Many people want to visit Southeast Asia, but 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 less than $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 $2,450 USD (including flights) which works out to about $245 USD per night which is pretty good. Some people will think that’s a bit high, but flights will take up 1/3 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 $100
Total $2,450 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 Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (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, a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.
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.
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 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 don’t make this an appealing choice to me.
Domestic flights – 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 pretty reasonable.
Buses/subway – 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 islands, 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 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 less than $10 per night and budget hotels in the $40-$60 range per night. I personally find that budgeting $80 a night for a mid-range hotel is a good idea. Below I’ve highlighted the different options available
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 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.
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 $50 off your first stay.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. For example, Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite Mastercard since it typically has a sign up bonus of $250 when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. This card does have an annual fee of $150 but it’s normally waived for the first year so you’re getting $250 for free. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
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 $15 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. Budgeting $35 a day should be more than enough to feed you.
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 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 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 you cheap out on experiences. Note that some attractions charge more for non-Thais. This is standard practice and often 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? I estimate a ten-night trip will run you about $2,450 USD. If your goal is to see the country 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 guides on how much does it cost to go to Southeast Asia, Laos, the Maldives, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam for more inspiration.