Thailand Vacation Cost Breakdown: Tips To Travel On A Budget 2024 (2024)

Thailand is the ultimate destination for those looking for adventures on a shoestring. If you're thinking of travelling to the country, the great news is that Thailand's vacation cost won't dig a hole in your bank account.

The Land of Smiles is known as one of the friendliest backpacker scenes in the world. Countless popular sites are free, public transport systems are excellent and affordable, and the low cost of living means cheaper meals and drinks.

All of these ensure that you can enjoy the most memorable Asian vacation in your life for seven days or weeks, even with the tightest budgets. Here’s a breakdown of essential expenses to make it easier for you to plan, budget, and decide how much money to save for your upcoming trip!

Accommodation

There are a few factors in play for the accommodation costs in Thailand, including location, season, and the level of comfort you're seeking. For example, hotels in hot spots like Chiang Mai, Bangkok, or phu*ket will set you back more bucks than other more remote cities.

But in general, Thailand's hotel rates are still considered more budget-friendly than many other Asian countries. With nearly 30,000 hotels across the country, you can easily find nice accommodation at around $33 per night. This means that the average prices for 3 days are around $99 and one week around $230.

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There are many wallet-friendly hotels and resorts for your dream tropical retreat in Thailand. Photo By Sara Dubler on Unsplash

Suppose you're visiting Thailand in the tourist season, from November to January or February (also the best time to visit the country). The price of a mid-range hotel in Bangkok can run up to $100 during this peak season due to high demand.

Visiting the country during this season also means you need to think about advance booking (for as early as three months before your trip) to get reservations.

Shoulder season (from July to October) welcomes fewer crowds, reservations are easier to get and prices are also lower. You might spend $20-$40 less for the same mid-range hotel in Bangkok compared to the busier season.

Hotel Price Break Down:

For your reference, we also include more detailed rate comparisons in tourist hotspots for a standard hotel room for couples.

Hotel Prices In Bangkok

Type of Accommodation

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

3-star

$55–70

$30–50

4-star

$80–100

$60–80

5-star

$120–170

$100–150

Hotel Prices In Chiang Mai:

Type of Accommodation

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

3-star

$30–40

$20–30

4-star

$70–90

$60–80

5-star

$100–120

$90–110

Hotel Prices In phu*ket:

Type of Accommodation

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

3-star

$45-60

$25-50

4-star

$65-85

$55-70

5-star

$100-145

$90-130

Hotel Prices In Koh Samui:

Type of Accommodation

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

3-star

$75-85

$50-60

4-star

$110-135

$80-110

5-star

$170-250

$130-200

The accommodation industry in Thailand is rigorously expanding, and hotels aren't the only options you have. The country also has an oversupply of hostels for those travelling on a shoestring or bungalows for those chasing a taste of authentic Thai experience.

We also put each type of accommodation together with their prices if you’re still figuring out the ideal budget for your trip.

Bungalows

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Beachfront bungalows are affordable luxury in the Land of Smiles. Photo By Sasha Kaunas on Unsplash

Beachfront bungalows are a one-of-a-kind experience for those travelling to Thailand, especially to mainland beaches or tropical islands. While prices vary depending on location, size, amenities on offer, etc., you can have a great experience staying at this iconic lodging type for as little as $22 per night.

Hostels

For Western travellers, especially backpackers, expensive plane tickets are the most popular refrain to travel to Thailand. But once you get there, everything is pretty cheap. This usually means booking accommodation for a two-week vacation won't easily break your bank, especially if you're going for hostels.

Among a network of more than 670 hostels across Thailand, you can effortlessly find a dorm room at around $11 a night. This is the up-to-date average hostel price in Chiang Mai, phu*ket, and Bangkok.

Prices even drop more considerably when you move further from tourist hotspots. It's not tricky to bag a few hostel deals at around $7-8 in Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, or Pai.

Just like you move closer to the beach in Honolulu or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, hostel rates get higher in phu*ket, Koh Lipe, or Koh Phi Phi. A night in a dorm room in these regions can set you back around $13.

H3. Guesthouses

Guesthouses are another popular option for budget lodging in Thailand, with prices sitting somewhere between hotels and hostels. Normally, it only costs $12-$30 for a decent room per night.

