The hub of the backpacking world, Thailand is often the first stop for first time travelers and it’s a great way to break yourself in to life on the road. However, Thailand is not as cheap as the rumours may suggest, it can be a bit of a tourist trap. Do not panic though, if you are savvy, you can certainly get by on a small budget.
Here is what I spent during a month in Thailand and my guide to doing it super cheaply.
Accommodation = £155
This can range depending on standard and what area you are in. Take Bangkok for example: You can get a beautiful double room in Villa Cha Cha for 1200THB (£24) between two of you or a room in the very ‘basic’ hostels for £3 each. Hostels range from £9 a bed (Nap Park) to £9 (Sawasdee Inn) depending on location and facilities.
I always scour the reviews on hostel world and tripadvisor and go for location, atmosphere and cleanliness! Prices will be higher during peak season (December – March) and special events. I paid £9 a night for a dorm bed for 3 nights on Koh Phangan over the Full Moon party period, the price then dropped to £2 a night for the 4 nights I stayed after (CRAZY!?).
With this in mind I spent £155 on accommodation in March, averaging £5 a night.
Food = £155
Word of advice. Eat the local food. It is so much cheaper and waaaay yummier! Meals range from £1 to £3 depending again on location and of course what you have. Street food can be very cheap but not that filling. I had Thai red curry for lunch almost every day for about £1.50 and dinner of Basil and Chilli Chicken with rice for £1.50 and a snack of amazing, fresh pineapple and a pancake for about £1.
I averaged about £5 a day on food (you can do it cheaper if you have too)
Drink = £160
This is most backpackers downfall. Only take out what you want to spend or another bucket at £3 will seem very appealing. Do that 3 times a week and well, yep, waaaay over budget.
I drank about 3-4 times a week and spent about £10 per session so lets go for £40 a week (I am a lightweight).
Travelling around = £69
So in March I went from Bangkok to Koh Phangan (£20), to Koh Tao (£7), to Bangkok (£20), to Chiang Mai (£12), back to Bangkok (£10).
Other stuff =£72
I am only human.
Massages. Two a week £32
A few slap up meals (Western food) £20
Clothes and toiletries £20
So there you have it £611 in 31 days. I could have done it a bit cheaper but this was a pretty easy, realistic budget!
Here are a few tips on doing it cheaper
Barter for clothes and accommodation (If you are staying a few nights you can usually get a discount if you negotiate on arrival). Four of us stayed in a hostel for 5 nights and got the price down from £4 a night to £3 a night, saving £5 each!
Don’t get two massages a week. Oooops!
Eat away from tourist attractions. Food on Khao San road is twice the price of the food two roads away.
Thailand truly is the land of smiles!