Cost of travelling in north Thailand

Emma - 13 December 2016

When we were planning this trip, we found people’s summaries of what they were spending in a country really helpful in gauging how much money we would need. So we figured we’d do the same per country. We use Trail Wallet when we travel, which is great for keeping track of how much you’re spending. It was made by a travel blogger for backpackers to use, and we find the ability to add expenditures in lots of different currencies seamlessly really helpful!

We set ourselves a daily budget of £50 between the two of us, which we thought would be enough to travel on a budget with the odd treat.

NB: For the purposes of simplicity, we’ve included what we’d otherwise call central Thailand, such as Bangkok and Kanchanaburi.

15 days in North Thailand

Accommodation

5,782 Baht / £134, averaging 385 Baht / £8.90 a night. We stayed exclusively in private double fan rooms, all but one of which had private bathrooms.

However, we did splash out on one place which was more of a destination than a simple room (a raft house on Mae Ngat Dam, which included two meals, kayak hire, and transportation). If we take this out of the equation we come to 270 Baht / £6.15, which is a fairer summary of our nightly budget.

Example of basic room in ThailandExample of one of our basic private rooms in Thailand

Food and Drink

5,779 Baht / £135, averaging 385 Baht / £9 a day, so £4.50 per person per day! Given the amount we eat, and my determination to try every new bit of street food I can find, this is pretty good going!

It’s worth noting that we weren't eating three meals a day in touristy restaurants, and go out of our way to find local places. It is easy to find a good meal for £3, but you need to be a bit more daring to find one for £1.

Thailand food can be really good value

Transport

4,654 Baht / £109 total, averaging 310 Baht / £7.30 per day. This includes four days of moped hire, buses, trains and ferries, most of which were fairly negligible in cost. £65 of the £109 total is made up from two journeys: the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and the slow boat from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang. NB: with the latter we’ve only included one day of the three, as the other two days we were in Laos.

Of course, as we are visiting Thailand as part of a wider trip, we haven’t included air fare in our transportation costs.

Attractions

8960 Baht / £208, averaging 597 Baht / £13.90 per day. This sounds like a lot, but includes one medium sized cost, and one elephant-sized one. The medium sized cost was a one day Thai massage course we did which was 2,000 Baht for the two of us. We also splurged on spending the day at an Elephant rescue centre, and spent 5,000 Baht for the privilege. So actually 7,000 of the 8,960 baht was just from those two days! If you remove them, the daily average is just 130 Baht / £3!

Us at Elephants World

Entertainment

We count ‘entertainment’ as anything that we do for enjoyment that isn’t necessarily specific to the area we’re in. For example, going to the cinema is ‘entertainment’ whereas going to a local theatre performance is an ‘attraction’.

In this case our costs for entertainment were just £16, which was two massages each.

Alcohol

We kept alcohol expenses separate from food and drink, as we know this is something that will vary hugely depending on how you travel. We spent just £11.50 between us, and this entirely consisted of Chang and Tiger beers!

Miscellaneous

430 Baht / £10 - this is annoying little costs! In our case it was the 200 Baht ATM fee that is levied every time you withdraw money at a cash point, plus 30 Baht for two hours in an Internet cafe.

Purchases

947 Baht / £22 - this is everything that we bought, which is essentially an optional extra cost. For example, Mike needed new sunglasses, and I needed a day bag.

Total

Our total costs from 15 days in northern Thailand (Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, and Chiang Mai) were 27,741 Baht / £645 for two people, averaging 1,900 Baht / £43 daily. If you remove our single biggest expenditure (Elephants World, at 5,000 Baht!) then our expenditure is in the mid-£30s, well below our £50 aim!

At the time of writing 100 Baht equals $2.80 USD, 2.64 EUR, £2.23 GBP.

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