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Our Cost of Living in Hua Hin

If you’re interested to know a little more about what it costs to live here day-to-day, this post might give you a bit of an idea (some of the things we may have touched on in past posts).  We are leading a pretty simple life and we’re certainly not extravagant given we no longer have a “regular” income so we maximise our visas as best possible before heading to other countries.

Electricity

The first couple of places we stayed on arrival in Hua Hin had electricity included and we gave the air conditioners a hammering.  Although we would rather sleep without aircon if possible, there weren’t any fans or fly screens at these places so we really needed to keep the aircons on and the windows closed to keep the beasties and birds out.

Now we’re in a longer term lease, at a different condo which we managed to get for an excellent price at the tail end of the high season, and electricity is not included.   We’ve received two bills so far and they’ve been surprisingly low.  Even in Australia with a 5kw kick-arse solar system and receiving the highest rebate, we would be paying way more than what we are averaging here:

  • 1400 baht = $54 (April)
  • 1510 baht = $59 (May)
  • 1188 baht = $47 (June)
  • 1188 baht = $47 (July)

Our aircon usage during this build up season is around 2-4 hours in the middle of the day while we hibernate from the heat (38 degs with the iphone saying it feels like 45 degs – which it does!!). I know, I know, you’ve all been cold back home.

Unlike many of the condos in the complex, we are also fortunate to have ceiling fans in each of the rooms as well as on the verandah + 5 star efficiency air conditioning in the bedrooms and lounge room, and fly screens in the two bedrooms too.   We also expect to use the aircons more when visitors come over from their winters but it clearly won’t break the bank! So turn them on if you’re visiting and need them!

Water

Same as air conditioning, this was included in the last couple of places we stayed, so we’ve only received 4 x monthly bills so far and each for around 100 baht which is $3.85 a MONTH!  We don’t have a washing machine/laundry in the condo but there is one across the road.  Each load costs 20-40 baht (ie. 77 cents –  $1.54). Larger items, such as linen, I send to the reception’s laundry as we have nowhere to dry large items, so as a gauge: laundering a king sheet, king doona cover, 4 pillow cases is 95 baht ($3.65) and they come back pressed too. Nice!

Rent

We’re currently in a comfortable 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, fully furnished condo with towels, linen, a kitchen which is supplied with a decent sized fridge/freezer, kitchen utensils, cutlery, crockery, saucepans, etc.  It also has wifi, a DVD player, stereo, a good sized wall tv, basic pay-tv (although we’ve just discovered we have Rugby League at the END of the season – ahhhhh!), a gym and the-biggest-pool-in-the-world.  The location is at the quiet end of town and we are around 5 mins walking distance to Takiab beach and many restaurants.  We’re on the “poolside” so we can’t see the beach from our condo – but it’s there in full view at the balcony at the end of the corridor.  Jim occasionally goes to the communal area which overlooks the pool and sets up to trade.

The price: 25,000 baht p/m = $961 and it’s such a perfect set up to just walk into and stay short/long term and then just walk away with our suitcases when we’re ready to move on.  Having no setup costs at all has definitely been a bonus and an added bonus is the guy who owns it has great taste in furnishings and comfort 🙂

To give you an idea on how good the price this is for this condo, when I first put the word out in the Hua Hin Facebook world that we were looking for a place down this end of town, I was offered a ONE bedroom in the same complex for 10,000 baht ie. $384 MORE than what we’re paying (I’d say a middle-man was involved, who likes to throw on his/her fee + it was clear this was more like a high season price).   It pays to shop around and get the word out there to get more bang for your buck.  Prices really take a drop in low season, but in high season it stays high and I get the feeling owners will take the chance and not have their condo rented at all, rather than accept a lower negotiated price – crazy! Especially because there are so many available.

So Jim and I know we have a great arrangement here and we deal with the owner directly and he is an all-round nice guy.

Transport

Well most of you know we rent a scooter (aka: Tha Hog) this costs 3,000 baht p/m = $115.  We use it to get around from day to day and to go exploring. Not too far though because I’m a sook when we get out onto the busy streets and Jim does over 50kph, plus my ass is too big and it gets uncomfortable.

There is also the songthaew option, an open air type bus with a couple of bench seats each side, which takes us from our place right into town, for example to the night markets, the bars/restaurants etc (about 6kms up the road) for 10 baht each = 40 cents.  It’s a great walk along the beach too if the tide is out and it’s not too hot.  We can also get a taxi for around 150 baht each way = $5.70 which we usually do on the way home after a few drinks, rather than risk falling out of the back of the songthaew.

We’ve also caught the bus to Bangkok which costs $24 one way, for both of us and it’s a comfortable 3 hour trip. Prices for a taxi to or from from Bangkok can vary but we recently caught one for 2,200 baht = $84 in a comfortable car with a SAFE driver.  I wouldn’t even consider the mini-van option to and from Bangkok – crazy, freak drivers!  We’ve also recently discovered that a lady we’ve befriended at a beachfront restaurant can arrange a driver for us for 1,500 baht! So we’ll be tapping into that next trip.

