Travel Budget: Thailand by the Numbers

Travel Budget: Thailand by the Numbers

Thailand is the classic starting point for any South East Asia trip. Bangkok is a major hub along with Singapore. It’s not as cheap as it once was but in some places, it provided some of the cheapest accommodations we had in Asia. We spent two different stints in the country for a total time in the country of 31 days.

During that time, we kicked around Bangkok, visited the north for cities such and Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. We also stopped in the south on the beaches in Phuket as well as visiting Ayutthaya and a few other towns north of Bangkok.

How We Traveled

As always, we travelled overland to keep costs down. We stayed in private double rooms and whenever we took a bus, we tried to contain the costs except when we would take an overnight bus in which case we opted for one of the higher classes for comfort reasons. We ate well in restaurants and enjoyed some splurges on occasion.

Daily costs (USD)
Category Cost
Hotel $11.97
Air Travel $0.00
Amusement $5.16
ATM Fees $0.10
Food $12.49
Shopping $2.13
Transportation $3.17
Country VISA $3.39

Our one big tour was the elephant sanctuary tour which was a fantastic experience in Chiang Mai and one we would strongly encourage anyone visiting to try for themselves. At $80 USD, it wasn’t cheap. But it was worth it. We absolutely loved it.

What We Paid

We paid $38.41 USD per person per day. Thailand was a great place for us to start our mainland South East Asia travels and provided a great introduction to the region. It can also be reasonably priced in many parts with costs rising a bit in Bangkok.


We stayed in private double rooms with private bathrooms. Sometimes we opted out of the A/C while others we chose to indulge. Overall, with only a couple of noted exceptions, we feel we did well on our selection of hotels.


Khao Lak: Golden Place Hotel

Great value and really friendly people. Room is fantastic. Don't bother staying elsewhere when in Khao Lak. Recommended.

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Chiang Rai: North Hotel

RIght near the bus station with decent but not spectacular rooms. Good staff, no breakfast and low value. Recommend elsewhere unless you really want to be near the night market and bus station.

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Bangkok: Fortville Guesthouse

In a good location but no wifi, and a bit pricey means that this hotel is not recommended. Check out Amarin Inn for a better option just across the street.

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amarin inn bangkok

Bangkok: Amarin Inn

$22 USD a night is good value for a private double room with ensuite bath. Great location without actually being on the Khao San road with all of it's noise and insanity. Friendly owners but the value here is what will bring you in. Shop around. You won't be disappointed.

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benthai guesthouse

Sukhothai: Banthai Guesthouse

Good value, close to the night market but not close to the things you want to see when visiting Sukhothai. Still, the sights aren't hard to get to by local bus and given that you'll really only want to stick around for a night or two at most, it's good value for your time.

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baifern homestay

Ayyuthaiya: Baifern Homestay

Very good value at about $10 USD a night for a private double room with ensuite bathroom but not close to the action and a little limited in terms of the nearby food options. Unless you are looking for the cheapest option around and don't mind walking, try somewhere else closer to the centre.

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nirvana resort pool

Koh Chang: Nirvana Resort

We got an exceptional deal and paid about $65 USD a night for what was basically a heavenly place. Exceptional food. Incredible views. Wonderful pool. Lovely people that go out of their way to make your stay exceptional. I doubt you'll get the same price as we did but even if you pay regular price, Nirvana resort is worth it. Highly recommended.

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We ate really well in Thailand and splurged in some fancy cafe restaurants. Beer was also cheap and we enjoyed a bunch through out the time we were in the country. Food stalls were a popular option and provided entertainment on some evenings.


We spent more on tours in Thailand, especially in the north where we did the elephant nature park tour and also a cooking course in Chiang Mai. This drove up our entertainment costs a bunch however. Transportation costs were as a result of long distance buses which were the cheapest options.

How To Save More

We could have saved more on food for sure. We indulged and could have saved 20% or more with some discipline but again, we really enjoyed our time and pace of travel. There are certainly places in Thailand where you can stay for cheaper and if we optimised our locations for costs – staying in places like Ayutthaya or Chiang Mai longer – we could have brought the hotel costs down by some 25%.

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