Is Thailand Expensive To Visit In 2024?

Wondering whether Thailand is expensive?

Then you’ve come to the right place as I’ve visited many places in Thailand and as a full-time traveller, I have a good judge of whether or not somewhere is expensive.

Thailand is one of the most popular countries to visit in Southeast Asia, a region which is notoriously cheap. But does the increased popularity make Thailand expensive?

To help answer this question and know how much to budget your trip, I’ve written a really comprehensive guide covering all aspects of Thailand and how much things cost.

So without further ado, let’s answer the question of “Is Thailand expensive?”

Is Thailand Expensive?

To summarise my answer to the question, no Thailand isn’t expensive.

In fact, Thailand is ranked as the 94th most expensive country to live in in the world, so it’s not expensive at all.

There’s a reason that backpacking Thailand is so popular and that’s because aside from the incredible things to do the country offers, it’s super easy to visit on a budget.

You can do so many amazing things in Thailand without spending a fortune. For example, I stayed in Chiang Mai for a week in the north of Thailand and I spent less than $200.

This included: 7 nights in a hostel, 2 street food meals a day, a 2-day jungle trek, an elephant safari, and a day trip to Chiang Rai. There are lots of reasons why Chiang Mai is worth visiting, but the low price is definitely one of them!

A young man in swim shorts stands beside a playful elephant splashing mud with its trunk at an elephant sanctuary, with onlookers and lush greenery in the background.

In Bangkok, I spent $114 across 4 days, so it wasn’t expensive either in my opinion. Although I am a budget traveller, so my budgets don’t apply to everyone.

You can easily get by in Thailand for as little as $10 a day, but you can easily spend a fortune too if you aren’t careful.

I would say the average traveller in Thailand spends $50 a day, which is still really affordable compared to other destinations around the world.

Prices in Thailand also vary depending on where you are. The islands are naturally more expensive than the mainland for example, especially popular touristy places like Phuket (pronounced poo-ket).

You should also be careful of scams in Thailand such as taxi drivers not using the meter, or people trying to overcharge you for street food.

But for the most part, Thailand is not expensive at all to visit and you can have the trip of a lifetime for a relatively low cost.

Crowd of tourists exploring the vibrant grounds of Doi Suthep temple with golden spires under renovation, surrounded by traditional Thai architecture.

Is Thailand Cheap?

Yes, Thailand is very cheap to visit.

It’s always regarded as one of the cheapest countries in the world, and one of the best countries for backpacking.

My favourite thing about visiting Thailand is that I can live there for 2 months and spend less than I would while living at home in the UK for 2 months – and that includes doing so many amazing things.

Even things like an eSIM in Thailand are cheaper than my phone bill at home!

To give you an idea of just how cheap Thailand is, you can get a meal like this (Pad Thai) from street food vendors for as low as 40 THB ($1.12).

A serving of Pad Thai, a traditional Thai dish with stir-fried rice noodles, egg, and bean sprouts, highlighting the affordability of local cuisine for travelers concerned about whether Thailand is expensive

Or you can take a 10-hour bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for only $17. That’s so cheap if you ask me!

This is why I say it’s worth visiting Thailand even if the flight is expensive – because things are cheap once you get out here.

Thailand’s affordability, combined with the richness of culture, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and the warmth of its people, makes it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to stretch your dollars further.

It’s one of my favourite countries in the whole world, and I can’t encourage you enough to visit. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Now that we know that Thailand isn’t expensive, and it’s actually very cheap, you might be wondering why.

There are quite a few reasons why Thailand is so cheap. The biggest and most obvious one is that there is a lower cost of living in the country, but here are some more reasons why Thailand is cheap.

