- DAILY AVERAGE
Alright, so I’m doing this one in a bit of a different format than most of the countries we’ve been to so far. Thailand has two very distinctive regions that are not only different in culture, but cost as well. Therefore, I’ve divided our expenses in to two categories: one for Northern Thailand and another for Southern Thailand. In addition, as always, you can find a few tips on saving cash while in Thailand at the bottom of the article.
NOTE: All costs are in Canadian Dollars and are per person. As of March 2, 2014: $1 Canadian = 30 Thai Baht
TOTAL DAYS IN THAILAND: 51 days
As of November 1, 2013 a visa on arrival is granted free of charge to Canadians and most countries in the European Union for a stay equal to or less than 30 days. This is applicable for arrival by air or land. As we were in Thailand for longer than 30 days, we paid $33.33 for a 60 day Visa.
Accommodation Total = $86.27
Accommodation Average per night = $7.17
Food Total = $140.57
Food Average per meal = $2.99
Overnight Bus (Bangkok to Chiang Mai) = $15
Taxi (Chiang Mai Bus station to Chiang Mai) = $2.67
Taxi (Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep + Return) = $3.33
Bus (Chiang Mai to Pai) = $6
Bus (Pai to Chiang Rai) = $16.67
Bus (Chiang Rai to Lao Border) = $2.17
Doi Suthep Temple (Chiang Mai) = $1
Flight of the Dragon Ziplining (Chiang Mai) = $67
Elephant Riding (Chiang Mai) = $80
Massage (Pai) = $6
River Tubing (Pai) = $6.67
Motorbike Lesson (Pai) = $5
Motorbike Rental, per day (Pai) = $3
Pai Waterfalls = FREE
Pai Canyon = FREE
Movie (Chiang Rai) = $5.67
Motorcycle Rental, per day (Chiang Rai) = $5
White Temple (Chiang Rai) = FREE
Black House (Chiang Rai) = FREE
Accommodation Total = $413.84
Accommodation Average per night = $11.50
Food Total = $498.65
Food Average per meal = $4.53
Average cost of Large Chang Beer = $2
Bus (Bangkok to Trat + Ferry from Trat to Koh Chang) = $12.67
Taxi (Koh Chang Pier to Lonely Beach) = $3.33
Taxi (Lonely Beach to Bang Bao Bay) = $1.67
Bus (Koh Chang to Bangkok) = $10
Tuk-Tuk (Within Bangkok) = $3.33
Bus + Boat (Bangkok to Koh Samui, Lomprayah Ferries) = $48.33
Taxi (Koh Samui Pier to Chaweng Beach) = $6.67
Boat (Koh Samui to Koh Tao, Lomprayah Ferries) = $20
Boat (Koh Tao to Koh Phangan, Songserm Ferries) = $11.67
Taxi (Koh Phangan Pier to Hard Road Café Hostel) = $3.33
Taxi (Hard Road Café Hostel to Wipeout Course) = $5
Taxi (Hard Road Café Hotel to Full Moon Party + Return) = $5
Boat + Bus (Koh Phangan to Krabi Town) = $18.33
Longtail Boat (Krabi Town to Tonsai Beach) = $5
Boat (Tonsai Beach to Koh Phi Phi) = $13.33
Longtail Boat (Koh Phi Phi Pier to Long Beach + Return) = $6.67
Boat + Bus (Koh Phi Phi to Georgetown, Malaysia) = $35
Kayak Rental (Lonely Beach, Koh Chang) = $5
Motorbike Rental, per day (Koh Chang) = $3.33
Klong Phru Waterfall Entrance (Koh Chang) = $6.67
3D Movie (Bangkok) = $7.67
Bangkok Boat Tour = $20
Wat Pho Temple Entrance (Bangkok) = $3.33
Floating Market Tour (Bangkok) = $6.67
Motorbike Rental, per day (Koh Tao) = $3.33
Snorkel Rental (Koh Tao) = $1.66
Boat to Koh Nangyuan + Entrance = $10
Wipeout Course (Koh Phangan) = $15
Massage (Koh Phangan) = $8.33
Full Moon Pre-Party Package (Koh Phangan) = $5
Full Moon Party Entrance = $3.33
Massage (Tonsai Beach) = $8.33
Kayak Rental (Tonsai Beach) = $5
Koh Phi Phi Entrance/Clean-up Fee = $0.66
Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint Entrance = $0.66
Maya Bay (The Beach) Entrance = $3.33
Koh Phi Phi Boat Tour = $23.33
TIPS TO SAVE CASH IN THAILAND:
1. SKIP THE HIGH SEASON
Besides the fact that the high season in Thailand attracts swarms of obnoxious western tourists looking for nothing more than cheap booze and sex, this isn’t the only reason to steer clear of Thailand from December-January. The price of accommodation in southern Thailand doubles during the high season, so if you’re on a tight budget your best bet is to visit Thailand in the fall (spring is usually ridiculously hot).
