For years I have been keeping track of how much I spend on trips (you can see the overview here), so naturally I kept doing this as soon as I became a digital nomad. This month I’m sharing how much it costs to live in Thailand! We stayed in Thailand for almost a whole month (we had a 30 day visa), and spent 1 week in Bangkok, and three weeks in Chiang Mai. We didn’t do much in Chiang Mai. We went to Pai for a weekend, visited a festival and two temples, but other than that we worked a lot and lived a “normal” life. It was exactly what the doctor ordered! Curious about how much we spend during this month and how expensive Thailand exactly is? Come take a look!
Is Thailand cheap?
Well, that’s an easy question. Yes, Thailand is cheap. You can easily stay in a nice hotel for just €10, take a 3.5 hour long bus drive for €4, or have dinner for less than a €1 per person. Now, of course it is true that the more you want to travel around Thailand, and the more western style luxuries you want, the more expensive it will become. I personally don’t find it very interesting to judge which travel style is better. People will choose whatever travel style fits their own taste and preferences.
For example, I like treating myself to a beautiful hotel once in a while. And I’m not the easiest eater out there, so I like eating some Thai food one night on a street food market (for €1), and to eat a burger or pizza the next day (for €7). So I am going to tell you now that you can definitely make your trip to Thailand a lot cheaper than we did. But we also work during our trip. For us, this is a lifestyle. We have spent less on activities, because most days we are busy with work, just as we would be back home in the Netherlands.
But anyway, enough with the talk: on to the costs! All prices per day have to be divided by 2, of course.
Our hotel in Pai!
Hotels: 19450 baht (€ 506.13)
Airbnbs: € 308.68
Total: € 814.81 (28 nights -> € 29 per night)
That calculates to just under fifteen euros per person per night. Which is really not that bad. To be honest, these costs were actually slightly higher, because I still had some credit left from Airbnb that I had to spend since it almost expired. I don’t exactly know how much it really was, but I think about two hundred euros. Which was very nice, because that way we could compensate nicely with our cheap Airbnbs for more expensive hotels! I also got to work together for two nights with the beautiful Banyan Tree Bangkok. All in all I am quite satisfied with this, it is less than the rent we paid in the Netherlands, all while we were traveling full-time, isn’t that nice?
Budget tip: Staying in Thailand can be really cheap. If you really want to save some money, you can stay in a hostel for just a few euros per night. But we also spent two nights in a budget hotel in Bangkok for €35 euros, just around the corner from Khaosan Road. Airbnbs are also very cheap. In Chiang Mai we paid only €17 per night for a studio (without discount, for the two of us!). It was located slightly further from the city center, but it was a perfect place for us to work and live and it even came with a swimming pool.
Our food on the floating market!
Shopping: 1533 baht (€ 39.89)
Eating out: 19627 baht (€ 510.74)
Total: € 550.63 (€ 18.90 per day)
For less than €10 a day … and we out for food twice a day. The groceries include breakfast, snacks and bottles of water. Not too bad at all. Actually, we didn’t eat inexpensively on purpose at all, and even went to some more luxurious places to eat. I think we ate Western food about half the time. So if you consider that you can do all that for less than a tenner per day: wow. Now, I do have to say that both of us aren’t heavy drinkers. I had maybe three alcoholic drinks in the whole month, so if you drink more, then your costs will increase too.
Budget tip: The best budget tip is to eat as locally as possible. Buy your food where the locals do: on the food markets. There you can easily have a nice dinner for just €2 per person. And I must say that I haven’t gotten sick once in Thailand, so please don’t worry too much about that.
Flight Singapore – Bangkok: € 137
Flight Bangkok-Chiang Mai: € 81
Car rental: 1300 baht (€ 33.82)
Taxis: 4226 baht (€ 109.97)
Bus to Pai: 723 baht (€ 18.81)
Total: € 371.6 (€ 12.81 per day)
This too, is pretty doable. In Thailand you are likely to grab a taxi to get somewhere, since walking doesn’t happen that much. A lot of people rent a scooter during their time in Thailand, but I didn’t want to take that risk since you are not insured by your insurance company if something were to happen. Especially not since I have never driven a scooter (not even in the Netherlands).
Budget tip: Well… you can save some money if you rent a scooter for a longer period of time, I think. But I am not going to recommend it, you will have to decide that for yourself. We also took a Grab (the Asian version of Uber), even if it was sometimes slightly more expensive than a local taxi or a taxi bus (which you can stop right on the streets). After a while we got so tired of discussing with taxi drivers who had no idea where our Airbnb was, that we didn’t mind paying €1 extra and have the Grab driver put us in front of our door (because he does have Google Maps, of course).
Places of interest: 1260 baht (€ 32.78)
Total per day: € 1.13
We may have forgotten to record some small things here and there, but wow, this is nothing! A lot of things in Thailand are free to visit, and for temples you usually only pay a small entrance fee (or a donation). We didn’t do something every single day, since we also worked most of the days, but still.
Budget tip: Ehm .. you want it even cheaper than this?
Mosquito spray: 239 baht (€ 6.21)
Clothing: 100 baht (€ 2,6o)
Total: € 8.81 (€ 0.30 per day)
Mosquito spray was actually an unexpectedly expensive purchase. I don’t think we have recorded all the bottles, because I can remember that we bought about three of them this month, and I think those were all about €4 each. But okay. If it is not listed in my budgeting app, it doesn’t exist, haha. I expected that I would buy a lot more clothes, because I love loose pants and long dresses. But I actually didn’t see that many nice things. I bought a very beautiful scarf in Bangkok for 100 baht, and I literally wore it every day (very convenient with all the air conditioning turned on max capacity or when you visit a temple).
Budget tip: Develop a mosquito-resistant skin. Seriously. We use about one bottle of mosquito spray each week. It does feel like my skin will just fall off my bones from all the DEET. But anyway. You have to. Mosquitoes can carry nasty diseases here, and I’m not willing risk that. Having said that, I didn’t see all that many mosquitos at all. There have been several days where I didn’t see a single mosquito.
Total expenses in Thailand:
Total for 29 days: € 1787 (€ 893.50)
Total per day: € 61.62
Total per person per day: € 30.81
Conclusion: Geez. I am positively surprised about this. I really expected this to be much more expensive. This is much less than my monthly expenses in the Netherlands, all while we have stayed in hotels, ate out twice a day, flew about half a continent, did a weekend trip … Thailand is really cheap. And could have been even cheaper if wanted to. Anyway, that was not necessary since we both work. Wow. I hope this is a good guideline for when you plan your own trip to Thailand!