We all know Thailand has become a destination pretty much desired by everyone, what made traveling there is a bit more complicated than before. But still, there are (no doubts) very affordable plans, food and accommodation you can get here without encountering a hundred backpackers willing to party. If that’s what you want, keep reading to find out our best tips to travel Thailand on a budget.
- Places to stay, whether it’s a hotel, hostel or even stayings with locals, are always cheaper in the north rather than Bangkok and big cities, where the price for a room can be doubled up.
- Avoid , of course, hotels and bungalows and go for shared rooms or even rent an apartment if you’re traveling with more people and you’re staying for some days in the same city. This is a fast way to immerse into Thai’s society: just live like them.
- If you want a recommendation, Chiang Mai offers apartments for $40/month and has all the options of a fun and typical Asiatic city.
- If your budget is really tight, you can give up rooms with AC and hot water. Not having at your disposal these “luxuries” make the price go down quite a bit and definitely can be replaced with a fan and flushing your toilet with a bucket.
- The most important tip here is to skip all the places where tourists go! International restaurants have insane prices and the quality is not that good. Instead, just head to a street cart or market, generally located in main streets, and enjoy a delicious typical dish for less than $2.
- Family-run businesses, the ones that are hidden in smaller streets and don’t even speak English, usually offer very tasty dishes like khao pad (fried rice), som tam (papaya salad) or pad see ew (soup of noodles, meat and vegetables) for little money.
- Generally, you can adapt your order, having meat, chicken, tofu or no meat at all, depending on your taste. This is why it’s always good to know some basic Thai words or sentences, you will be much more comfortable when asking for anything and you’ll have the dishes exactly the way you want!
- The islands are more expensive when it comes to food, so stick to cities for having lunch or dinner and fill up your water bottle with the water refill machines you can find in bigger cities, that are pretty inexpensive!
- Experiencing a tuk-tuk ride in Thailand for the first time is a totally different way of wandering the streets. It means to immerse into how locals move around and although they are not the cheapest option, it does allow you to see the place in a different way.
- It can be a good idea to negotiate the price beforehand with the driver, since it will go up and down the way they want. Talk to them for a couple of minutes before jumping in, since they usually know how to sneak in some hot spots and can save you some money in entrance tickets!
- That being said, there are more affordable and greener options when it comes to transportation in Thailand. Taking the bus is a fair alternative: you don’t pollute as much and it’s the perfect scenery to learn about their everyday life. If you’re in a long ride, try to talk to someone! You never know how fast you can get invited to have dinner to a local’s home. Thai people are really welcoming!
- Another budget-friendly option is to take the train: you have day trains and night trains. These last ones are great for getting to know the country and if you get the second class ticket, without AC and not that much space, the price is even lower.
ACTIVITIES TO DO
- The best way to escape high prices is to skip travel agencies and support local activities (and company!), which are always more enriching and sustainable. Nature usually is in the top three of things to do… And for good reasons.
- Get yourself some travel buddies and form a group to go trekking, hiking or diving. The more people, the less expensive it’ll get. Try to avoid the touristic areas and islands, where everybody goes, since they usually have not that fair prices and the experience won’t be as authentic. You’ll want to enjoy the landscapes and people calmly, not surrounded by a hundred other people waiting to do the same as you, won’t you?
- Some places that won’t be way too crowded and will offer some impressive raw nature are Koh Mak (a paradisiacal island in the eastern Gulf of the country with fishing villages and warm waters to discover), Koh Phayam (with only 500 inhabitants and a very slow rhythm of life surrounded by amazing beaches) and the Lisu Hill Tribe Village (a peaceful community in the Chiang Mai countryside, filled with a traditional lifestyle, organic crops and rice fields).
The tourism alternatives in Thailand are endless, travelers! The thing here is to dig a little bit and not say “yes” to the first option. Always try to immerse yourself into the country or city you’re traveling to, you’ll find options that will be much more green and respectful with the environment and the local lifestyle. That is how you learn and enrich your trips, by soaking up with other cultures wisdoms and traditions. The ones that’ll stay in your mind and soul forever.