How Much Does it Cost to Travel Thailand?
How much is a trip to Thailand? Backpacking Thailand costs £18 a day on average. A cheap meal costs as little as 40 baht (73p) and you can get accommodation for as little as 450 baht (£8.20) per night for a double room.
Our travel budget for Thailand covers the price of budget accommodation for two, 3 meals per day, local transport, and a fair range of activities. Flights are not included in the budget.
Our Thailand Travel Budget
Let me break down our Thailand travel budget:
Where We Travelled in Thailand
We travelled to four places in Thailand: Bangkok – Koh Samet – Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao.
Budget Accommodation in Thailand
Budget accommodation in Thailand is pretty easy to find. But I spent a long time searching out budget options that had awesome reviews as I wanted to stay in friendly accommodation.
Budget accommodation for a couple in Thailand is a double room with a fan and sometimes a shared bathroom. We always had hot showers in our rooms. Breakfast isn’t usually included in budget accommodation. Breakfast is sometimes included at the higher end of budget.
|Luxx Silom||Bangkok||Bangkok was the only place where it was harder to find low-cost accommodation, which is to be expected. On our first few nights, we stayed in the smaller Luxx hotel in Silom. We later realised (after some not so lovely accommodation) it was a good deal for 1150 baht / £24 per night. Breakfast not included.|
|Mooncome Homestay||Bangkok||The best budget option we found was this city-based homestay in a non-touristic neighbourhood. It’s located a couple of MRT stops away from all the things you want to see. We loved this accommodation and it cost us 848 baht / £19 per night. Breakfast included.
|Banilah||Chiang Mai||We found the best deals in Chiang Mai. We were able to sleep in a private en-suite double room for as low as 450 baht / £8.20 per night at the very friendly Banilah. We got a better room rate by asking in person rather than booking online in advance. Breakfast not included.
|Plern Plern Bed & Bike||Chiang Mai||An upgrade on Banilah was the even more friendly Plern Plern Bed & Bike. We paid 700 baht / £12.80 per night, which also included unlimited use of their bikes. We also got a better deal here by turning up and staying for multiple nights. Breakfast not included.
|Chiang Dao Roundhouses||Chiang Dao||Chiang Dao was a fun weekend away for us (as we didn’t have to work), so we decided to book somewhere more unique. We had a good stay, watched frogs in the pond and ate scones for breakfast. We stayed in hand-built mud hut roundhouses. It cost 892 baht / £20 per night, but I’ve seen that in 2017 the price are now up to £30 per night. Breakfast included.
Least Expensive Sleep: Banilah in Chiang Mai – 450 baht / £8.20 per night
Eat Thai Street Food & at Local Restaurants
You can eat a street meal in Thailand for under £1 anywhere you are. For vegetarians, street food is still possible. But you have to be a little more vigilant about what is going into your food and whether it’s fried in the same pan as meat. There are vegetarian and vegan street food stalls, but they’re not overly common. If you want to eat clean then you can always buy fresh fruit and fruit smoothies (ask for no sugar). If you’re lucky, you might come across small grilled bananas.
In restaurants, remember that traditional Thai dishes are always going to be cheaper than Western style plates. For the cheapest options, look for Thai curries and rice, stir fries and noodle dishes like Pad Thai. For vegetarians, ask for the “vegetable” or “tofu” options. There’s often a vegetarian dish available in budget local Thai restaurants.
Average Cost for Budget Meal: A really good meal including a drink costs 80 baht / £1.80.
Average Cost of a Beer in Thailand: 45 baht / £1 for a local beer (such as Chang or Singha)
Least Expensive Meal: Yellow Thai curry at ‘Organic Vegetables’ local eatery in Chiang Mai (next to Anchan restaurant) – 40 baht / 73p each.
Transport in Thailand
Budget Activities in Thailand
Free Activities – We found that Bangkok especially had lots of good sized parks that you can walk or cycle around for free. On Koh Samet, we spent most of our time at the beach and swimming in the sea.
Thai Cooking Class – Hands down our favourite activity in Thailand, but not so cheap. Our Thai cooking class cost £25 per person for the day. The class cost took our average daily spend in this cost breakdown up from £13 to £18. We went to a full day class at the vegetarian and vegan-friendly Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai. The instructors were lively, the produce was fresh and organic, and we cooked great Thai food. If you’re at all into cooking, it’s worth the spend. If you’re not, you can make a big saving here.
Bag a Bargain in Thailand’s Markets
Thailand has some fun, vibrant markets. Some markets are more touristy than others and prices vary between them because of this.
Khao San Road – The backpacker hotspot in Bangkok. Because of this, the market stalls there have higher prices than most other markets.
Chatuchak weekend market at Mo Chit – I loved this more local orientated market and it was unbelievably cheap. The locals we stayed with recommended this market to us. I bought most of my souvenirs and gifts for friends here. The market has everything.
Rot Fai Ratchada night market in Bangkok – For something a bit different, try the colourful tent clad stalls at the Rot Fai Ratchada night market. This market is a little hard to find as it’s set back behind the shopping centre. It’s popular with the younger generations who come to drink beer and listen to live music.
Sunday night market walking street in Chiang Mai – The Sunday night market in Chiang Mai is huge. It’s definitely worth going to for the experience. It’s busy and crowded at this market.
If you’re not one for shopping, then markets are still fun to browse. There are often street shows and street food stalls. If you find your feet getting a bit sore from walking, you can get a half hour long foot massage at most markets for 70 baht.
Haggling in Thailand
You must haggle at markets in Thailand. Haggling is part of the culture in Thailand, like in Vietnam and China. Locals want to sell their good for as much as possible. The sentiment is that an item is worth whatever a tourist will pay for it. Don’t ever accept the first price you’re quoted. I found that I could always knock about a third off of the original price by haggling.