Thailand Cost of Travel – What is a typical Backpacker Budget?

Thailand backpacking scene

This post details the estimated cost of travel in Thailand. We have outlined two daily travel budgets – one for shoestring travellers and one for those on a slightly more comfortable backpacking budget with a fairly big difference between the two. Further down there are details on the local currency and sample prices for travellers in the so-called Land of Smiles.

Thailand Backpacking Budget
Map of Thailand from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Thailand Cost of Travel in 2023

Shoestring Backpacker Budget

  • US$30/day | 1000 Thai Baht

For anyone backpacking Thailand on a low budget, plan on spending roughly 1000 Thai Baht per day. This shoestring budget should cover all your daily travel expenses including the cost of accommodation (hostel dorm bed), transport, meals (cheap restaurants or Thai street food) and on average a few evening drinks.

Exactly how much money you need to travel in Thailand does largely depend on how much partying you intend to do. Large numbers of travellers in Thailand are in reality on little more than an extended holiday and many spend well in excess of $30 per day as a result. The backpacker party culture is certainly very big in Thailand, although things have calmed down a bit in the aftermath of the pandemic. Even though alcohol is quite cheap, if you’re going out partying late most nights then you’ll struggle to stick to $30 although it’s not impossible if you’re a bit savvy and buy your booze from supermarkets rather than bars. If you don’t drink or don’t want to party, you could probably knock that budget down to $25/day or less.

There are also significant regional differences in prices and likely expenditure. A Thai backpacking budget of $25 per day is very possible in the North but it may be more like $35 in Bangkok or the islands in the South with both requiring a little more discipline given temptation is all around.

More Comfortable Thailand Backpacking Budget

  • US$45/day | 1500 Thai Baht

These days $45 per day is more the norm for some travellers, particularly if they’re only on a short visit of around two weeks in Thailand and want to cram a lot in. With $45 per day, you can certainly afford to go out partying a lot and will have a bit more for extra excursions and trips.

That kind of budget would be on the high end of travel costs in Southeast Asian countries, with the likes of Laos and Vietnam cheaper than Thailand. It’s also worth noting that if your intention is to do a diving course (very popular in Koh Tao) or something major of that ilk, you are still likely to need extra funds.

One good way to save money if you are a shoestring traveller in Thailand is to find a bit of work to support your travels. Signing up to join Worldpackers may be a smart idea before your trip. It will give you access to a host of possible work exchanges (currently 45 opportunities in Thailand) such as teaching jobs, hostel work and community project roles. You will generally be rewarded with free accommodation and food which will reduce your daily expenditure.

Thai beach for backpackers

How much do things cost in Thailand?

Approximate Price in USD
Flight from Bangkok to Krabi (1 hour 20 mins)$25-35 + Baggage Fees
Train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok (12-14 hours)Seats from $7, Sleeper from $32
Meal in a local restaurant$2-5
Local beer in bar/restaurant$2-3
Dorm bed in a hostelFrom $5
Budget private roomFrom $8
Traditional Thai Massage (1 hour)Around $8
Travel insurance for backpacking ThailandDepends on age, length of trip & other factors – Get a quote from Heymondo in less than a minute!

Check our our Malaysia backpacking budget and the cost of travel in Myanmar for an idea of how this compares to neighbouring countries.

Money – Thai Baht

£1 = 40 THB

€1 = 36 THB

US$1 = 33 THB

These exchange rates are correct as of January 2023. Note that unlike some other Southeast Asian countries, US Dollars are not accepted in Thailand so you will need to pay for things in Baht.

These estimates for the cost of travel in Thailand were last updated in January 2023.

Thailand Cost of Travel – What is a typical Backpacker Budget?

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