Thailand is many things but most importantly, Thailand is a beautiful tropical country that a lot of travelers dream of visiting. In fact, Thailand is visited by at least 26 million tourists per year according to GlobalData.
Is Thailand expensive for tourists? Well, we don’t think so. A cheap cost of travel in Thailand is possible with a budget of THB 1700 per day per person or about $54!
$54?! How is that possible? We’ve broken down the costs in this article, so if you want to know how you can travel to Thailand on a budget, keep on reading!
In this article, we will discuss Thailand’s cost of travel in 2023. But we’re not just going to talk about how much you’re going to spend, we’re also talking about how you can save money if you’re planning to go to Thailand on a budget!
And if you’re interested we recommend you read our Cost of Travel articles for Singapore and the Philippines! Keep your heads up for future Cost of Travel articles as we intend to help you save more on your next trip no matter where it is!
Cost of Transportation in Thailand
The cheapest way to get around Thailand is by using public transportation. There are a lot of modes of transportation in Thailand like the well-known Tuk Tuk, Songthaew, Taxi, Bus, Train, etc.
Here are the cheapest modes of transportation in Thailand.
Short Distance Transportation
Songthaews are converted pick-up trucks used as a mode of transportation in Thailand and Laos. This is the cheapest public transportation in Thailand which costs around THB10-30 or US$0.30.
If you plan on riding a Songthaew, you’ll probably save more money compared to riding on other public transportation. Let’s say you’ve taken a Songthaew and have paid US$0.30 about twenty times, that is still just US$6 for the day!
So, if you’re looking for a cheaper option for your transportation in Thailand, we recommend you use the Songthaew. You do have to take note that Songthaews usually go on trips around their designated areas or cities and if you’re planning on traveling intercity, use the buses instead.
You’ve probably heard about Tuk Tuks before. These three-wheeled vehicles have become, sort of, a tourist attraction in Thailand which probably contributed to their costs being more. Yes, Tuk Tuks can cost more than other public transportation.
Tuk Tuks cost around THB 40-50 or US$ 1-2 for a quick ride on average and may cost more if you go around tourist areas or areas during rush hours. Some even experienced paying around THB 200 or US$ 5.
But don’t be surprised. Tuk Tuks are unmetered modes of public transportation therefore, you must be able to negotiate well in order for you to get a cheaper price. Though, we still do recommend trying it out for the fun experience!
Taxis in a lot of Southeast Asian countries are quite inexpensive compared to that of their western counterparts. In Thailand, metered taxis are everywhere in cities, this will give you more confidence in getting around. Just remember to check if the taxi has a meter to avoid getting scammed by expensive fares.
Again, taxis in Thailand are quite inexpensive starting at a THB 35 base fare and increases THB6.50 per 1-10km. On top of this, the vehicles are airconditioned which is great for the hot weather the country has.
Motorbikes are loved by tourists and locals alike for the convenience it brings compared to other modes of transportation in Thailand. It’s fast and easy to hop on to a motorbike taxi and zoom around from one point to another.
With most streets congested with bigger vehicles, motorbikes is one transportation we recommend because it easily brings you to wherever you might need to go. The prices are fairly cheap which costs around THB50-150 depending on factors like distance, location, and time. If it’s rush hour, expect motorbike taxis to charge you higher.
If the western world has Uber, the Asian world has Grab. It’s a convenient app that lets you book rides on your phone. It’s simply the Asian version of Uber and it pretty much works the same.
It’s a convenient way to book transportation in Thailand since you’ll only need to input where you’d like to go and you get to see how much you’re going to pay. No more negotiating if that’s not up your alley!
Bangkok Skytrain and Metro
Bangkok introduced its first Metro back in 2004. These trains go around Bangkok and link up to the city’s Sky Train. The fares are quite inexpensive too which starts at THB16 to THB41 for one way.
There are two metro systems in Thailand, BTS Skytrain, and the MRT. Both of these are situated in Bangkok. The BTS (not the Korean group) stands for Bangkok Mass Transit System. The BTS Skytrain operates across 35 stations from the North to the Southeast of the city, while the MRT runs through 18 stations.
Among these two metro systems, we recommend using both since choosing one will depend on where your destination is. If you’re planning on going upwards to the North, you can take the BTS. If you’re traveling around the main area of Bangkok, the MRT will do just fine. Plus, both of these metro systems will save you a lot of time away from the rush hour traffic in the city.
