The Cost of Travel in Thailand: How to Do it on $30 Per Day

Southeast Asia, and especially Thailand, has become a hotspot for backpackers looking for adventure on a budget.

It’s become a popular destination due to its level of accessibility, with Bangkok being a major international hub and with the low cost of living in places like Chiang Mai.

I spent one month traveling through Thailand and kept track of every expense. Every bottle of water, bus ride or temple entry fee was recorded just so I could put this report together! Arduous? Yes. Worth it? I hope so.

How Accurate are These Numbers?

I spent time in more expensive cities like Bangkok but also bummed around on cheaper beaches like Tonsai. Given that prices can vary depending on location, these numbers would accurately represent a monthly approximation. You can’t expect to spend the same amount in every city, however, so a law of averages would apply.

My Spending Habits in Thailand

As a general rule, I would call my spending pattern relatively frugal. Travel in Thailand is cheap enough that I could afford to splurge occasionally, so I didn’t have to be overly tight with my spending. That being said, I wasn’t frivolous by any means and I did keep an eye on my daily budget. It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars in a month, and I’ve seen plenty of people do it, but it’s also easy to stick well within a daily budget of $30 per day!

Thai Currency & Conversions

The Thai Baht (THB) is the official currency of Thailand. The conversion rate as of November 2018 is USD$1 = THB33 (or just round down to 30 for easier math). Inversely, THB100 is about $3USD, which is easy to remember. For updated and more accurate currency conversions, provides the best representations.

Note: All future dollar representations are USD unless otherwise stated.

Wat Traimit: Temple of the Golden Buddha in Bangkok
Wat Traimit: Temple of the Golden Buddha in Bangkok

Thailand Backpacking Budget: Total Expenditures

In 31 days I spent a total of THB29,967, or just about $900 USD! I created a loose budget of $30 per day for my entire trip in Southeast Asia and, without trying too hard, I nailed that number almost exactly. My monthly total, divided by the 31 days I spent in Thailand, works out to less than $30 per day.

Not too shabby! Many people spend a lot more than that on a single month’s rent.

Which brings me to my next point: it’s a common belief that travel is incredibly expensive, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Of course, this depends on location and travel style, but as you can see, traveling in Asia on $1,000 per month is a very real possibility.

The numbers I have gathered serve to accurately prove that travel is attainable and, in fact, affordable. If you can learn how to start a travel blog or find live a location independent lifestyle, it can oftentimes be cheaper to travel than it would be to stay at home.

Sure, you’ll have to cut some corners and you might not live a glamorous lifestyle, but it’s all a part of the experience.

Trekking through the rice fields of northern Thailand
Trekking through the rice fields of northern Thailand.

The Price of Accommodation in Thailand

Guesthouses: The price of accommodation in Thailand is very reasonable. Whereas dorm rooms in many hostels around the world can cost between $20 and $30, a private room in a guesthouse in Thailand will only cost you about $8. It’s a flat rate, no matter how many people are staying in the room, and since most private rooms have two beds, you can split with a friend for just $4 each.

Shared Dorms: If you don’t worry too much about privacy or having your own room, and you’re happy to stay in shared dorm rooms, you can expect to pay somewhere between $3 and $6 per night, anywhere in Thailand. That being said, I’ve seen rooms for as little as a dollar per night, but I wouldn’t recommend that anybody stay there!

Airbnb: If you’re in search of something a little more comfortable, there are a wide range of accommodation options on Airbnb at various prices. It’s the best website for local home rentals in Thailand, though there are plenty of other Airbnb alternatives you can use, too!

TIP: Agoda is the best booking site for hotels in Asia. They have the most comprehensive inventory of properties, and they always have the best prices. That’s not necessarily the case in Western countries, but for Asia, they’re number one.

I stayed mostly in guesthouses, often sharing rooms with travel buddies. I usually opted for more comfortable options rather than cheap dorm rooms. When it comes down to a difference of a dollar or two, I don’t mind spending that little bit extra. In 31 days I spent THB5,150 or $142 in an entire month. This works out to about $35 per week or $5 per day. How’s that for rent!?

