Our Costs for Travelling in Thailand for Two Months

We had a bit of a hectic return to Thailand due to last minute flight changes followed by a frantic few weeks travelling up and down the country with friends and family who came out to visit us. Nevertheless, we had a great time with our travel companions and squeezed a lot into our visit – here’s how much it cost us to travel around Thailand for two months.

Firstly, a few notes on our Thailand costs.  We spent three months in the country in total; one month living in an apartment in Chiang Mai (the cost of which we cover in this post) and two months travelling around the country, which we discuss below. During those two months we didn’t travel very efficiently and ended up going back and forth to destinations due to the fact that we had people visiting us at different times; we also spent a week apart from each other travelling separately with guests which slightly increased our accommodation costs although volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park saved us some money. The bottom line is that your costs will be lower if you travel around more efficiently than we did.

Doi Suthep Buddhas

Activity Costs in Thailand

There are so many things to do in Thailand, many of which we did when we visited four years ago. Despite this, we still ended up spending a fair amount on activities this time around because we re-visited attractions with our guests and tried out some new activities such as snorkelling and cliff-jumping, visiting the Elephant Nature Park and taking on a scary zip lining trip. We also couldn’t resist a few massages of course; the cheapest and arguably best were at the Elephant Nature Park after a hard day volunteering with the dogs.

Activity Cost Per Person
Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha, Bangkok)  Entrance Fee £4 £2
Thai Jungle Sports Ziplining Day £62 £31
Elephant Nature Park Day Visit £100 £50
National Museum, Bangkok £5 £2.50
Thailand Burma Railway Centre Entrance Fee £5 £2.50
Koh Phi Phi Snorkelling Day Trip (Andrew only) £12 £12
Boat Trip on the River Kwai (Amy only) £4 £4
Erawan Waterfall Entrance Fee (Amy x 2, Andrew x 1) £12 £6 (£4 each)
Koh Tao Snorkelling Day Trip £30 £15
Nine Massages £34 £17
Total £268 £134

 Thailand Accommodation Costs

Accommodation in Thailand can be pretty expensive unless you are prepared to dig a little deeper than what the internet or your guidebook has to offer and search the streets for cheaper options. We found some really nice guesthouses and hotels for under £10 per night, even in expensive places like Koh Samui, by looking around on arrival. Apart from one occasion when we discovered bedbugs in our room, we found Thai accommodation to be of a high standard; we stayed in private rooms, most had free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms with hot water too.

Bungalow on Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan

The five nights we spent at the Elephant Nature Park volunteering with the rescue dogs is included in the accommodation costs below; we paid just £40 each for the entire stay, which included a room, transport to and from the park, t-shirts and all our meals, making it a cheap week for us. We also saved a bit of cash by spending a few nights on buses or trains, although we were never able to sleep properly and found these journeys pretty hellish.

Expense Total     Per Person  Per Day
Accommodation £665 £332.50 £11.10

 Cost of Food in Thailand

Food was never much of a worry for us in Thailand since it’s pretty touristy and therefore offers a range of Asian and Western dishes, so even fussy eaters like Amy can eat well.  We were really impressed by some of the food we ate in Thailand; the free breakfasts at Tanita House in Chiang Mai, the Thai food at Apple and Noi’s and pizzas in one restaurant in Kanchanaburi were all delicious. We also ate really well during our visit to Pai and had some amazing vegetarian food at Peppercorn in Koh Phangan and I Love Salad on Koh Tao.

Banana Rolls from the Chiang Mai Night Market

In particular there’s no shortage of great restaurants in Chiang Mai; we loved the veggie burgers at Peppermint Café, the pie and mash at the UN-Irish pub and all the Thai food at the night market. We didn’t find many guesthouses that offered an inclusive breakfast but they are around and can really help if you’re looking to reduce costs further.

Expense Total     Per Person  Per Day
Food £765 £382.50 £12.75

 Cost of Transport in Thailand

As you can see we spent quite a few hours travelling around Thailand from one place to another – and back again. Unbelievably, even though we moved around so much, our transport costs were cheaper than in any other country we’ve visited except Indonesia. To make sure you get the cheapest prices for transport in Thailand, go to the bus or train stations to buy your tickets rather than using the tour agents. If you buy your tickets on Kao San Road, for example, then you may not get exactly what you asked for too; I ended up squashed between two people on a sofa-like seat for 10 hours when I’d paid for a VIP bus. Sadly, it’s very difficult to book your bus or train from the islands without using a tour agent though.

