Travel Thailand on a Budget – Your Complete Guide

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This blog is a complete guide about how to travel Thailand on a budget including money saving tips, where to stay, and things to do!

A big thanks to Cal Bailey for contributing this guest post! You can check out his own travel blog, Mountain Leon!

Travel Thailand on a Budget: A Complete Guide

Thailand is considered to be the primary tourist destination in Southeast Asia with an approximate of sixteen million tourists visiting the country every year. According to TripAdvisor, Thailand holds the 11th place of 2018 Travelers’ Choice of Top 25 Destinations in the world  – and this is not a surprise since Thailand is one of the most beautiful destinations that you can visit.! It offers something for everybody; from the turquoise tropical beaches and the lush jungles to the rich culture and tasty cuisine.

Contrary to popular beliefs that you need a lot of money to visit such a magical place, there are options for those of you who have a limited budget and are not into luxury. One way that you can do that is with backpacking. This doesn’t mean that you will travel sleeping in dorm rooms and be very restricted; it merely means that you can find private rooms and places to eat that do not cost much. Thailand is a place that is suitable for these kinds of trips since they have backpacking trails and you can easily get around.

In this Thailand budget travel guide, I will tell you how you can travel Thailand on a budget!

there are tons of things to do and see in thailand on a budget

Money-Saving Tips

If you already decided to use your vacation days exploring the mesmerizing beauty of Thailand, you should be aware of the following money-saving tips:

Travel like a local

If you want to travel Thailand on a budget, you have to give up the first class travelling whether it’s by a bus, a plane, a train, or a boat. If you travel like a local or with a second-class ticket then you’re guaranteed to save a lot of money. For example, a trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is 17 baht (around $0.50), but the first class travelling on that same distance can be up to 20 times higher!

travel thailand on a budget
In Thailand, tuk-tuks are the local form of a “taxi” and they are really cheap!

Try visiting out of season

This is a well-known thing. Visiting places when they are not at the peak of the season can be a cheap option if you’d be willing to shift your vacation a little bit.

Eat local food

Although you can find some usual food like pizzas, pasta or burgers, these will usually cost a lot more than eating the local Thai food. You should especially try out the street food which is entirely safe and will cost you quite less than in a restaurant.

eat local food in thailand to save money
Eating chicken balls!

Travel at night

Travelling at night is usually much less expensive, but it has the same purpose- to take you from one to another place. There are night buses and trains which you can find on a website called 12goAsia. Not to mention, when you travel long distances at night (like on a sleeper train or bus) you save on spending money on accommodation for the night!

Travel North

The Northern side of Thailand is far cheaper than the Southern Islands.

Drink in moderation

Alcohol in Thailand can be pretty expensive. If you still want to get buzzed, you should buy beer at 7-Eleven for the price of about 35 baht (around $1.05). If you decide to go to a bar, the beer will cost above 100 baht (around $3). It doesn’t sound like much, but if you make a habit out of drinking a lot then it will add up quickly!

drinking can be expensive in thailand
Drinking can be expensive in Thailand, so pick and choose your nights out wisely!

Where to sleep?

Nowadays, there are plenty of accommodation where you will be able to have privacy for an inexpensive price.

The first obvious option is Couchsurfing. For those that are not familiar with this website, it’s a chance for fellow travellers to meet with local people and stay at their places for free! This way, you will reduce expenses, meet local people, and create awesome memories.

If you’d feel more comfortable staying in official cheap accommodations here are some cheap places throughout Thailand:

 

What to visit?

Temples

There are many places that you can visit in Thailand where you won’t need any money to do so. The first thing that you absolutely have to pay a visit to are the Thailand Temples. Most of the temples are free to enter, but you have to pay attention to the rules. When entering, you have to stick to a certain dress code that you can’t violate, and some of them prohibit taking pictures, so make sure you get informed before going. Visiting Thailand without seeing these majestic ancient wonders wouldn’t provide the right experience.

many temples in thailand are free or cheap to visit
Most temples in Thailand are free or cheap to visit!

National Parks

Another awesome thing to explore in the land of the smiles is the National Parks. Depending on your route and where you are staying, there are plenty of National Parks that you can explore for free. Some of them are Kaeng Krachan National Park which is the largest national park in Thailand, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park with the beautiful Phraya Nakhon Cave, Erawan National Park with its seven levels of waterfalls, Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam with its emerald-coloured canals, and plenty more.

exploring waterfalls is free in thailand
There are so many rivers and waterfalls in Thailand!

Caves

Although most people visit Thailand for the crystal clear beaches, the tasty cuisine, and the extremely friendly locals, you can’t forget that Thailand is also the home of the most beautiful caves in the world. Some of the most stunning caves are Phi Hua To Cave, Viking Cave on Koh Phi Phi Ley that has ancient drawings of Viking ships, Tham Lum Khao Ngu (Snake Mountain Cave) which has the world’s tallest cave column, Monkey Cave (Wat Tham Suwan Khuha Cave Temple) if you want to interact with some monkeys, and more.

Furthermore, you could go diving and exploring the seas or visit some free beaches or some low entrance fee beaches. If you’re into sports, you can go jungle trekking or hiking. Another very interesting activity is visiting the famous floating markets.

thailand is gorgeous and can be traveled cheap
Thailand is just beautiful! And…it isn’t too hard to travel Thailand on a budget!


To conclude, even though Thailand is becoming a more frequently visited holiday destination, they value their local side too much which remains with normal prices for а living. And thus, it is possible to travel Thailand on a budget!

Before visiting, make sure you do thorough research on every single place that you want to stay at or visit, arrange where you will stay at before going, make a list of free or cheap activities, decide to visit the local attractions instead of the famous ones, and most importantly, don’t forget to have an excellent time there!

For more info on planning your trip check out this 3 week Thailand itinerary!

-Cal Bailey
About The Author: Cal Bailey runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after two years of backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, you can read his latest blog posts.

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