Bangkok is one of the most popular cities in the world. With excellent street food, ancient temples and cheap accommodations, it’s really no surprise that many people love Bangkok. Of course, first-time visitors always want to know how much does it cost to go to Bangkok? Is it as cheap as people say?
The short answer is yes. Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world. Heck, the entire region of Southeast Asia is pretty affordable. The only real major expense is your flight, but once you’re on the ground, you won’t spend much at all.
Most people visit Bangkok for 3-4 days as part of a bigger Thailand trip, but others have no problem spending a week in the city since there is so much to do. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest 4-days and 3 nights. That’s a good amount of time to adjust to any jetlag and for you to soak up the culture.
Bangkok trip cost for 4 days
|Food and Drink||$140|
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
I want to make it clear that the above is just an estimate. It’s very easy to spend much less (or more) in Bangkok which is why your Bangkok trip costs can change quite a bit depending on the type of traveller you are.
Some people prefer to travel for as cheap as possible, but I like to list average prices to give you an idea of how much you should expect to spend. Throughout my article on how much does it cost to go to Bangkok, I’ll share some tips on how you can save money in Thailand.
If you’re flying from outside of Asia, you should estimate about US $800 for your flight. It could easily be a few hundred dollars cheaper depending on where you live, but I’ve put in an average just as an estimate. Remember, this Bangkok trip cost estimate is part of your larger Thailand trip. Most people won’t fly to Bangkok for three nights unless they live in Asia.
Even though Bangkok is a major destination, it lacks direct flights from many parts of the world. There’s not a single direct flight to anywhere in Thailand which I find surprising. Taking a flight with a layover isn’t a big deal as you’ll usually only stop for a few hours.
Bangkok has two airports. Most international flights will depart from Bangkok’ Suvarnabhumi Airport while Don Mueang International Airport is typically used for domestic/regional flights and low cost carriers.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 85,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $850 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.
Some people will be shocked to hear that you can find rooms in Bangkok for less than $10 a night. It’ll be in a hostel and you’ll be lucky if you get a fan. But, if you’re looking for super cheap, it’s doable.
I think the general public is not interested in a hostel which is why I recommend budgeting US $80 a night for a hotel. You shouldn’t have too many problems finding a mid-range hotel, including Marriott properties, for that price. You can even find a budget hotel in the $40-60 range so it’s easy to save money on your accommodations.
I should also mention that luxury hotels may also be worth considering while in Bangkok. Rooms that cost $200-400 in Bangkok would easily cost $1,000+ in other parts of the world.
Here’s a list of some recommended hotels in Bangkok:
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $200 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you up to 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $500. There’s also the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year.
Bangkok has some of the worst traffic but the good thing is that using public transportation will usually bypass everything. The thing about Bangkok is that you’ll likely use a combination of the BTS (Skytrain), MRT (subway) and river boats to get around. You can also use tuk-tuks or Grab (the local Uber).
Most of the major tourist attractions including the airport are close to some form of public transportation. The one exception is Khao San Road which is about a 20 minute walk from Sam Yot MRT station.
Unfortunately, since every type of transit is owned by a different company, there is currently no universal card you can use to pay for everything. You’ll either need to pay a cash fare or use a card for each network.
You’ll want to budget about $20 for the four days of local transportation and that includes your ticket to and from the airport. In case you’re curious, here’s how much each type of transit will cost you.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link (ARL) – At just $1.50, the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link is the cheapest way to get into the city, but you’ll likely need to transfer to the MRT (separate fare) to get to your hotel. A taxi is about $30 while Grab is $15. Buy your ARL ticket online in advance if you want to save some time.
BTS (Skytrain) – Fares are based on distance and will cost you between US 50 cents and $2. The ticketing machines will display how much it’ll cost you to get to your destination. Most trips will cost you about a dollar, but you can also buy a one day pass for $4.50 (140 THB). A better solution would be to get a Rabbit card as you can preload funds and tap on/off.
This card can be purchased in advance and picked up from the airport. In addition, you can use your Rabbit card at some restaurants and food courts. Note that you must have government ID when reloading the card.
