One of the great things about heading off on holiday to Thailand is how far your spending money goes while you’re away. With a restaurant meal and a couple of drinks coming in at as little as a fiver, straying from your resort to sample local flavours is as affordable as it is enjoyable.
The local currency is the Thai baht (THB). You can use ATMs for cash withdrawals but it’s worth noting that there is a surcharge of around 150 bhat per transaction (about £3.45), so be sure to take out the maximum permitted amount per visit. Traveller’s cheques are also widely accepted and good to have as back-up.
Here are some things to think about when you’re organising your holiday cash.
A meal at a casual restaurant in Thailand will be anything from 50BHT to 200BHt – that’s about £1.10 to £4.40, in UK terms. If you’re planning to eat an inexpensive restaurant meal for lunch and dinner every day, allow around £50 per week, or put £100 aside if you’re heading off on holiday for a fortnight.
Street food is a consistently cheap way to experience the best of Thailand’s globally popular cuisine, with a substantial serving of pad Thai or fragrant massuman curry costing 40-60BHT per helping. For about £1, you’ll get a truly Thai dining experience and get to see the dish prepared in front of you.
Do this twice a day and you’ll only be spending around £15 per week on meals – leaving plenty of cash for activities and adventures.
Our Thailand holiday packages include breakfast as part of your stay, as well as featuring All Inclusive choices where you won’t need to pay extra for any meals at all.
If you’re keen to enjoy the sun and sands of Thailand but want to enjoy the flavour of home while you’re away then don’t worry, as Thai resorts are used to catering for western diets too.
Even in smaller destinations you can now find popular favourites like pizza and burgers if you want to take a break from Asian cuisine. These usually cost more than local food, but if you’re travelling All Inclusive then there’s no extra charge.
The price of drinks
A night out on the town in Thailand is considerably cheaper than one in the UK, and you’ll find that most bars sell drinks by the bucket as well as the glass! Bearing this in mind, remember to drink responsibly so you don’t end up with a serious holiday hangover.
All Inclusive Thailand holidays will include some drinks as part of your package, but when you head off to local venues for some proper Thai nightlife you’ll want to take the equivalent of about £15-20 per night, depending on how much you plan to drink.
Tap water isn’t safe to drink in Thailand, but you can pick up a one-litre bottle of mineral water from any store for 7-12BHT – about 15p-27p. Buy it in a bar and you might pay 20-50BHT, so many people prefer to stock up in the daytime and take a bottle out in their bag.
When it comes to alcohol, a bottle or pint of local beer is usually 50-100BHT while wine is often 150-200BHT per glass. Cocktails are made strong, and can usually be bought for 100BHT – £2.20 – per glass or around 450BHT per bucket – £10 – which serves four.
Bars and clubs don’t generally charge for entry in Thailand, but if you want to attend events like the Full Moon or Half Moon party, add another £20 to your budget for a ticket.
Once you’ve put aside £50 per week for food and around £15 for each night that you plan to head out, it’s time to think about what other things you might need some handy cash for.
Visiting cultural sites like temples is often free, though some of the more famous pagodas like Bangkok’s Wat Arun and Wat Pho cost 100BHT to enter. Tuk-tuk tours can be obtained for as little as 10BHT – 22p – per hour, but it’s customary and polite to tip your driver as a thank you for their services.
As well as the Full Moon parties, £20 per person is a common price for things like white-water rafting and jungle trekking tours. If you’re on a tighter budget, look for bamboo rafting experiences instead – these are a gentle, leisurely take on rafting, and can usually be found for around £5 per person.
For around £30 per person, dependent on provider, you can also book yourself boat tours around the southern islands. Choose from party boat options or family-friendly snorkelling and BBQ expeditions, with meals and drinks included in your all-day boat trip in the sunshine.
So, how much should I take?
For most people, £100-£150 per week is more than enough spending money to have an amazing time in Thailand. If you’re great at budgeting and love to sample street food, £80 per week may be enough – but if you want to really indulge and try as many extra experiences as possible, allow twice this amount so that you don’t need to keep counting your cash at the end of each day.
If you’re booking All Inclusive and know that all of your meals and most drinks are already taken care of, then you only need to budget for the additional activities that take your fancy.
Will you be spending your Thailand holiday basking on the sand, or splashing out on adventures? Let us know in the comments below!