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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
Accommodation
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 +
Travel
Tuk Tuk Ride50-200B
Local Bus10-30B
Skytrain25B
Taxi100-300B+
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
Shopping
Awesome Tshirts50-200B
Shoes and Flip Flops100-200B
Hats100-250B
Shorts100-200B
Sunglasses50-150B
Souvenirs20B+
General
Haircut60B
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 http://www.rd.go.th/vrt/

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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  44. Reply by katl on March 11, 2014

    Hello mate,

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  49. Reply by Sammie and Fae on August 30, 2013

    Hi!
    Don’t know if Jake, or anyone else on here can help!
    My friend and I are travelling around South East Asia in Janurary. We land in KL on the 7th of Jan and fly home from Ho Chin Minh City on the 4th of April. We both have around £2500 to go with, and will hopefully have a little more the time comes round to going. Will £2500 be enough for 3 months?
    Also what is the best route to take? We would like to go from Malaysia to Thailand, Thailand to Cambodia, Cambodia to Vietnam. It is expensive to get visas as well? We are completely clueless on routes to be honest! If anyone can help we will be so grateful!

    Thanks!
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  52. Reply by Jaime on May 18, 2013

    Hi,

    I recently booked a trip from the beginning of November until the end of February. I have saved $4000 Canadian so far and plan to visit Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and hopefully India. I have heard Thailand is getting more expensive so I only plan to spend two weeks or so there (to go to a full moon party) and then leave for Vietnam. I am traveling alone and I rarely drink, do you think this will be enough money or should I save more? I will take buses/trains/ferries instead of planes most places, and will stay in cheap hostels. Also, do you have any tips for solo-female backpackers?

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  54. Reply by Jonny B on April 30, 2013

    Hi Jake, im travelling bangkok and planning to wing it round Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam for 2 weeks. Would you say a £400 budget would suffice? excluding flights.

  55. Reply by Mac on March 20, 2013

    Hi Jake,
    I have £8000 (including flights, visas, etc)and want to travel SEA(thailand, laos, vietnam, cambodia and maybe more) for as long as possible. I am willing to work/volunteer. Although I plan to visit tourist spots I want to go to unpopular places as well and eat like the locals. I am am willing to live as cheaply as possible in order to extend my trip for the longest possible time. In your opinion, how long do you think I could travel?

    • Reply by bazza on April 23, 2013

      hey mac, similar plan to me, how did you get on with finding out about volunteer work etc… ill be looking at doing the same to keep me going and occupied and involved with local communities.

    • Reply by Jonny B on April 30, 2013

      Hi Jake,

  56. Reply by Liam on March 18, 2013

    Hi Jake,
    Im travelling with my GF and we are looking to spend approx 6 months travelling S.E.A, major flights will be seperate but we intend on doing quite alot of the ‘tourist things’ what budget should we be looking at it to enjoy ourselves rather than worrying each day about every penny?

  57. Reply by jasmin on March 11, 2013

    Hi

    First of all awesome website, really learnt a lot from it.

    Just a quick question I was hoping you could help me with, I spend a month in Thailand and Cambodia in September so I do have some idea of the costs of backpacking in SE Asia, however we moved around a lot and as it was my partners first backpacking trip we stayed in nicer places than I usually would. I am looking to go again this summer. We are two people and our budget is £ 5000 each this is excluding the initial plane tickets to and from Bangkok but including all other transport, visa fees, food, accommodation, etc. We were initially talking about a route including Skt Petersburg, Moscow – trans-mongolian railway – Beijing – Xian – Vietnam (North to South) – Phnom Penh – Sikouhville – Thailand (islands). However I think the whole Russia/railroad part would be eating in to our budget at a fast rate as it seems fairly expensive plus it could be problematic that we need to do it when the tourist season is peaking. Therefore I am thinking perhaps we should look into something like Thailand, Burma, Malaysia (especially Borneo) and Indonesia. Would you have any idea how long we can survive for with this budget on any one of these itineraries? This is bearing in my mind that we do not drink a lot, but my partner does need a fix of ‘Western’ food, as he isn’t (yet) accustomed to the amazing street food.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us

    X

    • Reply by Theresia on March 20, 2013

      I live in Jakarta and I’ve just visited Bangkok few days ago, comparing this 2 cities, I would say Jakarta is a bit more expensive than Bangkok in most of daily needs like accomodations, foods and transports. But it really depends which part of Indonesia you’d like to visit. Bali and Kalimantan (Indonesian part of borneo) would be a completely different cost.

  58. Reply by Vicky on February 28, 2013

    hye jake,

    This is really great website.Im planing to bacpack around South Asia (Thailand,Myannmar ,Laos,Vietnam & Cambodia) in 125 Days alone.And im 1st timer.
    Did you think my budget about RM 12k enough for this?Really need your help.

