Costs – Philippines vs Thailand vs Cambodia

I know more about the cost of living in the Philippines having spent most of my time there, but I also lived in Cambodia and Thailand for a while.

cost of living thailand vs cambodia vs philippines

On top of that I have asked 5000 questions on forums about the three as research so I will try to compare some of the differences. Three of the essentials:

Cost of Living – Breakdown

If I was living long term in each of these three countries my cost of living would be around $800 in Cambodia, $900 in the Philippines, and ~$1k in Thailand.


Cambodia could definitely be done the cheapest on a vacation.  Hotels are a lot cheaper in Cambodia than either Phils or Thailand.  You can easily find a good enough hotel room for $10-15 a night in nice touristy areas and ask them for a long stay discount. Most will negotiate.

Hotels in Thailand are usually around $25-$30 a night for a decent one in a good location, then a little higher than that in the Philippines.

Check out some of the cheap places I stayed around Asia in the hotels section.

  • Winner: Cambodia


Finding a nice modern apartment in Cambodia won’t be that easy.  You can get a reasonable apartment in the $200-$300 range, and a pretty nice apartment in a good area of Phnom Penh in the $400 to $500 range.

However that nice apartment won’t be near as nice as what you can get in Thailand for cheaper.  Apartment value might be Thailand’s #1 strength in my opinion.

If you’re just looking to quietly work online as a digital nomad and save money in nice surroundings Thailand is the best country in Asia to live.

You can get very nicely furnished modern apartments for $300 or less in most cities.  Maybe $400 in Bangkok.  Some places may make you sign a 6 month lease but month to month is also available at those prices.

Apartments in the Philippines are terrible value and it’s one of the worst things about the country.  I don’t know of any expat that has ever told me they stayed in a Manila apartment for under $500 a month. Luckily for me I don’t care about having a ‘baller’ apartment.

If you want to be anywhere near the nicer areas of Cebu you will have to spend in the $400-$500 range also.  In Angeles you can find some really cheap apartments but they are unfurnished, not in nice areas, and you have to sign a long lease.

For a good location and a furnished place month to month you will need to spend $350-$400.

  • Winner: Thailand


Food is really cheap in all three but is cheapest in Cambodia.  If you want to cook yourself you could budget less than $100 a month on food.  The markets are ridiculously cheap.  You can generally get most meals at restaurants for $5 or less as well.

I found western food to be way to expensive in Thailand but I am only going off of Pattaya.  Maybe there are cheaper places around Bangkok or other cities.

Thai food wins taste wise and is cheap too.  Still, for me I mostly want to eat western food so I thought Thailand was a bit expensive for food.

The Philippines is quite cheap as there are very few meals that cost you over $5, Filipino food kind of sucks though.  You can get good cheap groceries and cook yourself though.

Overall it’s pretty close in all three, but if you want a western diet Thailand might be the priciest.

  • Winner: Cambodia

I haven’t included visas or girls in the above, find those below. Living in the Philippines is much better for those.

Also compare Philippines vs Thailand vs Cambodia for:

12 Responses

  1. jspill says:

    Thai Baht has dropped off a cliff lately so you’d be spending way less. It’s at its lowest level vs the dollar in 6 years.

  2. Carl says:

    Which Nation has good beaches (like Southern California style)?

  3. kick2dante says:

    probably the philippines at palawan or boracay

  4. Sir Bob says:

    I have lived in all three of these countries for most of the last 25 years so i know a bit on this subject and I don’t agree with much of what you say. When it comes to rental prices of hotels and apartments you are giving what I would call tourist prices not for long term living in the place. Take another look. Cambodia is cheap but Philippines is cheapest. Thailand is now pricey but comparison.

  5. kick2dante says:

    i have never met anyone who considers thailand pricey when it comes to renting

  6. james says:

    phillipines is very expensive for quality western food and apartments
    in Manila you need to spend minimum 500 dollars a month if you want to eat decent western food in malls or restaurants..
    in thailand you can find a aparment for 4000-6000 baht per month,in manila atleast 20000 pesos per month if you want a decent aircon in manila expensive at 40-100 USD a bangkok you can find same standard at 15-20 dollars a night

    thailand for me is the cheapest apartment wise.the thai food is way better than filipino.western food is still cheaper than Manila

    the advantage is that the filipino people are much nicer than the fake thais

    cambodia scares me so i cant comment

  7. kick2dante says:

    lol cambodia is safe give it a shot

    totally agree on the apartments

    western food in cebu and angeles is cheaper then western food in pattaya and bangkok…….. at least from what i found

  8. John says:

    FYI go to the ” Pepper Tree ” resturant in Phnom Penh on river there Tom Yum is the best ever i had .
    I eat every day the Tom Yum. better than any in Thailand.

  9. Reg says:

    Disagree cambodia with us dollar use is most expensive of 3. fast forward to 2017 and in some areas like food items Cambodia is the most expensive in asia after dollar dominates making it one of the pricier asian countries.women 50 to 100 us dollar.philipines and thailand cheaper.

    • jspill says:

      True cambo chicks started asking for higher amounts recently, especially in phnom penh. dante was mostly basing this on sihanoukville 2012 ish

      • kick2dante says:

        while the girls might be asking for more now i still wouldnt necessarily call it the most expensive, and could still easily be done the cheapest

        the bar girls at street 136 will still go for $60, thats cheaper than burgos or cowboy, you can find cheaper freelancers if you look hard

        apartments are cheaper than phils but more expensive than thailand

        plenty of cheap food around

        cheaper visa

  10. Steve says:

    I generally avoid bars around Street 136 or any busy streets with girlie bars. These are popular hangout places and the girls mostly have an attitude and demand a higher fee because most of them already have a sponsor,

    If you go to less busy streets with bars (say i think Street 103), girls will go with you for $25 – 35 USD ST and they look just as pretty.

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