Backpacking budget to Thailand
Southeast Asia is being more and more visited in recent years, especially for its idyllic white sand beaches, Buddhist temples, culture, and street food. Thailand, also called the Land of Smiles, is no exception and is one of, if not the most visited country in Southeast Asia (known for its mass tourism). The country is reputed to be very inexpensive and, after having traveled almost 3 months there, I can confirm it. During a trip in Asia, you can travel and live in Thailand for not much… This article presents everything you need to know to prepare your budget for a trip to Thailand.
For this trip to Thailand, I chose to enjoy the country, people, and local life in a simple way, looking for authenticity (and avoiding tourists) as much as possible. This is truly what gets closer to my vision of travelling. Before wondering where to go in Thailand for your travel itinerary, the question of your vacations budget in Thailand must be asked, right?
To go to Thailand, as well as choosing what to visit, see or do (paradisiacal beaches? Partying in a full moon party? Scuba diving? Taking Thai cooking lessons? Trek in the jungle, etc.), what budget to consider on site will be one of the questions to think about. Here is everything you need to prepare for your trip to Thailand.
To organize your Thailand trip, here are all the budget items you should consider in my opinion:
- The transportation budget
- The accommodation budget
- The transport budget in Thailand: How to get around?
- The food budget
- The entertainment budget when traveling in Thailand,
- The budget for a 10-days, 2-weeks, 3-weeks or 1-month trip to Thailand for example, and even the daily budget to plan!
I will end with the figures of my own travel budget in Thailand, based on the two-and-a-half months spent in the country. These figures are realistic for long-haul or round-the-world travellers, who travel economically! Well, backpackers!
The budget to go to Thailand
As explained in the introduction, your travel budget in Thailand will be much lower than many other trips (Europe of course, and even South America). I’ll give you in detail everything you need to know to estimate your budget on site. It will then vary according to your desires, needs and wishes in Thailand.
1 - The transport budget to go to Thailand
Compared to other destinations, it is frankly not that high. In other words, for the hours you will spend in the sky and the number of kilometers traveled (from Europe or US), the airfare to Thailand is really cheap.
I always use the Skyscanner flight comparator to find the cheapest flights. From Europe and the main capitals, you will find flights from 400/500€ round trip, if you are flexible on dates.
For Americans, you will find flights to Thailand between 400 and 500€ from the main cities. You can look here to search for it.
2 - How much does it cost to sleep in Thailand?
Just like the budget to go to Thailand, accommodation will not be very costly, and so much the better! So, of course, everything will depend on your comfort standard, your vacation desires, etc… Wondering where to stay in the country and how much does it cost to live in Thailand?
But overall, this blog is intended for people traveling in a simple and very often economical way. That’s why I won’t focus on 5-stars hotels in Thailand!
During your trip in Thailand, for an accommodation in a youth hostel (Guesthouse), count between 200 and 400 Thb per night for two people (which is between 5 and 10 €), and even less in the countryside (I did sleep for 150 Thb in some places). In two-and-a-half months in Thailand, I’ve never paid more than 400 Thb (10€) for a night for two. We slept in simple Guesthouses, but always clean, more than enough for us!
For a medium to high-end accommodation, count from 400 Thb to 1000 Thb. At this price, there in Thailand, you’ll have something “great” in my opinion (large room, swimming pool, etc.).
Agoda and Booking sites list many cheap guesthouses in the country and works fairly well in Thailand.
After having been travelling for more than 3 months in Thailand and slept in numerous spots in the country, I offer you a selection of my best accommodations. I slept in quite a lot of them, and other guesthouses have been recommended to me by trustworthy friends. There should only be good stuff!
Anumat Premium Budget Hotel
Vieng Tawan Sukhothai Guesthouse by Thai Thai
Slowlife House Ayothaya
Na Na Doo Homestay
Zivi Nimman 15
Sawasdee Sukhothai Resort
The Memory at On On Hotel
Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort
The Astra Chiang Mai
Sabai Sabai Sukhothai
3 - The cost of a trip in Thailand - transportation
In your budget, you will have to include travel inside the country. I’m not talking about car rental, because it is finally not done very much there, and you can easily organize a trip to Thailand with the local means.