2. LOCAL FOOD
Whether you’re in Bangkok, Pai, or one of the islands in the south, local Thai food will ALWAYS be cheaper than any western fare. Personally, by the second week of shovelling down Pad Thai and Penang Curry at every opportunity (in conjunction with the food poisoning that followed), it becomes a bit tough to stay disciplined and avoid the pizza and burgers. However, there’s no denying that if you’re looking to save a few bucks, Thai food is the cheapest way to go.
3. AVOID SEAFOOD
As Thailand is surrounded by water, one would reasonably assume that the seafood would be cheap and delicious. It’s definitely tasty, but it’s also the most expensive option on most menus. In comparison to western prices, $10 for an entire grilled fish seems like a steal, but taking in to consideration that anything more than $5 for a meal in Thailand is considered crazy expensive, there are plenty of cheaper dishes at your disposal.
4. BUCKETS, BUCKETS, BUCKETS
Heading out for the night? Instead of grabbing 7-8 beers for $2 each, splitting a bucket of Sang Som (rum) and coke between two people is no more than about $4-$5 per person. Generally, the buckets are STRONG, so one should do you for the night.
5. STICK TO THE NORTH
Northern Thailand has a considerably different vibe than the South, and in my opinion, it was a hell of a lot nicer. Yes, southern Thailand offers up some incredible beaches, but I’d take Chiang Mai or Pai over Koh Phi Phi any day of the year. On top of that, the North is an absolute bargain in comparison to the South. Some of the activities that Chiang Mai has to offer like zipling and elephant riding are a bit expensive, but renting a motorcycle for the day and cruising out to a few waterfalls here and there won’t cost you more than about $5 per day. In addition, transportation doesn’t take nearly as large a chunk out of your bank account when traveling between cities and towns in the North, as the prices of ferries when island hopping in the South can add up quickly.
6. MOTORBIKE RENTAL
A few of the islands in the South like Koh Phangan are a bit hazardous, but for most spots in Thailand don’t even think of booking a day tour or hopping in a taxi. Motorbikes are dirt cheap to rent for the day (as is the price of filling up with gas) and you can usually work out a discount if you’re planning on renting one for longer than 3 days. Renting a motorbike for the entire time that we were in Koh Tao allowed us to see the majority of beaches on the island, and we saved ourselves about $15 each by hopping on a scooter in Chiang Rai to see the White Temple and Black House as opposed to doing it through a tour agency.
7. TUK-TUK VS. MINI-VAN
When arriving at a port on one of the islands in the south, never – I repeat, NEVER – hop in a mini-van. It’s usually more expensive and can take up to twice as long as the tuk-tuk’s. Minivan drivers will be waiting closest to the piers, but walking an extra 200m to find a tuk-tuk will be your best decision of the day. If you don’t believe me, just refer to what happened to us when hopping in a mini-van with Jamie’s parents on Koh Samui.
8. KOH CHANG
If you’re looking for an island in Thailand that hasn’t yet been completely bulldozed by tourism, head to Koh Chang. The resorts on White Sands Beach are notoriously overpriced, but lodging around Lonely Beach is much more affordable than just about any other island in the country (we managed to find a bungalow on the beach for $8 each, per night). Not to mention the fact that Lonely Beach was easily one of our favourite beaches throughout the entire country. Renting a kayak or a scooter is a great way to see the island, and there’s a couple of waterfalls that are worth a visit if you have the time. All in all, Koh Chang is still a bit undiscovered and is definitely worth a visit.
9. OVERNIGHT BUS VS. FLYING
Flights are the quickest way to get from point A to B, but hopping on an overnight bus will save you a decent amount of cash as opposed to flying between Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui. By taking the overnight bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai as opposed to flying, we saved ourselves about $40 each.
10. SONGSERM VS. LOMPRAYAH
Lomprayah is the fastest ferry service in Thailand and the most reliable in regards to on-time performance. It’s also by far the cushiest way to get from island to island. However, opting to hop on a Songserm ferry will get you from A to B with a few less frills and at a pace just a bit slower than Lomprayah. You might find yourself waiting for about an hour or so for the boat to show up, but you’ll save yourself between $15-$20 per person for each trip.