Many people know that Thailand is one of the cheapest countries in the world to visit, but they still want to know how much does it cost to go to Thailand for 3 weeks? Like any vacation, it depends. Where you’re flying from, what kind of accommodations you’re looking for, and what you want to see all factor into the overall costs, but for this article, I’m going to focus on those who plan on backpacking.
In my experience, a three week trip to Thailand will cost you about $1,610 USD which works out to about $77 USD per day. That price may seem high, but your flight will likely be 50% of your budget. If you exclude the cost of the flight, then you’re looking at roughly $39 USD per day. Note that if you plan to travel to Thailand as part of a Southeast Asia trip, your costs can go down quite a bit depending on how long you stay.
Keep reading my guide on how much does it cost to go to Thailand to find out what you should do and how you can save more money!
Estimated cost Total $1,610 USD Airfare $800 Accommodations $200 ($10 per day) Local Transportation $200 Attractions $100 Food and drink $210 ($10 per day) Random Spending $100
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
- $1 USD = 33 THB (Thai Baht)
Also keep in mind that this is just an estimate. Things can cost you much less (or more), but I wanted to give you a rough idea of costs as you prepare for your trip.
You could spend even less per day, but I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing your comfort or any experiences just to save a little money. Think about it, sure you could get the cheapest hostel possible and eat less to save $10 per day, but you’d only be saving $210 total over three weeks. Is that amount really going to break you?
Airfare – My $800 USD estimate is admittedly a bit high since I’ve seen flights to Bangkok from the U.S. for as little as $500 USD, but I included a slightly higher number since that’s most likely the average price around the world. Obviously, if you’re flying from within Asia, flights will cost you much less.
Although Bangkok is a major destination, there are currently no direct flights from Canada. The most common cities to take a connection are Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.
Once you’re in Thailand, you should consider taking domestic flights to get around. You can fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Phuket for as low as $30 USD on a variety of budget airlines including Vietjet Air, Thai Lion Air, Thai Airways AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile, and Nok Air. Some routes such as Bangkok to Koh Samui cost more, but even then you’re looking at $100 which is prretty reasonable.
Canadians should consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada since they can offset your costs by collecting points. For example, Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card comes with a signup bonus of $250, six airport lounge passes, and it has no foreign transaction fees.
Long distance trains – Regional travel within Thailand is crazy cheap, but it takes longer to reach your destination. A third class ticket from Bangkok to Ayutthaya will cost you just 15 THB for the two-hour journey. An overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in a 2nd class sleeper with air conditioning is going to cost you around 700 THB while third-class tickets are around 300 THB. This is one of the cheapest ways to get around the country but the time spent and lack of comfort doesn’t make this an appealing choice to me,
Depending on where you’re going, sometimes it’s cheaper just to fly. If you’re island hopping, your only option might be taking the ferry which will cost you about 300 – 600 THB one way.
Buses – Local public buses cost around 10 THB while taking the Metro or Skytrain in Bangkok starts at 15 THB per station. If you plan on using the Metro a lot, a day pass might be your best option. Tuk tuks are unmetered and cost about 30 THB for every 5 minutes, but often drivers try to take advantage of tourists. Metered taxis are usually your best bet since a 5 km journey averages 60 THB and 10 kms for 90 THB. Any surcharges are added to your meter at the end of the ride. Local transportation is limited on some of the isalnds, so you may need to rent a scooter.
Note that not many people in Thailand speak English. If you’re using a taxi or tuk-tuk, you’ll want to get the address of where you’re going in Thai. They won’t understand the English names in your guidebooks. If they refuse to use the meter, get out and wave down a different taxi.
When people ask how much does it cost to go to Thailand? They understand that where you stay and what type of accommodations you choose make a difference. But, it’s always a shock to find out how cheap some of your options are.
Hostels – If you’re travelling solo and want this trip to be cheap, then hostels are the way to go. A dorm room will cost you less than 400 THB. If you want to “splurge,” you should be able to find a room with a fan for 500 – 600 THB.
Hotels – Although hotels greatly range in price, it won’t be hard to find a local brand hotel starting at 1,400 THB per night. Resorts on islands as well as bungalows that accommodate up to three people can be found for about 2,000 THB per night. Even name brand hotels are reasonably priced by North American Standards starting around 3,500 THB per night.
Luxury hotels – Even though there are plenty of budget options in Thailand, the country has plenty of luxury hotels available where you feel like a king or queen. The best thing about luxury hotels in Thailand is that they’re reasonably priced compared to other parts of the world.
Airbnb – You would think that with such cheap accommodation options, you won’t need to bother with Airbnb, but it’s would still worth considering if you’re looking for your own place. Use my Airbnb referral link now to get CAD $45 off your first stay.
If you’re Canadian and you want to stay in Bangkok for 5 days for free, just sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express. You get 50,000 points when you spend $1,5000 in the first three months of card membership which is enough for 5 nights at a category 2 hotel (non-peak season) when you factor in the book 4 nights on points, get the 5th-night free promotion. Well, the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 is a category 2 hotel and is in a great location.
Food and drink
Food is ridiculously cheap in Thailand. I remember getting a huge portion of fried rice from a street vendor for just 30 THB. Don’t like fried rice? Don’t worry, you can get Pad Thai, Khao Soi, or fresh fruit for less than 50 THB. Don’t like Thai food in general? Western, Chinese, and Indian food are found everywhere and will only run you 150 – 350 THB a meal.
If you wanted, you should be able to get good meals for under $5 USD each. Generally speaking, street food will be your cheapest option, but you can even get decent food at convenience stores for less than $4 USD. Alcohol varies, but it’ll cost you about $1 – $3 USD per drink.
Most museums, temples, and parks cost around 50-100 THB to get in, however, The Grand Palace in Bangkok will cost you 500 THB. It’s the day tours and adventures that will cost you the most money. Hiking, diving, and jungle trekking can cost you anywhere from 500 – 2,000 THB per person. You can negotiate lower prices if you’re going in a group. How much you spend is up to you, but I don’t recommend cheaping out on experiences. Also note that some attractions charge more for non-Thais. This is a standard practice and always posted.
With so many markets and malls, it’s not a far stretch to say that shopping is one of Thailand’s biggest tourist attractions. I certainly enjoyed shopping during my time there, but I found the quality to be quite low on almost everything I bought. Haggling in markets is expected, so sometimes it’s worth watching others do it first before you make your first offer.
Now if you want to spend money on massages, I get that. They’ll cost you less than $10 USD each and can be quite relaxing.
How much does it cost to go to Thailand? You can easily get by on $40 USD or less a day (plus the cost of your flight to Thailand). If your goal is to see the country for as cheap as possible, then you won’t be disappointed. That being said, if you’re willing to spend just a little more, you can have one heck of a trip! Now check out my guide on how much does it cost to go to Southeast Asiahow much does it cost to go to Southeast Asia.