By Plane: obviously, domestic flights are faster, but much less economical. For example, a flight from Bangkok-Chiang Mai costs about 1300 Thb (32€), while a bus ride costs only about 400 Thb in seat, so three times less expensive.
For those who are going to rather choose the plane in Thailand, you can go through the Air Asia company which offers the best prices on national flights! The Thai Airways company also offers internal flights (but often more expensive).
Then, everything will depend on how you want to travel. Here are some price ideas (1€ = 39,5 baht) depending on different trips:
- Bangkok – Kanchanaburi: 150 Thb, 2hrs.
- Sukhotai – Chiang Mai: 240 Thb, 6hrs.
- Chiang Rai – Nan: 180 Thb, 6h
- Bangkok – Pkuket: 600 Thb, 1pm
By Train: There are several price ranges.
- Kanchanaburi – Nam Tok: 100 Th, 2h30
Ayuthaya – Lopburi: 20 Thb, 2hrs.
Night train Bangkok – Chiang Mai: from 900 Thb
In Tuk-Tuk (local taxis), depending on the distance traveled, prices vary from 20 Thb to 100 Thb per person (systematically negotiate).
By bike: varies between 30/40 Thb per day
- In the park of Si Satchanalai : 30 Thb/day
- Visit the temples of Ayutthaya: 40 Thb/day.
By motorcycle: often around 150 to 250 Thb per day.
- A day in Chiang Mai: 200 Thb + gasoline
- A day around Mae Salong: 200 Thb + gasoline
By boat: prices vary according to the ride
- Cross the river in Ayutaha: 5 Thb
- Stroll around Sangkom: 250 Thb, 2h
- Going to Koh Chang Island: 80 Thb, 30 minutes.
For those who have little time, I advise to use the fastest means of transportation (plane).
4 - The food budget on a trip to Thailand
Another important element to consider when budgeting your trip to Thailand will be the food cost. Usually, eating in the country costs very little as long as you avoid big and touristic restaurants. Thai cuisine is excellent. However, those who do not like spices must be careful!
Here are some prices examples:
- A dish in the street or in greasy spoons costs about 30 to 40 Thb (0,80€ to 1€),
- The same dish in a small local or tourist restaurant will cost you double, between 50 and 80 Thb (1,40 € to 2 €),
- Western dishes cost between 100 and 200 Thb (2,5€ and 5€),
- A Menu at Mac Do: 160 Thb (4€),
- Fruits at the street vendor: 10/20 Thb (0.25/0.5€),
- A liter of water costs between 5 and 7 Thb / 6L bottle (30 Thb -> 0,7 €)
- A local Chang beer: 40 Thb (1 €) in a 7-Eleven (supermarket)
For economic breakfasts, I advise to buy a packet of cakes at the 7-Eleven (10 Thb) and a small coffee in the street!
5 - Leisure budget for a trip to Thailand
As with all other aspects of your travel budget, it will depend on how you travel, what you want to do, whether you are traveling or on vacation, etc.
Temples are mostly free in Thailand, with the exception of large temples and parks. A few examples:
- Wat Pho in Bangkok: 100 Thb,
- Wat Arun: 50 Thb,
- A day at the Elephant Nature Park: 2500 Thb (63€),
- Thai massage: 150 to 400 Thb (4 to 10 €) depending on the location and the salon.
- A Thai Boxing match: 400 Thb (10€),
- Visit a night market: it’s free!
- A day boat trip: from 600 Thb to 1500 Thb (15€ to 30€)
In short, how much money you’ll spend on activities in Thailand will greatly vary depending on which one you’ll do. There are also a large number of free activities in the country.
For those who like to book their vacations activities ahead of time, I really invite you to take a look at this site which offers many discounts on activities you can do in the country.
Otherwise, here are some selections:
6 - The travel budget for 10 days, 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 1 month in Thailand
The purpose here is to give you an idea of your budget for a trip to Thailand according to how long you’ll stay. The calculation of this daily budget in Thailand is based on my 2.5 months spent in the country, for two people:
- 21 € per day in economy mode / South-East Asian tour (backpacker),
- 30 € per day for normal expenses,
- 40 € per day for a “large” budget.
These numbers are not ultimate truths, but rather estimates based on my experience there. Your daily travel budget in Thailand may therefore vary.
