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?
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
|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 Room||800-1200B|
|2 bed 5* Hotel Room||2000+B|
|Luxury apartment (per month)||20000B +|
|Tuk Tuk Ride||50-200B|
|Long Distance Buses||See ...|
|Food and Drink|
|Street vendor grilled chicken||50B|
|Street Vendor Pad Thai||30-50B|
|Thai dish with rice||70B-150B|
|Western style food||100-200B|
|Mcdonalds Big Mac||70B|
|Meal for 2 at quality restaurant||300B to 500B|
|1 litre of bottled water from a store||7B to 12B|
|Can of soft drink||20-50B|
|Small (330ml) 'Singha' beer in 7/11||30B|
|Small (330ml) 'Singha' beer in a bar||100B+|
|Large (630ml) 'Singha' beer in 7-11||50B|
|Large (630ml) 'Singha' beer in a bar||150B+|
|20 cigarettes (Western brand)||90B|
|20 cigarettes (Thai brand)||45B|
|Shoes and Flip Flops||100-200B|
|Massage (without happy ending) :P||100-500B|
|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/
• is not a Thai national
• is not an airline crew member departing Thailand on duty.
• departs Thailand from an international airport.
• purchases goods from stores displaying a “VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS” sign.
• present the goods and submit the VAT Refund Application for Tourist form(P.P10) and original tax invoices to the Customs officers immediately before check-in for departure from Thailand.
How to claim a VAT Refund?
• VAT refund only applies to goods taken out of Thailand with the traveller within 60 days from the date of purchase.
• Goods must be purchased from stores displaying the “VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS” sign.
• Goods must be at least 2,000 baht including VAT and must be purchased from each supplier at the amount of at least 2,000 baht per day. • On the purchasing day, present your passport and ask the sales assistant at the store to complete the VAT Refund Application for Tourists form (P.P.10) and attach the original tax invoices to the form. Each application form (P.P.10) must show a value of goods of 2,000 baht or more.
• Before departure, present your goods and VAT Refund Application for Tourists form (P.P.10) to Customs officers for inspection before check-in.
• Luxury goods, such as jewelry, gold ornaments, watch, glasses, or pen, must once more be inspected by the Revenue officers at the VAT refund office at the departure lounge after passport control.
• You can either present your claim to the Revenue officers at the VAT Refund Counter or mail it back to the Revenue Department of Thailand or drop it into the box in front of the VAT Refund office.
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
Its 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.