Edited by: Bhawna Nijhawan
Summary: Thailand has long been a dream destination for many. But what if you’re on a budget? With careful planning, you can explore this country without emptying your wallet. Let me tell you how to plan a budget trip so you can experience the best of Thailand while keeping your expenses in check.
Known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage, Thailand offers a wide range of activities and attractions that can be enjoyed without breaking the bank. Are you trying to plan a budget-friendly trip that allows you to explore this stunning country while keeping your expenses in check? In this blog, I will provide you with essential tips and strategies to help you plan a budget trip in Thailand. From transportation and accommodation to food and attractions, I will cover all the key aspects to ensure that your trip is both affordable and memorable. So, let’s dive in and start planning your budget trip to Thailand.
1. Visit during the off-season
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, keep in mind that from November to March, prices for accommodations and transport tend to increase due to the dry weather and travel-friendly temperatures. On the other hand, the period between July to October is considered the off-season because of heavy rainfall. During this time, you can find significantly cheaper deals on literally everything. Even hotel prices tend to decrease during this season, which makes it a great time to visit without a lot of crowds.
2. Book your flights early
The airfare prices vary greatly depending on the time of year. When planning your budget trip to Thailand, it’s important to keep in mind that booking flights early can save you a substantial amount of money. I suggest keeping an eye out for flight deals and offers to find the best prices. You should also check different airlines and flight routes to find the most budget-friendly option. This tip can help you save big on your travel expenses!
3. Choose Budget-Friendly Destination
Certain destinations in Thailand are known for being more budget-friendly than others. For instance, Chiang Mai and Krabi are often considered more affordable areas compared to places like Phuket or Koh Samui, which cater to higher-end tourism. By choosing budget-friendly destinations, you can save your money while still enjoying all that Thailand has to offer.
4. Avoid taxis at the airport
If you’re flying to Thailand, be aware of the high prices that taxis at airports can charge. To avoid this, I recommended that you take public transit instead. The Suvarnabhumi International Airport has Airport Rail Link trains that connect with the downtown Skytrain and MRT network, as well as a free shuttle bus to a local transport terminus with cheap city buses into the center. If you still want to opt for a taxi, you may try finding it outside the airport-terminal complex on the highway for better rates.
5. Opt for economical accommodation
If you’re really on a tight budget, then look for homestays in rural areas. This can be an affordable option with comfortable rooms and authentic home-cooked meals. Dorms are another popular choice, with prices starting at around 250 THB per night. You can get a basic room with a fan and a common bathroom. Camping in a national park is also dirt-cheap, starting at only 30 THB per person, and is also a good way to save money. By taking advantage of these options, you can keep your expenses down and still enjoy all the wonders that Thailand has to offer.
6. Use local buses and trains
Public transportation is a great way to roam around Thailand on a budget in my opinion. Buses, trains, and tuk-tuks are all relatively inexpensive and are generally more budget-friendly than private taxis. If you’re traveling to a more remote area, you can rent a motorbike or scooter. Utilize local transportation apps or ask locals for guidance on the most affordable options.
7. Eat delicious street food
Restaurants can be expensive, so why not try street stalls and local food markets? Street food is one of the best things about Thailand. It’s delicious, affordable, and a great way to experience local culture. You can find street food stalls all over Thailand, serving everything from pad thai to khao soi. Be sure to choose busy stalls, so you get freshly prepared food. For an even better deal, check out the food courts attached to bus stations and other transport hubs where you can find tasty local snacks for affordable prices.
8. Prioritize free or low-cost activities
You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a fulfilling experience in Thailand. Prioritize free or low-cost activities such as visiting temples and exploring historical sites to enjoy the country’s natural beauty. Many temples are open to visitors free of charge, though donations are appreciated. Even the national parks in Thailand have minimal entry fees, so you can definitely visit there. Additionally, most national parks have basic canteens that offer simple Thai dishes at budget-friendly prices.
