So you wanna backpack Thailand on a budget? Here are some tricks to keeping things wallet friendly! As I live in Bangkok, I’m a frequent backpacker and like to keep things cheap so I can travel as much as possible!
- Eat local street food! Avoid touristy restaurants that are on the beach front.
- 7-11 is your new best friend. Snacks, alcohol, toiletries…there’s nothing you can’t do here. (I even pay my bills here!)
- Don’t book in advance, backpackers often just turn up in a place and by negotiating with different accommodations you can find cheap beds. If you stay for a few nights they might offer you a discount. If like me, you are a planner then I find Agoda gives the best room rates around South East Asia and they tend to be better quality than other sites I’ve used.
- Drink local. Thai beers are great – Leo and Singha (I avoid cheap Chang at all costs…here we call it a Changover!). Thai rum Sangsom is also delicious with coke and costs next to nothing! Don’t drink imported beers or wines. Tax is exceptionally high on most imported goods.
- Fill up water bottles from the blue and white machines in the street. One litre is 1 baht. Really hope this catches on more so we all use less plastic bottles!
- Shop around different tour operators when booking snorkelling/island hopping/day excursion trips. I often find your guesthouse charges you more! Make sure to enquire if National Park fees are included. These are fixed by the government.
- Shop in markets. I’m not sure how I can ever return to the world of H and M now that I have discovered 100 baht dresses and bikinis at Thai markets!
- Use night buses. Not as comfortable as trains or planes but they are definitely the cheapest way of travelling around Thailand and connect with most places. 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 also leave from Khao San road.
- Take the ferry not the speed boat! Much slower but much cheaper too!
- Avoid western food such as pizzas and anything with cheese! They are unlikely to be nice anyway… (Sorry Thai chefs but Italians would drop dead if they saw what constitutes a ‘pizza’ in Thailand!)
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you click on the link and reserve a room I will receive a small amount of commission at no extra cost to you.