Backpacking Thailand Budget: How Much Does A Trip Cost In 2024?

If you’re thinking about backpacking Thailand, one of your main questions is probably, “How much is this Thailand trip going to cost me?”

I’ve backpacked Thailand twice now, the first time doing everything North of Bangkok and the second time doing everything South of Bangkok, for a total of around 90 days (thanks to visa extensions). Plus, as a digital nomad in Thailand, I see how the prices change frequently.

That is why I’ve decided to write this article on the cost of a backpacking trip in Thailand, so you have the most updated information on how much to budget for your EPIC trip!

So let’s get to it!

(Spoiler Alert: It’s probably cheaper than you think!)

How Long Should You Backpack Thailand For?


Before deciding how much to budget for your backpacking trip, you must determine how long you want to spend in Thailand. Typically, travelers spend around 45 days in the country to see it from the South to the North, before exiting to Laos to continue their Southeast Asia backpacking journey.

However, if you really want to take your time and immerse yourself in the culture, I would recommend spending at least 60 days in Thailand. This will give you enough time to explore all the main tourist spots as well as hidden gems that most travelers miss.


Since a visa-free entry for more travelers only lasts up to 45 days (including a 15-day extension), my recommendation is to break your backpacking trip into 2 visits, just like I did.

You can spend around 30 days in the North in places like Chiang Mai and Pai and then exit to Laos. From there, you can return to Thailand for another 30 days in the South for islands like Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi.

Not only will this give you enough time to see everything without feeling rushed, but it also allows you to save money on visa fees.

📚 Read More: Is Phuket Worth Visiting?

How Much Should You Budget For Your Thailand Backpacking Trip?


Generally speaking, budget backpackers can get by with about 30 USD per day, or around 900 to 1000 USD per month. This 30 dollars a day would include 3 meals a day, a stay in a backpacker hostel, cost of attractions, transportation (usually public), and the occasional night out.

Do know that tours will be very limited and you’ll be DIY-ing most of your attractions.

If you are flying from the US or Europe, the flight will be the most expensive part of your trip, typically costing between 500 to 1000 USD roundtrip. However, you can find cheaper deals if you are flexible with your dates and book in advance.

Accommodation in Thailand caters to a wide range of budgets. Dormitory rooms in hostels are the most economical choice for backpackers, with prices ranging from $5 to $15 per night, depending on the location and the amenities offered.

If you prefer a bit more privacy, you can opt for a private room in a guesthouse or a budget hotel for about $10 to $30 a night. Keep in mind that accommodation in bigger cities and touristy island destinations can be slightly more expensive.

For hostels, I always recommend using Hostelworld for the best prices.

Make sure of public transportation in Thailand to save money

Transportation in Thailand is relatively inexpensive, especially if you stick to public options like buses and trains. A bus ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will cost around $20 while a train ticket can be as low as $15.

For shorter trips within cities, using the iconic tuk-tuks or songthaews (shared taxis) can cost anywhere from 50 cents to a few dollars depending on the distance. You can also rent a motorbike for around $5 to $10 per day.

There are also cheap Grab bikes or cars for travelers that need to go to places not reachable by public transport.

💪 Pro Tip: Avoid domestic flights and opt for long-distance trains and buses instead to save money


Thai food is known for being delicious and affordable, making it perfect for budget travelers. A basic meal from a street vendor or local restaurant will cost around $1 to $3, while western-style meals in touristy areas can cost closer to $5 or $10.

If you want to save money, opt for street food and local dishes rather than western options. You can also visit night markets where you’ll find a variety of affordable food choices.

Thailand is known for its cheap alcohol prices, with local beers like Singha and Chang costing around $1 to $2 at stores like 7-Elevent. Cocktails are usually a bit more expensive, costing around $5.

Note that alcohol is a lot more expensive in restaurants (like most countries), but you can drink in public in Thailand so buy them at the convenience stores!

Attractions like the Pai Canyon is free!

Entrance fees for attractions in Thailand vary, but most are relatively affordable. The most expensive attraction is Bangkok’s Grand Palace, which costs around 14 USD. Typically, the fees are a bit cheaper, around 200 THB or 5 USD.

Many attractions in Thailand are free!

📚 Read More: Is Bangkok Worth Visiting?

Tips To Keep Your Cost Down When Backpacking Thailand


Here are some tested and trialed tips to keep your costs down when traveling in Thailand!

Hostels are the cheapest option for accommodation in Thailand, and they offer a great opportunity to meet other travelers. Plus, many hostels also have free activities or tours that you can join, saving you even more money.

If you plan to extend your stay in Thailand, teaching English as a foreign language is a practical way to earn a living while immersing in the local culture.

Teaching English in Asia can be a wonderful experience where you’ll form strong bonds with your students, who can introduce you to their beautiful country.


Even though alcohol is not expensive in Thailand, one to two drinks is about the same price as a meal. Plus, it’s easy to get carried away with cheap drinks and end up spending more than you planned.

Thailand has plenty of free activities such as exploring temples, visiting markets, hiking or swimming at waterfalls, and attending cultural events like Songkran. This can save you tons of money!

Yum :’)

Thailand has a huge street food culture. Not only are they very affordable, but these places are some of the best restaurants in the city. Many of them have been around for a long time (think over 10 years), and they shouldn’t be missed on any Thailand backpacking itinerary.

Traveling during peak season can be expensive with increased flight prices and accommodation rates. Consider visiting Thailand during off-peak seasons for cheaper prices and smaller crowds.

As mentioned earlier, public transportation in Thailand is relatively inexpensive. Avoid taking taxis or private cars as they can be significantly more expensive.

When shopping at markets or hiring services like tuk-tuks, negotiating prices is a common practice in Thailand. Don’t be afraid to politely negotiate for a better deal.

Buying a local SIM card can save you money on international data roaming charges. Plus, having internet access will make it easier for you to navigate around the city and find cheap deals.

Traveling Thailand On A Backpacking Budget FAQs

What is the Best Time to Visit Thailand on a Budget?

The best time to visit Thailand on a budget is during the low season, which is from May to October. However, keep in mind that this is also the rainy season.

Is Street Food in Thailand Safe to Eat?

Yes, street food in Thailand is generally safe and delicious. It’s also a great way to save money on meals. Just make sure to choose vendors that appear clean and are popular with locals.

Can I Drink Tap Water in Thailand?

It’s best to avoid drinking tap water in Thailand. Bottled water is cheap and readily available everywhere.

Final Thoughts: Backpacking Thailand Budget

Backpacking in Thailand can be incredibly affordable if you follow these tips and plan ahead. Remember to stay in hostels, eat street food, use public transportation, and take advantage of free activities.

With some budgeting and saving techniques, you can experience all that Thailand has to offer without breaking the bank.

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