Some people may have read a news story recently about Deutsche Bank’s latest report on the cost of living around the world, in which Australia claimed the dubious honour of being the most expensive country to live in …. again.
These sorts of surveys are always going to be subjective depending on what items they cost and how they assess them, but I was a bit surprised to see that Australia was considered the most expensive country overall, costing 12% more than the USA.
It was no surprise to see Sydney near the top of the most expensive cities, just behind Singapore (no surprise there), Paris, Oslo and Zurich, and with Melbourne in 8th spot. Bangkok and Thailand were not listed in the survey, but Malaysia came in at 38% (relative to USA at 100) or roughly one third of Australia’s 112. The cost of some items here in Thailand seem to be pretty comparable to those listed for Malaysia in most aspects.
Just to pick out some comparisons from Deutsche Bank’s list, an ordinary men’s haircut in Sydney cost the equivalent of US$20, I can get my haircut here for ฿100 or about US$3.00 or double that if I went downtown to the tourist ghetto.
A ticket to the movies in Sydney averages US$13.84, I paid 180 baht or around $5.60 last month. Minimum public transport fare here is 8 baht (25 cents) on the bus or 10 baht on the Skytrain while Sydney’s minimum fare is US$2.92, 106% of New York (Kuala Lumpur comes in at 27 cents/10%, pretty much the same as Bangkok).
A 8km taxi trip here would cost around 110 baht, or about US$3.30, while Sydney comes in $20.76 or 115% of New York’s $18.00. (KL is a bit more expensive than Bangkok here, at $4.58 .. taxis are one of the great bargains here at only 35 baht for the first 2 kms)
In Sydney 2 litres of Coca Cola costs US$3.36 (51% more than New York!) while that would be 38 baht ($1.15) at the 7/11 across the road from my condo …drinking Coke is bad for your health and wallet in Sydney.
All this prompted heated discussion among the expats last night at the bar in our local night market (“my country is more expensive than yours for xxx !”) especially among the Brits who insisted that London and the UK were more expensive than Deutsche Bank seemed to think, but one thing all us expats agreed on was that beer is a bargain here. One of Deutsche Bank’s categories was “500ml of beer in a neighbourhood bar” …. Sydney was $5.38, surprisingly cheap at only 77% of New York’s $7.00, but not as cheap as ours at 100 baht, or about US$3.00 …. or even less (100baht for 600ml) if you want to drink Leo or Chang
Anyhow, even with the 20% fall in the Aussie dollar compared to the Thai baht over recent months I’m still happy to be an ‘economic refugee’ here in Bangkok rather than a wage slave in Australia! As I have said before, the low cost of living here was one of the main reasons for moving here after taking early retirement, I simply could not afford to stay in Australia and enjoy the same standard of living as I do now here.
And even if the dollar crashes more, it will be a long time until I think of moving to the cheapest cities on the list : Mumbai, Karachi, New Delhi, Damascus and Kathmandu !