Thailand costs: how much is “cheap”? – a detailed overview

When thinking about Thailand, most people assume breathtaking beaches and nature, lady boys, sex tourism and most of all cheap holidays. But what does that mean “cheap”? I have spent a lot of time by googling accommodation, transport and tours and finally have to say, that there is a wide range on spending/saving money. In general the North of Thailand is cheaper than the South. Especially on the islands you have to pay the higher “island prices”.

Actually it simply depends on your needs, wants and priorities to calculate your daily budget. Most of the time I had a mixture of low budget travelling and a bit of flash packing every here and there. As good food is one of my priorities, I turned my attention to this point quite often. Walking past restaurants I was thinking: “that’s looks soo delicious, I want that now! *price check* … ok, probably not, would have been nice.” I also love sweets, especially fried bananas, so I spent too much money on that. Oopsi!!! But all in all you can find good low-cost food, if you compare prices.

In the following you will see some price examples to get an impression of a daily budget for Thailand depending on your type of travelling. Use the currency converter in the sidebar on the right to convert into your currency.

Accommodation:

Pajamas Hostel

Dorm 10 people, shared bathroom, fan: ~ 120 Baht
Dorm 4 people, private bathroom, air con: ~ 250 Baht
Double room, private bathroom, air con: ~ 400 Baht

The above mentioned prices are what I found and booked mostly, but it varies a lot depending on the destination. It is a bit more expensive in the South of Thailand, but therefore sometimes breakfast is included (mostly instant coffee, tea, 2 pieces of toasts with jam and butter). I recommend using agoda.com for price check and booking. I found the cheapest prices and highest number of accommodations for Asia on that booking engine.

Food:

Siam Rice cooking class

Street food
Small bag of sliced water melon: ~ 30 Baht
Smoothie: ~ 30 – 60 Baht
Fried rice: ~ 40 Baht
Curry with rice: ~ 80 Baht

Restaurants
Fruit salad with yoghurt: ~ 80 Baht
Smoothie: ~ 50 – 80 Baht
Fried rice: ~ 80 Baht
Curry with rice: ~ 150 Baht
Water: ~ 15 Baht
Sprite: ~ 30 Baht
Chang Beer small: ~ 60 Baht

Transport:

tuk-tuk

You probably start crying when you have to think about transport. This is where most of the money goes to. When you have time to take a 12 hours train, it is quite cheap, but if you want to travel faster, it is the most expensive way of travelling.

Plane
Chiang Mai – Bangkok (high season, a few days in advance): ~ 4000 Baht
Chiang Mai – Bangkok (low season, 1 month in advance): ~ 1200 Baht
Bangkok – Koh Samui (high season, a few days in advance): ~ 7000 Baht
Bangkok – Koh Samui (low season, 1 month in advance): ~ 3500 Baht

Train
Bangkok – Surat Thani (12 h, 2nd class, bed): ~ 668 – 768 Baht
Bangkok – Surat Thani (12 h, 2nd class, seat): ~ 398 Baht

Bus
Bangkok – Surat Thani (9 h): ~ 500 – 800 Baht

Minivan
Chiang Mai – Pai (4 h): ~ 160 Baht
Khao Lak – Krabi (2,5 h): ~ 300 Baht
Bangkok – Ayutthaya (1,5 h): ~ 160 Baht

Others
Bicycle per day: ~ 100 Baht
Scooter per day: ~ 200 Baht
Taxi (Bangkok): ~ 40 – 150 Baht
Metro/BTS (Bangkok): ~ 20 – 50 Baht
Tuk Tuk (Chaing Mai): ~ 40 – 150 Baht

Tuk tuks are normally more expensive but they are more fun. I haven’t used local busses or motorcycle taxis but I heard that they are even cheaper.

Tours & Entries:

Siam Rice cooking class

Full day Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai: ~ 2500 Baht
Evening cooking class 4 meals Chiang Mai: ~ 800 Baht
Chiang Mai Canyon: ~ 50 Baht
Grand Palace Bangkok: ~ 500 Baht
Snorkelling Surin Islands (Khao Lak): ~ 3100 Baht
Khao Sok National Park 2 days: ~ 2500 Baht + 300 park entry
7 Islands Sunset Tour (Krabi): ~ 1100 Baht + 400 park entry
Half day Kayak Krabi: ~ 800 Baht

Extra costs:

night market - main item for sale

Mosquito repellent: ~ 75 – 150 Baht (believe me, you need lots of it, if you have blood like mine and mosquitos eat you for breakfast, lunch and dinner)
1,5 litres water bottle: ~ 13 Baht
Warm up food: ~ 15 – 80 Baht
Cookies: ~ 20 Baht (I tried many. Even Oreos are super cheap in Thailand)
Ice cream: ~ 10 – 60 Baht
Shirts and trousers at night markets: ~ 100 – 200 Baht
Cinema (movie + popcorn): ~ 200 Baht

Daily budget calculation:

Without tours and extra costs it is easy for super low budget travellers to have a daily budget of about 400 Baht, just for accommodation and food.
I had a daily budget of about 1000 Baht, which was working out quite well with a tour here and there, sometimes a private room, more expensive food and some extra costs. I must say, I did slow travelling and did not rush from place to place. Therefore I had much lower transport costs. Besides that I did not do many guided tours, which helps a lot to keep your budget low.
Depending on how much you travel around and spend money on transport and tours, I would recommend you to plan a daily budget of about 1000 – 2000 Baht.

I hope this helps you a bit with calculating your Thailand budget. Do you have any other questions or want to add something? Feel free to write a comment 🙂

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