-dark body paint!).

Other travel expenses – $162 USD

This category is for everything else I spent money on while in Phuket, or travel-related recurring monthly payments I have to make regardless of where I am. These include things like my travel medical insurance, phone and internet data, laundry, & sending a box home with souvenirs and things I wasn’t using that were taking up space in my luggage, amongst other things. Most of this category’s expense was from sending that box from Phuket to California, which cost me $100 USD!! I had no idea it would be that expensive, so keep that in mind if you think mailing things overseas is “cheap”. 

So, without adding my flight ticket from Singapore to Phuket, nor the extra transportation and hostel expenses in Koh Phangan, my cost of living in Phuket comes down to $1237 USD for 24 days, or around $52 USD per day.

And my total spending while in Phuket, Thailand came out to $1481 USD.

Found this post useful? Do you have any questions about the cost of living in Phuket?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Cost of living in Phuket

July 28, 2022

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