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.
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.
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.
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.
Baht Bus / Songthaews
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.
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.