Beach bungalows on Koh Tao
Beach bungalows on Koh Tao

The Cost of Food and Drink in Thailand

In one full month in Thailand, I spent THB7,392 on food, or about $225. This works out to a daily average of $6.50, or $2.20 per meal! Many people in western countries will spend $50 on food per day from eating out; on average, I spent $46 per week! This number does not reflect the price of alcohol, except for the occasional beer with dinner. Should you choose to drink regularly, which many travelers do, expect your number to be significantly higher.

Most meals consisted of local street food like noodles and curries. Of course, sometimes I splurged on $10 meals, which usually come in the form of western food, but that didn’t happen often. As a rule, a beer and a bowl of noodles (or plate of rice) will cost you two or three bucks. This is fairly standard pricing in Asia.

I should also point out that I drink coffee on a pretty regular basis, and those costs have been included in these numbers.

It’s important to seek out the local food, both for the sake of your taste buds and your wallet. Popular restaurants which cater to travelers and foreigners will be less authentic (read: less tasty) and will likely cost a lot more. Should you be traveling in Thailand, I implore you to get off the beaten trail, avoid Khao San Road, and find the dingy little street food stalls down that back alley.

Believe it or not, these types of places actually have the best food!

A delicious bowl of Thai noodles.
A delicious bowl of Thai noodles. Just 40 baht!

The Cost of Transportation in Thailand

Transportation is, by far, the most costly expense when traveling in Thailand. During my month of travels, I was transported by boat, taxi, truck, tuk-tuk, scooter, van, and bus! Many of these buses are overnight buses, which means the price of accommodation goes down, while the price of transportation stays the same. Win!

Of course, transportation doesn’t only include getting from one city to the next, but also getting around within your destination city. Sometimes taxis and public buses are the best bet, but oftentimes, the cheapest (and most fun!) way to explore a city is by moped/scooter, which will only cost $4 or $5 per day. You’ll have to pay gas, but that won’t cost you more than another dollar or two. Everything considered I think my average cost was pretty reasonable.

I spent THB8,920 in 31 days, or $245. This is $61.25 per week or $8 per day!

This number could easily be reduced by choosing to arrange inter-city transportation on your own. Many guesthouses and transportation agencies charge an inflated amount and then simply transport you to the public bus. If you arrange your own transportation directly at the bus (or train) station, expect to spend less.

Just remember, this isn’t always easy if you’re in a foreign country where everyone speaks a different language!

Riding in a tuk-tuk in Thailand
Riding in a tuk-tuk in Thailand

Budget for Activities & Entertainment

Throughout the month I also recorded my expenditures for activities and entertainment in Thailand. This included everything from temple entry fees to rock climbing to boat cruises. I visited hot springs, went trekking in the jungle, wandered through temples, drank beer on boats and got plenty of Thai massages!

Considering how much I accomplished, a final tally of THB5120, or $141, is pretty remarkable! As it turns out, I spent the same amount on accommodation as I did on activities and entertainment: a whopping $35 per week or $5 per day!

Rock climbing in Tonsai, Thailand
Rock climbing in Tonsai, Thailand

Budget for the Essentials

There are also plenty of things that we need as people to maintain personal well-being and hygiene. SIM cards, sunblock, laundry, band-aids, WiFi, toothpaste, and replacements for broken things are all on this list. I spent THB3,385, or $93, in total, which works out to about $23 per week or $3.30 per day.

On another note, especially if you’re traveling in Asia, travel insurance is something you really shouldn’t skimp on. Medical care in Thailand isn’t very sophisticated, so if something serious happens, you want to make sure you’re covered. I’ve had more than $12,000 in medical bills paid for over the past few years. Frankly, you never know what could happen, and one or two hundred dollars is nothing when you compare it to a five- or six-figure medical bill. I always recommend World Nomads for complete travel and health coverage.

