Thailand: Travel Costs & Highlights

The final wrap up from our time in the land of smiles!

After 3-months of travel, we finally made it to our first SE Asia country and it was about time. We were growing tired of living on a backpacker’s budget. It was time to splurge a little for luxury in the land of smiles – Thailand.

Thailand-map


Thailand’s Travel Costs

Just how well did SE Asia pricings treated us? Here is our Thailand expense report:

SUMMARY

Total # of Days Daily / person
$2,137 28 $38.16 USD

 

 

BY CATEGORY

Accomo Transport Misc Food & Drink Activities

$807

$303

$106

$495

$426

Note: During this time (April 2012), the Thai baht was 30 baht to $1 USD.

Accommodations: Color us relieved when we arrived to our first SE Asia country – goodbye hostels, hello cheap hotels with aircon! We booked through Agoda.com and stayed in hotels and bungalows on the beach. We splurge a little extra for WiFi and aircon. For more on where we stayed including recommendation by city, see this post!

Transport: We flew into Phuket and traveled by bus and song-theow to Ao Nang. From there, we took the bus/ferry to Koh Phi Phi, Pha Ngan and Samui before boarding a flight to Chiang Mai and ended our trip in Bangkok.

Food: Thailand is arguably the best place for street food. It’s cheap and delicious and plentiful – dollar pad thai and oodles of rice and noodles. Not a day went by where we didn’t eat on the street. In fact, the only time we ever ate indoors is when we arrived in Bangkok. Had to hit the mall for aircon to escape the heat!

Activities: We partied it up at the Full Moon Party in Koh Pha Ngan. Celebrated Songkran in Chiang Mai. Snorkeled Koh Phi Phi and made it to Maya Bay.

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Stats

Duration: 24 days total: Phuket/Patong (4) – Ao Nang (4) – Koh Phi Phi (4) – Koh Pha Ngan (6) – Koh Samui (2) – Chiang Mai (7) – Bangkok (3)

Distance traveled:  2,096 km / 1,310 mi

Photos taken: 2,511

Mango sticky rices consumed: 8

Mosquito bites combined: 42

Tsunami warning: 1


Additional Facts

Most livable city: I can see why expats love to settle in Chiang Mai. There’s plenty to do from night markets to temples, it’s a relaxing place and easy going. We also found comfort in delicious Mexican food from Miguel’s and  rs. Pa’s fruit smoothies.

Surprisingly likable city: Ao Nang is a great alternative to Krabi. We caught day boats to Koh Hong and indulged in massages on the beach!

Worst city: Patong in Phuket. If this is your first stop, it’s a horrible representation of what Thailand is all about – an overload of prostitutes and ping pong shows.

Best meal: Flat wide rice noodles with savory duck meat, soft egg, fresh veggies and sprouts servied with crispy wonton chips (not pictured) and vinegared jalapenos. O-M-G! From a humble Thai lady around the corner from our hotel in Chiang Mai. It reminds me of Vietnamese hu tieu.. but better! And I’m Vietnamese.

IMG_9585

Most valuable item we bought: Our dicapac waterproof case was the only reason why we were able to capture all those wonderful photos and videos from Songkran. It also broke a nasty fall when I dropped it during the parade which spared our camera’s life.

Biggest obsession: Mangos!

Biggest annoyance: Mosquitoes. Gerard and I had our worst of bites on Koh Phi Phi.

Favorite part about Thailand: Chasing festivals from Full Moon Party to Songkran, Thailand really knows how to throw a good festival. We look forward to returning someday to see the Lantern Festival in November.

IMG_9275

Must see tourist attraction: Songkran in Chiang Mai. No other place celebrates it quite like Chiang Mai. It’s the longest and most fun. With the city surrounded by a moat, there is an endless supply of dirty water to toss around.

Most overhyped tourist attraction: Maya Bay, i.e. the beach from the movie, The Beach. Probably because it is now over run with tourists and motor boats. I think Koh Hong and Monkey Beach is more beautiful.

Most controversial: We debated this, but in the end, decided to visit Tiger Kingdom and an Elephant sanctuary while in Chiang Mai.

IMG_9571

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Best new experience: We took a cooking class in Chiang Mai and dare I say, I was very impressed with Gerard’s cooking skills. I think he might have a future in rolling spring rolls.

Worst experience: Gerard had mystery stomach flu, possibly from swollening ocean water, in Ao Nang and was bed ridden for 3 days.

