Thailand Travel Budget & Costs: How Much Money Do You Need?

How much does it cost to travel in Thailand? That entirely depends on your unique tastes, budget, nightlife expenses, accommodation and other personal traits.

I received a question from a reader who wants to know how much money he will need for a 1 week trip to Thailand. In this article, I’m going to share with you my personal expenses on my most recent trip to Thailand then give you three sample budgets depending on your travel persona:

  • Backpacker
  • Budget Traveler
  • International Playboy

Each of these 3 travel budgets will include basic expenses as well as extra perks & entertainment costs that usually associate with a trip to the Land of Smiles. Let’s get started.

1 Month Thailand Travel Sample Budget

You can easily live very well in Thailand for less than $1,000 per month. Many expats use 1k as a general budget from everything from accommodation to nightlife expenses.

Cheap Flights to Thailand – $390

I purchased 1-way ticket on Qatar Airlines from JFK Airport (JFK) to Bangkok (BKK) for around $350. The Thai government requires all foreigners have a paid exit ticket so I bought a cheap throwaway ticket to Kuala Lumpur, Asia for $40. This gave me the freedom to visit Thailand and travel around Asia without paying for an expensive return flight to the US.

Accommodations – $8 per night (250 baht)

In Bangkok, I always stay in hostels to keep my rent costs down. You can find cheap hostels under $10 in the Silom Road and Sukhumvit area. Hostels are a great way to make friends along the way and save on room costs.

If you plan to stay for a week or less, then I recommend booking a private room since you aren’t staying very long. Use AirBNB and Agoda to find cheap rooms in Thailand. If you book for an entire week, you will usually get a nice discount.

Local International Cell Phone & Sim Card – $60 (2,000 baht)

I purchased a local international cell phone at MBK Mall for around $60. You also need a local Thai SIM card and it only costs around $1.

Food – $5 per day (175 baht)

The majority of my food budget included mostly street food, fruit from vendors, pizza, and the occassional sit down dinner in a local restaurant. You can save a little bit of money by shopping at the supermarket and preparing your own meals.

Here’s a few sample costs of the foods I tried:

  • Street Pad Thai: 35 baht ($1)
  • Domino’s Pizza: 99 baht ($3)
  • Subway Sandwich: 99 baht ($3)
  • Watermelon from street vendor: 20 baht (60 cents)
  • Burger with Fries: 150 baht ($5)
  • Bottled Water: 20 baht (60 cents)
  • Vegetable Lo-Mein: 50 baht ($1.60)

Food in Thailand is so cheap that you can afford to eat out every day, especially on a shorter trip. Just walk around and take a look at some of the local foods out on the street.

If you prefer a more expensive dine-in experience, Thailand has plenty of mid-range and upscale restaurants to satisfy your food cravings. You’ll find everything from Chinese to Indian food and everything in between.

Transportation – $5 per day (175 baht)

Cities like Bangkok have extremely modern metro transportation cities and most one-way tickets cost around 30 baht (90 cents). You can also take taxis and/or Grab/Ubers to wherever you want to go.

My routine consisted of using the metro during the day then taking taxis at night. Grab/Uber is more convenient but it is also more expensive than taxi cabs. If you use taxis, just tell them “meter”. Do not negotiate the price. If the driver refuses to use the meter, then get out and find another cab.

Tuk Tuks are another option but they are also full of hassles and hidden obligations. One of the common annoyances is taking you around to Indian tailor shops so the driver earns a gas coupon. It’s usually a waste of time and very time consuming. Tuks Tuks used to be a fun part of Thailand but now the greed of the local drivers is ruining the fun.

Shopping – $25 per week (800 baht)

I travel with a large suitcase and small carry-on backpack so I rarely have to buy anything at the malls when I visit Thailand. However, Thailand has excellent malls throughout the country where you can buy all kinds of things at really good prices.

If you want to buy gifts for your family, then set aside around $25 per week to cover your costs. The most popular travel gifts for family & friends are: t-shirts, electronics, postcards, artwork, articrafts and pictures.

Guided Tours – $50 per day (1,500 baht)

There are plenty of Thailand guided tours that you can take for reasonable prices. The average cost of a guided tour is around $50 and they usually last for 4 to 6 hours. If you take 1 tour a day, it will cost you around $50 per day.

Nightlife – $10 per night (350 baht)

Thailand is a place where you will consider going out almost every night, especially on the weekends. There are so many tourists & foreigners partying there that you will feel left out if you always stay in. Assuming you are still single, you’ll want to budget for nightlife expenses.