  • Lower Cost of Living: Thailand’s overall cost of living is significantly lower than that of many Western countries. This is due to various factors, including lower labour costs and a domestic economy that is geared towards a lower cost structure. This translates directly into cheaper services and goods for visitors.
  • Agricultural Abundance: Thailand is a major producer of rice, fruits, and vegetables, contributing to the abundance and low cost of fresh food. This agricultural wealth means that food, one of the primary expenses for travellers, remains affordable whether you’re eating street food or dining in local restaurants.
  • Government Policies: The Thai government has implemented policies aimed at boosting tourism, recognizing it as a key pillar of the country’s economy. Reduced taxes on tourism-related businesses and incentives for foreign visitors help keep travel and accommodation costs down.
  • Public Transportation Infrastructure: The country’s investment in public transportation, including an extensive network of buses, trains, and low-cost domestic flights, makes travelling affordable and accessible. This infrastructure supports budget travel by providing cheaper alternatives to car rentals or private taxis.
  • Cultural Emphasis on Value: Thai culture places a high value on hospitality and making visitors feel welcome. This cultural emphasis often translates into more value for your money, as businesses go the extra mile to provide excellent service at no extra cost.
  • Exchange Rates: For many visitors, particularly those from countries with strong currencies, the exchange rate is favourable when converting to Thai Baht. This favourable exchange rate increases purchasing power, making it cheaper to travel, eat, and stay in Thailand compared to their home countries.
A young traveler poses in front of the intricate White Temple in Chiang Rai, reflecting on budget travel in Thailand and questioning if Thailand is expensive compared to other countries.

Of course, there are many more reasons than this, and I’m by no means an economic expert, but hopefully, they give you an idea of why Thailand is cheap.

Another thing I love about Thailand is that prices don’t change very much. Things don’t fluctuate as much and there isn’t really general inflation in Thailand the way there is in other countries.

Don’t get me wrong, Thailand is more expensive now than it was a decade ago, but only marginally. Compared to the West which is a lot more expensive.

If you see a menu for a restaurant on Google Maps for example and it was uploaded 4 years ago, in Europe the prices will probably have gone up €3-5 ($3.23-5.38). In Thailand, maybe 30 Baht ($0.84) or so.

A colorful smoothie bowl topped with fresh slices of mango, kiwi, strawberry, and sprinkles of coconut shavings and pumpkin seeds, served in a ceramic bowl.
A smoothie bowl I got in Thailand for 90 THB ($2.50).

How Much Is Accommodation In Thailand?

Accommodation in Thailand is really cheap.

If you’re travelling on a budget the way I do, you can easily get hostels for as low as $3 a night, even when you’re backpacking Bangkok.

But for most people, you’ll probably want to stay in a hotel. A good hotel will cost you a fraction of what it will in Europe and North America.

You can find lots of good hotels for less than $50 a night. Naturally, there are lots of hotels which will charge more than this but unless you want a 5-star luxury resort, there’s no real reason to pay more than this per night.

Vietnam is even cheaper – I was getting full apartments for less than $10 a night, it’s incredibly cheap. But Thailand is still very affordable in terms of accommodation.

How Much Are Tourist Attractions In Thailand?

In terms of tourist attractions in Thailand, it depends on what the attraction is and where it is.

Most things will be very cheap and won’t cost you too much.

For example, the temples in Bangkok aren’t very expensive. Wat Arun, for example, costs 200 Baht for a ticket. That’s $5.61, so it’s pretty affordable compared to how much it would cost to visit an attraction in other countries.

Exterior view of Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, with its distinctive prang (spire) and ornate architectural details, against a clear sky in Bangkok, Thailand. Is Thailand expensive? No.

On the other hand, some things are more expensive, particularly on the islands. A day trip from Krabi to the Phi Phi Islands would cost around $25. But again, compared to the West, it’s still very cheap.

There are opportunities to splash out in Thailand if you so desire, such as by getting your PADI on Koh Tao. I recommend checking out Roctopus.

Scuba diver gesturing the 'OK' sign underwater with clear blue waters and fellow divers in the background

If you’re on a budget, there is an abundance of free things and cheap things to do in Thailand. For example, simply relaxing by the beach on one of the islands is free.