Other Expenses in Thailand

I did, of course, spend money on other things while I was in Thailand. For the sake of this report, though, I’ve excluded those items from the list. If one came fully prepared (which can be difficult to do if you’ve never been to a particular country before!), the acquisition of clothes, for example, wouldn’t be necessary. I however, needed to buy singlets (tank tops), shorts, swimming trunks, and sandals. To be honest, it was a lot hotter than I was expecting!

Diving is also a very common attraction in Thailand. The island of Koh Tao, in particular, is well-known for cheap scuba diving courses that are remarkably easy to complete. If you intend to get certified, a course costs $250-$300. I’m an avid diver and have been diving for 15 years, so a fun dive for those already certified costs between $25 and $30.

Ocean views on Koh Phangan.

It’s also important to remember our friends and family members! I knew I would be returning home in time for the holidays, so I made sure to pick up lots of cool travel gifts.

Large amounts of money get spent on nights out drinking, too. While beers are pretty cheap at the convenience stores, they’re regular, Western prices in the bars. And considering how much drinking happens among the backpackers who travel through Thailand, it could be easy to spend a considerable amount.

How to Save Money in Thailand

Two words: Don’t drink.

Final Cost Analysis

For those of you who’ve been following my math extremely closely, you’ll notice that there’s a slight discrepancy between my final number and the sum of the amounts from each category. That could be due to differences in conversion rates as well as the simple exclusion of one or two items. Frankly, I’m not going to throw a fit over a few bucks, and I hope you won’t either.

That being said, the general goal of many backpackers is to keep the cost of travel in Thailand down to $1,000 per month and, as you can see, this is a very attainable goal. Just keep your drinking to a minimum and your wallet in mind and you’ll be fine!


Thailand Travel Cost FAQs

How much does a trip to Thailand cost?

I spent around $900 USD for an entire month in Thailand! Thailand is very affordable, and it’s easy to travel on the cheap.

Is $1000 enough for a week in Thailand?

Absolutely. For $1000, you can spend a pretty luxurious week in Thailand, stay in good hotels, and eat out for every meal.

Is it expensive to travel around Thailand?

Thailand is very cheap by western standards. I spent $30 per day on average for a month in Thailand.

How much money do you need per day in Thailand?

You only need about $30 per day in Thailand if you’re okay staying in shared rooms in guesthouses.

Is Thailand cheap for US tourists?

Yes, Thailand is a very affordable place to travel for Americans.

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
  1. Hey man nice blog, as a travel agent I agree with a lot of it and am impressed that unlike many bloggers you didn’t go for the tightest, stingiest way of traveling in which you force locals to try and give you discounts and haggling things for so much cheaper. I think your blog is fair and a good example that people can follow by. The only thing I would add is that 1. Cost can very throughout seasons, many people may tell you they paid more or less when they meet you but may have been traveling through different periods; expect to pay a bit different for things especially during things such as festivals or activities like the full moon party. 2. The only other thing would be that many people like myself will try to only put 100 baht on top of train tickets etc which will include the pickups of the ticket. People may be able to get a train ticket for 100 baht less but if they want the ticket reserved without traveling to and from the train station (costing 160 baht minimum; also not mentioning time wasted) then buying a ticket can actually be better. Also the fact that I myself can 100% guarantee a train ticket that if you went to the station they would say is full or even if you called yourself. This can be on of the benefits of booking from an agency

  2. Our budget was similar to yours – not as Ty says below, the ‘stingiest’ way of travelling, but budget comfortable – Asia is so cheap splurging for a little luxury really doesn’t break the bank.

  3. This is a great resource and I plan on using this when I budget for my trip. I hope to go at the end of this year for a week or two, since that’s the only amount of time I can allot, but I’m really excited about taking a trip there. I’m happy to know that I can travel and save money. Thanks for this post.

      1. Hi,
        I was wondering what the names of some of the guest houses you stayed in where?
        Whats the best one?
        And is it far from bangkok?

