How Much Does it Cost to go to Thailand?

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?

how much does it cost to go to thailand boats

Airfare

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.

Local Transportation

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.

how much does it cost to go to thailand transportation

Thailand accommodations

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.

Recommendations: Good One Hostel & Cafe Bar (Bangkok), D-Well Hostel (Chiang Mai)

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.

Recommendations: Aloft Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11 (Bangkok), Rainforest Boutique Hotel (Chiang Mai)

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.

Recommendations: Shangri-La Hotel (Bangkok), Le Meridien (Chiang Mai)

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.

how much does it cost to go to thailand accommodations

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.

Attractions 

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.

Random Spending

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.

Final thoughts

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.

By |2019-01-13T19:33:46+00:00September 20th, 2018|Budget Travel, Destinations, Travel|

9 Comments

  1. Katelyn Jabotte July 26, 2018 at 9:40 am - Reply

    My boyfriend and I are planning a trip and would like to stay on Phi Phi Island. We are both beach and island people! I heard there are bad areas on the island that we should be sure to not stay at or near… Is this true?

    • Barry Choi July 26, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Hi Katelyn,

      Some areas are full of tourists so it’s a matter of opinion of where you should avoid.

  2. Mikayla September 5, 2018 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    My boyfriend and I are going to Thailand. We are very excited since we booked the hotel in Chiang Mai. What would you suggest to go see and experience there?

    • Barry Choi September 5, 2018 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      Mikayla,

      The elephant nature park is near there, but you need to book well in advance. Can also go up to Chiang Rai and white temple. In Chiang mai itself tons of temples, monk chats at a couple, great food scene. Night market on Sunday is awesome as is the lady boy show. There’s also the Sticky Waterfalls that you can do as a day trip

  3. Luke September 11, 2018 at 2:49 am - Reply

    I love going to Thailand since there’s a lot of place where you can visit that will not break your bank account. Also, their food and hotel are also affordable so you can definitely prolong your vacation here without worrying too much about your money.

  4. Jenny September 29, 2018 at 1:37 am - Reply

    Super helpful read! Thailand will be the first leg of my 80 day South East Asia trip and I’m already set on which cities to hit up. I’m curious though, would you suggest I book hostels in advance or just book for a few nights and gauge for the rest of the trip? I’ll be in Thailand for 4 weeks, covering 10 cities/islands so each place I’ll be there for 2-4 nights depending. The planner in me really wants to just book it all in advance, but I’ve had some people tell me to wait it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    • Barry Choi September 29, 2018 at 7:34 am - Reply

      Jenny,

      I’m totally like you and would prefer to plan everything in advance. Can you book fully refundable hotels and hostels? If that’s not an option, I personally would probably book – 3 days at the start and then sort of go with the flow. If you’re going during the low season, getting rooms likely won’t be an issue.

  5. Alexander ch November 4, 2018 at 6:54 am - Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks for letting people know what you think. You seem to know your stuff. I’m actually thinking of going to Thailand for retirement with my wife. Being able to spend 2000 to 3000 Canadian per month. I don’t like to spend 1500 but I’m prepared to spend more if you think that’ll make a difference. What do I need to know about I guess visas how long you can stay whether I get kicked out after a certain amount of time. I’ve been watching a bunch of videos to go to Pattaya Thailand. What do you think is good place. I have watched mini videos that very so drastically you don’t know who to believe.

    • Barry Choi November 4, 2018 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Hey Alexander,

      I’m not familiar with local laws about how long you live in the country, but you shouldn’t have any issues living there comfortably for less $2K CAD a month. The key is to pick a base and rent an apartment. My estimates are based on hotels but in Thailand, you can get a space for $400 – $650 a month depending on where you’re staying.

      Pattaya is more of a party area, so you might want to look at some other areas. You’ll obviously want to make sure you’re an area where you have easy access to healthcare.

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