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How Much Money Do I Need?

Typical Costs in Thailand

You will be overjoyed to know that Thailand is an extremely inexpensive country to visit, thanks to the favourable currency exchange rates and its low cost of living. You have to remember, however, that the costs are dependent on where you will be visiting, as prices in the North, for example, are much cheaper than those you’ll find on the major beach islands. It also depends on what budget you are travelling on. Do you plan on splurging on expensive hotels? Or do you plan on becoming one with nature? Is your stomach adventurous enough to take on the ‘unknown’ from market vendors? Or will you be seated comfortably at some high-end restaurant indulging in Western cuisine?

You’ll find some prices (in US Dollars, as these are accepted in Thailand) and advice to help you plan your budget, and to give you a realistic example of what it costs to live in Thailand.


The cost of your accommodation is dependent upon the level of luxury you would like, and the location you are in. Thailand has a lifetime of experiences waiting to be discovered, so you’ll most likely spend most of it outdoors, rather than in your room. You’ll find hundreds of hostels and cheap guesthouses in cities, but prices drop in suburban areas. On the higher end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay more when staying on the islands, and more again if you want to be spoiled with some air-con (a basic bungalow would cost the same). You can save a few pennies if you take a room with a fan instead! Hotels are relatively cheap when compared with Western ones, so you may wish to splurge a little. Better yet, you could also get your own little bungalow on the beach!

If you’re a backpacker, and plan on travelling around often will increase the costs. If you’re staying a place for about a week or longer, try and barter a little with them to drop the price. This is extremely effective, mostly when it’s low season.

If you’re staying longer, then you may want to look into renting.

Accommodation Type Average Cost (US Dollars) Average Cost (Baht)
Guesthouse (Urban) $ 7  B 225.75
Guesthouse (Suburbs/ Rural) $ 4  B 129
Guesthouse (Islands) $ 17  B 548.25
Basic Bungalow $ 17  B 548.25
Hotel $ 33  B 1064.25
Island Resort $ 50  B 1612.50
Beach Bungalow $ 50  B 1612.50
Rent Per Month 1 Bedroom (Urban) $ 400  B 12900
Rent Per Month 1 Bedroom (Suburbs) $ 200  B 6450

Food and Drink

For all those food lovers, and unique food hunters out there, Bangkokis the place to test your taste buds (and stomach) to its limits, and to send your senses on a rollercoaster trip of a lifetime! What’s even better is that the food here is dirt cheap. If you’re going to eat Western food, then be prepared to pay higher prices. If you want to keep it cheap, then head to the markets and street vendors, along with simple open-air restaurants. The default meat, which is served with almost every meal, is chicken, pork and beef (which are usually the same price). Adding seafood to your meal will also increase the costs, though this is surprising, considering the miles of coastline around! Drinks here are also low priced, so you can hit a few bars in one day!

Food Average Cost (US Dollars) Average Cost (Baht)
Street Pad Thai Noodles (Chicken) $ 1  B 32.25
Meal in Inexpensive Restaurant $ 2  B 64.50
McDonald’s Meal $ 5  B 161.25
Meal – Western Dishes $ 8  B 258
Bottled Water (1.5L) $ 0.30  B 9.67
Glass bottle of Coke $ 0.60  B 19.35
Chang Beer $ 2  B 64.50
Singha Beer/ Imported Beer $ 3  B 96.75
Regular Cappuccino $ 2  B 64.50

Warning: Tap water in Thailand is not safe to drink, so make sure you always have a good supply with you! In this heat, you’ll need it!


Yes…yes, transport is also cheap, as is everything else. Local buses, of course, cost a lot less than taking the Metro and Sky Train in Bangkok. This may come as a surprise to some, but cabs are actually cheaper (make the taxi drivers use the meter) than Tuk Tuks (which can cost as much as day trains!). You have to negotiate the price, but in the long run, you may prefer sitting in a comfortable with taxi with the air-conditioning blasting in your face. Ferries running the Chao Praya River in Bangkok can get you around the city for far cheaper than a taxi. Night trains are a little more expensive than the day trains. To reach the Thai islands, you’ll have to use your sea legs and take a boat. To save money on buying bus tickets and boat tickets separately, try and get a bus/ boat package, which will cost you less. Night buses are an excellent way to move across Thailand (both in terms of saving time and as doubling as accommodation for the night).

