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So you wanna backpack Thailand on a budget? Perhaps you want to know a one month Thailand budget? Your travel to Thailand cost will totally depend on how you plan to spend your money. If you stay in hostels, slow travel Thailand, limit your alcohol and eat locally then you can definitely keep the cost of your Thailand budget trip low.
Here are some tricks to keeping things wallet friendly and as cheap as possible, giving you more money to spend on activities and adventures in Thailand. The cost of living in Thailand is incredibly cheap and you can make your money go far by following the budget Thailand tips below.
How much is the cost of a holiday in Thailand?
It completely depends on your lifestyle, your accommodation and the activities you choose to do. I have included general prices for things below so that you can get a gist of the cost of living or staying in Thailand. You can plan for a daily budget for Thailand from as little as 400 baht per day.
Thailand Cheap Food : How much is food in Thailand?
If you eat local you can eat extremely cheaply in Thailand. Thai street food is delicious and cheap. Most dishes will cost between 30-60 baht ($1-2 US dollars). When on the islands, the most expensive restaurants are normally on the beach front, so I’d avoid these touristy restaurants if travelling Thailand on a budget. Western dishes such as pizzas and burgers etc are generally made using imported items which means they are much more expensive. Stick to noodles, rice and soup if you want to eat cheap in Thailand.
Thailand Cost of Travel : Transport
Cheap Transport: Take the Bus
Travelling by bus or minivan is the cheapest way of travelling Thailand. Package deals for Thailand island hopping routes can often be booked which include the minivan + ferry or bus + ferry. This is a good idea as they often take you all the way to the pier rather than dropping you in a town near the coast. You then would need to add in the cost of a taxi from the town to the ferry terminal. From Bangkok you can leave from Mochit 2 Terminal (to go North), Ekkamai or Sai Tai Mai/Southern Bus Terminal (to go South). Some tourist companies leave from Khao San road and these tend to be the more comfortable buses in my experience.
Travelling cheaply by bus or minivan can cost from 200 baht upwards depending on distance.
Cost of Visiting Thailand : Night Trains
Travelling by night train can be slightly more expensive than a night bus but it depends and it is still a budget way of travelling Thailand as you save on one night’s accommodation. Bear in mind trains are very slow and often delayed so use night trains if it doesn’t matter what time you arrive the next day if you slow travel Thailand. Night trains can start from approximately 400 baht per bunk.
Thailand Cost of Travel : Drinking Water
No so unfortunately many tourist buy bottled water from convenience stores, adding to the plastic problem. Luckily there is a way to be environmentally friendly and drink water SUPER cheap in Thailand. Bring your own reusable water bottle at a water filling machines. You can fill up ONE large bottle for ONE baht ($0.03). You can find these machines all around the country, often at the side of roads, in condos and on the street. If you’re consuming around 5 bottles a day then that’s a serious saving and definite help for the environment. Consider buying a refillable bottle instead, like these from Amazon. I bought my mum this one for Christmas as I think it is a great size, contains a filter and is available in various colours.
Cheap Stuff to Buy in Thailand : Haggling and negotiating
Negotiate. Many prices in Thailand are up for negotiation, not only at the shopping markets but also accommodation. If you have unlimited time then you can haggle with hostels and hotels and if you stay longer then they might give you a discount. Always haggle with patience and a smile. My advice is to get an idea of a reasonable price to pay for something, otherwise you can insult people if you are unsure of the price and suggest a price that is too low.
Having said that, you can find fantastic accommodation deals on both booking.com and Agoda. I usually compare both of them to find the best deal. Agoda also do ‘insider deals’ once you have an account with them which I find to be very reasonable rates. It also means you can be organised if you are on a 2 weeks Thailand budget trip. Backpackers there for longer can afford timewise to just show up and negotiate.
Is Thailand Cheap to Travel : Alcohol
Drink local. Most travellers find that their biggest expense in Thailand is spending money on alcohol. While Thailand is generally cheap for alcohol, it can add up when people decide to drink every night. Thai beers are great – Leo and Singha (usually around 80-100 baht in a cheap restaurant or bar ($2.5-4). Chang is usually the cheapest beer on the menu. Thai rum Sangsom is also delicious with coke and costs approximately 200 baht ($5-6) for a small bottle. Imported beers or wines are incredibly expensive so avoid these if you want to keep it cheap. Tax is high on most imported goods so drinking local beers and spirits is the best way to drink alcohol cheaply.
Cost of Visiting Thailand : Cost of tours and excursions
Shop around different tour operators when booking snorkelling/island hopping/day excursion trips. Hotels, hostels and guesthouses can often charge more for trips than small local tour operators on the street. Snorkelling tours in a long tail boat are often cheaper than in a speedboat. For the cheap tours, the agencies will fill up the boat as much as possible so be prepared for the boat to be busy and to make some new friends. Make sure to enquire if National Park fees are included as they can be expensive and sometimes double the cost of the snorkelling trip in Thailand. National Park and Marine National Park fees are fixed by the government and tour operators cannot reduce the cost of National Park fees. Many national parks are well worth the fee! Read more about National Parks in Thailand here.
Cost to Visit Thailand : Cheap Shopping in Thailand
Thailand, in particular Bangkok, is my favourite place in the world to go shopping and find budget clothes. Shopping in markets is fantastic, so many interesting finds and all at a cheap price with money going straight to locals. You can find clothes such as dresses, bikinis, T-shirts and shorts from 50 baht upwards. As a general rule, if the price is written on the items then haggling is not possible. The best haggling tip for Thailand is to negotiate the price down for one, and then consider buying two or more to make it even cheaper again.
Cheap Thailand : Travelling Thailand by Boat
For travelling to Thailand’s many islands there are often multiple options concerning boats. There are slower ferries, faster ferries, long tail boats and speed boats. The cheapest options are obviously the slower transport so if you aren’t in a hurry and enjoy slow travel Thailand, then always take the ferry or a long tail boat. Speedboats and catamarans are the fastest but always more expensive. Like with the snorkelling trips, get some quotes from different tour operators and see if you can get a pick up from your accommodation included.
Thailand Cost of Travel Backpacking Thailand Cheaply
Taking public transport is the best idea when on a budget. It’s an obvious one but taxis can be at least three times more expensive than local buses and songtaews (trucks) so stick to public transport to save a lot of money. If you’re in a group then a taxi might be worth sharing however as they still are very reasonably priced when on the meter. I try and avoid taxis in Phuket unless I am sharing as they will never go by meter and are very expensive.
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