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$50 a day – for sleeps, eats and activities? No way. Yes way. And here’s how…
If you don’t want to part with anything greater than a pink fifty, it’s safe to say you won’t be waking up at The Sheraton, but don’t fret, decent accommodation at a wallet-friendly price is still readily available in Thailand.
Allow approximately $17 for a clean but basic double room. Tip the scales at $20 and you may even get a swimming pool. A night in a guesthouse will have you feeling $10 lighter while a budget hostel (or basic beach hut) comes in around $5 - $8, but you’ll probably have to forsake the air con and share with a few extra travellers. Fingers crossed you don’t get a snorer!
Food will likely be your smallest expense with street eats averaging between $2-$5, which considering the vast array of delicious flavours, from fragrant Pad Thais to punch-packing curries, is a welcome Thailand perk. Who doesn’t want to eat like a king on a pauper’s wage?
Due to the close proximity to water, seafood is as cheap as it gets, and you’ve probably never tried fish quite as fresh as this. Pad it out with a steaming bowl of hot noodles and you’ll be going to bed with a rounded waist and a satisfied stomach. Add a beer, and for less than $5 you’ll sleep well too!
Authentic back-alley food is almost always the most cost efficient and better still, the most flavoursome. Steer clear of touristy restaurants and you’ll find a stellar feed for half the baht. Unassuming Thai establishments are cheap and easy to find down side-streets and alleyways. Still, as with anything, safety comes first; a back alley is still a back alley. Stay safe.
As a rule of thumb sightseeing is going to make the second biggest dent in your fiddy dollar note. Happily, there are still a handful of unexpected freebies you can experience for zero cents. Thai temples such as the Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat in Bangkok's Chinatown are free to explore, as is Damnoen Saduak's floating market, as long as you soak up the free atmosphere and not the souvenirs! The many monkeys outside the temple ruins of Lopburi offer hours of entertainment and won’t play havoc with your budget – although the monkeys may play havoc with you.
Snorkelling is a must-do, but for the best underwater vistas you’ll want to include a boat trip and venture further out to sea. All things combined this will set you back approximately $15 and the equipment isn’t normally included, so make friends with someone on the beach and borrow theirs.
Top one ‘expensive’ activity with an afternoon of scrimping – the sun never charges so enjoy a few free hours of sunbathing, swimming and read a good book (preferably one you swapped for zero dollar elsewhere). Or treat yourself to some Thai pampering; spas are for life’s high rollers, but budget travellers can still enjoy an indulgent foot massage for as little as $5.
4. And beats
It doesn’t matter which country you’re in, going out is a sure fire way to spend too much money. Start drinking imported beer and you’ll be on your third fifty dollar note before the cicadas even start to shrill.
Stick with a Singha, Tiger or Chang (approximately $3.5) which are even cheaper from the local 7/11 and avoid tourist bars at all costs (pun intended). Wine drinkers might want to try Sato, a local Thai wine made from rice and fruit. It's sweet yet tart and unlike high priced imported labels, won’t blow the budget. Most stores will sell a 640ml bottle for roughly $2. Amen to that.
... They said it couldn’t be done. But check that out, we just showed you a rockin’ great Thai time for less than fifty large ones.
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