Food

Western food is expensive especially cheeses (sad face), peanut butter, coffee, yoghurt, bacon, steak. I’m sure bacon is taken off piglets as the strips are so small!  I would love to have some raw nuts but the packages are so small and the prices are ridiculous so they’re a no-go too.

We use the local markets to buy fresh fruit and veggies (now we’ve found some closeby) and I’m starting to prepare some fruit salads for breakfast and occasional basic meals at home.  Only basic, because I can’t find all of the ingredients that I would normally use.

I kept a docket from a shop recently that specifically caters to westerners (I even found vegemite!):

  • 2 oranges 130 baht = $4.95
  • Crunchy peanut butter 135 baht = $5.14 *small jar
  • 2 small sweet potatoes 58 baht = $2.20
  • 500 ml milk 45 baht = $1.71
  • 1 onion 36 baht = $1.37
  • Garlic & herb spice 145 baht = $5.52
  • 500gm frozen Logan farm spinach 195 baht = $7.42
  • 250gm Mainland tasty cheese 184 baht = $7 *gah!

So anyho! We’re very glad we found the fruit and veg market not far from here and we could still turn into vegos yet.  I won’t buy the meat from the markets – they just have it on laying out on tables without any ice so just the thought of how long it’s been sitting there with flies around it makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

Generally though we have one meal out every day either a late breakfast/lunch or early lunch/dinner and the prices of course for Thai food are g-reat! We generally have a meal each and share a rice, and with a couple of beers, we normally pay anything from 250 to 500 baht ($10 – $20).

As you can’t drink the water here, we have a couple of 5 ltr containers that we fill up across the road for 5 baht each = 20 cents. You don’t mind paying for your water when it’s only that much hey!

Alcohol

You can buy most spirits for around the same price as Australia * ie. not “special” prices – no Uncle Dan Murphy’s here!  The local beers, Chang, Leo and Singha are all very well priced.  I picked up a 3 pack of tallies yesterday for 160 baht ($6.20ish).  The 1 ltr Blend 285 scotch is not a bad drop and costs about $16. TYVM!  It is described on the company’s website as an “admix spirit, made using a careful blend of local ingredients and imported vatted malt from Scotland.” These local ingredients can either be water, alcohol or whisky so what we have in Blend 285 is a fusion of liquid from Thailand and Scotland.

Wine. Boohoo. You all know what I think about that.  The day-to-day go-to wine is Mont Clair or Peter Vella’s cab sav (300 baht =$11.50) unless you want to pay a stupid price for an Aussie cheapy! Or risk an unknown!

Some shopping info

  • Ladies clothes in Hua Hin are dreadful – so if you visit, don’t even bother thinking you’re going to grab some great buys. Of course there are many tailors though, but I haven’t tried any – yet.
  • Men’s casual clothes aren’t too bad, but you’d have more of a selection in Phuket and Samui has similar clothing.    I stocked up on cool, cotton clothes in Bali recently, so that should get me by until we head back to Australia in November for a couple of weeks.
  • Ladies shoes – yes! Many styles to chose from and some great prices.
  • DVDs – there is a great variety of the latest releases available. Good quality too @ 70 baht each = $2.70
  • Nails – Gel?! Pfft don’t even think about it here.  I’ve been burnt twice so unless someone is recommended to me from now on, I won’t be trying them again. Acrylics – I have seen one nice job but need to look into this more *with references!
  • Eyebrows – hmmmmm.  I have seen some good cosmetic tattooing here (and some bad haha!) for a third of the price of Australia.  So if you’re thinking about cosmetic tattooing here, I’d definitely consider it! But do your research first.
  • Hair – Jim had his head shaved a basic #2 when we first got here for a few dollars.  I lashed out in Saigon for my first haircut which was fantastic.  I ended up having to do a dye job in Hua Hin just recently and thought I had done some good research on who to go with, but unfortunately my balayage looks more like bad roots 🙁 I’ll try someone different this week

Mobiles/Sims

Generally we tap into wifi wherever we go and use Skype, Viber, and Facebook to communicate back home so we don’t buy data here at all.  And most people know that if there’s no wifi, I’m not likely to stay there (call me precious but as someone wise once said “home is where the wifi is”).  We’ve removed our Aussie sims until we go back and have purchased a Thai AIS sim each.  We top our phones up say $4-$8 each per month to use for local calls.  You can add a data pack of 5gb for $16 a month! Great price.

Massage

Not something we have a lot of but Jim does have the odd one at home as his Chiro replacement.  Haven’t found a Chiro here in Hua Hin, so a remedial massage is the next best thing.  Some of the Masseuses here are very well trained and know a fair bit about the human body, hence they give a great massage.  Not all, so best to seek recommendations first.  Our girl comes to the unit and costs 250 baht ($10) for just over an hour.  Excellent value.

 

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