  4. Amazingly detailed post and a great resource!

    Thailand is increasingly getting a reputation for becoming more expensive but as your breakdown shows it’s still possible to do it cheaply. Seems that increasingly it depends on where in Thailand you go. Avoid the tourist traps (or spend more time up in the north) and suddenly your costs drop dramatically.

    1. Though it was once cheaper, it still remains cheap. After being in Asia for so long (10 months at that point), I did find the prices to be extraordinarily high by comparison. But, that’s what tourism will do…

      That being said, avoiding the tourist traps and only going local is the best way to keep things cheap and even cheaper! And you make a good point, which is that the north is much less costly than the south!

  5. This is great. we are going to Thailand next week for the first time ever. How did you find the guesthouses. We will be around phuket, but I am having a hard time finding anything close to that price online.

  6. Great post, really loved it. We went with a 1000THB per day for two of us excluding the city to city transfer when we were there, and we did manage it within that budget. But we only went to northern Thailand which is cheaper.
    How did u manage to keep a track of your expenses, cause you seem to have done it very well.

    1. Thanks! There’s a great little app called Trail Wallet, which I’ll be writing about sometime soon! You should check it out–very comprehensive!

  7. Wow Awesome images. its a really a good views and really a helpful information. Thanks for posting your views.

  8. I will be in Thailand in October. My question is, did you pre book your accommodations or seek them out when there? Are they easy to find?

    1. Hi Rayleen! Accommodation is quite easy to find in Thailand. In my month in Thailand, I never pre-booked once! I always found something suitable when I arrived in a new place.

  9. thank you so much for this, I am from the UK and plan to go to Thailand for a month in July over my birthday, my mother will be traveling with me for 2 weeks then go home and I will continue for another 2 weeks. this has really helped me to see how much I need to save (excluding flights) so live in Thailand for a month, I will be spending a week in the elephant nature park near Chiang Mai which takes near £300 out of my budget. I plan to have saved £700 for the 3 weeks outside of the nature park so I have enough for night trains accommodation food and spending money and I would very much like to get a bamboo tattoo.
    I do have a couple of questions though
    1) will having 2 people affect the cost of hostels/guest houses per person?
    2)what would be the best route to travel around thailand if your landing and flying out from bangkok
    3)can you keep your money in the bank? or is it best to keep it in cash? and how does withdrawing money work in thailand?

    1. Fantastic! You’re going to have a great time, Lizzie!

      1) Rooms in guesthouses are generally the same price, no matter how many people there are. So, if you have two people, you will pay half!
      2) I spent a month in Thailand and I spent about two weeks in the south and about two weeks in the north. What this meant was that I had to go through Bangkok again on my way to the north.
      3) You can, and should, keep your money in the bank. Just make sure to take out enough money at the ATMs when you get to the larger cities. Depending on which bank you have, they will probably have a partner bank in Thailand that you can use.

  10. Hey Jeremy!! Your article was a great read, but I have a question about accommodations!! My boyfriend and I are planning to travel to Thailand for 3 weeks in February, and I am really having a difficult time with the booking hotels to stay in! I am just wondering how you found such affordable accomodation, since when I look online most hotels start at least at 45$?

    Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hey Erica! Unless you are dead set on staying in hotels, I’d consider staying in guesthouses and hostels. You can find beautiful private rooms for less than $10 per night. You probably won’t find many of these online, so I’d plan on just figuring out your accommodation as you go. There are PLENTY of accommodation options all over the country, so you shouldn’t have an issue and you won’t need to stress about it.

      My recommendation would be to book your first few nights online, and then just leave things open after that!

  11. Hey Jeremy, I have been planning to go to Thailand for a long time but somehow was never sure of the budget I should always keep in mind. then I read you blog and I must say the way you have written it has become so much easier for me to plan my trip. Next thing is booking flight ticket.

    Thanks Man!

