Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Travel costs for Thailand

On forums, one of the most-frequent recurring questions involves costs and budgeting for Asia. So how much does it really cost to backpack through Asia for a few months?

My travel style is more flash-packer than backpacker:
- I travel solo (in most of Asia, a room for one will cost the same or almost as a room for two)
- I won't stay in dorms (not that there are very many dorms in Asia anyway).
- I insist on clean and safe accommodation, mostly ensuite (although I will stay in a private room with shared bathroom if I can't find anything better, and in that case the bathrooms must be kept very clean).
- If I'm in a place that's very hot and humid, I'd prefer A/C (but I won't bother in places where it's not necessary, such as Northern Thailand or anywhere with a strong sea breeze).
- I don't care about in-room safes, tv and fridge.
- If the budget places I look at all seem a bit dodgy, I'll plump for a mid-range place.
- I won't stay in hovels, but I don't mind if the place needs a lick of paint and the furniture looks a bit battered, so long as it's clean.
- I also don't like to haggle, so probably don't do it enough.
Soooo.... decent budget options, not as fastidious as my mother, but certainly not teenaged-boy territory. Clear enough?

Cost breakdown for Thailand

2 to 29 December = I spent just under £500 for 4 weeks in country.
Average costs per day = £18.31

£8.50 average a night.

Chiang Mai – far enough North that no a/c was required during my visit – 250B a night (£5)
Lampang – ditto – 250B (£5)
Sukhothai – ditto – 250B (£5)
Pitsanulok – 350B (£7) with A/C
Lop Buri – 150B (£3) for shared bathroom single room (nothing better was available)
Ayutthaya – 500B (£10) for a mid-range hotel
Bangkok – 500B (£10) for a budget hotel (big city prices)
Petchaburi – 790B (£16) for a very nice mid-range hotel (the type with bathrobes in the room)
Prachup Khiri Khan – 550B (£11) for a sea-view room with large balcony
Satun – 500B (£10) for a mid-range hotel (arrived in town very late and fell into the first decent place I saw)

Sightseeing and transport
£5.88 average per day, although it varied tremendously.

Some days I chilled and spent nothing. Some days I spent three times the average on long-distance-transport and massages.

In general, I tend to take local buses/sorng taa ous, walk, or rent bicycles for getting around. I only took a few taxis and motorbike taxis during the month.

Food and drink
£3.75 average per day. A lot of my meals taken at hawker stalls and basic restaurants, and I didn't drink alcohol, but I treated myself to plenty of iced-coffees and fresh fruit shakes.

Most expensive meal – £4.20 at a beachfront restaurant.
Cheapest meal – £0.50 for a plate of noodles.
Cost of a plate of street food  – £0.50 to £1.00.
Cost of a 500ml bottle of water – £0.10 - £0.20.

Other costs
I also spent £17 in total for a local sim card and air-time, laundry, toiletries, and postage (sending a present home to my family).

Thailand remains excellent value for money for the independent traveller.

Future posts will look at Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong costs.

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