Welcome to a new series we’re running on Why Wait, called How Much Does it Cost to Travel? Today we are talking about how much does it cost to travel in Thailand for 24-days of adventure travel!
We know that financial considerations are probably the biggest factor you grapple with when planning a trip. Hard numbers can be difficult to come by, especially when everyone has their own unique travel style and considerations.
The goal of this series is to provide you with real budgets people have used for trips they have actually taken. This could be anything from a long weekend in Miami to 6 months backpacking around South East Asia. It’s our hope that by shining a spotlight on what people are actually spending- and the value they get for it, you will have a better idea of what it really costs to travel.
All of the travel budgets will live on this dedicated page.
If you’re interested in contributing to this series please send me an email using the contact form on the site.
Today’s budget comes from Jenn and Ed who blog at Coleman Concierge.
Where did you go?
We did a 24-day adventure tour of Thailand.
Briefly, what was your itinerary?
- arrived in Bangkok
- Four-day bike ride down the coast
- Ferry to Koh Tao
- Ferry/bus to Khao Sok
- Bus to Phuket and island hopping to Phi Phi, Railay, and Karabi
- Flight to Chiang Mai
- Flight to Bangkok
So how much did it cost to travel in Thailand for 24 Days?
We spent just under 5K USD / person for a 24-day trip, double occupancy.
How much did you spend on transportation?
We did some package deals so I will try and answer as best as possible, prices are per person in USD
- $65 + miles – airfare to Thailand
- $750 – Return airfare
- Bangkok – Koh Tao included in bike tour
- $25 Koh Tao – Khao Sok Ferry/bus
- $25 taxi Khao Sok – Phuket
- $15 ferry to Phi Phi
- $15 ferry to Railay
- $15 ferry/bus to Krabi airport
- $60 airfare to Chiang Mai
- $40 airfare to Bangkok
What sort of activities did you do?
- Four day guided bike tour south of Bangkok to Chumphon
- Diving in Koh Tao, Phi Phi, and Railay
- Elephant encounter including rafting, jungle trek, and an overnight tour of Chow Larn Lake in Khao Sok
- Ladyboy Show for Christmas in Chiang Mai
- Visiting Temples on bike tour, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok
What did you splurge on and was it worth it?
- Stay at Conrad Bangkok – No, the price point was just for a more western hotel. We booked at employee pricing so we paid a lot less than rack rate, but even at that rate, we weren’t wowed. It was also farther than walking distance from tourist attractions. We did a massage package there which didn’t command the price point. It was a western style massage and, with Thai massages at about $10/massage anywhere else, we didn’t feel that we got our value out of the experience.
- Bike Tour with Grasshopper Tours – Yes absolutely worth it. Cost $1,350 / pp all-inclusive four day tour. We did a four day, 150-mile tour. Our guide was superb. He taught us so much about Thai culture from a local perspective. They picked us up at our hotel in Bangkok and we had first class service all the way to the ferry in Chumphon. Along the way, we visited temples, aquariums, great restaurants, and stayed at luxury accommodations. Funny story, we read single accommodations as an alternative to dorm rooms. When they gave us separate rooms at our first hotel we were shocked. The company offered to combine our rooms into the best accommodations at all the remaining hotels. In one hotel, we had a private pool overlooking the ocean and, at another, we had a bungalow next to the pool with an ocean view. Even without the upgrade, the accommodations were top notch. This splurge was something that was completely worth the cost of travel in Thailand.
- Elephant Hills Tour – Absolutely worth it. Cost – $625 /pp all inclusive two-day tour. We wanted an ethical elephant encounter and a kayak trip on the lake. Elephant hills offered both and so much more. The Jungle Lodge was situated below the dramatic limestone cliffs of Khao Sok. Our elephant encounter was everything we imagined and that was before the hill tribe locals took us back to camp by canoes. On the lake, we did a jungle trek and cave tour. This experience was termed glamping but it was more glamorous than camping. Five-star service throughout.
- Stay at a resort in Railay – No, Jenn was pretty sick in Railay but it might have been if we were feeling better. The resort was beautiful and Railay was a really special beach nestled in between cave filled limestone mountains but for us, this was just not worth the cost of travel in Thailand for us.
- Old Capital Bike Inn – Worth it. This was a boutique hotel for under $100 a night that had cute rooms, breakfast included, biking tour included and within walking distance of the Grand Palace. If we had one night in Bangkok, we would spend it here.
What did you scrimp on? Are you happy with that decision?
We scrimped a little on our stay at Koh Tao. I would like to go back and stay at one of the jungle resorts on either end of the island. The main strip of Koh Tao was a backpacker paradise but our preferences would have been to stay in boutique resorts nestled in the jungle. There were even resorts right next to dive sites that we could have had an all-inclusive type experience at.
We also scrimped on our transportation to Khao Sok that took us on a bus ride with contagious people. I think it was that bus ride that started a cycle of illness but I wouldn’t rule out local transportation based on one experience. Also, the logistics of reaching Khao Sok was more difficult from the Chomphon side. The Chumphon to Phuket transfer was a super easy direct route from the ferry on a luxury bus and Elephant Hills could have provided transportation to Khao Sok.
Did we purchase any special souvenirs?
This is a qualified no. We didn’t purchase anything in particular, but a couple of the tours gave us swag that we have prominently displayed. They aren’t expensive but, since they came to us, they are great keepsakes for the trip.
Did you do anything special to save money for the trip?
Ed usually has every other Friday off. He worked those off Fridays as overtime to earn extra money for the trip.
Do you have any regrets about how you budgeted this trip? Would you do anything differently next time?
I have two big regrets about this trip. First, the itinerary was too hectic. We spent a lot of time/money on traveling around and not enough on activities. Next time, we are going to spend longer at each location and have fewer travel days. I would have liked to stay on the outskirts of Koh Tao for a couple extra days and replace the entire Chiang Mai portion with a more in-depth exploration of Khao Sok. Alternatively, I would have liked to skip Khao Sok and spent more time exploring north of Chiang Mai, perhaps all the way to Siem Reap.
As far as budget goes, we want to make sure that we pay our trips forward. We want to only spend the money we have on hand so we can choose the trip that fits our budget instead of scrambling to find money for payments we have already committed to.
Anything else to add?
We learned three very important things on this trip. One – Travel according to your comfort level. There were a lot of “backpacker” type accommodations, food and activities in Thailand but we prefer a higher level of service and comfort. Two – Take time to enjoy your travels. Even though we spent 24 days in Thailand, we travelled too fast and hard. Next trip we are going to pick one or two locations and just foray out for day trips. Three – Pay your travels forward. Our savings plan fell short and we couldn’t pay off our credit cards until we got our tax return. Next time we want to hit the road knowing that our adventures are paid for and just enjoy the trip.
And that was the cost to travel in Thailand for us to have an adventurous 24-day trip!
Planning a Trip to Thailand? Here Are Some More Resources to Help You