How much does it cost to travel Thailand in 2020?

Phuket Thailand Local Market at Sunset

This post talks about the cost of various expenses you can expect while you travel Thailand in 2020. Things such as bus fares, food prices, and accommodations.

Travelling Thailand is fairly cheap and if you’re looking to travel on a budget it can be done with only about $600-$1000 a month in living costs. Even less if you’re willing to expend the effort to skimp and forgo many of the local tourist attractions and walk everywhere.

Food expenses

Food cost in the low range is about 35-80 Thai bahts per plate, but I’ve averaged about 65-120 bahts a plate while being in different areas of the city. In 2020, this works out to $2.85 to $5.26 a plate in Canadian dollars. Bottled water can be bought at 7-11 for 7 to 14 bahts and make sure to include this in your budget, because I’d advise not drinking out of the tap. If you hostel has a filtered water machine, that is ok to drink.

For budget travellers, if you stick to food courts in mid range malls or large super markets such as Big C or Tesco, you won’t have a difficult time staying within budget. If you want to spend even less, you can buy street food that are packed to-go in plastic bags and take it back to your hostel.

For normal budgets, expect to pay on average 150-300 bahts per meal for ordinary sit down restaurants and possibly more for added drinks.

A modern way to eat cheap is by using the Grab or Get! App to order your food. Everyday there are food deals which can sometimes be even better than going to the restaurant in person. Delivery fees starts at 30 bahts and up, depending on your location.


This will most likely be your largest expense. However this could be much lower if you’re willing to stay in $3-12 a night low range hostels around touristy backpacking areas. Stays at this price range usually are large rooms stuffed with as many cheap bunk beds they can fit, so be prepared for this. You get what you pay for.

Mid-range hostels and cheap hotels can be had for about $12-$40 a night. I prefer these types of stays because they are a good balance of quality and comfort. Of course the best deals are during low season when the competition is high.

Upper mid-range hotels cost about $50-$300 a night, which includes great service, good rooms, but dated building. That means the fixtures and decor in the room will be older, but cleanliness is good.

High end luxury hotels provide the maximum comfort and quality and the better known are the international hotel chains like The Mandarin Oriental. These can start from $300 and way up a night.

Transportation Costs

BTS & MRT Train System

The BTS and MRT system are efficient, clean, and has an extensive network around the city. The fare is charged based on distance and starts at 16 bahts. Of course, the more you move around the city the more it will the cost. To save with discounted fares, look into purchasing a reloadable rabbit card at any BTS station, especially if you’re planning to do a lot of travelling within the city. It makes using the train a lot easier and you can skip those long queues at the ticket window during rush hour.

Something to note is if you overpay thinking you will get off at a later station, you will not receive a refund for the difference on a single journey ticket.


The cost varies depending on distance and fares start at 35 bahts and stays there for the first 2 kilometers. The fare gradually works its way up with 2 baht at a time (roughly per km). A surcharge applies in traffic jams (1.25 baht per meter when moving under 6 km/h). Typical taxi fares for going a few kilometers are around 50 baht.

Tuk Tuk

Most expensive way to get around because fares are negotiated beforehand and you’re likely to get inflated quotes as a tourist. Even locals avoid using them. Price depends on your destination, your negotiating skills, and the driver’s willingness.

Grab App

Best way for hired rides around the city because all prices are transparent between driver and passengers right at the start and there is very little room for scams to take place. This is my preferred method. However be aware that a common scam with the Grab app is the driver will call you ahead of time and try to renegotiate the fare with you. If this happens, cancel the ride and report the driver. Re-request your ride and try another driver.

Orange Vest Motorbikers

This is very common and fares are determined by a mix of negotiation and fixed prices for certain locations. Commonly you’ll find official motorbiker stands around the city with locations and prices on a large poster, but you’ll need to use your Google Translator app because it’s all written in Thai.

If you happen to wave one down in the middle of the street, prices are negotiated. Use your grab app to check how much the fare would cost you and use that as a reference point for negotiation.

Tourist Attractions

In most of Thailand foreigners will be charged a entrance fee to many of the tourist attractions, where as locals will have free or discounted entry. If you’re looking to visit a temple, they normally cost between 30-100 bahts per person. Larger more popular tourist attractions like The Royal Grand Palace will cost 500 bahts.

Before you go on your trip, make sure to protect yourself from the potential accidents that can happen during travel. Travel insurance is a must and it would be foolish to go without it.

World Nomad’s is the #1 insurance provider for backpackers because they allow you to extend, cancel, or even renew your policy wherever you are in the world! Created for travellers, by travellers.

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