What once used to be an overlooked destination, Thailand has quickly become a hot spot for travellers from all around the world. The Internet has played a great role in its ascension to tourism greatness and today the old Siam is the place where bank accounts are emptying at a shocking pace.
But who needs fat bank accounts to have a good time while travelling through Thailand? With just a little bit of research, you will find out that there is no need to spend astounding amounts of money to experience Thai culture at its best. On the contrary, having more money than you need may prevent you from understanding the core values and traditions of the place. Put that credit card back in your wallet and enjoy the many, affordable things to do in Thailand.
Venture out a little farther than the most popular areas, and look for night food markets in local areas. I found a random little area called Happy Land just outside of Bangkok that had the most delicious food all for less than $1USD each! – Alyssa, My Life’s a Movie
1. Eat for less than $1.50
One of the best things about traveling in Thailand is the availability of fresh and delicious street food. Honestly, when we think of why we want to return to Thailand this is one of the things at the top of the list. As much of this food is available for just a few dollars this is something that all budget travelers can enjoy. Pair a red curry off the street with a mango shake and you’ve got the makings for a great and cheap meal. – Daniel & Audrey, Uncornered Market
If you’re on the prowl for tasty Thai food, look no further than the stalls selling street food at prices lower than you ever thought possible. However, there is one trick you should never fall for: buying food from stalls located on the main streets. Instead search for the remote, less crowded streets where a regular plate of rice with vegetables will cost you about 80 cents to a $1. If you’re feeling carnivorous you can opt to add some pork, bringing the cost of the plate up to a whopping $1.50. Plus, Thailand is also one of our top-rated countries in the world for food and drink (read more).
Perhaps the best way to enjoy Thailand is through its food. Luckily with all its incredible street food experiences, eating out in Thailand is easy on your wallet. The famous Pad Thai, curries that can be both creamy and fiery, fragrant rice, hearty soups, tangy salads, and fresh tropical fruits, there is really no reason to hold back when you’re on a culinary exploration of Thailand. A delicious meal waits at every night market, cafe, and restaurant, topped with generous dollops of Thai good-naturedness and hospitality. – Natasha, The Boho Chica
2. Party for less than a $1.50
Who said that you have to go to fancy nightclubs and order expensive drinks to get a feel of the nightlife in Thailand? Partying on a budget is possible! Ya Dong, a regional adaptation of the original moonshine liquor, costs around 60 cents to a $1 and can spice up any party. Look for the small secluded bars hidden from the tourists’ eyes, or ask around about this amazing drink at the stalls located on the side of the road.
A great thing to do on a low budget is renting a motorbike and exploring the place on your own. Especially on a small island like Koh Phangan for example this is a great experience. The island has so much more to offer than just the Full Moon Party. You’ll find many amazing beaches, spectacular viewpoints, lovely sunset bars, waterfalls and even mountains that you can hike. – Marcel, Home Is Where Your Bag Is
3. Get a massage for $7.50
What’s better than a relaxing massage performed with some of the best techniques in the world? That same quality of massage for less than the price of a McMeal! For an hour and $7.50, forget about the rest of the world and enter a complete state of relaxation. The friendly staff will give you a warm welcome and help you get comfortable, before starting to practice those traditional reflexotherapy techniques that will take you into another dimension.
4. Watch Thai boxing for free
Muay Thai is a highly appreciated sport among the people of Thailand. Every Wednesday evening at the MBK mall in Bangkok, boxing enthusiasts will gather and cheer for their favourite fighter. If you also have a passion for combat sports, then this is a can’t miss experience. The best part about it? It’s free.
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5. Explore majestic temples for free
Getting in touch with the spiritual side of Thai culture shouldn’t cost anything and in many places you’ll find this to be true. The Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat, Wat Pathum Wanaram and the Wat Intharawihan temples in Bangkok are free of charge and always waiting travellers to pass through their doorways.
Need to burn that $8 of yours? Stroll at Chiang Mai’s walking street markets! Besides the cheap items being sold, there are several food stalls with lots of varieties of street foods that you can find while shopping. You can also stop by at some of their amazing temples like Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phan Tao. Go to Chiang Mai gate during Saturdays then at Thapae gate at Sundays. – Jayson, The Travel Debugger
6. Buy silky souvenirs for $2
Travelling through Thailand will not only provide you with unique memories but also with one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Known all over the world for its exquisite quality, Thai silk is one of the best materials you can easily take home with you. Look for local markets and if you are the proud owner of an astounding set of negotiating skills, you can get bargains as significant as 80% off. For only $2 you can take home a unique silky scarf that will surely complete your spring outfit.
Thailand is one of my favourite countries in the world; with delicious food, beautiful landscapes, and a welcoming culture, I’ve been four times and would love to go back. Not only that, it’s relatively cheap to travel around! My budget-saving tip for Thailand actually starts before you leave home. Instead of spending money on a new travel wardrobe in your expensive home country (sarongs, beachwear, sundresses, t-shirts), spend a few hours wandering around the markets of Bangkok or Chiang Mai instead, where you can pick up all of these things at an incredibly low price. A cotton dress at home may cost $30, whereas the same kind of dress can be $5 in Thailand. Best of all, your purchases can act as fun souvenirs to take home. – Brenna, This Battered Suitcase
7. Exercise in the Lumphini Park for free
Whoever said that while on vacation you can put your fitness routine to rest, clearly didn’t know about the Lumphini Park in Bangkok. With 58 hectares of trees, lakes and fresh air, far from the madness of city streets, Lumphini Park is the perfect place for a morning run or a late afternoon stroll.
Thailand is one of my favourite places in the world. No matter your budget, you can have a lot of fun in this magical land. From $1 pad thai to $10 a night beach front accommodations, to $20 to enter one of the best parties you’ll ever attend, a little can really go a long way. – Kristen Sarah, Hopscotch The Globe
8. Discover Thai culture for free
Thailand is well known among travellers and for that many think it’s getting too commercialized. It might be so, but for everyone wanting to travel deeper and getting to know the real side of Thailand, we would suggest visiting its festivals. If you can plan your Thailand travel, be there for little known Phuket vegetarian festival, which is one of the most bizzare festivals in the world. Seeing it will not cost a think, even though it is held at one of the most popular islands in Thailand. You won’t be only able to endulge yourself with cheap and delicious vegetarian street food, but you will definitely be witness to one of a kind experience. – Nina, Nina Travels
An off the beaten track destination will take you to the core of Thai culture. The Bangkokian Museum is a time capsule that has managed to maintain the traditional lifestyle of the Thai people. The displays are vibrant and filled with color; perfect learning material! Oh and by the way, there’s no entrance fee.
One of the best investments you can make during a visit to Thailand is to rent a scooter. We spent 150 BHT for a day’s rental in Koh Lanta and, despite not having much previous experience with mopeds, had an incredible time exploring the island. It’s super important to be careful, and to avoid high traffic areas, but with that in mind, it’s a great way to get an entirely different Thai experience. Where else can you open up access to the countryside and authentic Thailand for less than $5? – Alex, VirtualWayfarer
Featured image by: Beboy Photographies