Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to go to Thailand? Like any vacation, the costs depend on where you’re flying from, what kind of accommodations you’re looking for and what you want to see and more. If you’re a backpacker who’s looking to spend as little as possible, you could probably get by for about $40 USD per day (not including flights), but for the purpose of this article, I’m going to use average costs for a comfortable trip.
In my experience, ten nights in Thailand will cost you about $2,850 USD (including flights) which works out to about $285 USD per night which is pretty good. Some people think that’s a bit high, but flights will take up a third of your budget. Throughout this article, I’ll share some tips on how to save. 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.
Accommodations $800 ($80 per day)
Local Transportation $300
Food and drink $350 ($35 per day)
Random Spending $200
Total $2,850 USD
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
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. For some people travelling for as cheap as possible is the goal, but I think you’re better off stretching your travel dollars.
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 generous welcome bonus that’s often worth more than $900 (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.
Airfare to Thailand, like flight to anywhere in the world, has increased quite a bit over the last couple of years. Right now, the average cost of a return flight from a major North American City to Bangkok is $1100. You may be able to find some seat sales and get lower pricing but keep in mind these rates can be even higher depending on the time of year.
If you’re flying from Europe, the cheapest flight will depend on where you’re departing. Obviously, if you’re flying to Thailand from within Asia, flights will be much cheaper. As always, book in advance to get better deals.
Most people who visit Thailand will likely visit more than one city so you need to budget for your local transportation. The $300 I’ve recommended is a bit on the high side, but you’ll get a better idea of how much it’ll cost you once you start planning out your route. The good thing is that Thailand has pretty good transportation to get you around.
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 can cost as little as $1 USD for the two-hour journey. An overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can cost as little as $ 8 USD and go up to around $65 USD depending on which class you choose. While long distance trains are one of the cheapest ways to get around the country, it’s very time consuming and isn’t always very comfortable.
You can fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Phuket for as low as $30 USD on various budget airlines, including Vietjet Air, Thai Lion Air, Thai Airways AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile, and Nok Air. Some routes will cost more. For example, Bangkok to Koh Samui typically costs about $150 USD.
Local public buses cost around 10 THB (about $0.30 USD), while taking the Metro or Skytrain in Bangkok starts at 16 THB (about $0.46 USD) per station. If you plan on using the Metro a lot, a day pass might be your best option. Tuk tuks are unmetered and typically cost tourists double what locals should pay. This means your fare will likely start around 65 THB, but negotiate before you get in.
Metered taxis are usually your best bet since a five 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 islands, so you may need to rent a scooter. Legally, you are required by Thai Law to hold an international driver’s license to rent a scooter. Some shops may rent you one without it, but you risk being fined by the police (which is getting more common) if caught.
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 may not 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.
I’ve seen hostels for around $12 per night and budget hotels in the $50-$60 range per night. I personally find that budgeting $80 a night for a mid-range hotel is a good idea. Keep in mind that the high season will obviously cost you more than the low season. Below I’ve highlighted the different options available
If you’re travelling solo and want this trip to be cheap, then hostels are the way to go. A cheap dorm room will about $12-$15 USD per night If you want to “splurge,” you should be able to find a dorm room with air conditioning for $20-$30 per night.
Although hotels greatly range in price, it won’t be hard to find double rooms starting at $50 USD per night. Resorts on islands as well as beach bungalows that accommodate up to three people, can be found for about $100 USD per night. Even name brand hotels are reasonably priced by North American standards starting around $100 USD per night.
Even though there are plenty of budget options in Thailand, the country also has a lot 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.
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 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $300 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, which gives you up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels, which could easily have a value of over $500.
Food and drink
Food is ridiculously cheap in Thailand. From fried rice to pad Thai and even fresh fruit, there are lots of great meals at very low costs. Most typical Thai dishes will start at 60 Thai Baht which is less than $2 USD.
