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Backpacking Thailand Budget

Backpacking in Thailand Budget

I have put together this page to help those planning a trip to Southeast Asia. Its hard to plan exactly how much money you need for your trip, but it all comes down to how experienced you are. My first trip to South East Asia ended up costing more than I had planned, although things are cheap its very easy to get carried away and keep spending. As you gain backpacking experience, you learn how to save more and spend less.

So what’s the Backpacking in Thailand Cost? or your Backpacking in Thailand daily budget?

There is no simple answer for this.

Backpacking in Southeast Asia offers great value for money if you tailor your lifestyle towards it. Most things are generally cheaper in Asia than in the EU or US. To work out a daily budget for your trip, you first need to consider:

  • Where are you going?
  • What are you doing?
  • Are you traveling solo or with others?
  • How long are you staying?
Where will you be going? will you be staying around the cities or ill you be traveling from the islands to Chiang Mai? Or further off of the beaten track? The further you get from to tourist trail the cheaper the cost of living becomes.

What will you be doing? Do you want to ride elephants, camp on “The Beach”, Go Scuba Diving? Or do you want to visit temples and soak up the local lifestyle? Or something in between? Typical tourist activities can be expensive.

Who are you traveling with? This mainly applies to accommodation, sharing rooms or getting a 2/3 bed room will work out cheaper per person. Splitting the costs works out cheaper per person.

How long are you staying? This equates to how fast you travel, if you only have a short time to see everything than you may want to consider internal flights. The slower you travel the cheaper it becomes.

Thailand Backpacking Budget

With these questions answered you can now begin to work out how much you will spend based on these guidelines. Here are some typical prices based on populated tourist areas in Thailand.

Visa costs can vary greatly depending on your nationality and the currency you pay for them in. Dollars are the preferable currency at land border crossings. If you are flying into Bangkok you will receive a visa exemption, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days free of charge. If you want to stay longer than this you will have to buy a 60 day visa before you arrive, its extra for multiple entries. If you plan on going to other countries in South East Asia within 30 days of arriving in Thailand, their is no need to get an extended visa.

Cost of Backpacking in Thailand

Tourist Visa's
Thailand (Note free 30 day visa on arrival by air. )1000B per entry
Laos (30 days on arrival) Varies depending on nationality.$20-40
Cambodia (30 days on arrival)$20
Vietnam (30 days on arrival)$30-45
Burma (30 days on arrival)$30
1 bed guest house. (Fan)100 - 250B
1 bed guest house. (Aircon)150 - 400B
2 bed guest house. (Fan)200 - 450B
2 bed guest house. (Aircon)300 - 1000B
2 bed 3* Hotel Room800-1200B
2 bed 5* Hotel Room2000+B
Luxury apartment (per month)20000B +
Tuk Tuk Ride50-200B
Local Bus10-30B
Canal Boat5-20B
Scooter Rental100-300B
Bicycle Rental50-100B
Long Distance BusesSee ...
Food and Drink
Street vendor grilled chicken50B
Street Vendor Pad Thai30-50B
Thai dish with rice70B-150B
Western style food100-200B
Mcdonalds Big Mac70B
Meal for 2 at quality restaurant300B to 500B
1 litre of bottled water from a store7B to 12B
Can of soft drink20-50B
Small (330ml) 'Singha' beer in 7/1130B
Small (330ml) 'Singha' beer in a bar100B+
Large (630ml) 'Singha' beer in 7-1150B
Large (630ml) 'Singha' beer in a bar150B+
20 cigarettes (Western brand)90B
20 cigarettes (Thai brand)45B
Awesome Tshirts50-200B
Shoes and Flip Flops100-200B
Massage (without happy ending) :P100-500B
Internet Access (per hour)30-150B

Using these prices as guidelines, you can begin to work out a budget for Backpacking in Thailand. Other surrounding countries in Southeast Asia vary slightly, except Singapore where the cost of living is generally higher. I haven’t added any type of entry fees in the table. These can be hard to work into your Backpacking in Thailand Budget, so its better if you research these individually and take them into consideration for an overall trip cost.

Not everything is cheap in Thailand. Generally anything that is imported, especially from Europe, faces high import taxes. Even more so, products that are predominately aimed at tourists, such as sun cream, receive an inflated price. There is a lot of debate on which countries in Southeast Asia offer the cheapest electrical goods. Some say that Singapore is the cheapest with Laos being the most expensive and Thailand somewhere between. Personally I’d stay away from buying expensive electrical goods in Thailand. The UK/US is cheaper for electronics, with internet stores such as amazon offering the best value for money.

However some electronic stores advertise a VAT refund scheme, allowing tourists to reclaim the 7% added tax. For more information on this, see the official website

VAT Refund Summary

Thailand Budget Travel Tips

Here are a few tips to stretch your budget further whilst backpacking in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

  • Haggle Haggle Haggle

Bartering is seen as a way to agree on a price that you are happy with. Its not rude to barter, its a daily custom in Asia. The problem that most tourists make is starting at the price they want to pay.

If something was 150 baht, I could initially offer 100 baht, around 70% of the initial price. Then it would be the vendors turn and typically a price halfway between mine and the original price would be asked.  So around 120-130 baht, and to haggle down from this could be a challenge.

A better approach is to first half the starting price and then meet somewhere in the middle, but usually to your favor. Giving you the initial price you wanted to pay. For example with the same 150 baht item, I would first offer 75 Baht and then the vendor could offer around 110 baht, but would easily budge to 100.

  • Consider using Public transport, instead of inflated tourist transport.

Public transport in Thailand is particularly cheap. Overnight sleeper trains allow you to travel in comfort for a similar price as a cramped tourist bus.

  • Get out of the tourist trap (Sometimes just stepping a few streets back can give you great savings).
  • Eat and drink at local restaurants and street vendors.
  • Look around and you will always find cheap accommodation and guesthouses.
  • Talk to the locals and expats, they will be able to point you in the right direction.
ATM Charges in Thailand

Backpacking Thailand BudgetIts hard to backpack in Southeast Asia without being hit by transaction fees, service charges and any other random percentage that an ATM feels like charging. It all depends on your debit/credit/pre paid card. The only way to avoid these fees altogether is to either take a bundle of cash with you (That would be silly) or use travelers cheques; I used these on my last trip, going into it thinking they were a bit of an outdated method, however I was surprised to see how easy and efficient they were to use. Even better all American Express travelers cheques are insured against theft, fraud or loss and get replacements sent out to you.

Apart from travelers cheques in Thailand, pre paid debit cards can also be a good idea, they offer better value than normal debit cards, but are still subject to fees.

If wont be able to answer any questions for a while, I am backpacking for 3 months and I wont have regular internet access. Feel free to post your questions anyway and someone may be able to answer you. Thanks Jake

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