For some reason I have now long forgotten, I kept very serious track of what we spent our money on while we were traveling last year. I had a little notebook and each night I would jot down what we’d spent, how we’d spent it and tally it up for the day.
It served to show us how much things cost in each country, it also helped us visually take note of how much we were spending. Sometimes we thought we’d really gone wild only to look back at the book and see that actually we hadn’t spent much at all. Other times it tallied up far quicker than it was meant to and we were able to take note and reign it back it.
It also means I can write incredibly detailed posts about how much it costs for two people to travel Thailand!
How Much Does it Cost to Travel Thailand?
In the 15 days that we spent in Bangkok and Northern Thailand, we spent a total of 14,726 Baht. That’s equivalent to about $420. That’s for two people for 15 days and includes everything from accommodation to meals and transport.
At the time of travel, 35 baht was roughly $1 USD. We have a Citibank account back home and use that to take money out while we travel. Citibank does not charge anything for using Citibank ATMs around the world. There are two in Bangkok and we stocked up on cash when we arrived in the city. You can take out a maximum of $200 at a time. You can also take money out of any ATM in Thailand without being charged by Citibank, but the bank that owns that ATM will definitely charge you. The maximum amount you can take out of other ATMs is generally not as much, so your best bet is to get to a Citibank ATM to save yourself the fees.
How Much Does Food Cost in Thailand?
Food in Thailand is relatively cheap compared to other countries in South East Asia, but the portion sizes are significantly smaller. In total we spent 4,123 baht on food in Thailand. That’s about $118 for two people for 15 days.
We spent 754 Baht on breakfasts ($20). For breakfast we usually headed to a nearby 7-11 for yogurt or cereal and coffee. If we were on the road or there wasn’t a 7-11, there was always a local shop to buy a Thai tea and an omelette with rice.
We spent a total of 1,055 Baht on lunches ($30). For lunch we would go to a local place to have soup or meat and rice. We used our Lonely Planet a lot in Thailand to find good restaurants as well as Paper Planes Blog for tips on places to eat in and around Chiang Mai.
We spent a total of 1,550 Baht on dinners ($45). For dinner we would go to a night market and sample things from several different stalls. Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Pai have excellent night markets with tons of great options.
We spent a total of 764 Baht on snacks ($21). We snacked frequently, mostly because the food was so good, but also because the portions were quite small. We splurged most on fruit, fresh juices, and Thai iced tea whenever we spotted somewhere that looked good.
How Much Does Accommodation Cost in Thailand?
For 15 nights in Bangkok and Northern Thailand, we spent a total of 4,170 Baht ($118). We never paid more than 300 Baht ($8.50) for a private room usually with it’s own bathroom.
The most expensive place up North was probably Chiang Mai. We walked around quite a few places before we found somewhere for 300 Baht.
It’s also important to note that we were traveling during a quieter time, in late July/early August. If you were to try to visit between November and February I definitely recommend booking something in advance. I’ve read a few horror stories about people showing up without anywhere booked (this is mostly in Chiang Mai) and they end up having to pay an obscene amount at an expensive hotel.
In Pai, we stayed in a private Bungalow with river access and a balcony for 280 Baht ($7.50). We promised to stay for at least three nights, so she moved the price from 320 Baht to 280. While that’s only a few dollars difference, it all adds up over time!
How Much Does Beer Cost in Thailand?
After coming straight to Bangkok from Cambodia, we were a little bit shocked by how much more expensive beer was. Thailand is a very Buddhist country and most devout locals don’t really drink that much, so the price reflects that fact.
A bottle of Chang Beer in 7-11 or similar convenience store costs about 65 Baht ($2) for a 630ml bottle (that’s a huge 21 oz bottle!). If you wanted to have it in a bar you’re looking at something more like 80-100 Baht for a smaller 330ml bottle.
How Much Does Water Cost in Thailand?
A bottle of water costs about 13 Baht (37¢) in convenience stores. The most we ever paid for water from local shops or vendors was 20 Baht (57¢). That is the price for a 1.5L bottle of water which we probably drank between 2-3 a day between us. In total we spent 233 Baht ($6.50) on water during out 15 days of travel.
Although the price of water might not seem out of control, the waste we create as tourists is phenomenal. If you want to save some money over the long term as well as help reduce the amount of plastic you leave in your wake, I highly recommend getting either a LifeStraw Water Bottle or a Steri Pen.
How Much Does Transportation Cost in Thailand?
Transportation in Thailand is cheap and efficient. Buses in Bangkok can cost as little as 15 Baht (43¢). We traveled mostly by public bus. We read some damning information about the private buses, mostly that they steal your stuff, and didn’t really want to risk it. Besides that, the public buses are much cheaper.
The only thing is figuring out how to get to the stations! We relied on the help of the staff at the different hostels that we stayed in to tell us what buses we could take to the station. The buses are really well setup. In addition to a bus driver, there is always an attendant on the bus who gives you your ticket. They speak absolutely no English (not any that we met anyway), but we would have someone write down where we wanted to go in Thai and show it to them. They would smile and nod and tell us when to get off.
In total we spent 3,517 Baht ($100) on transport including buses, tuk-tuks, bicycle and motorbike rentals. The most expensive journeys were Bangkok to Sukhothai (340 Baht each), Sukhothai to Chiang Mai (228 Baht each), and Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai (225 Baht).
We paid 300 Baht for a Tuk-Tuk driver in Chiang Rai to take us to the White Temple and the Black House. There is often little option when it comes to transport between the bus stations and the main towns. Most tuk-tuk and taxi drivers have one price that they all charge Farang (foreigners) and they won’t budge from it.
Some temples in Northern Thailand charge a fee to enter. It was anywhere from 10-40 Baht. Be sure to cover up legs and shoulders before entering out of respect.
We bought a few souvenir T-shirts for about 60 Baht while were there, but saved most of our shopping for when we came back through Bangkok after Laos.
What Would I Do Differently?
Budget-wise, I wouldn’t have done much differently. We were in month four of our trip at this point and we were pretty confident with bartering, walking around until we found a good deal, and sleeping on rock hard beds. We didn’t visit that many places up North, which saved us a lot of money. Luke got some sort of stomach bug while we were in Pai, so we stayed put and didn’t spend much at all for 2-3 days.
Want to spend EVEN LESS? See how Ruben from Gamin Traveler managed to travel Thailand for $10 a day!
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