Don’t like Thai food in general? Western food, Chinese, and Indian food are found everywhere and will only run you 150 – 350 THB a meal. Oh, beer is pretty cheap, too and should cost you about $2 for a domestic beer. Cocktails will vary depending on location but can be as cheap as $3 USD and go up to $15 USD. Remember, buy bottled water in Thailand because tap water is not safe to drink. A bottle should only cost you about $0.25 USD from a grocery store.
Generally speaking, street food is where you get the best deals, but you can even get decent food at convenience stores for less than $4 USD. There are malls everywhere in Thailand, and most of them have a food court where you can get food for cheap as well, around $5 will get you a meal at an inexpensive restaurant.
Budgeting $35 a day should be more than enough to feed you and keep you well stocked with drinking water (you’ll need it!). That said, Bangkok also has some Michelin-starred restaurants that are more affordable than other high-end restaurants around the world, so it could be worth splurging for a meal or two.
Most museums, temples, and park entrance fees cost around 50-100 THB to get in. However, The Grand Palace in Bangkok will cost you 500 THB (About $15 USD). It’s the day tours such as going to Ayutthaya and adventures that will cost you the most money. Buying your tickets in advance from Klook can sometimes save you money and allow you to skip lines. They have tickets available for Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and other destinations in Thailand.
Hiking, diving, and jungle trekking can cost you anywhere from $15-$100 USD 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 you cheap out on experiences. Note that some attractions charge more for non-Thais. This is standard practice and often posted. Your Thailand costs for attractions shouldn’t be too much, but you’ll need to budget for the expenses.
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 Thai massages, I get that. They’ll cost you less than $10 USD each and can be quite relaxing.
Thailand trip cost
How much does it cost to go to Thailand? I estimate a ten-night trip will run you about $2,850 USD. 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 guides on how much does it cost to go to Southeast Asia, Laos, the Maldives, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam for more inspiration.
Is Thailand cheap to visit?
If you are looking for an affordable travel destination, then Thailand is definitely a good pick. There are some great affordable luxury options across the country. However, if you are worried about the cost of Thailand, then rest assured you can travel to Thailand on the cheap too as a budget backpacker. The key thing is to find the right balance. Don’t travel to Thailand with the intention of spending as little as possible, as you won’t enjoy yourself as much.
What are the best Thai islands?
This depends on what you want to do. Do you want to learn how to scuba dive? Koh Tao is a good choice. Looking for Thailand’s famous full moon parties? Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi are where you want to go. Interested in quieter islands? Take a look at Koh Samui or Koh Lipe. Some of the lesser-known islands may be harder to get to, but they could be that island paradise with few tourists that you’ve been searching for your entire life.
One important thing to keep in mind while in Thailand is that the rainy monsoon seasons vary depending on which side of the country you are on. So be aware of that while planning.
How much money do I need a day in Thailand?
I would say about $70 per day is a very reasonable number if you are looking for simple travel. If you are on a backpacker budget and staying in hostel dorms, you can absolutely reduce that rate. Similarly, if you want a more luxurious experience you will have to increase that amount. But $70 a day will get you a nice guesthouse and good food with room for basic activities.
What should I do in Thailand?
Obviously, you should stick to the things you love but I firmly believe there are a few must do’s while in Thailand. The obvious include visiting temples in Chiang Mai and Bangkok and Island hopping down south. Some more favourites include going to a Lady Boy show (note these are NOT like Ping Ping shows), visiting night markets, learning to scuba dive (if you haven’t yet), and getting a massage (or several).
What should I avoid in Thailand?
Thailand has its fair share of scams, especially in Bangkok, that you must be mindful of. The biggest one is tuk-tuk drivers telling you that some sites (i.e., the palace) are closed on that day. Or the shop or hotel you want to go to is too expensive and they know a better one. These are all scams. The driver has an agreement with someone elsewhere and will get paid when they drop you off. Insist on having the driver take you to your chosen destination or get out and find a new driver.