Biggest rip off: Bangkok. After nearly a month in and around the country, I wasn’t up for big city smog, traffic, no patience and expenses. Also, tuk tuk drivers will be out to rip you off if you don’t know how to bargain right.

Best deal: Cipro for $2 at the Pharmacy and other pharmaceutical drugs. Also, Thai massages as low as 200 Baht for an hour.. heaven!

Favorite 7-11 snack: Made to order panini waffle sandwiches and rice cracker with pork floss and seaweed.

IMG_9452

Things we like: 30 Baht pad thai, mango with sticky rice, fruit smoothies, street food, Koh Hong, festivals, playful bargaining with locals, Thai massages, 7 Eleven, same day laundry service

Things we dislike: Mosquitoes, mosquitoes, MOSQUITOES!

Biggest regret: Not diving. We chickened out at the last minute but later conquered our fear of water in Indonesia.

Language lesson: sa wat dee kha/sa wat dee khrap = hello female/male, khaawp khoon khrap/khaawp khoon kha = thank you female/male, sa wat dee bpee mai = happy new year

Best souvenir: After an intense 3-days at the Embassy in Bangkok, we finally got our China visa!  

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This was our second time in Thailand and our first in the south of Thailand exploring the islands. There’s a reason why so many people flock to this country, it’s one of the easiest of SE Asia countries to travel through. And one of the most beautiful. From the friendliest of locals to the mouth-watering street food and the stunning beaches, Thailand tops as one of my all time favorite places.

If you want to see more fotos from our time in Thailand, visit our Facebook page!

What’s your favorite part about Thailand?

 

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  • Petra

    First of all I have to say that I like your blog very much! 🙂 Thailand is one of my favorite countries and the first Asian country I traveled to. 5 years ago I celebrated “Songkran” in Koh Samui with a local family and I had the best time. I will never forget that holiday. I love Koh Samui, Khao Sok, Ayutthaya and Bangkok as well. Greetings from Switzerland, Petra

  • Petra

    First of all I have to say that I like your blog very much! 🙂 Thailand is one of my favorite countries and the first Asian country I traveled to. 5 years ago I celebrated “Songkran” in Koh Samui with a local family and I had the best time. I will never forget that holiday. I love Koh Samui, Khao Sok, Ayutthaya and Bangkok as well. Greetings from Switzerland, Petra

  • http://www.quixoticroad.com/ Heather- Quixotic Road

    Haha, good timing…I’m in the middle of writing my own Thailand wrap up today! I think we definitely had different experiences, but still a fabulous time. Great post!

  • http://www.quixoticroad.com/ Heather- Quixotic Road

    Haha, good timing…I’m in the middle of writing my own Thailand wrap up today! I think we definitely had different experiences, but still a fabulous time. Great post!

  • OCDemon

    I like these grand-total-cost roundups. Especially the mosquito bite tally, which actually seems rather low to me. Nicely done.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      You’re right. After looking back at it. It HAD to be more than 42

  • SnarkyNomad

    I like these grand-total-cost roundups. Especially the mosquito bite tally, which actually seems rather low to me. Nicely done.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      You’re right. After looking back at it. It HAD to be more than 42

  • Alana – Paper Planes

    Ah mosquitoes here…they never go away! Great breakdown of everything!

  • Alana – Paper Planes

    Ah mosquitoes here…they never go away! Great breakdown of everything!

  • http://twitter.com/mrsoaroundworld Ana Silva O’Reilly

    I am sure those planning to visit will find this very useful! I can’t believe you were under $50.. teach NM some things? 😉

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    I am sure those planning to visit will find this very useful! I can’t believe you were under $50.. teach NM some things? 😉

  • Niño

    Gerard I love this! Lonely Planet who?!

  • Niño

    Gerard I love this! Lonely Planet who?!

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    I actually enjoyed my time in Bangkok, but I would not want to spend too much time there. Chiang Mai is so much better. I planned 3 days in Chiang Mai and spent 14, so I agree with as it is easy to see why it is so popular.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      We both love BKK the first time around but 2nd time not so much.. I’d go back though because it’s still one of my fave countries! lol

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    I actually enjoyed my time in Bangkok, but I would not want to spend too much time there. Chiang Mai is so much better. I planned 3 days in Chiang Mai and spent 14, so I agree with as it is easy to see why it is so popular.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      We both love BKK the first time around but 2nd time not so much.. I’d go back though because it’s still one of my fave countries! lol

  • http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com/ Anita Mac

    Brilliant breakdown….you really laid it all out! Has been ages since I travelled to Thailand – don’t think I would be looking for the backpacker experience there but you have nailed the tips for me! Love the mossie count – as someone who tends to be a mosquito pin cushion – I am guessing I can triple that – but I am sure I could live with it! Thanks for the great tips!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. a mossie off!