  12. Hi Jeremy, this is a great article! I am currently planning my two-week trip to Bangkok & Koh Samui in April and the figures you showed helped me a lot in my budget planning. Now Im even more excited!

  13. Brilliant article. I have been to Thailand a couple of times and all of the above is pretty much spot on 🙂

  14. Do you think that these prices will still relevant in June 2015? We have budgeted for 43$ a day. We want to travel from Bangkok–>Chiang Mai—->Pai—>Ayuttaha—>Koi Samui. We are not big drinkers or shoppers, but we want to squeeze in activities like Elephant Center in Chiang Mai, temples, hikes, massages and maybe some yoga classes. Otherwise, we are pretty frugal. We so far booked our guesthouse in Bangkok for the first two nights but are flexible otherwise. Is it best to travel with an itinerary or wing it? Thank you for your advice.

    1. Absolutely, Roy. These costs will definitely still be relevant. $43 per person per day is going to be more than enough, and since you’re splitting costs, you’ll probably even be able to do it for cheaper than I did, because you’ll be splitting accommodation costs. Don’t worry about booking accommodation in advance–you can absolutely wing it and end up with cheaper prices than booking online.

      For a responsible way to see the elephants, I recommend the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.

      1. Jeremy,

        Thank you for your response. I will continue to read your blog as I prepare for an adventure of a lifetime!!

        Elephant Nature Park is the only place that we are willing to do. We refuse to go to the Tiger Temple or the various Elephant sites that are not as legit as ENP.

        1. That’s great to hear–I stand by ENP 100%, and I know you’re going to have a great time. Enjoy!

  15. Hi
    Great blog I’m off to thailand in May for 4 weeks start in bangkok and finish in bangkok!
    What would the best route to travel for my trip I want to see beaches get a tan eat local food.
    Please could you help I will be on the same budget as you $1000

  16. My plan will be there in a few next week, but I am just stay in Bangkok about two days. So, how much budget to around Bangkok city in two day?

    nice to visit your blog 😉

  17. Returned from a month in Thailand. This was our first attempt at testing the waters & following our dream to travel simply. We did more of a “slackpacker’s” month in Thailand as we are 47 & 48 years young & have never done this before. So we did stay in 3 star accomodation just to ease ourselves into the whole backpacking thing. Other than that, we only planned ahead a day or two, used public transport, even caught a 3 up ride down to the Soutn of Phuket island on the back of a Honda Click. We loved mixing in with both the locals & the backpackers that we met along the way. most way younger than us. We enjoyed every moment & could only pity the busloads of package tourist we saw along the way. I also keep accurate record of each sent spent on my Android phone app & it cost us around $40 each per day. Our goal over the next 2 years is to do this when ever & wherever we want.

  18. Hii sir…i will be travelling to bangkok on 10th august for 7 days..i just want to ask 600us$ will b enough for all the activities??

  19. Hi jeremy, myself and my girlfriend are going to travel Thailand for a month I’m February. My question to you is how dangerous is it for a couple traveling around Thailand. This question is to ease my girlfriend mind as she is afraid something will happen to her over there being it her first time to leave Ireland. Cheers

    1. Not dangerous at all. Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles.” You two will have a great time 🙂

  20. $30 a day is a great budget! How often did you move between places (as in from one city to another)? And how many places did you go to during your month out there? 🙂

    1. Visited quite a lot actually, moving once every 3-4 days. Transport is quite cost-friendly in Thailand!

  21. Hey Jeremy, so i plan to live there for a month in November, and i wanted to know if its better to just travel around Thailand and stay in guestrooms or better staying in one place. Also are there any places that you should try to avoid in Thailand? Lastly as a 19 year old who has never done something like this wants to know how safe it is to do all this as a young adult. Thank you, appreciate your time for reading this.

    1. You should be perfectly safe in Thailand. Despite what happened in Bangkok the other day, it is one of the safest places I’ve ever been. As for whether you should stay or travel, that’s entirely up to you!