Transportation

Transportation is one of the biggest expenses when you're in Thailand. Fortunately, the efficient public networks in the country mean you can access more means of affordable transport while moving from city to city.

International Flights

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A direct flight from the UK to Thailand takes around 12 hours. Photo by Alexey Pelikh - stock.adobe.com

What month is the cheapest to fly to Thailand? The answer is generally the low season, which falls between May to September. The fare greatly varies depending on your travel time and place of departure. However, it's important to note that this is also the rainy season in Thailand.

Major European cities, like Zurich, London, and Paris, have direct flights to Bangkok and phu*ket. To take off from these cities, you will need to spend around 600-1,000 GBP or $760-$1,300 for a one-way ticket. Flight ticket prices from the US normally start at $700 to $1300 for a one-way flight.

Domestic Flights

Domestic flights are the best choice for long journeys around Thailand. Thailand has more than 50 flight routes, and the fares are pretty cheap. Normally, a one-way domestic flight will set you back for around $30-50.

If you fly from/to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), you should go with Thai Smile or Bangkok Air; their fares are pricey, but you get what you pay for. If you want to get to/fly from Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), low-cost options include AirAsia, NokAir, and LionAir.

Train

Trains can be another way to get around Thailand, especially if you want to see the country at a slower pace. Fast and reliable railways run by The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) would cost you pretty inexpensive fares. Plus, you can always find train services within any city centre.

When commuting by sleeper trains, there are three typical options for you to choose from, including first, second and third class. The third class has the cheapest seats, but it’s also the least comfortable. That's why unless you travel short-distance, we recommend you upgrade to the second class for more amenities and convenience. The fare for a second-class seat from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is around $20.

Bus

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An affordable way to get around in Thailand. Photo by ThaimaaOpas on Unsplash

Buses are a popular and affordable way to travel around Thailand. They range from air-conditioned VIP buses with reclining seats to local songthaews that function more like shared taxis. An air-conditioned one costs more or less than a dollar.

They are the go-to for budget-conscious travellers. A bus/minivan fare from Chiang Mai to Pai costs around $7 (if you can stomach its 700 turns). Airfares, on the other hand, take only 30 minutes but set you back around $50.

Taxis

Those wanting to get around quicker within the city opt for taxis. Typically, the fares are around 35 baht or $1 for the first 1 kilometre. If you just travel a few kilometres, your journey shouldn’t cost you more than 50 baht or $1.4.

In Bangkok, however, the starting fee is 40 baht, which is worth around $1.12. This is in line with the new fare policy approved by the government for the capital city. For a rough estimate, trips to most destinations in central Bangkok typically start from 60 baht (approximately $1.70) to 90 baht (approximately $ 2.50).

Tuk Tuks & Songthaews

The small, iconic three-wheeled vehicles - tuk-tuks - will carry you around with very small charges. Normally, local drivers can ask tourists as little as $10 for a ride around town, but it's still an overcharged fare in Thais' opinions.

Before hopping on one, you can ask a local for the typical cost for a specific ride to and from certain destinations. Plus, you can test your bargaining skills with the drivers to save some bucks, too.

Sometimes called red pick-up trucks, Songtaews is the cheapest way to move around in the country. For a ride around the city (which can last 5-20 minutes), you will need to pay no more than a couple of dollars.

Ferries

Ferries are the primary way to move to and from islands, like from phu*ket to Phi Phi islands or Koh Tao to Koh Phangan. Depending on how long the ride is, the average ferry ticket usually falls around $20. Shorter distances might cost even less, at around $7.

If you’re going on an island-hopping trip, remember that the transportation expenses can be a bit higher than on the mainland. This also normally includes motorbike rents, which is the best way to admire the scenery around the islands.

Food

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Even for backpackers, eating out 3 times a day won't dig a hole in your wallet. Photo By Katie Musial On Unsplash

Now, here is the best part of your Thailand vacation - the cuisine. Thailand's food is renowned for its bold flavours, diversity, and best of all, affordable prices. Delicacies like som tam (Thai Papaya Salad) or Pad Thai (Thai-style fried noodles) are just around $1.5 on the street.

