Thailand has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. That’s because it’s got exotic cities with beautiful temples, incredible beaches ( and beach parties), and some of the best food I have ever eaten.
It’s not hard to guess why thousands of people worldwide choose Thailand as their next destination but the question remains, how expensive is it to travel to Thailand?
The easy answer is that Thailand can cost as little or as much as you want. It covers all kinds of budgets for all sorts of travelers.
Backpackers can find cheap dorm room-style hostels for around 250 THB ($7 USD ) a night and honeymooners who are able to splurge can find luxury resort suites for 30,000 THB ( $800 USD) a night.
Below, I have laid out the average daily costs of a day in Thailand.
- Food – $13 USD ( 452.00 THB) a day on food
- Accommodation – $50 USD (1,740 THB) a night
- Flights around Thailand – $30 USD ( 1,045 THB )
- Transportation (public buses, trains, taxis) within cities – City buses cost 10 cents or less ( 20 THB) and intercity buses are around $17 USD (1,470 THB)
- Ferry to and from the islands – $20 USD (1,875 THB)
United States to Bangkok
Of course, flights depend on what country you are flying from and if that airport is a major hub or not, but it’s possible to find a direct flight from the United States to Bangkok for about $1,200 USD round trip.
Europe to Bangkok
If you’re flying from Europe, the flight price will also depend on which major European city you are flying out of – for example, if you fly out of London Heathrow or Paris De Gaulle, you can find direct flights for around US $750 USD.
Unfortunately, not many budget airlines fly directly to Thailand and the prices are much cheaper if you don’t mind having a few layovers along the way.
The most common flights have layovers that connect in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. While flying through China (Beijing or Shanghai) is cheaper, it can be more complicated.
China requires people just passing through the airport to wait in long lines in order to get a 24-hour transit visa, the airport signage is … below average to say the least, and you might find it harder than normal to find food as most of their shops are designer labels.
Keep in mind, these are just average costs, and it depends on the dates and how far in advance you make the booking. I usually use discount sights like Skyscanner to peruse flights. I recommend playing around with origin cities and destinations and with dates.
Most visitors to Thailand will likely visit more than one city so you need to have a small budget for local transportation. Local transport with the major cities in towns is incredibly cheap. Local buses cost less than a dollar, and they are safe – just use street smarts.
Thailand is famous for its tuk-tuks. Anyone who’s been to Bangkok will come home with a story or two about tuk-tuks. These unique little motorized rickshaws have become an iconic representation of Thailand.
Tuk-tuks are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around cities. They don’t use a meter and fares can usually be negotiated prices can vary for a short ride, expect to pay around 50THB (US$1.50).
Long distance trains
Regional travel within Thailand is surprisingly cheap, but it obviously takes longer than a flight would to reach your destination. A third-class ticket from Bangkok to Ayutthaya will cost you just $5 dollars for the two-hour journey.
An overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in a 2nd class sleeper with air conditioning is going to cost you around 700 THB while third-class tickets are around 300 THB. This is one of the cheapest ways to get around the country but the time spent and lack of comfort don’t make this an appealing choice to me
There are so many activities to do in Thailand. From temple tours, floating markets, elephant sanctuaries, and many other tours you will spend anywhere from $20 to $50 USD depending on the activity you choose to book.
One of the most popular attractions within Thailand is the ethical elephant sanctuaries and you can tick this activity off your bucket list for just $50 USD for the day. Of course, they offer packages where you can stay overnight that are pricier, but this was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had.
There are so many delicious Thai foods that are cheap and fresh. Food really shouldn’t take up a big portion of your Thailand travel budget if you are willing to avoid more touristic restaurants.
Below is a rundown of the different types of places to eat in Thailand and how much they cost.
You can get full plates of food for as cheap as 1 USD, and little snacks like fruit platters and spring rolls that cost less than 1 USD each.
In my opinion, Thai food is one of the best cuisines in the world and it’s underrated. in It’s delicious, fresh, and cheap. Eating at street markets is the cheapest way to eat, but you might come down with a bad case of traveler’s stomach, but if you are willing to risk it you can get a complete plate of food for as little as $3.00 USD.
The street market food is also the most authentic, so for those who love to try the local delicacies and really immerse themselves, street food is the way to go.
For eating out in a restaurant, the cheapest option is eating at a small, humble, local joint that only has a few menu items. A full meal in a restaurant like this can cost between 40 and 100 Baht, which is roughly 2-4 USD.
In touristy areas of Thailand, you’ll find lots of restaurants geared towards foreigners. At these kinds of restaurants you’ll find western-style food like pizza, burgers, and European food in addition to classic Thai meals.
A meal in a tourist restaurant generally costs between 100 and 200 Baht, still only about $10 USD. Even in upscale restaurants, food can cost just a few hundred Baht, and it is rare to find food that costs over 30 USD.
You will love how easy it is to splurge a little on fancy schmancy tourist restaurants once in a while. Treat yourself and get a few drinks and dessert much easier than you could at home.
To Sum Up
The most expensive part of a trip to Thailand will most likely be the flight costs. Once you get there, you can choose cheaper options, or you can splurge without breaking the bank. It really is for all kinds of travelers and you can tailor your budget to better fit you and your needs you once you arrive.