Costs of a Trip to Thailand

by Catherine Bodry  

Thailand travel costsThailand is considered a budget-friendly destination, with cheap accommodation, awesome street food, and excellent public transportation. On the other hand, the country is also set up for high-end luxury travel. Five-star resorts, private cars for hire, and yacht-friendly destinations also cater to a crowd that can afford the top-end price tag. And of course, there’s everything in between.

High season in Thailand is from mid-November through March. You can expect prices to be double or triple what they are in low season – many hotels’ websites will list prices for low, high, and shoulder seasons.

A 7% Value Added Tax (VAT) will be included on all retail transactions, including hotels and restaurants. If you don’t see the charge, it’s either already included in the price, or they’re not paying their taxes! Restaurants will also often add a 10% service charge, so be sure to check your bill closely before leaving a tip.

Here’s some more basic information on costs in Thailand:

Currency: Thai baht. At the time of writing, about 29 baht equaled one US dollar, but use this conversion tool to get an accurate and up-to-date conversion. Unlike neighboring countries, you cannot use US dollars or any other form of currency in Thailand.

Budget breakdown, or, what does it cost to travel in Thailand?
If you eat only street food, stay in super cheap hostels, take public transport, and steer clear of booze, you can scrape by on as little as $20 USD per day – and perhaps less, if you’re very strict. However, that budget doesn’t allow for tours, occasional nights on the town, or even cheap flights throughout the country.

If you want to allow yourself a little bit of fun, you can easily do so on $30 USD per day as long as you’re careful to balance out your days.

For air-con accommodation, at least one Western meal per day, and bike or car rentals, $40-50 is a healthy budget. This will give you some room to do a little shopping, too.

If you have the income, you can spend hundreds of dollars a day on luxury accommodation, gourmet meals (but really, the we think the street food is best!), private tours and excursions, and

Note: it is generally cheaper to share a room with someone else, so couples or friends traveling together tend to be able to stay on a tighter budget.

Typical costs

(Note that these are general costs; prices will vary throughout the country as well as with the seasons.)

1.5 litre bottle of water: 50 cents

American breakfast: $3-4

Pad thai from a street vendor: 75 cents

1 litre of Singha beer from 7 Eleven: $1.25

12 oz bottle of imported beer in a restaurant: $5

Street food or Thai restaurant dinner: $3

Western or fancy dinner: $6-10

Basic mixed drink/cocktail: $3.50

Dorm bed: $3-10

Guest house accommodation: $5-15

Mid-range hotel room: $20-25

Full-day snorkeling tour: $22

Fisherman’s pants: $4

Overnight bus ride, 1st class VIP: $15-20

Museum or temple entrance fee: $0-10

Anything else you’d like to know? Leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to answer!

[Photo credit: jchong, Flickr]


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