The Southeast Asian nation is full of roadside stalls and night markets. You won't have to spend more than $5 for a satisfying meal if you choose street food. This already includes drinks for two.

Open-air restaurants often come at an affordable price, while sit-down restaurants are a bit more expensive, which costs $10-15 per tourist. If you're looking for even more luxurious dining, a posh restaurant’s bill can run around $50-$60.

Depending on what type of dining you choose during the day, the average food expense for a decent day is around $17.

Tipping In Thailand

Should you tip in Thailand? In Thailand and many other Asian countries, service charges are already counted in the bills, so tipping is not customary. Normally, those wanting to tip will spend an extra 5-10% or leave the change at the restaurant.

Alcohols & Drinks

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Traveller's tips: Beers and liquors are always cheaper at 7/11. Photo By Bundo Kim on Unsplash

If you're trying to budget in Thailand, let us tell you there's no need to do so regarding beverages. A fresh juice you can grab from a random roadside stall will cost you only $0.5-$1.

Alcohol is incredibly affordable by Western standards. Wines and beers, in general, are not heavily taxed like in Indonesia or Malaysia.

  • If you want to drink like a local, consider trying Thai beer like Shinga (the most popular), Leo, or Chang for just $2 per bottle. Imported brands are normally more expensive.
  • It also depends on where the purchase was made. Alcohol from a bar or restaurant can cost $3. Even higher if you go somewhere like the Khaosan Road for night drinking, which might easily burn you $30 to $100 or more.
  • A drink from a convenience store, like 7/11, it can be $1 or cheaper. Liquor enthusiasts can also try local co*cktails for only around $3-$6.

We bet you're having plans to indulge in some alcoholic fun while in Thailand. So, for a rough guide, you should budget around $50 for beverages a week during your trip.

Cheap Things To Do In Thailand

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With free local markets, monasteries and golden temples, Thailand is a favourite budget travel destination. Photo By Mathew Schwartz On Unsplash

Entrance admissions to attractions are not expensive in Thailand. Many Thailand popular sites, such as Chiang Mai temples, pristine beaches, and local markets are free to visit any time of the year.

Historical sites and national parks normally have entrance fees, but that only runs around $5-$15. For example, the admission fee to Thailand's most well-known attraction - the Grand Palace - is about $15 per visit.

To get deeper into the cultural slice of Thais, you can sign in for boat tours on floating markets or jump onto your island-hopping adventure, all with roughly $30-$100 per tourist.

Tips for Budget Travel In Thailand

Thailand is a land of stunning beaches, delicious food, and vibrant culture, all at an affordable price. Here are some tips to help you stretch your dollar while backpacking or budget travelling in Thailand:

Travel During Low Season

There are many joys of off-season travel to Thailand, but above anything else, is the lower price of hotels. If you visit the country from November to March, which coincides with the driest season, hotel and transport rates can climb pretty high as a response to sky-rocket demand.

From July to September, the country welcomes the rainiest time of the year, and therefore, accommodation prices often drop. Fewer crowds also mean you can easily access activities that are otherwise inundated by holidaymakers.

But be sure to plan ahead, since days-long downpours also mean possible interruptions to your itinerary and close-down of certain boat services and island access.

Savour Street Food

There's no doubt that Thailand's best food is on the street and at night markets. From Pad Thai, BBQ skewers, and mango sticky rice to green curries, you can enjoy authentic Thai food for a fraction of a restaurant’s meal.

Yet, beware of the possibility of food poisoning as well. Here's a little tip: Only eat street food stalls that the locals are drawn towards. This guides you to the best food vendors in the area. They often have faster turnover, which means you're getting fresher and, therefore, safer food to eat.

Skip Expensive Tours

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It's totally possible to jump on an island-hopping trip to phu*ket without a tour a guide. Photo By Sumit Chinchane On Unsplash

It may take effort, but planning your island-hopping adventure is worth it. Skip the expensive tour, and your island-hopping tour won't break your bank. Boat rentals and public ferries will help you live your tropical dreams. You can also get more creative about the way you explore the islands, decide the activities you will do and where you will go.

Choosing Budget Airlines For Long-Distance Travel

Flying is also among the best ways to move between major cities. A one-way ticket for a domestic flight is normally around $20-60. Choosing this way of transport can save you up to 20%-30%.