As of January 1, 2023, Bangkok Mass Transit System’s minimum fare is THB17 and can go up to about THB45 depending on how many stations you pass by. You can also avail of their One-day Pass if you’re planning on exploring the city for the day for only THB150.
Similarly, Thailand’s MRT also offers a minimum fare of THB17 with a maximum of THB70. You can also avail of the Day Pass which costs around THB140.
Long Distance Transportation
If we’re talking intercity travel, the buses in Thailand are the cheapest options. Taking the bus is also a great way to go around Thailand with tickets for regular buses starting at THB140. Longer journeys would cost more, but most sleeper buses are comfortable and they allow you to lie down or take a rest while you’re waiting for your arrival. Tickets usually start at THB830 for sleeper buses.
Domestic flights in Thailand are inexpensive too and convenient for people who are in a hurry.
There are a lot of airlines operating in the country like the popular Air Asia, Bangkok AIrways, Lion Air, Nok Air, Orient Thai, Thai Airways, and Thai Smile. Flights can cost around THB1700 and higher. It might not sound as budget-friendly but it does save you a lot of time in exploring.
Trains in Thailand
One last popular mode of transportation in Thailand is its railway system that runs all throughout the country.
You can ride third class, second class, and first class. Of course, the third-class is the cheapest and quite frankly, the most uncomfortable. The second-class option is a bit better and still quite affordable. The first-class can cost more compared to the other two options but with the convenience of being able to sleep comfortably or do some work on your laptop, this option is quite possibly worthwhile.
If you’re traveling on a budget this 2023, we recommend you book the second class option which can cost around THB900. It’s airconditioned, the seats are comfortable, and they are cheaper than airplane flights.
There are actually two second-class options, the airconditioned and the fan only. If you opt for the fan-only second-class option, it costs around THB530 but the airconditioned second-class option starts at THB900!
While the first class can go up to THB2500, we still believe that the second-class accommodation will be great for budget travel. Despite the prices and the fact that travel time is up to 12 hours, it will be worth it as you get to see the beautiful scenery as you pass through the countryside of Thailand. Plus, if you’re traveling overnight, you pretty much don’t have to pay for a hotel room or a bed at a hostel, right?
Cost of Accommodation in Thailand
Another factor you need to think of when you travel to Thailand is accommodation.
We believe that you won’t need to spend a ton of money on a hotel room just to get some rest when there are alternatives out there that do exactly the same thing.
A budget traveler’s go-to will always be a hostel! Why? Because it’s cheaper no matter where you go! Sure, it’s not as luxurious as a hotel but being on a budget will really push you to find great finds at cheaper costs!
Hostel rooms in Thailand can go as low as THB300! And the best part is that some hostels don’t even look like hostels because of the high-end interiors and all the amenities that are provided!
It’s important to know where your hostel is located and which hostel you’re going to stay at since different hostels offer different perks. That’s why, knowing where to look for the best deals on accommodations and comparing prices are some of the practices we want you to learn! Trust us, when you’ve mastered these practices, your travel experience will be a lot cheaper and even more convenient!
To make the long story short, you can spend around $9 per night in a hostel in Thailand!
Sometimes, hotels can actually cost cheaper than hostels. That’s why we’ve added hotels on this list because we believe that hotels in Thailand are inexpensive and are bang for the buck!
A hotel room for 1 person can go as low as THB1000 which includes all the amenities as well as breakfast! Although, not all hotels offer these perks for such a low price but the point is that, hotels in Thailand can be as budget-friendly as other alternatives!
Cost of Meals in Thailand
Thailand is a tropical country and in tropical countries, fresh fruits and vegetable grow abundantly.
If you’re looking for cheap eats, there’s plenty in Thailand! Meals like Khao Soi can go as low as THB35 or $1! Aged pork sausages also called, Isaan Sausage can be bought for THB70.
Prices of a lot of traditional Thai food generally start around THB35. You can find these everywhere for cheap prices and even in restaurants, you’ll be able to have a taste of Thailand at an affordable price!
Thailand is also known for its wide variety of scrumptious street food that is also filling at the same time. So, if you ever find stalls selling street foods in Thailand, you better ready your tastebuds for a food experience that is an adventure in itself!
Street foods in Thailand are more than just the usual food on a stick. You can get a full meal when you buy street food in Thailand too! For example, a simple rice+vegetables+meat cost around THB30 to THB50! If you ever decide to go big on street food, you can also spend up to THB300 for a whole fish and other dishes!
Also, we recommend you to visit nightmarkets as different food stalls open at these places. Surely, you’ll find more than the usual dishes and nightmarkets are every foodie’s dream!