    Thanks,
    Vicky

  59. Reply by Cody Ottens on February 24, 2013

    Hey,
    I found your website very useful, but I like to double-check my numbers and wanted to run some by you.

    I’m planning on going to Thailand for 2 months, then Vietnam and Laos for 2-3 weeks, and, minus plane tickets, have a budget of $3000. Do you think this will be enough to travel around the country in? I plan on staying in cheaper hostels, not drinking too much, and doing boat rides, hiking, rock climbing, and maybe a scuba diving course on one of the islands.

    Would like to know your opinion if this would be possible with the budget I have, or if I should make my trip shorter. I’m going by myself and have never back packed before and want to make sure I dont run into any financial problems when I’m out there.

    Thanks

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on February 26, 2013

      Hello Cody.
      Id say a 10-11 week trip on that budget would be quite a struggle. Especially as its your first time. Id recommend cutting the trip a bit. Maybe 8 or 9 weeks. As long as you watch your accommodation and transportation costs you will be fine. Be careful at border crossings as well, there are a lot of touts who try to sell you visa services at inflated prices. Always makes sure you go to the official visa office and pay the correct price.:D
      Thanks, Jake

  60. Reply by Lauren on February 14, 2013

    Hi Jake,

    I am planning to travel to Asia for a month. Spending 5 days in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Which country would be best to start? Coming from California.

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on February 16, 2013

      Hi Lauren,
      Thailand is always the best to start. Bangkok is central to Southeast Asia and has the cheapest flights. Flying into Thailand gives you a 30 day visa exemption, so you wont have to make any visa arrangements, as long as you move on to the next country before the 30 days are up.
      Thanks, Jake

  61. Reply by Chris on February 10, 2013

    How’s the form Jake?

    Two friends and I are planning on flying to Bangkok and then just winging it from there around SE Asia from about 3 months. None of us are really good at planning anything and were wondering if its a good idea to just go without a plan? And how much cash would be needed. Would 2k each be enough (Excluding flights)

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on February 11, 2013

      Hello Chris,
      I think its best to wing it. Thats what I normally do. I like to have a few places in mind that I want to visit and figure it out as I go along. Most people travel like this. When you say 2000, is that US or GBP?
      Thanks, Jake

    • Reply by Chris on February 13, 2013

      Posted this in the wrong place :(

      Hey Jake,

      Cheers for the reply. Winging it looks like the best option then. Any hidden beauties you would recommend we see? That would be 2000GBP.

      Thanks again,

      Chris

      • Reply by Jake Birkin on February 13, 2013

        Hello Chris,
        I cant think of any particular hidden beauties. But I will say the scenery in northern Vietnam is incredible. Sapa and Halong Bay are must sees. 3 months is do able on that budget, but you will have to be careful were you spend. Opt for small guesthouses/hostels and use public transport.
        Thanks, Jake

  62. Reply by Jacqui on February 3, 2013

    Hey Jake

    Just looking for some advice, a friend and i have got our quote from the tavel agents staying in all good hotels and domestic flights within thailand as were going from phuket to koh phi phi to bangkok to chaing mai then home. Should we just stick with that quote and do it that way as we have never been there or should we just book return flights there and just wing it? Grab a lonley planet and backpack across the country?

    Cheers

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on February 5, 2013

      Hello Jacqui,
      Just wing it! It will be much more exciting and less restrictive. You can always organise tours when you get there.
      Thanks, Jake

  63. Reply by luis rodrigues on January 31, 2013

    hi mate very helpful site.!

    just a few questions mate,
    first of all im off travelling with one other person planning on going for about 6-8 months with about £6000-£7000.

    i will be starting off in delhi working my way up to the himalayas for skiing then travel down the slow way on trains ETC. for saving because we will not be in any rush down to goa, i have been to india goa before and know what to expect so that will help me whilst i am in india but im also going to sri-lanka, thailand, cambodia, vietnam. do you think this money will be enough for me to go without any worries whilst im over there travelling ?

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 31, 2013

      Hi Luis,
      I think your budget is spot on for a trip of that length. The more experience you get on the road the cheaper things become. Just watch the budget and opt for slower transportation methods, like you suggested. Have a great tip.
      Thanks, Jake

  64. Reply by Ben on January 30, 2013

    Hi Jake mate,
    Loving the work, need some advice if poss. Im planning on travelling Thailand and Laos, will arrive in Bangkok around 13th Feb. Now i have £1000 budget. Im unsure if i should do the islands first or do them after Laos? I have a friend in Vang Vieng who is there until the 16th March so looking to spend some time there. The full moon parties are 26th Feb and 26th March so trying to work out if i have enough time to travel around the islands then travel up north and then to Laos in time for about 6th March or should i do the islands last and try n do full moon party on 26th March? Im aware i only have 15 days when i cross the border back from Laos. Any ideas would be great and if£1000 will be enough to do this? Im not going to be partying too much, aiming to do all this in a month maybe. Thanks very much

    PS, do you advise some decent walking shoes for trekking or would some old trainers do?

