Setting your budget for Thailand.

All you need to know when budgeting a trip to Thailand.

Having an idea of budget isn’t always easy when we have never been somewhere before. All sorts of costs seem to come in from nowhere when we haven’t looked into things enough before going. And even when we do prepare, extra or unexpected costs still seem to appear.

Here I will try to give you an objective and realistic idea of what things cost in Thailand. Obviously, it always depends on what sort of trip you are looking for – luxurious, relaxing, exciting, discovery, backpacking, short stay…

My first trip in 2015 for a duration of 3 months, amounted to just over 3000€ for two people. We weren’t necessarily on a tight budget but didn’t want to spend certain amounts on hotels for example when we were barely going to spend any time there…

Here is what to account for:

  • Hotels – they range from as little as 2€ for a single bed in a dormitory for example to whatever price you like.

We paid an average of 12 to 15€/night.

This included a required minimum: 2 pers, double bed, showeroom, air conditioning.

#Maninarikorn Hotel, Chiang Mai
#Lime N Soda Beachfront Resort, Koh Phangan

  • Transport – we hired a scooter. Prices will vary depending on where you are.


In Chiang Mai, we paid ≈ 100Baht/day (≈ 2,60€).

In Koh Samui ≈ 130Baht (≈ 3,30€)

In Phuket ≈ 150Baht (≈ 3,90€).

It’s all about negotiating and seeing where you can maybe find the cheapest deals (without being done in at the end). We never had this problem but just in case, always take photos of the scooter when you rent it and check lights, brakes, scratches etc etc.

Oh and order an international driving license before you travel for when/if you get stopped whilst driving.


  • Food – this is as cheap as anything in most places. You will always find restaurants and bars offering international AND Thai food but prices are usually  more expensive. We avoided these places as we often found better quality elsewhere for cheaper. If you’re in the mood for non-Thai food though, then go ahead.

Thai food in Thai eating areas:  ≈ 40 -120Baht 

International food: ≈ 250 to 400Baht

 Do try the street food in Thailand wherever you go. I know some are worried about hygiene and i don’t blame you, i was too. I’m afraid you will have to judge for yourself..

Prices will really vary on where you go so this is just an average to give you an idea. Just remember that touristy areas will always be more expensive.

Pad thai on Koh Samui island
Sushi at Chiang Mai’s Saturday night market
Green curry in Chiang Mai
Pineapple chicken fried rice on Koh Lanta Island
Vegetable omelet in Chiang Mai


  • Getting across the country – so here you have the tuktuk, train, ferry or flight. Unfortunately I cannot give you an average for these as it will depend on the circumstances at the time (destination, distance travelled, negotiations…).


2 types: the red 4×4 tuktuks and the sort of 2 seaters. The red ones are cheaper.

Do not hesitate to negotiate the tuktuks and don’t take the 1st one in sight. Whether you’ve just arrived at the airport or just got off a ferry, tuktuk and minivan drivers will pounce on you offering you “good prices”. Their prices are literally x5 or x10!! Wait for everything to calm down, walk a bit further on and you’ll find a load more around the corner and they will be open to negotiating.

I realise prices are not expensive especially when you compare to what you’d pay here in Europe or anywhere else for ex, BUT at the end of the day, add all those expenses up and you might just want to be a bit more careful!

2 seater tuktuk


The trains have set prices and always require your passport to buy tickets. I recommend going to the train station and getting your ticket in advance if you know when and where you’ll be heading if you want the best beds.

I did a night journey of 15hours in the lowest category and I can tell you I won’t be doing that again…



Ferries normally have set prices and always offer packs (ferry + minibus/van to destination). These are useful as it saves having to find transport once you’ve arrived. The journey by minibus is never really pleasant so just be prepared; the ride can be bumpy, cramped, fast driving and obviously a bit hot and sweaty but you’ll get there in the end! You feel a bit like cattle being move around. 🙂

Keep your belongings with you (they put bags in the boot just next to you so normally things go well) and having a bottle of water on you can help. 

I do recommend looking these up on internet and not buying in small cut off places as they could do you in. You can easily buy your tickets at the port itself in advance if you’re early, or in a “travel agency” in town.

View from the ferry: Mainland – Koh Phangan


As for the flights, well internet will be your only option. Prices will vary depending on where you wish to travel next 🙂

Internal flights are never too expensive, and can be a nicer more comfortable option than the train for example.


  • Sim card – trying to find wifi hotspots when travelling can become pretty annoying (all depending on how much you use the internet). They have different mobile phone companies offering sim cards for travellers. Prices will vary depending on the contract you wish to have according to the length of your stay and needs in connection.

AIS – We went for the 30day offer, at 599Baht (≈ 15,6€):

including 4GB and 100Baht of free credit. #AISTRAVELLER

Other phone companies also exist. You can buy your sim card in their local stores in town or directly at the airport when you arrive. It will be busy, but it’s best buying directly upon arrival and then at least you can use your connection to find your way to your hotel easily!

  • Activities – the prices of these will vary depending on what you choose. A day’s snorkelling on Koh Samui could cost 800Baht/pers (≈ 20€).
Visiting the Botanic Gardens in Chiang Mai

They are the main points to consider when forecasting your budget. Extra costs may occur throughout your trip: missed flight, medical assistance, outings you hadn’t planned on doing …. so give yourself an extra margin.

Feel free to ask me any questions!


Sunset on Koh Lanta


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