Thailand Budget: How Much Does it Cost to Visit Thailand?

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Wondering how much does it cost to visit Thailand? Here's our ultimate budget guide on how much you're looking on spending while on a holiday!

Thailand has been a popular country for so many years known so well as a place where you get a good bang for your buck due to its affordable prices. In this post, we’re going to break down the most reasonable Thailand budget from one week to one month of travel and holiday from budget, mid-range, to luxury travelers.

Our Thailand budget daily suggestions will be, as it implies, just a suggestion on what you’re possibly looking to spend per day doing ordinary traveler activities but anything beyond that, you’ll have to factor it in if you’re planning to, for example, join a tour and so on.

However, depending on your chosen travel style, by the end of the day, you’re the only one who is in control of how much you spent in Thailand.

Thailand Budget: How Much Does it Cost to Visit Thailand?

domestic flights thailand
via Wikimedia Commons|Toshi Aoki

Flights

Flights would perhaps be the most expensive expense you’ll spend on if you are planning a holiday to Thailand. Depending on where you’re coming from, it can go from 50USD to 100USD for a return flight.

If you’re coming from neighboring SEA countries, a flight from Da Nang, Vietnam, is very cheap, for example. If you’re coming from the west, the prices might highly depend on the season you’re coming.

The low season will be cheaper, and anywhere between November to March will be fairly expensive.

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Royal Cliff Grand Hotel Spa
via Wikimedia Commons| Kannaphon

Accommodation in Thailand

If you really want to do it cheaply, you might consider staying at hostels as they are the cheapest option there is for accommodation. A single bunk bed can go anywhere from 3USD to 10USD per night (depending on the location and if it is a boutique hostel).

If you don’t find hostels enticing, there are a lot of cheap hotels and guest houses that can go from 20USD to 45USD per night.

And if you want to splurge a little, you can easily find luxury hotels with amazing service and amenities for as little as 60USD per night or as expensive as 400USD per night for five-star hotels.

In a nutshell, these are the price breakdown:

  • For budget travelers – from 5USD to 10USD per night (150-300 baht)
  • For midrange travelers – from 20USD to 45USD per night (600-1350 baht)
  • For luxury travelers – from 60USD to 400USD per night (1800-1200 baht)
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taxi thailand
via Wikimedia Commons

Transportation

It is fairly cheap to travel around Thailand and in cities itself. Between cities, you can take domestic flying, buses, trains, and ferries around the islands for as cheap as 8USD.

To have an idea of how much you’ll be spending on transportation between cities, it is best to have a rough itinerary you can use to check prices. For example, a one-way flight between Bangkok to Chiang Mai cost as little as 28USD, and a one-way bus ride from Chiang Mai to Pai cost 8USD. Doing this, you have a rough idea of what would be the easiest, cheapest, and most reasonable route for you.

If you’re visiting one city in Thailand, for instance, the likes of Chiang Mai or Bangkok, the best alternative to get around is by Grab taxi, which is an app. It is by far one of the cheapest, safest, and convenient way to get around.

Scooters are also one of the handy ways to get around cities, which you can also use to go on short day trips to nearby towns and villages. A typical rent in scooter friendly city like Chiang Mai would cost you about 7USD per day. Just make sure that you have the correct license when you rent one.

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Khao Gaeng

Food

Just like with accommodation, you can either go really cheap on food in Thailand or go really fancy and expensive. If you want to do it cheaper, we suggest you explore the streets of Thailand and stumble upon local makeshift restaurants that serve local dishes as low as less than 1USD per meal.

This is the cheapest option you can go to, but if you can spend a little more than that, an average meal at a proper local restaurant is usually from about 3USD.

That said, there is also a lot of other cuisine specific restaurants in most big cities in Thailand that offer western dishes, and these are usually a bit more expensive. You can expect to pay about 5-8USD per meal.

If you want to try some of the fine dining restaurants in the country, don’t fret! Even though fine dining usually means paying over a hundred bucks for a set menu, in Thailand, it is a lot cheaper to eat well.

For a set menu plus wine pairing in a Michelin star restaurant in Chiang Mai would cost you anywhere between 60-100USD and this is top-notch and high-quality restaurants equivalent to the ones in the US and Europe.

