You may be wondering how much things cost in Thailand compared to home. Obviously, the amount you spend depends on your lifestyle: what things you do, how much luxury you expect, and which areas you want to visit.
If you’re on a shoestring, you can often get by in Thailand for $20 to $30 per day, whereas more spendthrift types can spend that much just on drinks in an upscale bar!
Understanding the Costs in Thailand
If you want to get meals at classy restaurants and stay at hotels which cater only for tourists, naturally, you can expect to pay more, as you will if you participate in certain activities or pay entrance fees into certain venues or attractions.
As mentioned before, prices are often based on where you are staying. A bottle of beer in more expensive areas of Bangkok can cost $3 to $6, while you can find the same bottle in the popular Khao San Road backpacker area for around $2. You will also find better prices away from the tourist areas.
The islands, like Phuket, cost more as well. So if you want to spend your Songkran in Phuket, plan to spend slightly more on food, products and accommodation. There’s a practical reason why everything costs more on an island: everything must be brought to the mainland, whether department store orders or post and everything in between, either by boat or plane.
If you plan on spending Songkran in Chiang Mai, where the biggest parties are at, you’ll be pleased to know that the city along with other Northern Thailand cities are comparatively less expensive than Bangkok and the islands.
Remember that since you’re in a third-world country, unless items have fixed prices on them (such as in supermarkets and mini marts), you can often barter (haggle) for a better deal. Although you should avoid haggling for consumables such as drinks, snacks and street food.
The Cost of Getting a Good Feed
When you need to get a feed, Western food (such as food from fast food chains or Western-themed restaurants) nearly always costs more than Thai food. Also, street vendor food and simple open-air bistro food will always be cheaper than eating at your hotel and at air conditioned restaurants. The standard meat served with just about every meal is chicken; pork and beef are usually the same price. If you want to add seafood to your meal, it will cost more.
You can enjoy a basic meal of pad thai noodles with chicken at street carts and from simple restaurants from $1. The famous Thai curries will cost $2 to $3. Fifty cents is sometimes added if you want it with rice.
It costs on average $3 to $5 for a basic Thai meal in a restaurant.
The Cost of Having a Few Drinks
It’s going to be hot during Songkran, and we’ve mentioned before the importance of remaining hydrated and carrying water around with you.
Fortunately, it’s cheap to keep your fluids up, with 1.5 litre bottles of water costing 50 cents from the 7-11 shops found all over Thailand. Just like with Bali, do not drink the tap water. The cost of Coke in a bottle is between 50 and 75 cents.
A large bottle of Thai Chang beer can be bought on special for $2. Other beers such as Singah, Kirin and imported beers will cost $3 upwards, depending on how fancy the venue is. Based on this, for a good night out of 10 drinks or more, you’ll be paying $30 to $40.