So for the most part, tourist attractions in Thailand are not expensive, but you can definitely find things which are on the pricey side if you so desire.

How Much Is Food In Thailand?

Food in Thailand is also very cheap. In fact, it’s possibly the cheapest aspect of travelling in Thailand.

When you visit the country, I recommend eating street food. Contrary to popular belief, it is safe to eat and will not give you food poisoning (99% of the time).

After all, you’re watching them cook it right in front of you.

Street food is very cheap, but it’s also more authentic which means it usually tastes better too. When I have eaten in restaurants in Thailand, I’ve felt disappointed and overcharged.

I’ve never spent more than $2-3 on street food. It’s so easy to find a really good meal for a low price.

One of my favourite dishes I had in Chiang Mai was a simple rice, chicken and vegetable dish and it only cost 40 THB ($1.12). It’s crazy how cheap it is in the South Gate Market in Chiang Mai, but how good the food is too!

A plate of traditional Thai chicken fried rice with egg and vegetables on a floral patterned plate, accompanied by a bottle of green tea on a cafeteria table.

It’s really easy to find street food too; you rarely have to go looking for it. I recommend getting food from a stall where you see locals eating.

Most locals in Thailand will eat street food rather than cook their own meals each night because it works out cheaper.

Is the food in Thailand expensive? Far from it, it’s the cheapest part about visiting Thailand.

How Much Is Transport In Thailand?

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I’ll start by saying I don’t recommend getting public transport within cities in Thailand, except from the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok.

The buses are incredibly difficult to navigate, and they’re usually unreliable, and often late. Plus they’re very warm and uncomfortable.

But to answer the question of whether it’s expensive or not, it’s very cheap.

To get between destinations in Thailand, I recommend booking through 12Go. It finds the best prices for you, which are always low.

Busy daytime street scene in Bangkok with multiple lanes of traffic including cars, taxis, buses, and motorcycles, flanked by buildings with signs in Thai script, under a clear sky

As a random example, the bus from Bangkok to Krabi is and takes, so it’s really cheap.

Note that there is no Uber in Thailand. The Southeast Asian equivalent is Grab, which is more or less the same but much cheaper. I don’t recommend taking taxis without agreeing on the price in advance as there are often scammers claiming the meter is broken.

To get around Thailand, it’s very affordable and there are always lots of options going everywhere across Thailand.


Below are some common questions related to whether Thailand is expensive or not along with my expert answers to each question.

Is Thailand cheap for Americans?

Yes, Thailand is very cheap for Americans. Prices in Thailand are much lower than in the US. You can get by in Thailand for as low as $10 a day if you are on a shoestring budget, but even if you are visiting with a large budget, you will find it very cheap.

Is Thailand expensive as a tourist?

It depends on where you are from, but for most tourists, Thailand is not expensive. You can get really good accommodation for cheap prices, and most activities aren’t that expensive. Plus street food is really affordable and provides authentic and tasty food.

How much money do you need per day in Thailand?

It depends on what type of trip you want to have. If you are backpacking, you can get by on as low as $10 a day. If you want an average-budget trip, $40-50 a day is more than enough to have an amazing trip in Thailand.

How much does a meal cost in Thailand?

A meal in Thailand can cost as low as $1 from street food vendors. Restaurants always charge a little more, usually up to $10 or so. Prices are much lower than in Europe and the US though.

How much does a beer cost in Thailand?

A bottle of beer in Thailand can be bought in 7-Eleven stores for only 40 Baht. In bars, prices start around 80 Baht. A pint of draft beer in Bangkok usually costs around 75 Baht.

Is Thailand Expensive: Final Thoughts

And there you have it, an in-depth answer to “Is Thailand expensive?”

Thailand is the opposite of expensive, it’s very cheap to visit.

It still amazes me how many once-in-a-lifetime things you can do in Thailand for such low prices.

You’re guaranteed to love your time in Thailand, but make sure you know how to spend your money there. I recommend using Revolut in Thailand.