Planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Southeast Asia? Here’s everything you need to know about budgeting a vacation in Thailand.
While travel in Thailand can be as luxurious as you want it to be, it is also an extremely affordable place, whether you want to spend seven days or two weeks. Southeast Asia has long welcomed penny-pinching backpackers, so affordable accommodation is easy to find and, since the cost of living is relatively low, you won’t have to break the bank to get around.
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How much do flights to Thailand cost?
By far the greatest cost of a Thai holiday is getting here in the first place, unless you’re only visiting from India or another part of Asia, of course.
Those coming from the west have to brace themselves for some serious expenditure, but there are always ways to shop around for the best price. We recommend booking early, checking multiple flight comparison tools, looking for airline discounts and avoiding travel demand booms.
Tourist season can peak from November to February, during dry season, as well as during July and August, when summer backpackers come over from the west. This means that booking during shoulder seasons can save you a significant sum of money. You might have to sacrifice the ideal weather conditions, but you’ll also get to see this beautiful country with far smaller crowds.
If you’re travelling from the UK to Thailand then expect to pay somewhere between £400-800, while US travellers should budget for anything between $600-1,200, depending on airport connection and time of travel.
The cost of a flight to Thailand from India, however, could be as cheap as 10,000INR (£100).
How much does it cost to travel around Thailand?
Flying over might cost you a pretty penny, but you’ll more than make up for that during your time in Thailand. The cost of living here is far, far lower than what many people in Europe and North America are used to.
The cost of a luxury hotel in Thailand is in the same price range as budget hotels in the UK, so you can either choose to indulge yourself with bargain prices, or really save big time by staying in a hostel or guesthouse, which can be as cheap as £5 a night.
Public transport tells a similar story, with most train, bus, taxi or tuk-tuk rides payable with pocket change. Food, meanwhile, is extremely affordable thanks to the country’s incredible street food culture. Street vendors and small restaurants are particularly cheap, but even international cuisine at upscale restaurants won’t cost more than a basic chain restaurant dinner in the UK or US.
In terms of activities, entry to temples and tourist attractions tends to be very cheap, and even adventurous experiences like elephant trekking, snorkelling and boat trips shouldn’t cost more than tens of pounds.
Why booking a trip to Thailand with Culture Trip is great value for money
While anyone can go on vacation in Thailand without blowing their budget, we also think many solo traveller’s miss out on some of the best the country has to offer.
With so many cheap options, and more tourist traps than you can imagine, it can be hard to know what’s authentic and what isn’t. That’s where we step in. Our trips are designed by culturally curious Travel Experts and, crucially, led by in-the-know Local Insiders passionate about showing people their country.
Our itineraries are all about cultural immersion, authentic experiences and group memory-making moments. Our Local Insider will bring you closer to your destination, offering a level of lived-in knowledge, experience and insight that you simply cannot buy. They’ll be able to show you the secret sunset spots, top foodie tips, and give an actual local’s insight into the Thai way of life.
Tropical Northern Thailand
Experience all the jungle adventure Thailand has to offer on this ten-day trip in the country’s northern region, including Chiang Mai, Pai and the Doi Inthanon National Park.
You’ll explore the street art and food of Chiang Mai by bike, discover Pam Bok Waterfall, marvel at the sunset from Pai Canyon and trek past idyllic waterfalls in Mae Hong Son jungle.
It all comes to an unforgettable high on the final day, when we hike Thailand’s tallest mountain, Doi Inthanon, at sunrise. The early rise will be more than worth it for the views, trust us. After breakfast back at the hotel we’ll head to an elephant rescue sanctuary, where you’ll get to feed, trek and bathe Thailand’s most majestic creatures.
Prices for this itinerary start at £1,172, or $1,444, meaning you could do it all for under two grand if you shop around for flights.
Sublime Southern Thailand
Swap the jungles of the north for the pristine beaches of the south on this tropical escape.
After arriving in Bangkok and soaking in the city’s famously vibrant nightlife, we’ll catch the sleeper train to Surat Thani, the gateway to Southern Thailand.
You’ll stay at a floating raft house on Khao Sok Lake, kayak through mangrove forests and spot sun bears on a longtail boat safari. Then it’s on to Hong Island by boat, where you can snorkel among shoals of colourful fish in the area’s crystal clear waters.
After a sunset cruise and barbecue you’ll discover another island, this time the secluded Koh Yao Yai. We’ll stay at a luxury resort where you can chill in the infinity pool or explore the island yourself.
The trip ends in Phuket and our glorious coastal hotel in Ao Yon Bay, surrounded by two beautiful beaches, which you’ll have time to enjoy before our farewell dinner.
Prices for our Southern Thailand trips start at around £1,351, or $1,657. Book cheap flights and you’re looking at just over two grand all-in.
Incredible Thailand and Laos by Train
Why stick just to Thailand when you can cross borders on one of our incredible Rail Trips? You’ll get to explore both Thailand and Laos in-depth on this two week epic.
In Thailand you’ll visit the ancient ruins of Sukhothai, sample street food in Chiang Mai and take an authentic Thai cooking class. You’ll also walk and mud bathe with elephants at an ethical sanctuary in Lampang, before going bamboo rafting and having a barbecue as we glamp out in the jungle.
We’ll cross into Laos by boat, cruising down the Mekong, stopping off in rural villages to meet whisky-making locals and visit sacred caves. You’ll get to see the spectacular Kuang Si Falls during a jungle hike in Luang Prabang, before taking a high-speed train to Vang Vieng, kayaking on Nam Song River and returning to Bangkok by sleeper train.
As a two-week itinerary, this trip comes in at around £1,733, or $2,133. That means two weeks, two countries and a boatload of unforgettable travel experiences for under three grand.
Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam
Two countries still not enough? Thailand is the starting point of this border-crossing odyssey through Southeast Asia. You’ll visit ancient temples and dine on incredible street food on a tuk-tuk tour of Bangkok.
In Cambodia you’ll watch a local circus show and get up early to watch the sunrise over the extraordinary Angkor Wat complex. You’ll also dive into the country’s food culture and tragic history, before crossing into Vietnam via speedboat.
In Vietnam you’ll spend a night cruising down the Mekong, discovering the many islets, canals and communities in a traditional rowing boat and finish the trip by getting to grips with Vietnamese cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City.
Book your spot on this trip for around £1,835, or $2,124. That’s less than three grand for three of Southeast Asia’s most famous countries when flights are factored in too.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.