A month in the Land of Smiles is just about perfect. Not only should that be enough time to let you explore multiple regions, from the hill-covered north to the paradise beaches of the south, but also fits precisely with the length of the 30-day visa on arrival, also known as the Visa Exemption, that a whopping 90 nationalities use to enter the country. But what about one month in Thailand budget?
Well…what you spend is sure to vary a lot depending on how you travel. Thailand can be wallet-friendly to backpackers, but it can also be uber-pricy to luxury seekers on the hunt for honeymoon resorts with private beaches. On top of that, some destinations in the home of pad Thai and mango sticky rice are cheaper – Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai – while others tend to cost more – Koh Samui, Phuket.
Here, we’ll help you calculate your month in Thailand budget. We’ll explore basic, mid-level, and luxury travel budget, and offer guidance on what you can expect to fork out for food, hotels, transport, and more. Let’s begin…
How much does it cost to travel Thailand for a month?
Travel price collator Budget Your Trip estimates that the daily outgoings of an average traveler in Thailand is around the $100 mark. That makes it super easy to calculate how much you can expect to spend in a whole month, since it’s 30 times 100: $3,000. That’s a good ballpark figure, and includes about $60/day for accommodation and the rest on food, travel, and activities.
We’d generally agree with that estimation. But it’s important to stress that it’s an average. That means you can spend a whole load more if you want to but also get away with spending just a fraction of it, too. Yep, we’d estimate that a luxury trip to Thailand for a whole month could cost you well in excess of $15,000, what with some of the finest hotels in the Land of Smiles charging over $220/night. At the other end of the scale, you can still get by here spending under $800 in a month if you stay in hostels that cost $7-10/night and eat $1 street food all the time.
How much to budget for food?
Thailand has some of the best dishes in the world, from tangy pad Thai noodles to rich and spicy red curries. Mouth watering? Good, because you should also be happy to hear that Thai food is famously cost friendly. That especially goes for the street food, which remains some of the most affordable in all of Southeast Asia. Last time we were in Bangkok (2019), we were pleased to see that you could still get a pad Thai for 30 THB (<$1)!
In comparison to the US, grocery shopping in Thailand is 55.99% cheaper, and restaurant prices are a staggering 219.38% less costly. Here are just a few normal food prices that you can expect to encounter courtesy of Numbeo.
- A gallon of milk – $6.38
- A small bottle of water – $0.32
- A dozen eggs – $1.65
- A pound of chicken fillets – $1
- A meal at an inexpensive restaurant (street stall) – $1.80
There are also loads of hipster cafes and midrange eateries that do things like avocado on toast and European dishes like pizza. Hitting them will cost a touch more, to the tune of $5-10 per person, per sitting.
Overall, we’d say budget between $20-25/day for food. That’s an average cost for the midrange traveler, including meals in midrange places and at street stalls, along with some alcohol and some grocery shopping. That adds up to around $600-750 for the whole month.
How much to budget for hotels?
Accommodation is probably going to be a massive chunk of your monthly budget. The cost of your trip can soar if you choose to bed down in luxurious, five-star hotels right by the sea. At the same time, you can do things really cheap by sticking to hostels, which we think offer one of the best balances between cost and quality of all the backpacker lodgings in Southeast Asia.
At the low end of the spectrum in shared dorms, you’re probably looking at spending between $3 and $17 per night. That equates to about $90-500 for a full month’s stay in the Land of Smiles. Not bad, eh? But wait. You can actually considerably up the quality of your hotel and bag better locations by opting for midrange options. These should only cost between $20 and $60 a night. An example would be the Chern Bangkok ($$), which lists at $29 a night. You can expect facilities like swimming pools, balconies, en-suite rooms, and sometimes in-house restaurants at mid-level hotels, all for a monthly total of under $1,800.
Finally, for luxury accommodation at a five-star hotel, prices range from $70 to over $90 per night for a standard double room. Therefore, we recommend a monthly budget of $2,700 when considering luxury accommodation in Thailand. Examples of these high-quality stays would include the Katiliya Mountain Resort And Spa ($$), a stunning retreat in the mountains, and the Island Escape by Burasari ($$$), a high-class resort with access to its own run of Phuket beachfront.