As mentioned, Thailand has many great low-cost airliners. Try to keep an eye on Lion Air, Nok Air, or Bangkok Airways to snag great deals for your Thailand domestic flights.

Drink Local Beers

7-Elevens are ubiquitous in Thailand, and they are the best place to get cheap mainstream local brews like Singha, Leo and Chang. You can grab some bottles to drink at your guesthouse or on the beaches.

It’s also way cheaper to drink outside than in a bar tab or restaurant in Thailand. You can also grab tempting happy hour deals at local bars and clubs for half-priced co*cktails, 2-for-1 specials, and many other affordable deals.

Travel With A Carry-On

Should I bring a carry-on to Thailand? Yes, absolutely.

SHOP CABINZERO BACKPACKS NOW

Thailand is a land of constant movement. You'll likely be hopping between islands, navigating crowded cities, and exploring ancient temples. Consider packing light and travelling with just a carry-on.

Long gone are the days of waiting around at baggage claim and dealing with lost or delayed checked bags. By packing everything in your carry-on, you'll always know exactly where your belongings are. And you'll be able to breeze through the airport and get on with your holiday time.

CabinZero backpacks are not only stylish but also incredibly secure. With lockable zippers and a discreet, minimalist design, you can keep your valuables safe while you explore.

Every baht saved on baggage fees is a baht you can spend on mouth-watering street food or a foot massage. Many budget airlines in Asia charge extra for checked luggage, but you avoid those pesky fees with a carry-on like CabinZero. More money for pad thai and mango sticky rice? Yes, please!

FAQs

1. How Much Does A 7-Day Trip To Thailand Cost?

You'll spend a large portion of your budget on getting around Thailand, between towns and cities. For a week-long vacation, local transportation can cost you around $80. Moving from cities to cities can be more expensive. For rough estimation, $110-$120 is the average amount you might pay for sightseeing costs.

A week-long tropical trip to Thailand can cost around $400-$450. This amount will be enough for you to visit multiple destinations, enjoy Thai delicacies, and stay in comfortable hotels.

2. Is Vietnam Or Thailand Cheaper?

In general, Vietnam is more affordable than Thailand. In terms of lodging, transportation, food and the like, you will spend less in Vietnam than in Thailand.

Both are the two most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia, but they’re unique in their cultures, lifestyles, and people. If you’re stretching your budget, Vietnam is definitely your destination.

However, if this is your very first Southeast Asian trip, and you want to strike a balance between affordability and experience, we recommend Thailand.

With its mature tourism services and an eclectic mix of Asian elements (tropical island, Buddhist temples, and exotic street food culture), the country is more than well-deserved to be on everyone's wish list.

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How about visiting Vietnam after your Thailand trip? Photo by sinseeho - stock.adobe.com

3. Is Bangkok or Bali Cheaper?

Bali and Bangkok are pretty similar when it comes to travelling costs. They are all amazing destinations for budget vacationers or backpackers. There are many aspects to set these spots apart, however.

Known for world-class beaches, Bali draws thousands of beach and sun lovers each year for its secluded bays, diverse watersports, and stiff limestones. However, their level of services and tourism isn’t on par with Thailand yet.

On the other hand, holidayers flock to Bangkok for its wild nightlife, golden temples, and lively markets. That said, the city can be considered over-touristy in some aspects.

Plan Your Budget Thailand Trip!

Travelling to Thailand can be as lavish as you wish, but the country is also a paradise if you aim for affordability. Thanks to low living costs, Thailand is a popular destination among avid backpackers across the globe.

With a small budget, you can cover multiple destinations across the country, with all tours, transportation and lodging already covered. You can also explore unique Asian aspects of the country, including sacred temples, delectable cuisine, and tropical forests, without trying to stretch the budget.

That’s amazing whether or not you're pursuing backpacker-style travelling or seeking a luxury getaway. So, tell us about your Thailand plan and how much you're going to allocate for the backpacker mecca by dropping a comment. Like and share this article if you think it's useful to other fellow vacationers.

Kesley

Thailand Vacation Cost Breakdown: Tips To Travel On A Budget 2024 (2024)

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