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 31, 2013

      Hi Ben,
      If you plan to do quite a bit of trekking, then id advise getting a decent pair of walking shoes. If not just take some old trainers. Solomon have a nice selection of shoes/boots, they have always worked well for me.
      Thanks, Jake

  65. Reply by Ryan on January 27, 2013

    Hi Jake,
    firstly pal awseome site, was wondering if you could offer sum advice and just a general comment whether you think this i realistic and offer some advice, basically me and some friends traveling out to HCMC in July we plan to travel for 2 month do the loop of all countries however if possible wanna make a quick jump to Sumartra (medan) and we were wondering of the best/cheapest way from the islands in Thailand (Koh Samui) to medan also we have around £2500 total excl flights for the 58 days.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 28, 2013

      Hi Ryan,
      The cheapest way to Medan, would be to get a return flight from Bangkok to Polonia. Air Asia does direct flights for under £100 return. Alternatively you could get the train down to Kuala Lumpur and take a flight from there, this may be a viable option especially if you already plan to visit the Southern Islands in Thailand. Your budget sounds great.
      Thanks, Jake

      • Reply by Ryan on January 30, 2013

        so basically head to KL from the islands (gonna try queeze a full moon or half moon party in there amuch differnce between the two ?)and fly from there. and cheers for the reply back Jake appreciate it. also you have a rough idea for how much transport from HCMC all the way round to here generally costs just rough guide ?

        • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 31, 2013

          Hi Ryan,
          I don’t recommend the half moon party at all. I went to one and it was over-hyped rubbish. And it cost £15-£20 to get in! But if you want to party, just go to the full moon beach in Haad Rin, there’s a mini party every night in the week leading up to the full moon. Did you mean transport from Ho Chi Minh to Kuala Lumpur?
          Thanks, Jake

          • by Ryan on February 1, 2013

            Basically jake ill be starting in vietnam (HCMC) working up the coast and into laos, however what to do from this point onwards is what i could do with sum advice i want to head from laos and do thailand and cambodia then onto sumartra however what to do en-route and which route to do is what i could use sum advice on and if theres any budgeting or pricing you could shot in would be extremley helpful as ive sort of become the group leader to my horror ha

            Thank’s,
            Ryan

          • by Jake Birkin on February 5, 2013

            Hi Ryan,
            I think it depends on wether you want to see the north of Thailand or not. If you dont then I would advise to go though Laos then head South through Camodia. If you do want to see the north, then exit Laos and explore northern Thailand before heading back south to The Cambodian Border at Aranyaprathet. My main tips to kep cost down is to travel by public transport and travel throughout the night whenever possible. If you take an overnight train, your saving on accommodation costs. As well as saving on time.
            Thanks, Jake

    • Reply by Ben on January 30, 2013

      Hi Jake mate,

      Loving the work, need some advice if poss. Im planning on travelling Thailand and Laos, will arrive in Bangkok around 13th Feb. Now i have £1000 budget. Im unsure if i should do the islands first or do them after Laos? I have a friend in Vang Vieng who is there until the 16th March so looking to spend some time there. The full moon parties are 26th Feb and 26th March so trying to work out if i have enough time to travel around the islands then travel up north and then to Laos in time for about 6th March or should i do the islands last and try n do full moon party on 26th March? Im aware i only have 15 days when i cross the border back from Laos. Any ideas would be great and if£1000 will be enough to do this? Im not going to be partying too much, aiming to do all this in a month maybe. Thanks very much

      • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 31, 2013

        Hi Ben,
        Id say do the Full Moon party first. It takes about 15 hours on the train to get to the south, but this time flies when you are on a sleeper train. You will get to Laos in a couple of nights, taking into consideration an overnight stop in Bangkok, if needed. Just make sure you will leave Thailand before the 15 days are up. You could travel on that budget for a month quite comfortably. Have a great trip.
        Thanks, Jake

  66. Reply by Matthew on January 17, 2013

    Me and a few mates have planned to go back packing around SE Asia this summer we are going for 5 weeks and had budgeted around a 1,000 pounds English stirling. When wr are there we dont want to be struggling for money so just wandering if anyone had any advice (did read 20 dollars a day is enough =£15 but that seems really cheap)

    Cheers

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 26, 2013

      Hello Matthew.
      You will struggle to do a 5 week trip on £1000 . Try and get another £300. It is very possible to do Southeast Asia in £15 but you will have to watch your budget really carefully and stay in the cheapest rooms. Id budget for around £25 a day, especially if you plan on partying/drinking regularly. You also have to take into consideration visa/transport costs.
      Thanks, Jake

  67. Reply by Sam on January 14, 2013

    Hi mate, love the site, been really helpful.
    Im planning on travelling on my own to Bangkok from London late February/early March for a month. Your “Thailand – the full shebang” route is roughly what I want to follow. Do you think its best to just get a return flight to Bangkok then work out other travel arrangements to and from the island after arriving in Bangkok, or should a bit more planning go into it?

