A Thailand Budget Travel Guide

green tuk tuk in bangkok

Southeast Asia has been a popular destination for travelers, vacationers, and volunteers alike for quite a while now. And rightfully so! The breathtaking vistas, some of the world’s most pristine beaches, plus friendly, welcoming locals all put Thailand at the top of many travel bucket lists.

woman sitting on a boat in ko tao, thailand
Is Thailand cheap to visit? Depending on your savings and exchange rate, you might be able to travel like a queen.

For many in the West, Southeast Asia is an affordable destination and a great start to a life of international travel, and Thailand is no exception. It’s not a coincidence that this destination has been popular for so long. For those backpacking Southeast Asia, Thailand is a must. Traveling through Thailand on a budget is very common and rather easy to do.

Thailand has not only been attractive to vacationers, but also for those interested in volunteering, studying, and teaching abroad. It’s one of the most popular destinations in all of Asia.

Why’s that? Well, the cost of living is relatively low, Thai culture is very accustomed to welcoming foreigners in to their peaceful way of life, you can get by only speaking English (though it’s recommended to learn a few of the basics of the local language) the weather is quite agreeable, and there are endless things to do and experience.

Is Thailand cheap to visit?

If you’re traveling with Euros, Pounds, or any kind of Dollar in your pockets, you’ll most likely find Thailand to be affordable. Keeping in mind that affordability is relative, the cost of travel in Thailand is pretty cheap. To some neighboring countries, the standard of living in Thailand is a bit high, but for many folks, it’s rather low. Low enough to still enjoy yourself without missing out on incredible experiences all while creating beautiful memories along the way!

Traveling Thailand on a budget

mats on the floor of a wooden structure in ko tao, thailand
You might have to rough it during a budget trip to Thailand, but the views will always be top-notch.

1. Where to go

There are so many places to visit while traveling Thailand on a budget; there are the bustling well-known metropolises, the bumping islands in the south, or the villages scattered throughout the mountain-clade north. Here are some suggestions to help you plan a budget trip to Thailand (from most to least affordable):

  • Chang Dao
  • Koh Samui
  • Kanchanaburi
  • Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Mai
  • Phuket
  • Bangkok

2. What to do

What to do, what to do! Hit the beaches, check out the cities, visit the temples, eat the food, go hiking, and then some. Getting to know the culture while rubbing elbows with nature is one highly recommended way to spend your time in this exciting nation. Here are some Thailand budget travel insider tips on what to do:

  • Snorkel off the shores of the islands
  • Island hop
  • Visit temples & palaces
  • Stroll through the open air markets
  • Hike in the mountains
  • Get a massage
  • Talk with the locals

3. How to travel

It might be difficult to tell you how to travel, but there are various means of transportation which should be included in your Thailand budget travel guide. As you might imagine, public transit is often your best bet, but in Thailand you have some options.

Public transit isn’t only the buses and metro — there’s a heck of a lot more. In Bangkok, you’ll surely find it all, from the metro to famous Thai tuk-tuks, but in smaller locales there’s less of a variety.

boat emerging from cave in thailand
Luckily, public transportation doesn’t add TOO much to the cost of travel in Thailand.

Remember: You can always use your feet! Walking is an excellent way to explore a new (or old) destination but it might not fit your timeline to walk from the islands in the south to the mountains in the north. Your feet will be most practical if you’re heading out to a market or roaming about a city.

Thinking about flying? Domestic flights can usually be booked at comparatively affordable rates. Sometimes you can find them so cheap, you might not even consider a bus or the train. For example, flying from Bangkok to Phuket could cost you as little as 20 bucks. (Note: Think sustainably; flying is not going to help decrease your carbon footprint.)

So, here are some suggestions to help you move about without breaking the bank while  traveling around Thailand on a budget:

  • Tuk-tuks
  • Motorcycle Taxis
  • Songthaew (a pick-up truck with seating in the bed)
  • Taxis
  • Buses
  • Bangkok BTS Skytrain
  • Bangkok MRT Subway
  • Flying

4. Other costs to consider

While we’ve scratched the surface with where, what, and how to budget travel in Thailand, there are so many other expenses that shouldn’t be forgotten. Are you planning to study abroad or volunteer while away? What about food? And your accommodation! It’s not recommended to sleep under the moonlight for more than one full moon party, so you’re going to need a place to rest your head.

Consider some of these other expenses to diminish the chances of any unpleasant surprises while traveling through Thailand on a budget:

  • Program costs. Be it a volunteer program, a TEFL certification course, or a study abroad program, you will certainly want to take these program fees into account. It’s hard to say what program fees are going to look like since there are so many to choose from and so many factors influencing the price. Keep in mind that the cost will depend on the duration and the program type. Volunteer programs are usually more affordable than study abroad programs but their durations are often variable.
  • Food. Eat all of it! Anything you see. Eat it. Thai food is mouthwatering and not a cuisine you’ll want to shy away from anytime soon. If you haven’t yet tried it, you’re in for a real sweet and salty treat. What should be noted is that street food is often fried and therefore you’ll be less likely to catch any unwanted bugs, so go for it. Basically, anything that you can find which is not Westernized will be more affordable. Street food is often the cheapest option, behind preparing fresh produce for yourself from the markets. Also, keep your sousing to a minimum if you must say, “cheers!” Cutting back on alcohol will save you more money than you think.
  • Accommodations. This is all about where you want to rest your head. One way to keep your cost of travel in Thailand down is to share accommodation; find a friend to room with or consider hostels for shorter stays. If you’re going to Thailand on a program, they often offer affordable options which typically include a homestay. Staying with a local family will not only help you save a few bucks, but it’s also an exceptional window into legitimate Thai culture…which includes local delicacies!

Traveling Thailand on a budget is easier with FMT 

Is traveling on a budget still not budget enough for you? No worries, mate. FundMyTravel is here to save your day (or trip!). Phone some friends to see if they can help give you a hand. FMT is a stellar way to ask the crowd (aka crowdsourcing) for some financial support. There are only four steps and let us tell you, It’s ridiculously simple.

First, you’ll create your campaign. Then, spread the word! FMT allows you to easily share your fundraising campaign through built-in social media and email buttons — and this is the most important part of your campaign. You’ll want to cast your net wide and far.

Then, it’s nearly all taken care of. You’ll (fingers crossed) get funded because donations are automatically sent to your account. There’s no need to have your goal amount fully reached to receive your donations. And voila! You’re good to go.

Ready to take a budget trip to Thailand?

man laying on pool float in thailand
Traveling through Thailand on a budget? No worries.

Is Thailand cheap to visit? With your handy Thailand budget travel guide, it will be! Start working on your personal budget, sign up for an account on FMT, and you’re halfway there. We bet you can smell the pad thai already.

Sign Up for FMT and Create a Campaign for Your Trip to Thailand!

Comments (2)

[…] want the buzz of being surrounded with entrepreneurs and the motivation of co-working spaces, then Thailand is the country for you. Koh Tao may be small, but there is plenty to see and […]

I want to move to a tropical climate.
Factors, priorities:

1) Safe
2) Affordable
3) Won’t be shunned for speaking English
4) Distance to the USA

#3 & #4 are what hurt Thailand.

My list so far has:
Costa Rica

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