Transport Average Cost (US Dollars) Average Cost (Baht)
Local Bus (per trip) $ 0.25  B 8.06
Metro $ 0.50 – $ 1.50  B 16.13 – B 48.38
Sky Train $ 0.50 – $ 1.50  B 16.13 – B 48.38
All Day Ticket (Metro/ Sky Train) $ 4  B 129
Tuk Tuks $ 3 – $ 7  B 96.75 – B 225.75
Day Train $ 7  B 225.75
Night Train $ 17  B 548.25
Boat $ 7 – $ 14  B 225.75 – B 451.50
Ferry in Chao Praya River $ 1  B 32.25
All Day Ticket – Ferry Chao Praya $ 5  B 161.25


There are hundreds upon hundreds of activities to do and tours to take in Bangkok, and throughout Thailand, and it will be impossible to list them all. You can find anything, from cooking lessons, to sky diving, to elephant trekking, river rafting and the list goes on…and on…and on. There are loads to book online, including day tours, trekking tours and PADI dive certification courses you can find almost everywhere. As a generic idea, here are just a few average prices of some of these.

Acitivity Average Cost (US Dollars) Average Cost (Baht)
Day Tour $ 17 – $ 35  B 548.25 – B 1128.75
Trekking Tour $ 30 – $ 50  B 967.50 – B 1612.50
PADI Dive Course $ 300  B 9675
Cinema Ticket $ 5 B 161.25
Night Club Cover Charge $ 11 B 354.75
Thai Boxing Tickets $ 70 B 2257.50
Kayak and Snorkel for 2 $ 4 B 129

Miscellaneous Costs

The above costs are obviously the common aspects travellers have to fund. There are other costs, however, that should be kept in mind.


If you require medication, you can purchase prescription meds, birth control pills and medicine from local pharmacies without any prescription whatsoever. The prices are far cheaper than most other countries in the Western world.


Tipping is not expected in Thailand, and the only places where it may be polite, are luxury hotels and the up-market restaurants.

ATM Cards

When you use your ATM cards in Thailand, be aware that banks now charge about $5 (B161)for each transaction you make! ATMs are all over the place, and one of the easiest ways in which to get your hands on Thai Baht. If you’re crossing any borders, have some crisp notes available (these are preferred). Keep some US Dollars in cash on you, you’ll be using these. You can also use your credit (and use credit, not debit) cards in larger cities and resorts, but don’t expect to be making use of them if you’re in a family-run guesthouse or at the street markets!

Laundry Services

For washing your clothes, you’ll find stores offering laundry services with coin operated machines. These usually charge by the weight of your laundry, and about 1 kilo will cost about $1.50 (B48).


If you’re a smoker (note the health risk), a packet of Marlboro cigarettes cost about $2.80 (B90). There are cheaper brands available, but you’re probably better off kicking the habit altogether.


If you’re travelling to Thailand for a long period, it may be wise to invest in a local mobile SIM card. About a 1 minute call from a prepaid mobile phone to a local number costs about $0.05 (B1.75). You’ll find loads of these stores offering the SIM cards, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.


Markets are easily accessible, and it’s where you’ll find some of the most amazing fresh food around… not to mention the beautiful colours for your eyes to feast on also. Buying from the locals will always give you a better deal than shopping in the city supermarkets. Just to give you an idea, you can see some of the average prices for some items below:

 Acitivity Average Cost (US Dollars) Average Cost (Baht)
Loaf of Fresh White Bread $ 1.11 B 35.82
Rice (White, 1Kg) $ 1.14 B 36.87
Local Cheese $ 14 B 450.91
Chicken Breasts (boneless, 1Kg) $ 3.07 B 98.81
Apples (1Kg) $ 2.45 B 78.79
Potato (1Kg) $ 1.53 B 49.18
Tomatoes (1Kg) $ 1.26 B 40.52
Oranges (1Kg) $ 1.84 B 59.15
Lettuce (1 head) $ 0.81 B 26
Bottle of Wine $ 17.08 B 550
Domestic Beer $ 1.42 B 45.87
Imported Beer $ 2.24 B 72.26



Article Name
How Much Money Do I Need? -
Samantha ilbassa
Here are some of the typical costs you'll find in Thailand, ranging from accommodation, transport, activities, food and so on.

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