MRT (subway) – Like the BTS, the MTR fare is based on the distance which will cost you between US 50 cents and $2.25. The average cost is about $1 per trip. What makes the MTR interesting is that when you pay your fare, you get a token. You need to use that token when you exit or you’ll pay the maximum fare. If you prefer, you can buy an MRT Plus card which is a reloadable fare card.
River boats – Realistically speaking, tourists considering a river boat would only take the Chao Phraya Express Boat since it passes by many of the major tourist attractions and ends at a skytrain stop. It’ll cost you about $1 for the trip
Tuk-tuks – There is no set price for tuk-tuks. What you pay is based on distance so you should expect to negotiate a price before getting in. It may be wise to ask your hotel staff what the cost is but most of the time, a metered taxi will be cheaper.
When it comes to Bangkok attractions, most of them are cultural. As you can imagine, there are a lot of temples, but many people are also drawn to markets and malls. Yes, the malls are a tourist attraction because there are so many.
Although most of the temples do have an admission price, they’re usually only about $3.25 to get in. The one exception is the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha which will run you around $16.
Some of the top attractions include:
- Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
- Wat Arun
- Wat Pho
- Ayutthaya day tour
- Floating market
- Bangkok National Museum
- Chatuchak Market
- Chao Phraya River boat
- Street food
You’ll probably only spend about $30 on attractions but that assumes you’re not going to Ayutthaya or doing a lot of shopping. Whenever you can, buy your tickets online in advance since lineups can be long for some attractions.
Since the attractions are so cheap, there’s no reason to not spend your money. You might as well splurge and get audio guides or even book a tour since they’re inexpensive. Many of the attractions are also free such as the floating market and Chatuchak market. Yes, they’re both just markets, but it’s something you need to experience for yourself.
A day trip to Ayutthaya is totally worth it as it’s the old capital of Thailand and many temples are well preserved. This area of Thailand doesn’t get a ton of visitors so it’s a good place to visit.
Food and drink
When people look at Bangkok trip costs, they’re shocked to find out how cheap food is in Thailand. You can easily find meals in the US $1-5 range which many people find ridiculous. This may sound extremely cheap where you live, but in Thailand, that’s the average price. That said, I would budget the following for your meals.
- Breakfast – $5
- Lunch – $10
- Dinner – $20
That works out to US $35 a day which is admittedly high, but again, I prefer people budget more than less for their Bangkok trip. Realistically speaking, you shouldn’t have many issues getting by on $20 a day, but a budget of $35 a day will allow you to snack on anything you want and to try multiple things.
Street food and food stalls are pretty common in Thailand. You’ll find them everywhere. If you see one that has a long line up of locals, order food from there. You can get pad thai for less than $2 at many vendors.
As you can imagine, restaurants that cater to tourists (where there’s an English menu) typically charge a bit more. If you decide to order takeout, liquids (including soup) will come in bags which throws many tourists off. Thais do this because they assume you’re going to actually go home or back to your hotel and put your liquids in a cup or bowl to consume.
With Bangkok being full of malls and markets, you’ll likely want to budget some money for things for yourself or gifts. The prices at major stores are fixed but if you’re shopping at a market where no price is displayed, the price is negotiable.
Quite often you can figure out the average price just by observing what a few others are paying. If you want to start the negotiation on your own, start low and expect to meet somewhere in the middle. Remember, if your dinner just cost you $2-3, do you think that mass produced Thai lamp is really $10?
The good thing about Bangkok shopping is that there’s so much variety. You can get designer clothes, goods produced by local artists or even cheap knock offs. Some malls specialize in specific goods, so it’s worth doing some research before you head out.
Besides “stuff,” the other random things you’ll spend money on are things such as massages and snacks. Both are inexpensive so it really wouldn’t be a big deal if you got a massage every day. I’m talking about a true body massage at a spa or even at those places where you put your feet in a fish tank and the fish eat your dead skin. Both can be very relaxing.
Putting aside $50 for random spending is probably a safe amount. Remember, you’ll probably fly out of Bangkok when you leave Thailand so you can just blow any leftover Thai Baht that you have before you depart.
So how much does it cost to go to Bangkok? I estimate you’ll spend about US $1,280 but that includes your airfare. Check out my guide to how much does it cost to go to Thailand if you plan on going around the country.