    Cheers

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 21, 2013

      Hello Sam,
      Get a return flight to Bangkok. That’s the cheapest option, Arrange everything else as you go along. Finding places to stay is easy and most budget guesthouses cant be pre arranged anyway.
      Thanks, Jake

  68. Reply by kelly on January 13, 2013

    hi, your page is great by the way and very informative :) just after a bit of advise really me and a friend are planning on heading to Thailand in October and staying for roughly 3 months, during which we want to go everywhere and do all the touristy things (full moon party, elephant trekking, rafting etc) we were also hoping to leave after 30 days and get a flight to singapore and return after a couple of weeks to spend our last month back in Thailand. At the moment we have a budget of £3000 after flights do you think this is a realistic amount to enjoy the experience comfortably?
    many thanks.

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 13, 2013

      Hello Kelly,
      Your budget gives you around £33 a day. This is enough to travel comfortably on, although id recommend booking your flights to Singapore as soon as possible to ensure a cheap flight.
      Thanks, Jake

  69. Reply by Tom - Active Backpacker on December 7, 2012

    Great stuff mate, always good to see a serious budgeting post so you can get into the nitty gritty of what things cost. Keep it up!

    • Reply by Gareth on January 1, 2013

      What’s up Jake? I am doing 12 months in SEA leaving in Sep 2013. Thanks to your site i am starting to get some excellent planning ideas. Thank you for sharing this great information with us. Much appreciated dude.

      • Reply by Jake Birkin on January 2, 2013

        Thanks Gareth. Your trip will be awesome.

  70. Reply by Charlotte on December 1, 2012

    Hi Jake

    Great blog and kudos to you for finding the right time to write back to everyone!

    • Reply by Sarah on December 2, 2012

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks for all the travel info. I was wondering if you could recommend any budget guest-rooms/hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, and VV?

      Also, me and a friend are travelling to BK and then Laos, and Cambodia from January 25th. Is this high season or would we have missed all the peak time tourists. Its just that we are taking this factor into consideration on whether we should book out hotels beforehand.

      Lastly, is there any beaches that you would recommend (white san, clear water) with budget accommodation in Thailand?

      Thanks so much!

      • Reply by Jake Birkin on December 2, 2012

        Hi Sarah,

        I dont have any acommodation to reccomend. I normally walk into a guesthouse ask how much it is, then ask to see the room and if its alright I take it. You could also ask other backpackers where they are staying. In Bangkok stay on Khaosan Road in Bangkok, most of the rooms are short stay and pretty basic. I have never prebooked any accommodation whilst travelling. I would only recommend doing this on the small and popular islands, such as Phi Phi.

        I think January is the start of the high season, however you will be able to get accommodation wherever you go, it may just take a little bit of walking around. It would be quite impractical to prebook accommodation, most budget options dont advertise and can not be found online.

        Koh Tao has some great beaches and is known for its clear waters and marine life. You can find budget accommodation on all the islands if you ask around.
        Hope this helps.
        Thanks, Jake

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on December 2, 2012

      Thanks Charlotte :D

  71. Reply by Darren Walsh on November 19, 2012

    Hi Jake,

    First of all let me say excellent website, some great tips!!

    Anyway I am heading to South East Asia in January for 7 weeks with 2 other people. We are flying into Kuala Lumpur and 2 days later on to Thailand (spending 1 week between the island on the west and east coast then flying from Surat Thani on to Bangkok for around 3 days and flying to Chiang Mai for another 4 days so thats 2 weeks in Thailand.

    We are then going to spend around 2 weeks in Loas, 2 weeks in Vietnam travelling South and 1 week in Cambodia flying from Siem Reap back to Kuala Lumpur.

    This isnt set in stone but it is what I have come up with.

    Is this all realistic in 7 weeks?
    I have budgeted Euro 2000 for the 7 weeks excluding flights but will have to take everything else into consideration including visas.

    I look forward to your reply Jake.

    Thanks, Darren.

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on November 25, 2012

      Hi Darren,
      Thanks for your feedback.

      Your budget is easily achievable, this will give you an average of 40 euros per day which is more than enough. You could even save additional money by taking an overnight train back from Surat Thani to Bangkok or one from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, although you may have already booked the flights. The last time I did SEA I was spending no more than 20 euros per day and still doing everything I wanted to. Your plan sounds great to me.
      Thanks, Jake

  72. Reply by Kate on November 9, 2012

    Hi Jake

    What a fab page!!

    My boyfriend and I are planning on travelling South East Asia and New Zealand for 6/8 months next year!!

