Thailand is among the largest countries in the world, ranking in the top 25 in terms of population with over 66 million people, putting it ahead of countries including South Africa, Italy, and South Korea. Thailand is also one of the more visited countries, pulling in around 40 million tourists per year. This ranks it second in all of Asia (behind only China), even significantly ahead of Japan and Malaysia.
Not only does Thailand have a lot of natural beauty and a great culture, but it’s also among the cheapest countries to visit. Some global rankings have placed Thailand in the number-one spot for the cheapest countries, so you’re already saving a lot of money by choosing Thailand as your vacation destination. If you want to save even more, though, here are five essential tips for visiting Thailand on a budget.
Flying into Thailand
There are several international airports throughout Thailand to pick from, all of which with varying prices. In most major countries, the largest and busiest airport is going to be the cheapest to fly into, and Thailand is no exception. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is the one that fits all three criteria, offering the cheapest flights for international visitors. Don Mueang International and Phuket are good alternatives, as well.
As for the cheapest time of year to visit Thailand, what we consider the summer months in the United States are the lowest-priced. May is the start of the off-season for Thailand, and it runs all the way through October. The big reason is that this is monsoon season, so July and August are actually the cheapest months of the year. Try to visit in June for the cheapest tickets without the bad weather.
Taxi Over Tuk-Tuk
When you think of Thailand, one of the first visuals that might come to mind is the motorbikes and tuk-tuk vehicles that carry about two or three people. While those are popular options for tourists, they’re actually going to be more expensive. Instead, taking a traditional taxi is the best bet for cheap transport around the city, so it sort of operates in the opposite way as the United States.
On average, taxis start off at about $1 and only increase by $0.15 per kilometer. As for the tuk-tuk, you’ll likely have to negotiate a price that will end up being much higher. Other cheap forms of public transportation include bus and train, with the latter getting you around the country for just a few dollars. Simply avoid the tourist traps and you’ll be spending next to nothing on transportation.
Loving The Lodging
There are going to be a lot of budget travelers who say that hostels are going to be the best bet to save money, but staying in a traditional hotel is so cheap in Thailand that it seems like a no-brainer to stay in one compared to a hostel (unless you’re looking to more immerse yourself in culture and meet other travelers). In some cases, you can get a two or three-star hotel for as little as $5 per night.
That’s not an exaggeration, either. Spending anything above $10 per night can get you some pretty luxurious hotel rooms, and there are only going to be a couple of hotel rooms throughout the country that cost more than $20 per night. With that said, feel free to skip the hostels if privacy is important to you, and enjoy the safety and comfort of a hotel room without spending much.
When you’re visiting any new country, the temptation to visit what’s considered the best restaurant in the country will be present, but budgeters will want to kick that temptation. Thankfully, Thailand offers plenty of options that will cost just a couple of dollars per meal. Street stalls can be found everywhere in Thailand’s major markets, and you’ll never really find yourself paying more than $4 or $5 for a filling meal.
Public food courts are a big part of Thailand’s culture, and these vendors are all competing for your business, keeping the prices low. Sit-down restaurants are very much existent in Thailand, but still won’t cost as much as they do in the United States. For maximum savings, though, stick to the streets.
Explore the Free Options
Most people that head to Thailand will spend most of their time in Bangkok, the cultural and financial hub of the country. There are plenty of reasons for tourists to visit, and many of them are free. One of the more popular destinations is the Amulet Market, and it can be tempting to want to buy something, but simply walking through the taking in the sights is free and a fantastic experience.
Some of the other great free destinations throughout Bangkok include the Golden Mount, Lumphini Park, King Parjadhipok Museum, and many more. Getting away from the city will also present a lot of options to take in natural beauty. Khao Yai, Khao Sok, and Erawan National Parks are must-sees for any Thailand tourist.