This survey was handed out to six Super English teachers in February of 2008. The answers from the teachers have been compiled onto this sheet. All numbers listed are Thai Baht. All figures, explanations and side-comments are direct quotes.
At the time of this survey, the average salary at Super English was around 28,000 Baht/month. Some teachers were earning over 30,000, others around 25,000, depending on the amount of hours they taught in a given week
How much do you spend on food each day?
Teacher 1: 150 – 200 per day
Teacher 2: 150 – 200 per day
Teacher 3: Varies – on the weekend around 250, during the week around 90
Teacher 4: 200 – 500
Teacher 5: 180
Teacher 6: Typically under 50 (I often eat free lunches at the schools)
How much do you spend on travelling per month?
Teacher 1: 2000 – 5000 depending on the month
Teacher 2: 4000 – 5000
Teacher 3: about 10,000 (generous approximation)
Teacher 4: 5000 – 20000
Teacher 5: 1000 – 2000
Teacher 6: 1000 – 2000 (one weekend away per month)
How much do you spend on partying per week?
Teacher 1: 1000 depending on the week
Teacher 2: 1500
Teacher 3: 2000 sometimes as low as 600 – it depends on the old mooderino
Teacher 4: 2000 – 5000
Teacher 5: 500
Teacher 6: Under 500 (mostly “partying” at home)
How much do you spend on a weekend in Surat?
Teacher 1: 1500
Teacher 2: 600 – 1000
Teacher 3: 2000
Teacher 4: 3000
Teacher 5: 500
Teacher 6: 500 - 1000
How much do you spend on a weekend away from Surat?
Teacher 1: around 2000 depending on how far I am traveling
Teacher 2: 3000 - 4000
Teacher 3: far away destination - between 4000 and 5000, nearby destination – between 2000 and 3000
Teacher 4: 5000 – 10000
Teacher 5: 1000 – 2000
Teacher 6: 1000 - 2000
How much do you spend on miscellaneous expenses per week?
Teacher 1: 400 on toiletries and random things at 7-11
Teacher 2: 1000 - 2000
Teacher 3: 1000
Teacher 4: 500
Teacher 5: 3000
Teacher 6: 1500
What are some major expenses for you and what are their costs?
Teacher 1: Bicycle (1700 – one time purchase), telephone (1200 – one time purchase), furniture (200), yoga classes
Teacher 2: Snacks, booze, laundry, hygiene accessories (no costs listed)
Teacher 3: Partying (most of expenses, between 5000 – 12000/month), phone card (600/month), laundry (1000/month),
food (3000 – 5000/month)
Teacher 4: Fridge (6000 – one time purchase), bicycle (1500 – one time purchase), clothes (5000/month), phone cards
(100/day), TV/VCR (5000 – one time purchase)
Teacher 5: Beer, cigarettes, games, clothes, sanity
Teacher 6: None (I live comfortably on 6000 – 9000/month, including food, drink, laundry, utilities, phone, and internet)
How much do you usually spend on breakfast?
Teacher 1: 20
Teacher 2: 0
Teacher 3: 0 sometimes 20 on an iced tea drink
Teacher 4: 0
Teacher 5: 0
Teacher 6: I eat breakfast at home (the average weekly cost is under 200)
How much do you usually spend on lunch?
Teacher 1: 20 – 50 I love the vegetarian restaurants
Teacher 2: 80
Teacher 3: 50 I eat a big lunch. My major meal.
Teacher 4: 0 Eat lunch for free at school
Teacher 5: 30
Teacher 6: Free at schools or 25 – 30
How much do you usually spend on dinner?
Teacher 1: 30 – 150 depending on if I go to the night-market or out to a restaurant, 300 if I have drinks
Teacher 2: 80
Teacher 3: 0 if I have leftovers from lunch, 40 if I eat at the night-market, 100 – 250 if I have dinner and drinks with friends
Teacher 4: 200
Teacher 5: 90
Teacher 6: Night-market (25 – 30), occasionally (twice per week) dinner at a restaurant (70 – 100)
People who come to live in Thailand should expect things to be different than what they are used to. The pace of life is more relaxed here, people do not take things either too seriously or personally, and things can change from day to day. Generally, in Thai culture there is not a strong sense of planning or forward thinking, at least not in comparison to the West.
Super English teachers generally receive well over 20,000 Baht per month (the more you work the more you earn). In addition, you have free housing, plus some furniture, plus other benefits. Thai people in Surat earn about 6,000 Baht per month and do not receive housing or any other perks. It is easy to see how Thai people think all Westerners are rich. It is easy for Thai people to support a family of four on a salary of 10,000-12,000 Baht per month living in Surat Thani. You can save money if you like, However, your desired standard of living can greatly affect your savings.
It is easy to spend your whole salary every month. Going out every night can be costly (alcohol is the one thing which usually isn’t that cheap, but again it depends on what you drink), as can going away to stay in 4 star resorts every weekend. It is also easy to save money. Many teachers have spent less than 6,000 Baht in a given month. Most meals cost around 30-50 Baht. Taxes are 200 Baht per month. Electricity and water utilities are cheap. Large bags of fresh fruit can be as inexpensive as 20 Baht.
In terms of direct changes to your standard of living, you should definitely expect less in terms of housing. Thai construction leaves a lot to be desired and even if the house looks nice it will have a host of problems. Many houses are surrounded by noisy (and nosey, but ultimately friendly) neighbors and the ever-present street dogs. Thai people have no problems with littering and ants, cockroaches, and the seldom rat in the street is just something to be ignored or swept away.
People who come and put effort into their housing and make it a place they like to stay and live usually do fine. People who show up expecting suburban style housing are typically taken aback at the conditions of the houses, the streets, and the surrounding environment. Take a look at the pictures in our housing section and you might get a better idea. Those who have traveled around in other third world countries should have a pretty good idea about what to expect. It’s not for people with high standards. It’s nice, comfortable and relaxed but it’s not luxurious. There will be surprises of some kind, be it dogs, power outages, poor plumbing, shoddy construction, etc. Just expect it, be prepared to deal with it in a relaxed and flexible manner, and if it is fixable then it will get taken care of as quickly as possible. Note: Super English does not own the houses in which our teachers live. Super English pays a monthly rent on those houses and has no control over what happens to or around those houses or how long something takes to get fixed within them.