    Just wanted to ask if you think we will have a ‘comfortable trip’ on our funds…..planning on taking £6500 excluding flights (they are already bought) wanting to do all sorts of touristy and non touristy things including skydiving in New Zealand and may think of buying a campervan there for a month or so.

    But more interested in the Asia stuff…….your website seems really helpful!!!

    Thanks,
    Kate :)

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on November 11, 2012

      Hi Kate,
      Thanks for that.

      Sounds like one hell of a trip you have in the works. Id budget around £800 per month for Southeast Asia. This works out at around £26 per day. You could do it in much less than this but i’ve factored in excursions, entrance fees etc. All of the countries have a similar cost of living. New Zealand will be harder to do on a budget. A camper van may work out much cheaper. To answer your question, I think £6500 will be enough to live on comfortably for 6 months but 8 months is a bit optimistic.

      Thanks, Jake

  73. Reply by jamie on November 1, 2012

    hey love your blog, im 25 and ive been saving this summer and want to go traveling in thailand in january, but ive got 2 options,
    1. Spend 4 months traveling Thailand, Laos, Vietman, Cambodia, with the majority spent in Thailand, i’d only be staying in cheap accom/hostels etc and be eating street food, but i would be partial to the odd alcoholic drink most nights and would want to do a full moon party or 2, id also like to go jungle trekking on elephants and tubing, songkran etc..
    2. Go to Thailand for 4-6weeks and do everything that i can do as above in january, then return in april with my cousin to do thailand/laos/vietnam, inc songkran n a full moon party..

    im hoping my final spending budget to be at £3000 after flights

    ive never been away traveling before and really want to get away and go on an adventure, the longest ive been away is only 2 weeks when ive been to mexico twice, so im a lil nervous of the thought of going away for 4 months but on the other hand it could be the best thing i ever do..

    any thoughts and advice you could give me would be fantastic thanks
    jamie

  74. Reply by Rachel on September 18, 2012

    Hey Jake. Thanks for the insight! It is much appreciate. Teaching in Korea is a great experience, as I’ve heard about China and Japan as well. I believe Korea offers the best program and benefits from what I’ve heard and researched. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me or message me on facebook. I’m subscribe to your Backpacking SEA page, you can find me as Rachel Lynn or email me at rgall513@live.kutztown.edu. Cheers!

  75. Reply by Rachel on September 16, 2012

    Hi Jake. Your blog is awesome! It answered a lot of the question I had up front. I live and teach in South Korea. My contract is up in February and I am planning to backpack South East Asia for a month. In a month’s time, is it possible that I will be able to go from Thailand, to Laos, Cambodia, and down to Vietnam? What kind of budget would you reccommend? The currency exchange is insane. It seems that Thailand is ridiculously cheap for food and accommodation. I plan to fly to Bankok first from Korea, and then go back to fly from Thailand to the US and head for home. My flight back home is going to be pretty hefty, therefore, I want to try to find cheap alternatives while actually being in SEA. Any insight is greatly appreciated :) Also, I might be traveling with someone, which should help me with the budget. Thanks in advance!

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on September 16, 2012

      Hi Rachel. Thanks for the feedback. I think you could answer some of my questions, I have been looking into teaching opportunities in South Korea, Japan and China. Share your wisdom, ha ha but lets get back on topic. Not including the flights I would recommend a budget of around $1000. This will give you around $33 per day, which should make up for decent accommodation meals and tourist activities, entry fees, travel etc. You must also consider the visa costs separately, so have a little more aside for this. Depending on what you want to do out there, you could easily spend less or more. Travelling with someone will definitely cut the costs of accommodation.

      To travel all 4 countries in a month would be quite a stretch and you would spend a large portion of your time travelling. Vietnam is huge and to get from top to bottom without flying would take 30 hours by train. You will then have to repeat this length when you travel back to Bangkok. Unless you have your heart set on Vietnam, i’d skip this one out. It is the most hassle and most expensive to get to, you have to pre arrange a visa for a select date and it costs $45, which is pretty ridiculous compared to Cambodia which costs only $20. Laos and Cambodia are pretty close together and have excellent transport connections from Thailand.
      Thanks, Jake

  76. Reply by rb on August 29, 2012

    Hellllooo well I am looking to go back packing for the first time, I have no idea where to start. I am getting hopefully 6 months of work is this too long and if so is a budget of around 500/600 pound a month realistic? Where do you find cheap hostels etc too Thanks :)

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on August 30, 2012

      Hello Rachel,
      You will be able to cover a lot of distance in that time. I saw the majority of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2 months. So if you’re going for 6 months, you may want to travel further afield, maybe into China or Myanmar. A £600 a month budget is realistic. You can live pretty well for £20 a day, as long as you shop around. You can research cheap hostels/guesthouses online but this is not too effective. The best way is to just wait until you get there and find the cheapest one by asking around. Ask other backpackers and step a few streets back from the main tourist areas to find the cheap accomodation.
      Thanks, Jake

  77. Reply by Vagabondcobbler on August 25, 2012

    This info is really helpful, thank you!
    I’m am backpacking for the first time from October
    and will spending 2 months in this thailand and surrounding
    countries.
    Will I be able to buy Quality travel gear such as waterproofs
    and walking shoes in thailand?