  22. This was a fantastic reference thank you! I am planning a trip to Thailand and this really helps me with figuring what I need to bring for spending money and how to set a low daily budget.

  23. waow great blog, I’ve got a few questions.. I plan to do a month in Thailand, a month in Malaysia then a month in Australia so if you have any advice on the following that would be great..

    1. Is buying cosmetics cheap out there? I’ve been advised to travel there with as little as possible however sometimes deodorant/shampoo etc is expensive abroad?
    2. Would you recommend a backpack or suitcase?
    3. Are budget flights worth the saving?
    4. Is there a particular website/guidebook you would recommend to help with my to do list?


  24. Wow thanks for that. Will make it so much easier to work out how much spending money I need to save as I have already booked and paid for flights and trek but wasnt sure how much I would need for everthing else.

  25. Hi Jeremy,
    This was a great article. I am about to go to Thailand January and February. I will be in near Khon Kaen and wondered if you had traveled there?

  26. Jeremy Sir,

    I am after some decent trekking recommendations in the North of Thailand. By that I mean not elephant/rafting combos with one measly hour of a gentle stroll. 2-3 day treks ideally. Are you able to recommend any trekking guides/companies? The ones I keep coming across on the net do not seem to meet that criteria.


    1. Hi Andrew, Sorry, I don’t have the names of any trekking companies, but you can try asking around when you get there!

  27. Hi Jeremy

    Sorry to ask you a question you’ve been asked many a times but this is one of the most up to date posts I’ve seen.

    I plan to go travelling in Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia and Indonesia for 6 months, if not longer (depends if I can stretch my money).

    From looking at various sites i’ve budgeted 31$ a day = $5650
    I am also putting $3,350 to the side for activities, like scuba diving and the expensive stuff?
    From experience do you believe this to be enough?
    I’ll be visiting Thailand with a friend for the first month so will share accommodation most probably.

    Cheers 🙂

    1. Alex, $9k should be plenty, giving you an overall budget of $50/day or $1,500/month (which is $600 per month more than I outlined here). Even the expensive activities are quite cheap–diving, for example, is about $30 USD per dive, with plenty of deals on that rate, too.

      Just watch your drinking habits, because that can eat up your budget pretty quickly.

  28. This was so helpful! How much did you find local flights within Thailand are? And do you recommend overnight bus or flight? (I’m thinking of traveling down the coast)

    Also, did you find any yoga communities along the coast? Maybe a hostel that offers yoga or different studios you would recommend? Beach offered yoga?

    Thanks a bunch!

    Just booked my first real solo travel trip to thailand for a month and can’t wait!

  29. I frequent Tonsai a lot to go rock climbing, and usually i do on a budget of MYR30/day (roughly USD 10). Three things that help me on my budget best;

    1) Always travel JUST after peak season. That way you still meet people, have fairly good weather, but get all the low season prices. For Tonsai/krabi, the perfect time to go is April/May/early June. Anything later than that would be seeing a lot of rain.

    2) Pack a hearty breakfast. I usually always bring a bag of oats and muesli with my on my travels, that way i get an excellent breakfast to kick start the day and save the 50Bhat that i would’ve spent for the same meal. At most, i go out and purchase some fruits to go with the muesli that would cost me no more than 25Bhat, and it being a tropical location, the fruits are always fresh and super juicy.

    3) Drink in moderation. Ok, this one might not apply to a lot of you, but it works for me because i don’t drink that much at all. Perhaps one drink on the night before the rest day that i’m not climbing. But really, i’ve asked a lot of climbers who travel on budgets sometimes even tighter than mine and they all say the same thing “i spend too much on beers”. Fair enough, i’m just glad it’s a cost i won’t have to include in my travels 🙂

  30. Hi Jeremy,
    I am planning to visit Thailand in the month of June for a week, along with a friend and this is out first international travel.

    Our budget is around $260 per person for the whole week including internal transportation.