In hindsight, here’re the price breakdown:

  • For budget restaurants – 1-3USD per meal (30-90 baht)
  • For midrange/western restaurants – 5-10USD per meal (150-250 baht)
  • For luxury restaurants – 60-100USD for seat menus (1800-3000 baht)
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Experience a Traditional Thai Massage

Other possible expenses

  • Tours – depending on what you are going to end up doing, it will most likely cost you between 10-80USD per tour. For example, an elephant sanctuary will cost about 80USD, and a cooking class will be between 15-25USD. It is possible to enjoy Thailand without a tour, so do not stress too much about it.
  • Groceries – if you forget some toiletries back home, don’t worry as a lot of necessary items you might need is available in Thailand.
  • Massage and spas – you’ve probably heard about the famous Thai massage and would like to try it at one point. You can find cheap massage places as low as 5USD (150 baht), or you can try some of the spa packages that go from 15USD to 60USD. This does not necessarily have to affect your budget as you’re probably only going to get massages a few times during your trip. Make sure you do not miss it!
  • Hospital – in case of an emergency or accident, you might need to visit the hospital. It is quite cheap in Thailand starting from 30USD (900 baht) for a general doctor visit. Sometimes, to avoid the paperwork and hassle, these hospital bill prices aren’t that much to pay out of pocket. However, we recommend that you purchase travel insurance before coming!
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Thailand budget tips

  • Avoid touristy places – tourist places are well known to inflate their prices in the first place. Unless the whole attraction is for free and you do not plan on buying anything from the nearby stalls, you should be fine and would not spend that much money sightseeing.
  • Make sure you do some price research beforehand – we’re a firm believer that you should always keep your travels organized as much as possible. If you research your route or write a rough itinerary beforehand, make sure to also write down prices you might see online and use it as a rough guideline when you visit.
  • If you’re planning to rent a scooter, make sure you have the correct license – if you got stopped at a police stop point, some of them ask anywhere between 7 to 15USD if they catch you driving without an international motorcycle license. To avoid this unnecessary extra cost, get your documentation straightened up before coming to Thailand.
  • DIY your trip sometimes tours are cheaper than DIY in Thailand, but there are also some tours that are unnecessarily expensive and something you can easily do yourself cheaply. For example, to visit Doi Inthanon, you can easily arrange this yourself
  • Stay at hostels – for decades now, the popularity of hostels just kept on growing. It is, without a doubt, the cheapest alternative for accommodation when you travel. In Thailand, hostels are so affordable, and prices start at 1USD, which is a bargain.
  • Eat local – western food in Asia generally tend to be more pricey compared to other restaurants that serve local dishes. The reason behind this is the fact that there are some ingredients that not easily available in Thailand; thus, importing it from other countries would be necessary. We suggest you try and explore local Thai cuisine because not only is it delicious, it is also very cheap.
  • Stay safe – avoid accidents and other emergencies by always thinking ahead of yourself. There’s nothing wrong about keeping it safe.
  • Use the Grab App to go around cities – local taxis are generally more expensive as it is measured by the meter and tuk-tuk’s in Thailand are nothing more than just a mere tourist attraction and are rarely used by locals themselves. Using the Grab app is a handy way to get around big cities and are also efficient if you don’t have a lot of time to spare and would like to get to your destination in good time.
  • Use public transport – local buses and trains are running around Bangkok that are widely used by the locals and in other big cities in Thailand, the public transport is really efficient, so if you want to explore like a local, you can always try that. This is going to be far cheaper than Grab or any other type of local transportation.
    Do not go out drinking a lot – drinking, albeit cheap, in Thailand can honestly tear a hole in your pocket if you do it constantly, so phase it out as much as you can or buy alcohol and spirits from grocery stores instead of bars as this will be much cheaper.
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Thailand budget per day

On average, we suggest having a minimum budget of 50USD per day, and this will easily cover your accommodation, food, daily excursion, transportation, and few small little extra things that you may want to buy or experience. However, below is our breakdown for three different types of travelers:

  • For budget travelers – 20USD
    • Accommodation – 5USD for a hostel bunk bed (120 baht)
    • Food (3x a day) – 6USD for cheap local meals (average of 60 baht per meal or 2USD)
    • Transportation, excursion, etc. – 9USD for wiggle room (270 baht)
  • For midrange travelers – 50USD
    • Accommodation – 20USD for midrange hotels or a guest house (600 baht)
    • Food (3x a day) – 10USD for cheap and maybe one proper restaurant meals (300 baht)
    • Transportation, excursion, etc. – 20USD for wiggle room (600 baht)
  • For luxury travelers – 100USD and above. We’re not going to break this down to you because it honestly depends on how much you would like or wouldn’t mind spending. If you can afford to pay for a 100USD or more for a suite in a 5-star hotel resort in one of the islands in Phuket, most likely, you’ll also be wanting to try some of the fancy restaurants or more likely go on a tour to experience things. All in all, you’re probably looking at a budget anywhere between 400-1000USD per day, including hotels and fancy restaurants and all.
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