Some of you have probably heard that Thailand and a lot of neighboring South East Asian countries are pretty cheap in general. This is definitely true to an extent, especially when compared to U.S. prices, but things can definitely become expensive if you aren’t careful!
I went to Thailand for about 5 days during my trip to South East Asia and loved it. The beaches are gorgeous and the people are super friendly. I did about three days in Krabi and two in Phuket. I stayed in places I found on Airbnb for the most part and treated myself to one night in a nicer resort. One of my favorite things was a boat tour of the Phi Phi islands which I highly recommend.
So here are some of the ways you can enjoy the beauty of Thailand without breaking the bank.
1. Stay in a hostel or Airbnb
This one may seem obvious to a lot of budget travelers but this can really make a difference in your trip budget. Hotels and resorts in Thailand are the expensive option but still cheap compared to a lot of U.S. prices. For example I stayed one night in a gorgeous resort by the airport before I left for about $75. Some of my other Airbnb’s cost around $10-15 a night and hostels can be even cheaper. There are definitely some good options to look at before deciding on a hotel instead.
2. Eat locally
There are tons of cheap restaurants around Thailand as well as street food. Avoid eating in nicer hotels or malls and find a local place. Street food can be as cheap as $1-2 for a meal. Local Thai restaurants tend to be pretty cheap and also delicious making it easy to eat out.
3. Book tours through your hostel/hotel
Tourists get ripped off all the time without realizing it when tour companies over charge them. Booking through a hostel or hotel is one way to avoid being overcharged. I stayed in a homestay that not only booked a tour for us, but gave us a discount since they have a partnership with the tour company. This is one way to avoid scammers.
4. Rent a motorbike
If you’re staying in Thailand for awhile then consider renting a motorbike (if you feel comfortable driving it.) Taxis may try to rip you off if they can tell you’re a tourist so having your own transportation can help you avoid all those taxi prices. Try bartering for a good deal on the motorbike so it’s even cheaper.
5. Barter on prices
Negotiation is really common in Thailand and often someone will give you the highest option for something in the hopes that you’ll go for it. Often you can haggle and get them to lower their price. This is especially true with markets, taxis, and souvenir shops.
6. Find flights on SkyScanner
SkyScanner is a great website for finding the cheapest possible flight. If you’re traveling around the area check out the deals on SkyScanner for some of the local budget airlines like AirAsia.
7. Take advantage of free things
Look up the area where you’re going and find some free things to do before you arrive. There’s beaches, parks, temples, and other fun things to do and see at no cost. If you’re staying near a beach you can soak up the sun or spend the day in the city walking around taking in the sights of local shops and markets.
8. Avoid multiple ATM fees
The ATM fees can be around $6-7 U.S. for withdrawing money. Keep in mind that a lot of places in Thailand are cash only. Consider taking enough out for the whole trip when you arrive or exchanging your money to Thai Baht at a bank before or after arrival.