    Initially, I had planned to visit at least three places out of Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya and Bangkok.
    But after reading so many reviews and itineraries online, I am getting more and more confused.

    Could you please suggest me the places that I should visit?

    As you are very familiar with Thailand, I hope you can suggest the best ones out of the four that I mentioned, or any other good ones that I might not have heard of.

    1. Hi Utkarsh,

      I can’t tell you where to go. It depends on what you want to do 🙂 I think you should only visit two places in a week, though. You want to give yourself enough time to explore. Three places will be too much. My personal choice would be visiting Bangkok and Krabi, but that’s just me!

      Good luck!

      1. Thanks for the suggestion, Jeremy.

        Our motive is basically to visit some of the best beaches of Thailand, we don’t want to travel to the big cities and such.
        And a few more things, is Krabi costlier as compared to Phuket?
        Are good hostels available in Krabi?

  31. Hey,

    love keeping up to date with your travels. we are booking our 1 year RTW trip next week.

    QUESTION FOR YOU 🙂 …How far in advance do you book accommodation while backpacking?

    Thank you!

    Helen x

    1. You must be so excited! It depends where and when, to be honest. If it’s peak season in a busy country, I always book a day or two in advance. If it’s Thailand…I usually just find something when I arrive–it’s pretty easy 😉

  32. Hello Jeremy,

    Thank you very much for this article! It’s a life saver! Like the rest of the people who read your post, I am also going to Thailand. This is my first time and backpacking solo too! I have been stressing about how much I should budget or how much it will cost me per day. I’m glad I found your blog. Looking forward to read more of your posts! 🙂


      1. Hello! Thanks for this article! I have a question about atm fees and how did you get out money to stay on? Did you get charged each time? I’m going for 2 months in August and would hate to have these extra expenses.

        1. Hi Elle,

          If you’re an American citizen, I recommend the Charles Schwab High Yield Checking Account–you won’t pay any ATM fees anywhere in the world.

          1. Thank you so much! I’ll see if their is a location in New York! My friend and I are going for 2 months in August and sept! This will save us $ thanks again!

  33. Great article, very informative!
    I have a queation, did you buy bottled water on your travels or use tap? I know that bottled is recommended unless you want to get sick so I was just a wondering if you just used bottled and if so was this included in your budget?

    1. Good question! I drink *a lot* of water, especially when I’m traveling, and I included that in my food and drink budget. A really big bottle of water costs about 50 cents at 7Eleven.

      You could also opt to buy a filtered water bottle, which should make the tap water drinkable (something I should have done, but didn’t). Depending on how long you’re traveling for, and how much water you intend to buy, this could save you some money, plus it’s a lot more eco-friendly.

  34. Hi, this was exactly what I was looking for.
    I am traveling to Thailand for about 10 days during new years and my budget is tight. Considering your budget plan I want to ask you that can I do 10 days in 650USD??

    I want to visit
    Pattaya ( to see fireworks on new years eve)
    Chiang Mai
    Chiang Rai(for the white huge marble temple)
    Then finally Doi Inthanon

    I want to visit temples, hot spring, trekking, zip lining and I want to shop.

    I asked my Thai friend, she made me worried by saying that 15000 baht won’t be enough for a 10 day travel excluding air fare.

    I have traveled earlier but I have been an expat, not a tourist which adds extra cost. How can I avoid and

    Can you please give some advice that is mt budget ok?
    Please consider it’s the new years time i want to travel in.

  35. Hi Jeremy!
    I’m travelling to Thailand for a month in November and I’m planning to spend 2 weeks up north and then 2 weeks island hopping. I basically am travelling up north for the yi peng festival in chiang mai. Do you recommend any parts up north that is a must see? Plus I’m not quite sure which islands to visit as I only have probably 13 days and don’t want to spend too much time on the road but more beach time
    My sister passed away from pancreas cancer and she wanted me to spread her ashes on beautiful beaches so I’m figuring to try to hit the most beautiful ones for her but me too! Any beaches or islands that she would love? Me too! Thanks Jeremy!