Boat to Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan

We used overnight buses and trains a lot while travelling in Thailand, which are good value but in my opinion you won’t get a good night’s sleep on either. Train journeys were often delayed, particularly on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai route; one of these journeys took 21 hours instead of the usual 15 and actually cost £10 extra per person than it should have because we were travelling over a national holiday and the tour companies had bought all the tickets in order to sell them at higher prices.

It is fairly easy to get around the towns and cities in Thailand by tuk tuk or songtheaw but be prepared to do some bartering to get a fair price. Whenever you use a taxi, make sure the driver uses the meter (they will usually demand a fixed price instead), since it will undoubtedly be cheaper than what you are quoted. In Bangkok it is really cheap to use the skytrain and the boats up and down the river, these helped us avoid more expensive taxi or tuk tuk journeys.

Expense Total     Per Person 
Flights Clark (Philippines) to Bangkok: £86 £43
Trains Skytrain from BKK Airport to New Road Guest House: £3.60 £1.80
Bangkok to Chiang Mai: £57 £28.50
Bangkok to Chiang Mai: £34.50 £17.25
Bangkok to Surat Thani: £25.10 £12.55
Koh Tao to Bangkok (inc. boat): £50.40 £25.20
Hellfire Pass to Kanchanaburi (Amy only): £2 £2
Buses Night bus Chiang Mai to Bangkok: £33 £16.50
Night bus Chiang Mai to Bangkok: £23 £11.50
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi: £4.40 £2.20
Kanchanaburi to Bangkok (Andrew only): £2.20 £2.20
Night bus to Krabi (Andrew only) : £14 £14
Bus and Boat Krabi to Koh Phi Phi: £9.30 £9.30
Minibus Kanchanaburi to Bangkok (Amy only): £3 £3
Night bus and boat Koh Phi Phi to Bangkok (Andrew only): £19.60 £19.60
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi: £4.40 £2.20
Minibus Kanchanaburi to Bangkok: £6 £3
Bus and Boat Surat Thani to Koh Phangan: £13.20 £6.60
Bus and Boat Koh Phangan to Koh Tao: £22.70 £11.35
Night bus Chiang Mai to Bangkok: £22.30 £11.15
Bus and Boat to Koh Samui: £29.30 £14.65
Bus and Boat Koh Samui to Bangkok: £23.40 £11.70
Bangkok to Chiang Mai: £19.40 £9.70
Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai: £7.40 £3.70
Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai: £7.40 £3.70
Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai: £7.40 £3.70
Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong: £2.60 £1.30
Kanchanaburi to Hellfire Pass (Amy only): £1 £1
Tuk-Tuks 10 Tuk-Tuks in total: £14.40 £7.20
Taxis 16 Taxis in total: £37.80 £18.90
Songtheaws 13 Songtheaws in total (Including trips to Doi Suthep and Erawan Waterfall): £51.00 £25.50
Boats Four boats along the Chao Phraya River (in Bangkok): £2.30 £1.15
Boat across the Mekong (entry to Laos): £1.60 £0.80
Vehicle Hire Car hire and fuel on Koh Samui (24hrs): £11.90 £5.95
Scooter Hire and fuel in Chiang Rai (24hrs): £8 £4
Total: £660.60 £330.30

Miscellaneous Costs

We had the usual miscellaneous costs over our two months in Thailand; laundry, toiletries, SIM card and credit. We also had to pay for Amy’s supply of contact lenses for three months; these worked out to be about £10 cheaper per box than buying in the UK. While crossing the border into Laos we were silly enough to buy our dollars and KIP before getting on the boat and paid a ridiculously high fee for that. If you haven’t already got any US dollars for your Lao Visa or any Lao KIP then wait until you get to the Visa checkpoint, there is an official exchange booth there (not just a Thai guy behind a desk) and you can avoid paying too much commission. We also had to get a couple of vital items from the markets like a belt and a head massager of course!

Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street

Expense Total     Per Person 
Laundry (x8) £26.30 £13.15
Sim card & credit £10 £5
Toiletries & medicines £30.70 £15.35
Contact Lenses £36.90 N/A
Loss in exchange rate at Laos border £10 £5
Belt, Stamps, Books, Head Massager, gifts £22.30 £11.15
Miscellaneous £136.20 £68.10

Total Costs for Travelling in Thailand for Two Months

So as you can see, we did a lot of activities and moved around a lot in Thailand but even so, we only spent just over £20 per day per person while we were there. We did find Thailand to be a little more expensive than it was four years ago when we last visited but that was to be expected. Here are our total travel costs for 60 days travelling around Thailand:

Expense Total Per Person or Per Month Per Day
Activities £268 £134 £4.46
Accommodation £665 £332.50 £11.08
Food £765 £382.50 £12.75
Transport £660.60 £330.30 £11.01
Miscellaneous £136.20 £68.10 £2.27
Total £2,494.80 £1,247.40 £41.58

We are as always using Trail Wallet to track all of our spending. You can see all of our cost break-downs here.