For a 10-days trip in Thailand:
|Plane ticket (x2)
||800€||1 000€||1 200€|
|Total||1 010€||1 300€||1 600€|
Budget in Thailand for 2 weeks:
|Plane ticket (x2)
||800€||1 000€||1 200€|
|Total||1 094€||1 420€||1 760€|
Budget in Thailand for 3 weeks:
|Plane ticket (x2)
||800€||1 000€||1 200€|
|Total||1 241€||1 630€||2 040€|
Budget for a month in Thailand:
|Plane ticket (x2)
||800€||1 000€||1 200€|
|Total||1 451€||1 930€||2 440€|
For an idea of your daily budget in Thailand
I promise you that these are realistic budgets for long-term travelers who don’t spend too much on fee-based tourism activities. If you just enjoy the local life, and focus on free activities, you can spend per person:
- Accommodation: 150 to 200 Thb for accommodation (4 to 5 €),
- Food: 100 Thb/day – 2 meals at 40 Thb + 20 Thb breakfast, i.e. 2,5€.
- Water: 2L/day: 30 Thb, rounded up to 1€.
All in all, by living simply, without moving, you can live with less than 10 €/day/person.
Then, three other points will be added up: travel, paid activities and souvenirs!
For information, we spent 750€ for 2 people during our first month in Thailand. This shows that it’s clearly easy to travel cheap in Thailand.
7 - My travel budget in Thailand
|Currency||Accomodation||Transportation||Food||Others||Total/day on average||Total of days||Total spend in the country for 2|
|Thailand (Thb)||250,75||188,99||204,36||162,29||806,38||76||59 581,61|
I’ll end this article by explaining my travel budget in Thailand, based on the 76 days I spent there, three times in the same year. To better understand my daily budget in Thailand, here is some information:
- We were there in low-budget way on a tour of Southeast Asia,
- We had planned a budget of 15€/day/person for the whole continent (30€/day/2 persons), which is the equivalent per person of 450€/month,
- To visit Thailand, we had chosen to sleep either in guesthouse or at inhabitant’s home,
- We mostly ate in the street stalls and used the most money-saving local transportation (no planes),
- We sometimes stayed several days, or even a whole week doing nothing in particular and admiring the local life (idleness on white sandy beaches!).
- We often negotiated prices of the accommodations (when staying several days), Tuk-Tuk rides (mandatory), and souvenirs in general,
- We focused our trip on a local discovery of the country with free activities (walking, hiking, snorkeling, etc.) and we limited paid ones (no jet-ski, boat trips, etc.),
- My itinerary was divided by several visits in the country, both in remote areas off the beaten track (Eastern Thailand along the Mekong River (Isan), North of the Golden Triangle, Myanmar border, Mae hong son, etc.) and in frequented ones (Sukhothai, Ko Samui, Ko Chang, various national parks in the country, etc.),
- We have alternated the tourist season/high season (dry season in December) with the low season (hot season/monsoon season).
The prices indicated above are therefore “cheaper” prices for a budget travel.
In the end, during our trip of over 76 days in Thailand, we spent about 21€/day for two people.
So, I hope that this article will be useful for you to prepare your world trip or your vacations and to evaluate your travel budget in Thailand. The figures given are based on our 3 months spent in the country. Prices may have slightly evolved but overall, from what I’ve recently read, they are still current.
You should know that if you go on vacation (and not on travel), your average budget will obviously be higher, especially if you focus on many fee-based activities. A budget for a 2-week vacation in Thailand is very different from a 2-week budget in Thailand while traveling around the world.
If you are preparing your trip and your budget in Thailand, I advise you to take a look at the Lonely Planet guide. If, like me, you are going to tour South-East Asia, the article on travel budget in Laos will be useful.
I will be curious to have your feedback on your trip to Thailand if you have already been there! How much was your budget to go to there? Higher? Lower?
Before you leave, if you have any question about your trip to Thailand and about the preparation of your budget, whether it’s for 10 days, 1 week, 2 weeks or more, feel free to leave me a comment at the bottom of the article! Other articles will follow about the best period to go to Thailand, and the different touristic best places (or not!) of the country.
See you soon and bon voyage,
Hi, thank you for such a good read and clear information. We are planning on retirement 2024, and want to backpack in Thailand for about 3 months if allowed!, which months would be best to do this please. Thank you julie
we wrote this article about this subject 🙂