    1. Hey Andrea,

      I’m so sorry about your sister, but I think that’s a beautiful tribute. Some of the islands are a little touristy, so I might recommend that you try Koh Lanta or Koh Kood.

      Up north, be sure to visit Chiang Mai and Pai—they’re a must-see!

      Have a wonderful time. I’m sure your sister will, too 🙂

  36. Thank you 🙂 really great post…. I’m heading first to Cambodia and I’m only going to have about 15-20 days in Thailand any route suggestions?

  37. Hello! Wonderful post, very informative. I know you have answered a lot of questions but I am still quite unsure just how you found the guest home accommodations. I know you noted to wait until in the location to book but are they advertised around the towns? Is a guest home like a hotel or hostel as in do you know them when you see them or have to ask locals and around to find them? I’m just confused on how you find them! I was planning on hosteling with my boyfriend but if the guest homes are nicer and cheaper to share accommodation I would like to do that just am unsure how.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Wherever you go, there will be locals waiting for you. If you arrive on an island, they will be waiting for you at the port, trying to get you to come and stay with them. You’ll find this almost anywhere in Thailand. You can also look online ahead of time, but not every place is listed.

  38. Hello, I was wondering where you can find the guesthouses you mentioned on your page. I have been looking at some hotels on Expedia and all of them are much more pricer compared to the guesthouse price you were talking about. Thank you!

  39. Great article! I enjoyed all the back and forth and learned a lot. Going to Thailand for 3 weeks in the fall. Chiang Mai and Bankock for sure plus an island/beach. It was suggested to me to go to Cambodia for the beach part. What’s you opinion for a more layed back less touristy but still beautiful beach? Looking forward to reading more of your stuff!

    1. You won’t find it in Cambodia! Some Thai islands are still pretty off the radar–youll just have to do a but of research.

  40. 30$ a day!?!?!?! Thanks for sharing this, I see there are so many ways to go to Thai, it does not matter if you have a big or a little wallet, I can’t wait to go to the land of the smiles, I have a couple of friends that went there the last year and they have not stopped talking about Thailand since! so I promissed them to go .

    1. Yep! Pretty affordable. It’s a great place to go if you’re on a budget and looking to cut the cost of travel.

  41. Incredible! So informative! Thank you! Do you have an ideal iten you recommend or places you can go to put this together considering there’s so much to do? Where would you recommend beginning and ending? Chaing Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, others? I want to go this year Nov/Dec. 8/9 days. 1st solo trio out of the US. So much to learn!!


  42. Jeremy,

    Planning on flying to Thailand in July for trip by myself just to see the country on my own. I will fly in to Bangkok of course but have NO desire to be in a big city, I want to see the rural areas and locals. I am planning on being in the country for 2 weeks. Where should I go, I want to stay with locals and live the local lifestyle. I will probably be living out of a backpack.
    I don’t care about going to the elephant park – I had much rather be around the locals and learn their culture.
    Can you give me some direction.

  43. We just got back on Feb 1 2018. Please be aware that our dollar is trending unfavorably, in mid Dec the dollar was exchanging in Chiang Mai (major Thai bank) at 32.2 for a Dollar. by late Jan the same bank in Bangkok was exchanging the Dollar for 31.4 baht. It wasn’t real painful, but in Dec of ’16 a Bank in Chiang Mai traded my Dollar for a tiny bit over 36baht.


  44. That sounds like like a small amount in those terms, Jeremy, only a 11% hit on the dollar in the intervening two years, but that comes to 110 dollars on a 1000 dollars worth of exchange! Frugal travelers like my Mate and I do take notice of that….. Let’s hope for the better on our next trip later this year! BTW love your blog!


  45. Probably need more than $1000 ….. suggested sum is $1700.00 per month See below from someone who actually resides

  46. Thank you so much for such a nice article. The only organization that provides CBSE, NCERT, and State wise board solutions for free, that too online.
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