15 thoughts on “Our Costs for Travelling in Thailand for Two Months

  1. I love posts on how much travelling is costing, especially more detailed ones like this, helps me work out my budget.

    I’m a contact lense wearer too and I’m wondering how easy it is to buy lenses abroad, I have my prescription from my opticians but have read that some countries require you to have an eye test before you can buy. How have you found buying lenses Amy? Are any countries easier than others? I was thinking I could get someone in the uk to post me some so I don’t have to carry lots, but I’m interested that you found them cheaper to buy in Thailand.

    Thanks, Sarah

    • Hi Sarah, there were loads of opticians stocking Acuvue and cheaper brands of lenses in Thailand and most cities in other countries I’ve been to have had plenty of opticians too. None of the shops I went into asked me to have an eye test, I just showed my prescription. I wear Oasys Acuvue lenses and no-one could find or order them in my exact prescription; I had to settle for lenses with a base curve of 8.8, slightly bigger than the 8.4 I wear back home. However, this hasn’t been much of an issue for me. I would take a good supply of lenses with you to start with (I had a seven-month supply) and then stock up again when you hit a big city as you travel. If you have a simpler prescription though you might find the experience a bit easier than I did!

  2. Great breakdown, guys! I think your numbers are pretty much in line with ours (though we’ve yet to share them on our blog) and actually pretty reasonable for a couple traveling through Thailand not staying in dorms, etc., We did find that the north of the country is much cheaper and better value than the islands—in places like Pai, we would sometimes pay less than $30US/day for the two of us! It was pretty much impossible to do the same on the islands, though.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Chewing the Fat with One Giant Step!My Profile

    • We definitely found the north cheaper than the islands too Steph; we couldn’t believe how cheap the rooms were in Pai too, we paid just 200B!

    • Thanks Rob, stats are always pretty interesting. These were exactly what we were looking for when we were planning our trip, so we’re glad others find it useful too.We have the balance right I think; we aren’t starving ourselves and we’re not spending silly money everywhere! We can’t wait for your first budget post either, will be useful for planning our Mexico trip! :)

  3. Good figures guys!… and the money too, wuhay! ;) haha. I bet your trail wallet app is invaluable to you when working out costs. Do you tend to enter them as you go along or at the end of the day?
    If my memory serves we well, i looked into getting this app too, but I think only designed for iphone’s. So anyone looking for a good app to keep track of travelling expenses on android (i have a sony xperia, it’s waterproof, aka Jimmy proof, haha), check out AndroMoney app (free :)). Took me bloody ages through trial and error with other apps.
    High five chaps! :)
    Jimmy recently posted..2nd Month of Travel: Summary, Statistics & CostsMy Profile

    • Thanks Jimmy, you’re right, it is only available for apple devices unfortunately. Glad you found something similar to suit your needs. We sometimes enter the costs as we go along and sometimes wait till we get home, I don’t like showing my iPhone off that much in public. Thanks for the High Five! :)

    • Thanks Patti, we will find out how it compares to the USA when we do our own USA road trip, can’t wait! :)

    • That’s down to me being a fussy eater Simon – if you can eat Thai street food every night then you can get by on a much smaller budget.

  4. Great budget post. We will be in Thailand in February and this is very helpful in giving me an idea of what to expect. It is also good to know that the trains are frequently delayed. How were the buses in general (besides the night bus which I agree always sounds nice in theory but then reality sets in). Did you ever have a couchette on the train?
    Kerri recently posted..Sydney’s Corner: Foods of TurkeyMy Profile

    • The buses weren’t too bad, they actually ran pretty much on time; you just have to be prepared for the icy air con. The sleeper trains in Thailand are just seats converted into beds in one communal carriage, alright unless there are some noisy people in there; we just got the overnight train in Vietnam and it was great, a quiet clean 4-bed carriage.

  5. Pingback: Our Costs of Living in Chiang Mai For One Month | Chiang Mai Living Costs

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