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on August 25, 2012

      Hello,
      I don’t know about the quality. Theres a lot of travel gear available but its all fake, even in big shopping centers. They all look like the real thing but for the price they must be bad quality.

      If you had a brand in particular, you could find out whether they have a legitimate shop in Bangkok.

  78. Reply by N-Jump on August 23, 2012

    I was wondering what you thought the best thing to do if you are going to be in Thailand for more then 30 days. Do you think its better to get a 60 day Visa or leave the country and then come back in. If the latter is true were is the best boarder to cross.
    Thanks

    • Reply by Jake Birkin on August 23, 2012

      Hello,
      I would definitely recommend a border run instead of a visa, its cheaper and less hassle. The closest border from Bangkok is the Aranyaprathet / Poipet border with Cambodia. A lot of people do the border run here.
      Thanks

  79. Reply by J-Me on August 5, 2012

    Hey All!

    I’m flying into Bangkok (from Canada) in one week, and am trying to decide what direction to head in first. I have no interest in spending any more time than I have to in Bangkok, but realize that I may spend a day somewhere a short distance away while I recover from the 26hr travel time I’ll have just endured.
    I was considering heading to Ayutthuya for a night, as I make my journey north by way of Sukhothai, Lampang and then Cheng Mai where I plan on spending a few days. I was also considering heading south first, making my way south towards some of the islands and Phukket. Thinking about spending a couple of days in Ko Tao and maybe Ko Samui.
    I’m be traveling with my super cool girlfriend.. we’re packing very light for the trip.. and highly look forward to the adventure first and foremost. We’re both easy going, but any suggestions on key spots to stay in in a specific city would be greatly appreciated. The more i research, the more i realize that there are some pretty sweet hidden spots. While we are outgoing and love having a good time, we are just as content staying at a tranquil spot and taking it all in.
    we are slated to travel for 3 weeks, but have the option to extend which is more than likely to happen. If that is the case, I will most certainly be back on here asking advice about Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.. etc, as I would love to experience it all as best I can.

    Again, any advice on where to go, a cool place to stay, and any must see sites along the way would be GREATLY appreciated.
    We’re as big on sight seeing and historical places, as we are on hiking and safaris.

    Cheers!

    • Reply by myaltlife on August 7, 2012

      Hello

      I have just finished writing a new article on backpacking routes. http://myalternativelife.net/backpacking-routes

      Your plan looks sound so far, and as for tranquil spots id reccomend Central Thailand Kanchanburi and Sangkhalaburi are beautiful places and have a laid back vibe to them. They were one of the highlights of my trip and one of my favourite places in Thailand. Check out nearby Erewan national park as well.

      Thanks, Jake

  80. Reply by Joey on July 30, 2012

    Thanks for giving a better in-depth chart on some of the basic costs for backpacking.

  81. Reply by Danni on July 27, 2012

    Hi I have been looking for some information like this for ages and your blog has literally covered everything that I have been looking for.

    Next week I am travelling to Thailand for 7 weeks. So far I have already brought my visa and booked my full moon party accomodation.

    However I have only got £1000 THB for everything else. Does this sound enough? I have never travelled anywhere before. (except I have been to disney world but I am sure it has no comparison) I am not looking for a luxury experience, however really dont want to worry to much about what I am spending. Any help?

    Also I am stuck between taking cash, using my debit card or using my cashcard which I have only just found out has a 5.75% charge on it per transaction/withdrawal. So I am not sure whether to scrap this method and just take my debit card? Any recommendations?

    Thank you very much for this blog it has helped so much!

    Many Thanks

    Danni

    • Reply by myaltlife on July 27, 2012

      Hi Danni,
      Thanks for the comment, £1000 is a little on the short side. It is do-able on this budget, but you would have to watch your spending very carefully. Its very easy to get carried away when and spend just a few more pounds here and there, that end up adding up to a large amount. I think a budget of £1200 is more realistic, especially if its your first time traveling.

      Cash is the only option that you wont lose out someway on. Every other option will charges and debit cards are the worst! Its hard to figure out exactly how much these will cost you, but 5% charge is high on the scale, plus you will get an additional transaction charge from the atm. Id recommend taking a card but only for emergency use.

      Pre paid cash cards could be a good option, but these aren’t normally as travel friendly as they make out. You will still be hit with a percentage charge and ive seen these cards not work on all atms.

