From experience, I know most people spend at least 20,000 to 30,000 PHP for a four to five-day vacation to an international destination (sometimes even local). I started out that way, too. Until I realized that was absurd. I was spending all that time saving all that money up for a mere few days. But I wanted more. I like taking time when I travel, and four to five days just never seem enough for me. I like to spend at least a week in one place, and even better, much longer.
I have always been drawn to Thailand, so one day I just did it. I went backpacking solo in Thailand for a month. And I spent only 35,000 PHP in total.
How? Hostels, street food, and a modest traveling lifestyle. I know that this lifestyle is not for everyone; people have different ways of traveling, after all, and that’s okay. But I write this for the backpackers like me, those who dream to experience it (it’s the best, I swear), and those who want to travel longer than just five days but don’t have a fortune to spend (like me).
So here it is—a backpacking budget guide to Thailand for Pinoy travelers, with a breakdown of the cost of everyday essentials and, ultimately, how I spent less than 35,000 PHP for a month in the amazing “Land of Smiles”.
Remember that you are on a backpacker’s budget, so here’s my recommendation: hostels.
Hostels are dorm-type accommodations, which means you’ll be sharing rooms with strangers. But I swear, it’s not bad at all. You get to meet travelers from all over the world, make new friends, and have the best time of your life. Remember that everyone just wants to make friends too, so you’ll be surprised just how easy connecting with them can be. You will learn so much.
The best part? Hostels are super cheap in Thailand. Prices will range depending on which part of Thailand you are at and how ~fancy~ the hostel is, but prices can be as cheap as 200 Thailand baht or 335 pesos.
I traveled to four places in my month in Thailand, and here’s how much my hostel cost in each location:
- Bangkok – 334 THB a night (559 PHP)
- Chiang Mai – 400 THB a night (669 PHP)
- Pai – 220 THB a night (368 PHP)
- Koh Chang – 200 THB a night (335 PHP)
I also stayed a few nights in a private room for two in Pai, which only cost 450 THB (753 PHP). I shared it with a Dutch girl I made friends with, so split between two, we only paid 225 THB (376 PHP) each.
Lonely Beach, Koh Chang
I also discovered that a lot of the hostels are much cheaper if you book on site rather than online. Perhaps it’s the booking charges, I’m not sure. But in Koh Chang, I paid 250 THB a night for my hostel online, but found out they only charge 200 THB there when I extended my stay. The same was the case for many other hostels and guesthouses.
Don’t travel without a place booked, though! If you want to shop around, I suggest booking ahead for a night or two where you’re going, which secures you a place to stay while you go around looking for a better or cheaper place that you can book on site.
Food and drinks
Ahhh, Thai food is amazing. I LOVE it. And best of all, they’re so affordable!
Pai Walking Street
Thai street food only cost as low as 40 THB (70 PHP), while karinderya-type eateries go about 60 to 80 THB (100-133 PHP), which is still not bad because the of the quality of their food. You get a pretty good serving size, and they’re always so delicious. Street food snacks and treats can start at 25-40 THB (42-67 PHP) and up.
If you want to eat at a modest restaurant, prices start at around 100-130 THB (167-217 PHP) and up. This is the average for food parks, too. And for nicer restaurants and beach resorts, expect to pay about 300 THB (500 PHP) and up.
The classic Thai favorite—Pad Thai
And, of course, the most important, beer. (Lol.) Beer typically costs around 40-80 THB (67-134 PHP) depending on the brand and where you get it. This is the average price for other drinks, too, like juices, while a bottle of water can cost from 10-15 THB (17-25 PHP).