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Amazing Thailand | © Transformer18/Flickr
Amazing Thailand | © Transformer18/Flickr

How To Travel Thailand on a Budget

Picture of Iona Proebst
Updated: 20 November 2017

Thailand is one of the most budget-friendly countries in the world. If you’re travelling on a shoestring, you’ll want to read on to find out how to make your hard earnt pennies go that much further.

How to save money?

There are a few basic rules to saving money in the Land of Smiles, being somewhat prepared and planning in advance is likely going to set you in good stead. For example, research how you will travel from Chiang Mai to that full moon party on Koh Phangan, and book in advance to ensure you get the best and cheapest deal possible. Likewise, it’s important to plan your route so you are not backtracking or zigzagging about the country, this will not only save you money but also save you time.

Eating on a budget

There is some truth in the old adage “when in Rome” particularly when it comes to eating. You’ll save a lot by committing to only eating at local street-side stalls and restaurants. Eating Western food will see your funds deplete at a much faster rate, as you’ll likely pay at least three times more than what you would for a local dish. Breakfast is often offered at guesthouses as part of the per night rate, make sure to take advantage of things like free breakfasts, water and snacks. If you are travelling with friends or mingling with fellow travellers, combine your resources and eat like locals by sharing a selection of dishes together. Not only is this economically beneficial, this will also enable you to try different things.

Sleeping on a budget

Cheap accommodation options are readily available in Thailand, even in Bangkok, you just need to do your research and stay in more affordable neighbourhoods. A lot of people assume that travelling on a budget means you’ll be bunked up in dorm rooms with 20 other sweaty and snoring travellers, but this is not the case in Thailand where a simple private room is still obtainable for 150 baht ($4.5 USD) per night. If you are planning to stay in one place for a while, bargain for a cheaper weekly or monthly rate.

Free and non-expensive activities

There are plenty of free and non-expensive activities to partake in. Most bars across Thailand do not charge a cover charge so you’re at liberty to turn up, order a cheap or free drink and enjoy live music. If you do enjoy the odd tipple, buy local beers like Leo or Singha or opt for going in on a SangSom bucket set. There is a reason locals are often seen drinking local rum and it’s not because of its “superior” taste.

Thailand is famous for its markets which are an ideal place to replace any clothes or travel gear at rock bottom prices. Markets are also a great place for cheap meals, the dishes available will change regionally depending on if you are in northern or southern Thailand or anywhere in between. Temples are usually free to visit and are a great place to spend a few hours.

If you are looking for exercise options join in a communal outdoor fitness class, these are not only a great way to mingle with locals they are also often free or on a donation basis. Another fantastic free exercise option is to explore Thailand’s fabulous and diverse National Parks. Go hiking in the mountainous north, explore breathtaking caves, or snorkel and dive the azure waters in the south, there are plenty of options to embrace Thailand’s natural beauty at a very low cost!