      Another option could be travellers cheques, and this is my preference. You can get traveleres cheques from the post office, or any bank, supermarket or travel agent. These are very easy to use in Thailand and almost every bank accepts them. The advantage of using travelleres cheques is that you get a much smalller charge, most of the time under 2% and some banks offer a slightly higher exchange rate with cheques than they do cash, im not sure why. The cheques are also insured and can be replaced if lost or stolen. If you buy cheques from the UK, pay with pounds but get dollar cheques. You can get cheques in GBP but you will get a percentage charge, dollars cheques are exempt.

      More info on this here: http://www.postoffice.co.uk/travel/travel-money/travellers-cheques/faqs#61300288

      To summarise the best option would be to take a combination of cash and cheques. Maybe 100-200 in cash, dont change to much cash into baht before you get there, because the exchange rate in England is terrible. Change it when you get there.

      Thanks, Jake

  82. Reply by Laura on July 24, 2012

    Thanks Jake
    Do you know the best time of year to go ? thinking of going in December until March?
    Laurax

  83. Reply by LauraT on July 5, 2012

    Hey off to thailand,cambodia,laos and vietnam hopefully for 3 monthsdo you think a budget on £2500 for 3 months is enough

    Thanks x

    • Reply by myaltlife on July 6, 2012

      Hi Laura

      A budget of £2500 sounds bang on. Im currently backpacking in these countries and have been here for just over a month and spent £800 so far, thats including everything except the flights. I could have done it for even less but I have been traveling with some luxury.
      Thanks Jake

  84. Reply by Bena on July 4, 2012

    Hi All,

    I am Bena from Indonesia. I live in Jakarta. I have a plan to travel south east asia in 2013. I’m still thinking and making the routes. Oh ya, I’m so glad if anyone of you can join my trip. Let me know if you guys interested, email me on raniwela@yahoo.com

    Thank you :)

  85. Reply by Jared on July 2, 2012

    Hi,

    I am planning to do a 10 day backpacking travel from Singapore to Thailand and another country (not Malaysia).

    I am wondering if you could help me which place to go final before flying back to Singapore. Last stop, I will take a plane going back to Singapore…

    My initial plan is to take a bus to Penang then to Hat Yai then to Phuket. From Phuket go to Bkk then to Chang Mai. From Chang Mai, I dont know already…

    Btw, I live in Singapore so definitely I will be coming form this place.

    Could you advise where I should go? Will 10 days be enough? Btw, I have been to Bkk for more than 7 times but never tried going there backpacking. So technically, this is the first time Im doing this.

    How much budget should I have? Any recommendations on trustworthy hostels?

    How dangerous can it be doing backpacking?

    Thanks. Sorry for my curiousity. I am travelling alone coz I couldnt get anyone from my team to go with me… So I am a bit scared.

    Thanks.

    • Reply by myaltlife on July 6, 2012

      Hi Jared,
      Thats some distance to cover, ive just updated this article to add more info, and more updates will be coming soon. Id recommend the overnight sleeper trains to Bangkok. I cant rate them enough in comparison to private buses. Although this would mean getting a bus from Phuket to Krabi and then catching the train.

      10 days doesnt seem like enough to cover the distance from Singapore to Chiang Mai. One way its 2500km so a lot of time would be spent traveling. Id consider getting a flight from Phuket to Chiang Mai, if they are within your budget. You could then work your way South back to Bangkok and fly home from there. 30 USD per day should be an achievable budget if you are staying in guesthouses.

      Backpacking in Thailand is safe and as long as you stay on the right side of the law, especially the drug laws you will have no problems. Try to avoid walking around dark streets at night by yourself, but its mostly common sense. I have never had any problems.

      I think traveling alone will be a great experience for you. Theres lots of solo backpackers and you will certainly meet some in guesthouses and bars.

      Thanks, Jake

  86. Reply by Abe on June 25, 2012

    Hey,

    Great blog! It’s really useful, and impressively comprehensive…

    Cheers!

    Abe

  87. Reply by Anonymous on June 24, 2012

    Thanks and good blog.

  88. Reply by Luke B on June 3, 2012

    Hi myaltlife

    Im planning on going on my own at the minute unless i find a partner in before then, My plan is Landing in Bangkok spending around 2 days there and then going up north to chiang mai and stopping on the way, once i get to chiang mai i think i will be stopping there for a few days and then visiting Pai which was reccomended by a friend of mine then i think i will make my way to khon kaen near the border of Laos, and do a couple of things around there before heading up to Laos. In Laos i plan on tubing for sure in vang veing, because i saw you guys do it and it looks epic. After that im a little stuck is there anywhere else you would recommend? Thanks

    • Reply by myaltlife on June 19, 2012

      Your plan sounds good. I have met lots of people travelling solo in Southeast Asia. And im sure you could meet someone whilst your out there, if you wanted a travel buddy. Ive just traveled around central Thailand around Kanchanaburi province, in central Thailand. Id recommend this area for the shear amount of national parks and natural wonders. This area is also a less developed on the tourist side. And is a nice change to the commercial towns and cities on the tourist trail. Im going tubing in the next few days, Ill make another video, check out the photos that I have uploaded to the facebook page.
      Thanks, Jake

  89. Reply by Phil on May 7, 2012

    Thanks very much for the advice!