If you drink alcohol, then it’s best to buy beer/alcohol at the 7’Eleven and pregame back at your place to save money. Beers cost around 35 baht ($1) at the convenience store but the same beer costs around 2x to 3x more at the nightclubs. Drinking at nightclubs and bars will increase your spending so be careful.

Most nightclubs offer free entry but some do charge an entrance fee. Be sure to ask about the cover charge or you could be in for a surprise.

Hooking Up in Thailand (Mongering Prices) – From $25 (1,000 baht ) to $100 per session (4,000 baht)

One of the biggest industries in Thailand is the go-go bar scene. Thailand, especially Bangkok and Pattaya, is filled with tons of go-go bars and nightclubs where you can meet Thai women and take them home for the night.

Most Thai women will ask for around 1,500 to 3,000 baht for the night. If you want her to stay with you longer, it will cost around 3,000 or more. Of course, this all depends on how hot the lady is and how good looking you are.

The better you look, the less you will pay (in general). Also, the hotter the Thai woman, the higher the cost. You usually get what you pay for in Thailand.

The hottest girls work at the go-go bars and you also have to pay a bar fine to take them home. This will cost you an additional 600 to 1,000 baht in additional to your girl’s personal fee.

While freelancers are cheaper, you also run the added risk of getting robbed or dealing with a sick girl. It’s best to stick to the go-go bars and clubs for extra safety. Also remember to bring plenty of condoms in case they break.

Total Sample Budget Cost for 1 Week: $400

The total cost for this sample budget includes all the expenses above plus 2 guided tours, new cell phone, gifts and a robust nightlife.

You can always go out less and avoid the tours to cut down your expenses to $250 per week. After you pay for your accommodations and food, you will realize your nightlife choices will eat up most of your cash.

If you want to save money, then go out less. It’s as simple as that.

3 Sample Budgets Depending on Your Travel Habits

These are 3 general budgets that you can follow depending on your spending habits. Thailand is cheap enough that anyone can visit and have a good time. How much you plan to spend is up to you. You can take the cheap backpacker approach or splurge like a celebrity.

1 Week Backpacking Budget in Thailand – $150

Here’s a sample budget for 1 week in Thailand if you’re a backpacker:

  • Hostel: 250 baht (8)
  • Food: 150 baht ($5)
  • Transportation: 150 baht ($5)
  • Nightlife: 150 baht ($5)

Total Daily Expenses: 700 baht ($22)

This is enough for a decent room in a hostel, delicious food, late night transportation, and a decent social life for a very limited budget. Your total monthly expenses are around $660 per month. Nice!

1 Week Budget Traveler in Thailand – $420

You want to spend a bit more than a backpacker but want to stay underneath your strict budget.

  • Hotel: 600 baht ($20)
  • Food: 300 baht ($10)
  • Transportation: 300 baht ($10)
  • Nightlife: 600 baht ($20)

Total Daily Costs: 1,800 baht ($60)

This budget gives you the added privacy of your own hotel room, food at a nice restaurant, money for multiple Grab/Taxis and a sizeable nightlife budget for clubbing and bars.

1 Week International Playboy Budget in Thailand – $896

You are well off financially and want to have a blast in Thailand. You work hard and play hard. With only 1 week to spend, you want to maximize each night by spending your hard earned money well. Remember: You get what you pay for in Thailand.

  • AirBNB Condo: 1,000 baht ($30)
  • Food: 500 baht ($15)
  • Transportation: 500 baht ($15)
  • Nightlife: 2,000 baht ($64)

Total Daily Costs: 4,000 baht ($128)

This is the ultimate Thailand experience where you can go out every night, eat like a king, party all night, and bring back a beautiful lady to your condo whenever you want. You have complete freedom with the international playboy budget.

Wrapping Things Up

If it’s your first trip to Thailand, then choose one of the budgets above and use it as your general guideline. It’s also a good idea to bring 2x as much money as you think you’ll need to avoid any financial disasters.

So if you plan to spend 1 week in Thailand on the Budget Traveler’s budget, then bring at least $900 to be safe. Running out of money in Thailand is the last thing you want to do so always have some extra cash stored away.

If I left anything out, then please let me know in the comments because I want to keep this guide updated as the prices change in Thailand.

What is your budget in Thailand? How much money do you need to travel in Thailand? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

 

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