Thailand is by far the most popular country for backpackers in Southeast Asia. The country is so diverse, from the beaches and crystal blue waters in the Thai islands, to the temples in Northern and Central Thailand, to the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that is Bangkok. Thailand is exotic, still somewhat cheap, but is also pretty developed. You can get by with a pretty modest budget and in this blog post I will show you how to spend as low as $40 Per Day in Thailand!
As I went to a lot of places in Thailand, I made a map of my journey in the country. I started in the south and made my way north. I made my way to Laos before going back to Udon Thani for a bit before heading out to Vietnam.
Currency Info: In November/December 2018, the exchange of the Thai Baht to the Canadian Dollar was around 25.18 THB to $1 CAD.
My flight into Thailand was from Singapore to Krabi, which is a gateway to the Western Thai islands. The ticket was $68.62 CAD on Scoot. I almost missed my flight as I was distracted with the many activities that Singapore’s Changi Airport had to offer. In Terminal 2, they have gardens such as an orchid garden and a sunflower garden. They have gaming facilities and a cinema where they were showing the latest Avengers movie.
Then I found an awesome deal for a flight from Phuket to Bangkok. It is currently the cheapest flight I have ever booked at 527 THB ($22.17 CAD)! I love Air Asia!
Food & Drinks
Thai food is renowned around the world and there’s a reason why. Its unique, and delicious! Getting food in Thailand is so easy and cheap! Just go walk down the street, and you will find many vendors selling curries, stir fries, pad thais, fruit shakes. Pad Thai can be found for just 25 THB ($0.99 CAD)! During my time in Thailand, my daily budget for food & drinks was just 338 THB ($13.42 CAD)!
Here are some things I ate and how much they cost
- Stir-fried holy basil (Pad Krapow) 60 THB ($2.38 CAD)
- Mango sticky rice 50 THB ($1.99 CAD)
- Penang curry 70 THB ($2.78 CAD)
- Papaya salad (Som Tam) 60 THB ($2.38 CAD)
- Crispy catfish salad 99 THB ($3.93 CAD)
- Tom yum kun 150 THB ($5.96 CAD)
- BBQ skewers for as low as 10 THB ($0.40 CAD)
- All you can eat hot pot 399 THB ($15.84 CAD)
- Vegetarian black bean burger 150 THB ($5.96 CAD)
- Fruit Shake 50 to 60 THB ($1.99 to $2.38 CAD)
- A bottle of Chang beer at 7-Eleven 39 THB ($1.55 CAD)
- Thai iced tea 25 THB ($0.99 CAD)
Make sure you check out what makes it to my Top 5 Eats in Thailand!
From buses, to trains, to ferries to tuk tuks, it is quite easy and affordable to get around within the different parts of Thailand.
Here are the main journeys I took from place to place
- Minivan from Krabi Town to Koh Lanta 300 THB ($11.91 CAD)
- Ferry from Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi 300 THB ($11.91 CAD)
- Ferry from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket Town 300 THB ($11.91 CAD)
- Overnight bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai 726 THB ($28.82 CAD)
For booking transportation within Thailand, I suggest using 12go.asia as I found their website have the best prices for booking trains, buses, transfers. They are convenient and I personally received great customer service from them. I was able to get a last minute partial refund from a train ticket in Vietnam even though I booked the wrong date.
And some of the ways I got around within the city
- Renting a scooter for a full day 150 – 200 THB ($5.96 – $7.94 CAD). This a great way to get around in the islands of Thailand. Its cheap and convenient. Being able to stop anywhere you like and go at your pace is something public transportation can’t do. When renting a scooter, never give your passport as a deposit!
- Tuk tuks – varies from distance taken and how many people you share with. The average I paid was 40 THB ($1.59 CAD). They are the famous 3-wheeled vehicles found all over Southeast Asia and India. It is definitely an experience riding on one itself!
- Songthaew are also quite popular to get around. They are small pickup trucks that have 2 rows of seats at the back end. If you are not in a rush, then this is a great alternative as it costs as little as 10 THB ($0.40 CAD) to get to one side of a town to the other. I found them in all the cities except Bangkok.
- The MRT in Bangkok 15 – 42 THB ($0.60 – $1.67 CAD) depending on distance. The Metro and Sky Train are quite extensive except that it doesn’t go to the main areas of Khao San Road and Rattanakosin.
All in all, I spent on average of 317 THB ($12.61 CAD) per day on accommodation. During my time in Udon Thani while waiting for my flight to Vietnam, I splurged on getting a one bedroom luxury condo unit on Airbnb for an average of 564 THB ($22.40 CAD) per night for 6 nights. I also prematurely booked a night in a hostel in Chiang Rai for 200 THB ($7.95 CAD) in which I couldn’t make to. These additional expenses increased my accommodation spend in Thailand.