Open-air Restaurants in Thailand
Eating ‘Al Fresco’ is a popular set-up in Thailand! Expect to see a lot of Thai restaurants that serve food outside of an establishment. You’ll get to sit down with locals as you chow down on a THB40 bowl of noodle soup and other delicious dishes like the ever popular Pad Thai!
Perhaps, in most Asian countries, open-air dining is a popular scene since people usually just come and go. Asian people simply eat at a place and they take the party to some place else. However, expect to see some entertainment in open-air restaurants too, like live bands, etc.
It’s no surprise that airconditioned restaurants will always be more expensive rather than the outdoor ones but with the tropical heat of Thailand partnered with the intense humidity, it’s more convenient to eat at airconditioned restaurants during the day.
Usually, prices for food at indoor restaurants will range from THB200-800 depending on how much food you eat. Pricier restaurants will be…well, pricey! So, if you’re planning to eat at an indoor restaurant, you might want to pack extra money.
Overall Food Cost
If we’re going to compute all of the costs you’ve hypothetically spent on food for one day in Thailand, that would be:
Assuming that your hostel or hotel has offered free breakfast then you probably didn’t spend money but at a restaurant, you probably spent around THB70 on a simple breakfast meal.
Lunch might cost more since you’re probably hungry at this time, so let’s say THB150 per person.
if you’ve tried out some local street food, you might have spent around THB50.
The cost for dinner will depend on where you’ve planned on eating but you could have spent around THB200 for a meal!
The overall price will also depend on how long your stay is. If you plan on staying in Thailand for longer, you might want to stretch out your budget just to be able to survive a day. Meanwhile, staying for a shorter while will give you the luxury of trying out more of the local cuisine!
So, ideally, you’ll spend around $12 per day on food in Thailand if you’re staying for longer or around $15 if you’re staying for a shorter period of time and you want to splurge!
Cost of Activities in Thailand
Another reason why Thailand is beloved by budget travelers is the fact that going sightseeing does not cost thousands! In fact, entrance fees to tourist spots usually cost around THB30 to THB500 or $1 to $15! If your itinerary includes a lot of temple visits, expect to spend an average of THB1000 only!
And if you so happen to be near Wat Chedi Luang, you might as well check out this beautiful Buddhist Temple as the entrance fee is FREE! There are temples and museums that are free for all too, so you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money for your next trip to Thailand.
The seaweed is always greener especially in Thailand! This country boasts wonderful beaches and sealife that are available for tourists to discover! In fact, according to The Guardian, Thailand’s Koh Kradan beach is among the Top 50 Best Beaches in the World, ranking at number 9!
So, after you’ve visited the temples and museums, you might also want to visit the night life at the beaches in the country since there are usually entertainment like fire shows,etc. During the day, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving for THB3500!
Boat trips are quite popular too and you can book a boat trip or go island hopping in Koh Phi Phi or Koh Tao! On average, the cost can range from THB800 to THB1500 per person and even less if you’re taking the trip in a group!
It’s a bore and a huge inconvenience to try to book all the activities you might want to tryout individually. Luckily, there are booking websites that specifically help you in making it easier to book activities online! Simply hop on to the best websites for booking activities and try them!
We have a list of attractions to see in Thailand and we recommend you check it out to help guide you on your journey to the beautiful country!
How much is the total cost of travel in Thailand?
So, in total, you will only spend THB2000 or around $60 per day in Thailand.
Cost of Transportation= THB197 ($6)
Cost of Accommodation= THB296 ($9)
Cost of Meals= THB296 ($9)
Cost of Activities= THB990 ($30) (May vary depending on your preferred activity)
Total= THB1,780 ($54) per day
The total amount we’ve computed in this article assumes that you’re already in Thailand. Other expenses like flight tickets and VISA were excluded as these will depend on your current location.
Do check out our article on the Best Booking Websites for Cheap Flights. In this article, we’ve discussed the best websites to find great deals on flights around the world!
How much money do you need for 2 weeks in Thailand?
One week budget trip in Thailand could cost you around THB 13,500 or roughly $420. If you’re traveling to Thailand for two weeks, you might expect to spend around THB 27,000 or about $820.
All we can say about Thailand is that it is a magnificent country full of well-preserved historical finds that are waiting for you to discover! The people are as beautiful as the country and the experience will literally take you on a historical journey as Thailand’s culture and traditions are very much alive.
Why do you want to go to Thailand? Comment down below and share your thoughts!