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Thailand receives about 28 million tourists per year (a country as big as Brazil receives about 6 million only). There are people from all over the world. There are all sort of tourism too. You can enjoy the beaches or the mountains, go to parties or to meditation retirements, enjoy its culture, gastronomy, well, for all tastes and pockets. And, after reading this post, money will be no longer an excuse for you not to visit the place. So, here it goes how to travel super cheap in Thailand.

Tourism industry background

The tourism industry of the country is prepared to receive all sorts of different public. That means, there are hotels from US$8 as well as US$500 per person per day. Likewise, you can find restaurants that charge you as low as US$2 for a meal and some other which will charge you US$20. Anyhow, it all depends on which type of traveller you are – or travel you want to do. Regardless, you can just look for what fits on your budget and be happy 😉

From our point of view, Thailand is one of the cheapest destination on earth and, if you are on a budget, you will really not have a problem – and that is the focus of this post.

Do you want to know what’s our favourite Thai island – and why we loved it so much? So have a look at Ko Lanta: The Thai Island you cannot miss
how to travel super cheap in Thailand

Watching the sun setting on the horizon behind the sea – like all sunset in Thailand

Our experience

We were there for three months and spent most of our nights in comfortable bungalows facing the sea, eating local food always and doing some great tours. We spent an average of US$26/day together, which means US$13 per person a day throughout these three months.


how to travel super cheap in Thailand

Some nice spots in Koh Phi Phi

The important observations about this budget we said:

  1. We hitchhiked mostly everywhere and that really helped us to reduce expenses on transportation. That means, if you really do not want to experience hitchhiking at all, you had better add some extra numbers into your budget planning (keep reading – we will give you numbers in the next topic).
  2. We also did Couchsurfing in Bangkok, which also saved us some money with regards to accommodation.
  3. If you have been following us for a while, you will remember of our month of Muay Thay class. The fee for the class was US$150 per person. That, we did not included on our US$26/day budget because it was something a bit more personal. The total costs includes only transportation, food, tourist tours and accommodation.

So, let’s get down to prices:

how to travel super cheap in Thailand

Us, our bungalow and our neighbour who was all day with us!

  • A bed in a hostel: from US$6 to US$12. It depends which part of the country you are and which season you chose.
  • A small bungalow in one of the islands, with fan and not a/c for a couple: Around US$8 to US$12 too.
  • Bungalow with a/c simple for a couple: from US$12 to US$20 and higher.

Tip: If you are on a tight budget, choose well the islands you want to visit. Give preference to Koh Lanta, Tonsai or Koh Phangan instead of Koh Phi Phi or Koh Samui, for instance.

how to travel super cheap in Thailand

Hitchhiking in Thailand on the back of a pick-up

Buses: a 600km travel (Bangkok to Krabi town for instance) goes for US$7 to US$12. The long-distance buses are really comfortable and many of them will have included a dinner, a lunch box and a water bottle.

Train: There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes. The second class (which has beds in it) has tickets for long-distance travels such as the one above for about US$20. The third class, where everybody is sat, it is possible to find half of this price. Note that Thai people do not pay for travelling the third class, which makes quit a challenge to find a ticket.

Scooter: We rented a scooter almost in every island we visited. The renting goes for US$4 to US$6 for 24h renting. But please be very careful whenever renting one. For further information on that, please read our article on “Renting a scooter in South East Asia: 7 tips which can save your trip”.

how to travel super cheap in Thailand

Pad Thai – The signature dish of Thailand. It is noodle on an egg

Local restaurants offer good and cheap food (we really miss Thai food!!).

In Bangkok and in the north is possible to find food for US$1 or US$2, such as rice with chicken/pig or noodles. In the islands, however, the price gets higher than that and the cheapest meal goes for about US$3 to US$5. If you want some Western food, be ready to pay US$6 to US$10 minimum.

Tip: Stay away from “tourist-made” restaurants, they are really expensive. The local restaurants are delicious and ridiculous cheaper.

how to travel super cheap in Thailand

The famous alcohol bucket!

That was probably the great secret of keeping a low budget.

Beer is not so cheap in Thailand and for this reason, it was the first thing we crossed from our list. A local beer, Chang, costs US$2 to US$4 – it depends where you are. Spirits selling in the supermarkets are more “value for money”. A local whisky bottle of  SangSong goes for US$8.

Some further tips for those who want to save money:
  • The north is cheaper than the south;
  • If you are not finding any cheap accommodation in the internet, leave it to search it when arriving at your destination as many bungalows are not listed online. Go asking yourself on the streets. We always got some great tips from locals and other tourists 😉
  • The more you stay in one place the better and cheaper it can be. We spent a month in Koh Lanta and managed to put the price down for our bungalow from US$14/day to US$6/day.
  • There is a Sikh temple in Bangkok, the Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, which offers free breakfast to its visitors. The place is very interesting to visit, let alone the delicious food.