    I have been reading about 1 way tickets giving some people trouble gettong into Thailand? Do I need to have proof that I will be leaving in time before my 30 day visa runs out?

    I live in Canada but have a British passport (moved here when I was 1)

  90. Reply by Phil on May 2, 2012

    Hey guys, I have been doing alot of reading online about backpacking Thailand, and last week I found a good price on sky scanner and booked a one way ticket to Bangkok for June 7th and told my work today I will be leaving!! It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I am so excited to get going but id like a bit of help trying to plan my route out..

    I have been thinking I am going to spend two or 3 days in bangkok right off the start to get rid of jet leg and then start heading up north from there:

    Should i get a bus straight to chang mai? Is sukohothai and lamphun worth visiting if i can stops on the way? I’m pretty clueless at the moemnt but im looking to get a good route going.. which will next lead me into Laos and down Vietnam (not sure exactly which cities yet)

    I’ve finally saved up enough money to go out and backpack so I will be winging it mostly. Hopeing to meet some cool people that can keep pointing me in the right direction, but any helpful tips would be a huge help, Thanks!

    • Reply by myaltlife on May 3, 2012

      Hey Phil, You are going to love Thailand and Southeast Asia. I would recommend staying in Bangkok for no more than two days, you can pretty much see all the touristy stuff in a day.

      Also you will most probably be returning to Bangkok before your trip is over. If you plan to travel elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Bangkok is central and has excellent transport links.

      You should be able to find a bus going to Sukohothai on Khaosan Road, Bangkok. Its definitely a good idea to visit these places. I’ve never been to them myself but I will be next time. The bus trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai directly is ridiculously long. So it would be a better idea to split the journey up more, by visiting these places along the way.

      Transport links to Laos and Vietnam are easy from Chiang Mai so as a general route id suggest. Head north from Bangkok, stopping at Sukohothai and Lamphun then head to Chiang Mai.

      From Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang in Laos is the shortest journey and well worth a visit. From Luang Prabang you could explore Laos got to Vang Vieng tubing (if it interests you), then possibly head to Ha noi, Vietnam and work your way back South. Ha noi is the shortest bus ride and makes for a logical route.

  91. Reply by CrazyDiamond on March 25, 2012

    Thanks for the blog!
    Today i enter Thailand (after 1 month in Malaysia and 2.5 in India;-) )
    All prices true – for a traveller, not a tourist.
    Btw, India cost me roughly 10 USD/day.

    • Reply by myaltlife on March 26, 2012

      Thats great! Have fun on your travels.

      Where abouts in India did you travel on that budget?

      Thanks, Jake

  92. Reply by myaltlife on March 19, 2012

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for the comments, I think you could do it on £10-£15 a day. As long as you don’t follow the lonely planet trail. Once you get out of the tourist areas things become significantly cheaper.

    £5 a night accommodation, should be available everywhere you go, if you go out looking for it. Lets say £3 a day for food/drink. You could cut this down if you went really basic. £2 a day for transport, tuk tuks or bicycle hire. Thats the basics. Then you have to consider visa costs, and long distance travel costs. If you take this into account for a daily average, your looking an extra £2-£5.

    So around £1500 is pretty achievable for 3 months, with little room for mistakes. Although not easy if its your first time backpacking. As you gain experience, you will learn how to get things cheaper and live more like the locals.

    Be sure to check out the facebook page

    http://www.facebook.com/myalternativelife

    If you need advice with anything post it on the wall and ill be able to reply pretty fast.

    Thanks, Jake

  93. Reply by Todd on March 19, 2012

    Hi,

    love your blog heaps – just found it and i’ve been looking for something like this for weeks!

    I am backpacking throughout SE Asia (Bali, Java, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma) and was wondering how much would a shoestring budget, without any souvenir purchases, just the essentials (food/accom and travel by bus/train) for 3 months be?

    Cheers

  94. Reply by Kishors Kumar shrestha on March 6, 2012

    i want to know how the total cost of Kathmandu to Thailand for package tour. Do u have one week tour to Thailand ?If u have any good suggestion please write me in detail about the good package .

    • Reply by myaltlife on March 7, 2012

      I think you would be better booking single flights than doing it as a package trip. It will certainly work out cheaper.

    • Reply by Ashish on October 3, 2012

      Hey bro, I have seen companies here in Nepal provide it for NPR 65,000 for a week. They include transportation and accommodation but not food. But I think that if you go on your own and live on a budget, you will be able to manage food as well with the same price.

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