9. Avoid spas, go for hot-springs
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to relax and rejuvenate in Thailand, you might want to consider checking out the natural hot springs in the northern part of the country. Luxury spas can be quite expensive, but there are plenty of affordable hot-spring options available in Thailand. Chiang Mai is home to several government-run hot springs complexes that offer therapeutic treatments at reasonable prices. For example, you can visit Pha Daeng National Park and enjoy the pool for around 100 THB per person. Similarly, San Kamphaeng Hot Springs also offers entry at similarly affordable prices.
10. Bring your own gear
Thailand is a great place for adrenaline seekers! There are so many activities to choose from, such as canyoning, kiteboarding, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and jungle trekking. However, many of the organized trips can be quite expensive. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly adventure, then bring your own gear to save some bucks. Additionally, if you have your own snorkeling gear, you can explore the underwater world for free at beaches throughout Thailand.
11. Don’t be afraid to bargain
Bargaining is a crucial skill to have when you’re on a budget trip in Thailand. Street vendors and local markets always set their prices higher for tourists. It is common for the real price to be between 25% and 50% lower than what the vendor initially quoted. By bargaining, you can often secure better deals and save money on various purchases. Before you start bargaining, try to get an idea of the general price range for the item you want to buy. You can ask locals or do some quick research to avoid getting overcharged.
12. Currency exchange and payment methods
It’s common for people to exchange foreign currency at the airport or in a foreign country itself. Most people don’t realize that this last-minute currency exchange can cost them a lot. When planning a trip to Thailand, it’s best to exchange currency at reputable currency exchange platforms like BookMyForex before your trip to avoid high currency exchange fees and unfavorable rates.
Also Read :- Best Tourist Places to Visit in Thailand
A Guide to Daily Costs in Thailand
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, it’s essential to have a rough idea of daily expenses to budget accordingly. So, here’s a guide to give you an estimate of total daily costs for various aspects of your trip based on my personal experience:
- Accommodation: I booked a basic guesthouse room during my stay in Thailand which was around 700–1000 THB per night.
- Food: I loved trying the local Thai food. Most of the time, I ate at a market stall or street food vendor that was priced around 40–100 THB. I even ate at a restaurant and paid around 200–500 THB per meal.
- Drinks: As for drinks, I typically enjoyed a bottle of local beer which cost around 80 THB. Imported beer tended to be more expensive, so I usually stuck to the local brews.
- Activities: There are many free things to do in Thailand, but besides that, I even opted for organized activities from tour operators, for which I paid around 1500 THB per day.
- Transportation: Public transportation is very affordable in Thailand. Most of the time, I traveled via a bus or tuk-tuk and the ride cost me around 20–50 THB. I also rented a motorbike or scooter and paid around 150–300 THB per day.
Low-cost: 1000–1500 THB per day per person
Moderate-cost: 1500–3000 THB per day per person
High-cost: 3000–4000 THB per day per person
There’s no reason you can’t have an amazing Thailand trip on a budget. By planning wisely and embracing the local culture, you’ll discover that the true essence of Thailand lies not in lavish spending but in the warm smiles of its people, the local Thai food, the stunning landscapes, and the rich cultural experiences. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Land of Smiles!
Is Thailand cheaper for Indian tourists?
Yes, Thailand is generally considered to be an affordable destination for Indian tourists. For example, a meal that costs 100 THB in Thailand would cost around 250 INR in India. However, the overall cost can vary based on individual preferences.
How much does the average trip to Thailand cost?
The cost of an average trip to Thailand can vary widely based on several factors, including the duration of the trip, the level of luxury or comfort desired, the type of activities and attractions you plan to experience, and individual spending habits. You can expect to spend anywhere from ₹70,000 to ₹1,00,000 for a 7-10 day trip.
What month is the cheapest to go to Thailand?
The cheapest time to visit Thailand is typically during the country’s off-season, which is between May and October. This period coincides with the monsoon or rainy season in most parts of Thailand. While the weather might be unpredictable with some areas experiencing heavier rainfall, traveling during this time can offer significant cost savings as you can find great deals on flights, accommodation, and activities.