Currency: ฿ THB

General Living Costs

Thailand can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be, travelling on a short time frame causing a need for flights or a desire for better accommodation will up costs. The average backpacker can get by on around ฿600-800 a day. Staying in private accommodation or being a keen drinker can up costs to the ฿1500 region. Frequenting higher end bars, restaurants and hotels will easily cost ฿5000 a day and can go up to as much as you’ll allow in a country fully geared up for tourism. The below prices are an average for Thailand, please bare in mind that particular locations can be more expensive than others.

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Getting Money & Currency Advice

The official currency is the Thai baht (THB or ฿). There are 100 satang in ฿1 baht, 25 and 50 satang coin pieces are rarely used as most round up to the nearest baht, the 1, 5 and 10 satang coins are never seen in circulation any more. Baht coins come in ฿1, ฿2, ฿5 and ฿10 pieces. The ฿2 coin is very similar in size and look to the ฿1 coin. Paper note currency comes in the following denominations and colours: ฿20 green, ฿50 blue, ฿100 red, ฿500 purple and ฿1000 brown.

Located in abundance almost anywhere you can think of, Thai cash machines have a maximum withdrawal limit of ฿20,000 baht. They charge a ฿150 or ฿180 fee per withdrawal when using a foreign card, of course you also then levy any fees from your bank which is usually a percentage of the transaction.

ATMs are the safe and easy option for obtaining cash, just be sure to get a card with free international withdrawals, as most banks charge sizeable percentages of a transaction. Refuse the option to convert a charge to your home currency which most ATMs offer as it only incurs even more fees.

There’s really no need to change any cash before arriving in Thailand, all the international airports have easily accessible ATMs and exchange booths. Banks offer the best foreign exchange rates, many have convenient kiosks in city centres for quick transactions. Travellers’ cheques can be cashed at most banks with reasonable commission fees.

Whilst a guest in Thailand its worth keeping in mind the stern lèse majesté law. This explicitly prohibits any verbal, physical or written act that shows disrespect towards the king and the royal family. Even stepping on a coin or note to stop it from getting away will attract disapproving looks from natives.

If visiting markets or smaller towns you should expect to pay cash. Don’t worry about having stacks of cash on you in cities like Bangkok as most establishments will take credit and debit cards.

Accommodation

It has always been great for backpackers with plenty of shared rooms (some reasonably comfortable!) starting at ฿150-200 per night. Private air conditioned rooms with hot water sometimes include a fridge and satellite TV but prices jump to ฿500-1000 a night. Bargain private rooms can be found in low season with prices from as little as ฿300 even in pricer areas like Phuket. Bear in mind that Bangkok will always cost a little more with some dorm rooms reaching upwards of ฿500 a night. Sit in the lap of luxury with world class 5 star hotels and plush resorts at a cost of ฿3000-฿10000 a night.

Food and Drink

Thai cuisine is cheap and delicious, street foods are reasonably hygienic, filling and plentiful and for around ฿40 an absolute bargain. There are a variety of Thai and western restaurants with simple dishes available from ฿80. Go to a hotel or higher end restaurant and prices jump to around a ฿250 minimum for a main course.

Alcohol is moderately priced compared to the rest of Asia, mini marts like 7/11 sell 630ml bottles of Chang for ฿50 and 750ml bottles of SangSom for ฿290. The average tourist bar sells cocktails, buckets and beers all varying in price between ฿50 and ฿500. Soft drinks are reasonable at ฿20 for a coke and less than ฿10 for water from mini marts.

Transport

Planes
Great for getting around if you’re time restricted, regional flights are extremely frequent which means one way tickets start from just ฿1000 between major cities. Worth the money if you’re strapped for time, but not cash.
Buses
Buses are widely used, whenever possible take a VIP or government run bus from the stations, you get more comfort, less stops and no overloading for the same amount as most mini buses. Prices change often but standard buses cost around ฿70 from Bangkok to Hua Hin or Pattaya. From Bangkok to Phuket or Krabi prices are around ฿600 for a standard bus. VIP buses have bigger seats that recline further and cost almost twice as much as a standard ticket.
Baht Bus / Songthaews
Converted pick-up trucks acting as public transport in parts of Thailand, usually drivers follow set routes for standard fares of ฿10-฿20, but in some cases drivers use them as private shared taxis for passengers travelling in roughly the same direction from a bus station for example. Common in Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Rai, Phuket and many other popular tourist destinations.
Boats
Ferry boats are cheap but slow, tickets vary from ฿300-฿500, overloading does occur so be aware and wait for the next one if crowded. High speed ferry boats are available in the south, they will be at least twice the price of a standard ferry.
Taxis
Taxi sharing is a comfortable and fast way to get around in a small group. In Bangkok only get a taxi which will turn its metre on, elsewhere in Thailand they rarely use them. In areas with a lack of public transport expect taxi fares to be higher.
Train
Travel by train for great scenery, though a little slow they’re a bargain at around ฿50 from Bangkok to Hua Hin third class or around ฿500 second class from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Sleeper carriages range from ฿800 to ฿1200 but are still good value considering the distance covered and the nights accommodation you save.
Tuk Tuk
In Bangkok in particular Tuk tuks are now rarely worth taking as most quote fares 3 times the amount a metered taxi would. Prices vary depending on the area you’re in and how well you haggle, never agree to any ‘stops’ and you could pay ฿200thb for a short trip. In areas with a lack of public transport expect tuk tuk fares to be higher.

Attractions

Costs for attractions can be considered high or low depending what you’re in Thailand for, culture can be soaked up without spending too much especially when outside of Bangkok. Excursions, top-notch bars and water sports will obviously shoot costs up.

Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in Thailand it’s located in Chang Mai Province, the mountain and stunning national park surrounds draw in many visitors. Entry fee ฿200thb

WFFT lets visitors see rescued animals in a responsible way, free of cruelty and where the animals do not suffer as a result. Day-trips from Cha-am and Hua Hin including transportation, coffee break and buffet lunch cost ฿1800thb pre-booking is required.

Sukhothai Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site which includes nearly 200 excavated and partly reconstructed temples dating back around 800 years. Entry fee ฿150thb

The Grand Palace in Bangkok was constructed in 1782 and was the Thai royal residence for generations. Dress modestly by covering your shoulders and legs. Entry costs ฿500thb with an additional ฿100thb for audio guides.

 

Tipping

It’s not customary to tip in Thailand so never feel obliged,  as ever tips are always appreciated.  If you’ve received good customer service by all means tip to reflect that, at many hotel and high end restaurants a service charge will be added to your bill.

 

Prices listed are as a guide only. Due to market changes and currency fluctuations we cannot guarantee the 100% accuracy of the prices listed. Those listed are gathered from research accurate in June 2015.