As a general ballpark figure, we’d say budget $60 a day for hotel accommodation. That’s $1,800 in total over the full four weeks.
How much to budget for transport?
Like food, transport is very budget-friendly in Thailand. You can expect plenty of public transport options, including buses, trains, and overnight coaches. Of course, if you fancy trying your bargaining skills, you can also take taxis or tuk-tuks.
According to Numbeo, a one-way ticket on local transport cost approximately $0.90, making public transport an extremely cost-effective method of travel. And, for a standard taxi tariff for a mile, you can expect to pay around $1.69 – depending on your bartering. To keep taxi rides to the average cost, make sure to request the meter or agree on a price beforehand, especially in a tuk-tuk.
If you are staying in one destination for your month in Thailand, we’d recommend a budget of $60 a month on transport. If you plan on traveling around the country from north to south, then we think a monthly outgoing of about $150 is normal, going up to over $300 if you want to take short-haul flights.
Similarly, choosing to rent a motorbike is an added cost to your budget. You can expect to pay approximately $10 per day, costing $300 per month just on the bike rental. On average, fuel also costs $3.32 per gallon. If you rent a motorbike, we’d recommend that you budget $320 a month on transport and fuel in Thailand.
How much to budget for entertainment?
From the wild nightlife of Koh Phangan to the glistening temples of Bangkok, jungle trekking in Chiang Mai to spa visits in Phuket, there’s all sorts of awesome things on the menu for would-be travelers in the fabled Land of Smiles.
For a budget-conscious but fun experience, we’d suggest a weekly budget of up to $100 on entertainment. That should allow for a few sunset beers and one or two major activities. If you’re keen to do something every day and want to check off all the bucket-list things that Thailand has to offer – from cooking lessons to PADI courses – then an activities budget closer to $400 is probably a better idea.
The cost of flights to Thailand
Flights to Thailand vary in cost throughout the year. Generally speaking, you’re looking at paying somewhere in the region of $500-1,500 return from the USA. However, that can soar to over $3,000 if you want to go on premium airlines or book less than 30 days before departure, when the average cost of a ticket increases dramatically.
You should find that flying into Thailand during the low season is a little easier on the wallet. That runs from April to August and sees the monsoon rains hit the islands of the south. You might not be able to laze on the beaches, but Bangkok can still be great fun. What’s more, stats show that airfare are considerably lower than their February peak in the midsummer months.
How much to budget for health?
Whenever you travel, it’s always wise to take out medical insurance and check recommended vaccinations for the countries you visit. While medical insurance is typically cheap and often less than $20 a month, vaccinations are a more expensive consideration.
Unfortunately, vaccinations are also an important consideration. And, for travelers from certain countries, Thailand even stipulates a Yellow Fever vaccination as a mandatory entry requirement.
As listed by the CDC, it is advisable to get typhoid, rabies, hepatitis a, and hepatitis b vaccinations before departing to Thailand. Doctors may also advise you to take malaria tablets and get a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis or Yellow Fever.
For US travelers, depending on your current vaccinations, you may wish to budget up to $1000 to cover recommended vaccines completely. While for UK travelers, budgets of up to $700 are often sufficient, since many of the vaccinations are covered by the NHS.
The best way forward when budgeting for health-related costs is to schedule a GP appointment in advance of your trip to Thailand. Your GP can provide advice based on your itinerary and the areas you will visit, reducing the cost of vaccines to cover specific recommendations.
A one month in Thailand budget – our conclusion
We estimate that most travelers will spend between $2,500-3,500 a month in Thailand. We get that by adding up $60 for hotel costs ($1,800), $20 a day for food ($600), and $600 for activities and transportation. Extras that you will need to factor in include any jabs and medication you need plus the cost of flights to the Land of Smiles in the first place, which can set you back $400-2,000.
Remember that this is an average estimation for a midrange traveler. There’s lots of scope to save money here, especially because there are uber-cheap hostels that can reduce your hotel outgoings to <$20 a night. There are also high-end hotels that cost over $400 a night, which can crank up the total monthly price of a trip to a whopping $15,000+.