Today we’re starting an ongoing series and we hope it will become an archive FULL of helpful information for the frequent traveller and adventure-seeker. The series is called “Adventure Awaits”. This series won’t grow into anything without your help. We are now taking submissions from all expats living abroad who would like to tell us a few basic facts about their city/country. Who better to ask for advice about traveling to a particular place than the expat who has “been there, done that”? This is your chance to give others the “expat-insider’s scoop” about where you live. What’s the best type of food? What type of prices should I expect (so I know when someone’s trying to rip me off)? What’s the best way to get around your city? Is the medical expertise reliable there if I run into an emergency?
Share your knowledge with the community of expats here at Taking Route so we can all be well-informed travelers! If you’d like to know more about this series or would like to submit a post for this series, please email us at takingroute<at>gmail<dot>com. Now, without further adieux, we’re going to let our first guest writer of this series, Jess, take the stage with her very helpful tips on traveling in Thailand.
Consistently ranked as one of the cheapest places in the world to live in, Thailand may sound a bit like paradise to those stuck all day in an office to pay off a house that they hardly spend any time in because they’re too busy working. According to many infographics, you can spend less than $1000 on a month in Thailand if you keep to a strict budget (and you’re not looking at spending too much if you splurge, either). But what exactly is the real breakdown of all this? If you aren’t looking to live in hostels and eat street food for your whole time there, what are you looking at for prices? Let’s take a look.
Cost of Accommodation
If you’re the average backpacker wandering around Thailand, your main expenses will be hostels, street food or other cheap sustenance, and transportation. Hostels could cost you as little as $4/night if you look around some and if you’re willing to forego some amenities; if you choose to splurge on a hostel, you can still get away with paying only $11 or so per night. There’s also plenty of ways to find free lodging, either by trading work for accommodation or by couchsurfing. If you plan to live in Thailand, then instead of living in a hostel, you’ll likely want to have a home or apartment to live in. Don’t worry, though—renting a one-bedroom apartment in either Bangkok or Chiang Mai can cost you as little as $150 a month including utilities and internet. (Note that if you’re working abroad and sharing files, you may want to set up a VPN to protect your information!) If you’re comfortable spending more, you could get a nice apartment (450 SF) for around $500/month or a really nice, large apartment (1076 SF) for around $1000/month. Or if you’re willing to live outside the main cities, you could find yourself an even better deal. Shop around.
Cost of Food
If you’re eating mainly street food, you could be spending as little as $1 for some pad Thai or a fruit smoothie. Of course, there are always risks when eating street food, but you don’t need to steer clear of it entirely. Just look for a popular place with food that is clearly hot and/or fresh.
As far as restaurants go, if you eat in the downtown business district of Bangkok, you’re looking at about $10 maximum for a good, filling meal at a decent restaurant. Obviously all other restaurants run the gamut between street food and this, but know that you’re not likely to be spending more than $15-$20 a day on food even if you splurge!
Cost of Transportation
Transportation is generally one of your biggest expenditures as a traveler, but even that is not cost prohibitive in Thailand. Many people rent motorbikes or scooters to get around on, or if you’re going to be there for a while, you might look into buying one of these and then selling it back to recoup some of your money. These will cost you about $5-10 per day to rent. You can also take cheap buses or trains to travel from one part of Thailand to another. Obviously the slower and more uncomfortable the transportation, the cheaper it’ll be, but it’s up to you! Buses and trains may be safer than motorbikes or scooters depending on your experience level.
Expect to pay much less for medical fees than you would back home—but just because Thailand is a developing country, you don’t need to fear for your life should you need to see a doctor! Instead, standards for doctors and dentists are pretty usual in Thailand especially in the bigger cities, and you’ll receive normal care for a fair price.
As cheap as the country is, it’s no wonder Thailand is such a popular destination in Southeast Asia. Ranked among the happiest countries in the world, it’s also a great place for you to try your hand at living abroad, either short-term or permanently. Regardless of your budget, you should have little trouble supporting yourself and enjoying your time there.
Have you been to Thailand? What other tips would you give to someone who is looking to travel or live there? Share the wisdom in the comments section, please! And don’t forget to thank Jess for sharing these tips! We’re so glad she’s helped jumpstart this series for us.