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Being in Thailand for over a month, I stayed in a lot of different hostels. Rather than listing them all, I will give you my recommendations on some of my favourite hostels I stayed at!
BaanBaan Phuket for 4 nights at 270 THB ($10.72 CAD) per night
This has been one of my favourite hostels. I liked it so much that I actually returned back to stay at this hostel again! This quaint hostel has a cozy atmosphere filled with friendly and helpful staff. They have a great common area, where it is easy to mingle with other travellers. Phuket Town is a great place if you want a quiet place away from the crazy touristy Patong Beach. It has a cinema, a weekend market, and a mall. I found the town and the hostel to be a really great place to get some of my blogging done! They also have privacy curtains for your bed.
Suneta Hostel Khaosan for 2 nights at 272 THB ($10.78 CAD) per night
If you love cats, they this is the place for you to stay in Bangkok! Located a couple of blocks away from Khao San Road, it is close enough to enjoy the action there but not close enough where the noise and crowd affects your sleep! They have a great common area with TVs, books, and four adorable cats to keep you entertained during your downtime. There is a cooking night where you can watch the staff cook Thai food and eat it too!
They also have curtains for your bed for privacy.
Family Home Chiang Mai for 5 nights at 261 THB ($10.38 CAD) per night
Just as the name suggest, this hostel creates a family-like vibe. The owner, Joe makes you feel welcome and at home. This cozy little hostel is within walking distance of the Night Bazaar, the many temples within the city, Loi Kroh Road (The nightlife area), and many more. This place also has a PS4 with FIFA 19!
There are endless amounts of things to do in Thailand. From temples, to outdoor activities, to natural wonders, you can do it all! Because most activities are cheap, you will be tempted to do them all. Just be careful as they will add up. This is some of the things I did while I was in Thailand.
- Snorkel and island hop in a Four Islands Tour near Krabi 800 THB ($31.76 CAD)
- Get Thai massages for 60 min 150 THB ($5.96 CAD)
- Watch a fire show at Koh Phi Phi FREE
- Learn about the history of the Thai nation, and its culture at the Museum Siam FREE from 4 PM to 6 PM
- Check out the Wat Pho and Reclining Buddha 100 THB ($3.97 CAD)
- Shop at the largest market in Southeast Asia at the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok
- Watch a ladyboy show at 6ixcret Show (just need to buy drinks)
- Watch the infamous ping pong show 300 THB ($11.91 CAD)
- White water rafting 1800 THB ($71.46 CAD)
- Check out The White Temple in Chiang Rai 50 THB ($1.99 CAD)
- Get a shared boat ride in the Red Lotus Lake 100 THB ($3.97 CAD). These lotuses only bloom from October to February during the morning hours
- See an endless amounts of Buddhist temples
Loi Krathong and Yi Peng
I planned around my Thailand itinerary based on these festivals. Both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar (usually November). The most popular spot to be at for these two festivals is in Chiang Mai. Thais launch their krathong (a small leaf container) on a river, canal or a pond, while making a wish. In Yi Peng, you can launch lanterns 33 THB ($1.31 CAD) into the air. Both these festivals results in the city to be filled with krathongs in the rivers, colourful paper lanterns floating in the sky, fireworks, and extravagant parade floats.
I got a SIM card and a data package from one of Thailand’s main carrier, AIS. Purchasing at the Krabi airport, I got unlimited data for 1 month along with 1.5 GB data after the month for 450 THB ($17.87 CAD). Using Speedtest, the download speeds clicked in at 47.5 Mbps.
Other items that were included in this category:
- I overstayed the 30 day visa by one day, so I had to pay the fine of 500 THB ($19.85 CAD)
- Pesky ATM fees 220 THB ($8.73 CAD) everytime you withdraw. Make sure you don’t get any additional fees from your bank by using a debit card that doesn’t charge you for any foreign transaction fees. If you are from Canada, I recommend using STACK!
- Laundry ranging from 40 to 100 THB ($1.59 to $3.97 CAD) depending on the place
- a haircut with shampoo and head massage 150 THB ($5.96 CAD)
The Sum of How to Spend $40 Per Day in Thailand
Thailand has a very developed tourist infrastructure, meaning you can find numerous hostels and hotels everywhere you go, buses from city to city, and English spoken in many places. I can see how this is one the easiest destinations to go solo backpacking. I found the prices still to be cheap considering on how touristy some places are in Thailand. Overall, I spent $1,503.44 CAD in 37 days which came out to $40.63 per day. This is an unbelievable value for all the places I stayed, food I ate, and things I did!