How Much Money Do I Need for Thailand ?
Thai Bhat

How Much Money Do I Need for Thailand?

For many years in the past, I was a very active member in various forums discussing Thailand, and the above question was very frequently asked. Clearly, there’s no single or absolutely ‘right’ answer – just like asking how much does it cost to purchase a car? However, in this article, I will try to provide you with an answer for this essential and eternal query, which will help you set a budget for your trip to Thailand.

I also recommend reading the article: The Best Time to Visit Thailand

As a general rule, “cheap” and “expensive” are relative terms which differ from one person to another. What seems cheap or reasonably priced for a certain traveller, can be expensive to another, and vice versa. Compared to most European countries (certainly the central and western ones) – Thailand is very cheap, but do not take the term ‘cheap’ way too far. As in any other country, Family Adventure and comfort has its price.

This is one of the reasons that drove me to write this article – the wish to help you determine the right budget for you, which complies with your financial abilities, to avoid disappointments and dissatisfactions when facing reality. I will do my best to estimate and provide you with certain guidelines which will hopefully help you make the right financial decisions with regards to your trip.

The most common mistake is the false assumption that Thailand is much more cheap than it really is.

This common mistake stems from several reasons:

  1. Various stigmas – tourists usually come across locals of low socioeconomic status, service providers such as taxi drivers, shop assistants, salespersons etc. In fact, Thailand has millions of middle and high-class citizens whom the tourists do not meet.
  2. Shrinking prices – the stories and descriptions made by many returning tourists often include reduced prices which may mislead those who haven’t visited Thailand and plan to do so in the future.

Now to The Bottom Line – How Much Money Do I Need for Thailand?

One of the main questions you should ask yourselves is what are your intentions and wishes when visiting Thailand. Obviously the less you travel, see, do and experience – the smaller your budget will be. However, many times I find myself telling people (with a smile, of course), that those who come to Thailand to see other people travel, have fun, pamper themselves and get a massage – can do it on a very low budget. But real travellers, who come to experience and enjoy themselves, will probably need a lot more money.

Indeed, sitting in some small village at Isan (in the north-eastern region of Thailand), is very cheap, but I’m guessing that is hardly the purpose of most travellers. I assume you’d like to visit and stay in more popular, famous places (which are thus more expensive), and if you’ve reached those places, you’d probably like to stay in comfortable and decent accommodations (air-conditioned rooms in established hotels). Additionally, once you are here, surely you’d like to enjoy what this wonderful country has to offer, and Thailand’s many delights have their prices, when in fact, some of them cost quite a lot.

Of course, there are different prices in different seasons, as November to March mark the peak/high season, and thus the most expensive time to travel and stay in Thailand. Additionally, the prices soar during important Thai holidays such as Songkran (the Thai New Year) for instance.

I would estimate that a medium level budget for a couple who travels in Thailand, is roughly $150-200 per day (depending on the season). Such a budget would suffice to cover reasonable accommodations in average-level hotels, transportation from one place to another, routine group trips, small-scale shopping and even some indulgence here and there. A single traveller would spend, at this level, about $100-125 USD per day, and if you are a family, I’d estimate the additional expense per child in at least $75-100 (depending on the season). Please bear in mind that the above sums do not include internal flights.

I would like to reiterate that this is merely an estimation of the expected cost, and that we are talking about minimum sums required to allow a medium-level. Of course, a lower sum can also suffice for less than average accommodation, but the question is how low can you go? Naturally, the higher the sum you are willing to pay – the better the accommodation you can get. Higher sums will allow better hotels, tours of better quality and longer duration, more pampering, shopping and luxuries, acclaimed restaurants and comfortable services – everything that Thailand has to offer.

An important note: unlike the countries surrounding Thailand – this country has so much to offer its visitors – shopping, restaurants, street food, activities, night life, pampering, and anything that comes to mind!! These attractions are usually cheap and thus hard to resist!! All these expenses seem small and redundant when we’re considering one purchase/admission fee to a single person, but once we are talking about a family – another delicious fruit shake, and one more round on the jet ski, a relaxing foot massage or some fake watch – one thing adds to another… Of course, you wouldn’t say ‘no’, but rather ‘who knows when we will visit Thailand again’…The expenses will start to accumulate and all your budget plans might go up in flames…so take that into account!!

Finally, allow me to give you a small advice: while Thailand is not as cheap as many tourists think, it is still low-priced compared to many other countries. One of its many benefits (which weighs on the budget), is that this country has anything and everything to offer, and you can indulge yourself to an unbelievable extent – which you cannot possibly do in other countries, unless you’re a millionaire.

I’m well aware of the fact that the flight tickets to Thailand are far from cheap, but if you’ve already come all this way, do yourselves a favour and enjoy, experience, and pamper yourselves. Thailand may be the one country in the world where you can indulge yourselves and feel like millionaires for a short while – even if you’re far from it in real life. So just make the most of your visit and treat yourselves like you’ve always dreamed!

I highly recommend reading the related articles:

The Best Time to Visit Thailand

Planning a Trip to Thailand

Wishing you all a lovely trip to this wonderful country! Hope you make the most of your visit and enjoy your stay in Thailand

Dr. David