Thailand is the travel hub of Southeast Asia. Most visitors coming into the region fly into Bangkok and make that their base for doing the circuit as they backpack around Southeast Asia. It’s the most visited country in the region – and with good reason! Thailand speaks for itself. When you hear its name, you already think about beaches, beauty, jungles, and food. And your thoughts are spot on. Thailand has a lot to offer travelers – no matter your budget. You can backpack Thailand here on a limited budget or you can live the luxurious travel life in fancy resorts on the beach. Or just travel on a modest budget and get a lot of bang for your buck.
The country has something for everyone. Backpacking Thailand is often the way most people travel around but that doesn’t mean really roughing it. You can travel Thailand well without spending a lot of money. This Thailand travel guide will tell you how to travel the country like a pro, what to do avoid, how much things cost, the best things to see, and everything in between!
“River Kwaï ”
“Sunset beach at Koh Lipe”
Accommodation – Hotels start at around 1,350 THB (41 USD) per night and go up from there. Big resorts on the islands start at 1,700 THB (15 USD) per night for a bungalow on the beach. Dorm rooms, which are increasingly widespread throughout the country, range from 100-150 THB per night. Airbnb is also growing in Thailand and a good amount of cities have a nice selection. It’s actually usually cheaper to book your accommodations online via websites like Booking.com and Agoda than to show up in person. The online booking websites offer discounts far better than what you’ll get offered if you just show up, so always book online if you can!
Food – Food is really cheap in Thailand. Street food costs as little as 20 THB (0.60 USD), though on average you’ll spend about 35-50 THB (1.05-1.50 USD) per meal if you want something really filling. If you stick to the local street food, you can eat for around 120-170 THB (4-5 USD) a day. Most western dishes (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc) cost between 170-340 THB (5-10 USD), though they can be higher in the fancier western establishments. Since food is so cheap, there’s no point in grocery shopping unless you’re looking to get some pre-made salads or fruits. Visit each city guide for specific food recommendations in each place!
Transportation – Like everything in Thailand, transportation is also cheap. Local buses cost as little as 8 THB (0.22 USD) per trip, the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost 15-50 THB (0.45-1.50 USD) per trip and metered taxi rides are usually 60-100 THB (1.80-3 USD) each. Tuk-tuks are un-metered and generally more expensive, costing 100-235 THB (3-7.06 USD) per ride. Motorbike taxis (in orange vests) are available all over the country with short trips costing about 35 THB (1.05 USD), but you need to negotiate the price. Always stick to the metered taxis, otherwise you’ll get charged an overpriced ride. When it comes to tuk-tuks, be sure to agree on a price before you take off. Drivers are very friendly, but if you’re going to act like a naïve tourist, they will take advantage of you. We generally try to avoid tuk-tuks, but for very short distances they can be fun. (Taxis that put the meter on will almost always be cheaper in the end.)
Suggested daily budget – 15-100 EUR / 16-111 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget .Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number.)
Here are a selection of our travel essentials !
The best time of year to visit Thailand is between November to February. The high season (cool/dry) is from November to March. Bangkok is “coolest” during this time (but still averaging a hot 29ºC/85°F), and it’s also the driest. If you plan on being in the north during this time, temperatures can drop quickly in the evenings. Bring warm clothing! Shoulder season is from April to June, and it is HOT. Temperatures can be unbearable for those who are not use to them. Monsoon hits the northern area at the end of May. The low season is the rainy season, from July to October. June and August have the heaviest rains, but things wind down during October. You might still get some afternoon showers, but October is also generally a good time to visit.
Animal Tourism in Thailand is pretty rampant with lots of tours promoting elephant trekking. If there is one thing we are passionate about, it is about spreading the word about the rampant animal abuse that happens in these establishments. A lot of tourists flock to the Tiger temple in Chiang Mai just to get a selfie with a tiger. The tigers in these places are often mistreated and drugged up so they can be docile enough for human interaction. Same goes for elephant “sanctuaries” Bottom line is, do your research if you really must see them and only go to reputable ones, or better yet-just avoid any activity which involves animals.