  • http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com/ Anita Mac

    Brilliant breakdown….you really laid it all out! Has been ages since I travelled to Thailand – don’t think I would be looking for the backpacker experience there but you have nailed the tips for me! Love the mossie count – as someone who tends to be a mosquito pin cushion – I am guessing I can triple that – but I am sure I could live with it! Thanks for the great tips!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. a mossie off!

  • Lazy Travelers

    re: arriving in a country and feeling able to splurge? TOTALLY how we felt coming from australia > singapore > vietnam. love this breakdown, and coming back to this once we get to thailand in a week!

  • Lazy Travelers

    re: arriving in a country and feeling able to splurge? TOTALLY how we felt coming from australia > singapore > vietnam. love this breakdown, and coming back to this once we get to thailand in a week!

  • lola

    i love these break down posts. i hear that Songkran is just the best. i like the looks of the full moon party personally.

  • lola

    i love these break down posts. i hear that Songkran is just the best. i like the looks of the full moon party personally.

  • CaptainandClark

    These are still my favorite posts from you two! Songkran in on our bucket list. Crossing our fingers for next year.

  • CaptainandClark

    These are still my favorite posts from you two! Songkran in on our bucket list. Crossing our fingers for next year.

  • http://twitter.com/TheWrldWanderer The World Wanderer

    Thailand is one of my favorite countries in the world and you pretty much summed up why. Laughed at the number of mosquito bites, only because I remember your post on that. I actually lucked out with the mosquitos, but my cousin and friend weren’t as lucky. I have to admit, I didn’t have mango with sticky rice there, but I am addict here at home. Biggest regret was not eating it there. Also, I have to agree with you in understanding why expats settle in Chiang Mai – would live there easily! (I also visited Tiger Kingdom and an elephant sanctuary)

  • The World Wanderer

    Thailand is one of my favorite countries in the world and you pretty much summed up why. Laughed at the number of mosquito bites, only because I remember your post on that. I actually lucked out with the mosquitos, but my cousin and friend weren’t as lucky. I have to admit, I didn’t have mango with sticky rice there, but I am addict here at home. Biggest regret was not eating it there. Also, I have to agree with you in understanding why expats settle in Chiang Mai – would live there easily! (I also visited Tiger Kingdom and an elephant sanctuary)

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

    gotta love how splurge equates to $38 dollars a day… I love these breakdowns and I love Thailand. However, I am a fan of the big city, but can see how that would change a budget. However the energy in Bangkok is great if you love city life.. (after the first day of adjusting)

    stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

    gotta love how splurge equates to $38 dollars a day… I love these breakdowns and I love Thailand. However, I am a fan of the big city, but can see how that would change a budget. However the energy in Bangkok is great if you love city life.. (after the first day of adjusting)

    stay adventurous, Craig

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I totally and thoroughly enjoyed this post. Great list of things to mind if I go to Thailand. Very disappointed that Bangkok sounds so bad. It will be a quick visit there for me to say “check” but on to Chang Mai! And $2 for Cipro (I don’t travel to most continents without it!) is a good deal indeed!

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I totally and thoroughly enjoyed this post. Great list of things to mind if I go to Thailand. Very disappointed that Bangkok sounds so bad. It will be a quick visit there for me to say “check” but on to Chang Mai! And $2 for Cipro (I don’t travel to most continents without it!) is a good deal indeed!

  • Aiden Warren

    I would highly recommend Phuket Fantasea. The show was sensational – excellent choreography, costumes, lighting and acting. Thumbs up! The dinner was good and value for money. If you love to dress up and take nice photos, then I do recommend “Lanna Magic Photo Studio”, you will definitely enjoy having a beautiful photo shoot in a Thai costume.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Awesome! Will definitely keep these in mind for our next Thailand visit. Not sure when that will be, but I’m excited at the prospect of returning. It’s really a wonderful country with so much to see and do.

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