15 Tips to Travel Thailand on a Budget: Save Money
Compared to many popular travel destinations in Europe and North America, Thailand is a hotspot in Southeast Asia with big price advantage. Thailand is rich in fascinating tourist spots. You have tropical islands, white sands, warm sunshine, and beautiful temples to expect.
In recent years, the booming of tourism is making the cost to visit Thailand higher and higher, especially along the coasts in the south. Don’t worry and there are some tips listed to learn how to travel Thailand on a budget.
1. Fly to Thailand on Weekdays
Airfare to Thailand is a big expense. Usually, fly on weekdays, instead of weekends, can save a fortune. Avoid to fly on Friday or Sunday, as the air ticket costs much higher. Insider data tells that booking a flight seven weeks before departure, you can get the lowest price, nearly 10% below the average cost.
Make Bangkok your first stop because the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is the cheapest airport in Thailand to fly into. Then get around Thailand through a budget airline such as Air Asia.
2. Bring Cash and Withdraw Large Amounts from the ATM
To travel to Thailand cheaply, try to avoid 200 baths per transaction on the ATMs, which will cost a large amount of money than you think. We recommend you to withdraw at least 10,000 bahts at a time. A better solution is to bring cash with you from home and exchange it at the airport in Bangkok after arrival.
3. Take Public Transport or Hire a Motorbike
To save money in Thailand, you are advised to use public transport. Basically, leave the taxi and take the local bus, travel on overnight buses, or rent a motorbike. In the small towns and cities, enjoy a motor ride to explore the corners of Thailand. It is much more fun than taking a taxi and can save you a small fortune.
If you travel with kids or the elder, taxis are more convenient. Remember to choose the taxi that use a meter. If a taxi driver refuses to use the meter, just get out and find another one. Or you may choose the more direct and safer taxi apps like widely used Grab and Uber.
4. Eat like a Local
In Thailand, eat like a local can help you save a lot. Surely, you can find burgers, fries and pizzas. However, this costs a lot more. For example, a pizza can easily cost three times as much as a Thai meal.
Instead of western chains, try to head to the local restaurants and eat like a king for very little money. Street food is cheaper and it’s a very important part in Thai culture. Head to a market, line up in front of a street vendor, watch delicious food being made in front of you, and finally enjoy. Thailand food & drink are waiting to give you a warm treatment.
Head for a market for street food and eat like a king for very little money.
5. Use Water Refill Stations in Thailand
If you want to save money, don’t drink fruit shakes all day. Drink water instead. Buy a bottle of water in the convenient store and then refill it later. In Thailand, you can find water machines anywhere to fill your empty bottle. For example, using an automat outside Tesco only takes you one baht for a liter of water.
6. Avoid Peak Season to Visit Thailand
The high tourist season not only brings crowds of visitors, but also increase the cost to visit Thailand. November to February is the most expensive period. It is best to skip these months to save money and avoid the crowds in Thailand.
The flood of tourists actually come in late November. Early November marks the end of rainy season and you might encounter a raindrop. The country is not very busy, and flights and accommodations are cheaper.
The cheapest time to visit Thailand is in the rainy season between June and October when the rains may be sudden and abundant. You can enjoy your tour between two rain drops.
7. Learn the Art of Haggle
It’s important to learn the art of haggle in Thailand. No matter where you are, remember that any items are one price for locals and another price for tourists. Don’t hesitate to haggle on souvenirs, boat trips, hotel prices, etc.
Make sure you bargain the price down to what you are willing to pay. If the street vendors don’t agree with the price, then just pretend to walk away. They will call you back if they think they are loosing a customer. Do remember to haggle with a smile on your face always.
8. Hunt Around for Accommodation
Hotel prices in Thailand fluctuate throughout the year. Booking accommodation in advance helps to save money. Platforms like Agoda, Booking, and Hostel World are available to find the best deals.
Actually, not all hostels are cheaper than hotels. For example, in Bangkok and cities in Northern Thailand, you can often find cheap private bedrooms on Airbnb, which proves to be cheaper than a dorm bed if you are travelling as a couple. Therefore, compare and find the best prices on Thailand accommodation.
9. Travel to the North of Thailand
Traveling to the north of Thailand is much cheaper than to the southern coasts.
Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai house tons of fabulous temples in low-priced ticket. The White Temple and the Black House are most famous two. Wat Rong Suea Ten in Chiang Rai is a beautiful temple completely painted vivid blue and decorated with exquisite carvings in gold.
Pai and Mae Hong Son town are the places for those who prefer serenity and want to relax in the laid-back surroundings hidden in the mountains.
10. You Don’t Have to Tip
The amount of money saved by not tipping at all the meals and drinks will be incredibly huge. It’s not the norm to tip in Thailand. Thai people rarely leave tips in restaurants, cafes or bars.
So live like a local, and you don’t have to tip. If you want to give back to the locals for their hospitality, leave the change or a maximum 20 baht tip.
11. Drink in Moderation
Thailand’s nightlife is enjoyable. But it is better to drink in moderation.
The local beer brands like Singha, Tiger and Leo, are cheaper than imported ones. You can have a try when drinking out in bars or restaurants. Buying single drinks costs more than to buy a tower of beer or a whole bottle.
Drinks in 7-Eleven are much cheaper. A big bottle of beer costs around 55 baht, and whiskey and wine bottles are as cheap as 250 baht.
12. Compare before Booking Trips
Boat trips to off coast islands are amazing, and expensive as well. Before booking a boat trip, remember to compare the prices offered by at least 10 tour agents and get the best deal.
13. Avoid Getting Scammed
Thailand is such a popular tourist destination that scams may happen. Avoid getting scammed can also help you save money. Be careful with the most common tourist scams including gem shops deals, overpriced taxi rides to airport, and promised free rides on tuk-tuks.
To avoid being scammed, agree on all prices in advance before you do anything. Take the taxi using a meter. Keep your money and valuables protected and try not to make yourself an easy target.
14. Shop at Pratunam Market
As for souvenirs, head to Pratunam Market. It’s a one of the major markets in Bangkok selling designer clothes, imported goods and all exquisite stuff. Prices are very cheap, and most shops offer retail prices for single pieces. Platinum Fashion Mall and Pantip Plaza are good as well.
15. Ask Help for the Locals
Thai people are quite friendly. Smile and ask help for locals walking by the side way or some shop keepers to get to know the best places to eat and cheapest places to stay. Usually, these inside tips from the locals can help in saving a lot.
Thailand boasts its quality coastlines. A boat trip to offshore island is definitely a big highlight of all Thailand tours. However, it costs a lot. That’s probably the main reason the cost to visit Thailand is getting higher and higher. Hope the above mentioned tips can be your money savor.