“Sawadi Krap!” will be a phrase you hear a lot around the kingdom of Thailand.
This Thai version of 'Hello' or 'Welcome' is always accompanied by a friendly smile. Of course, because Thailand sometimes is also called the country of the smile.
Thailand, until 1939 it was called Siam, has almost 70 million citizens and the prevailing religion is buddhism.
All around the country, you will find thousands of temples and monuments in honour of buddhism and their gods.
The former Siam consists out of 76 provinces, but the most famous places lay across north-, south- and central Thailand. Every single one of these places is completely different, by the way. Thailand is a very big country. The woody north is considerably cooler in comparison with the south where you'll especially find tropical beaches.

Places in Thailand

Bangkok  |  Chiang Mai  | Chiang Rai  |  Koh Phi Phi  |  Krabi  |  Phuket

ethisch olifanten toerisme Thailand

Use common sense: only take part in ethical elephant tourism.

  Average costs

Stay  Most of Thailand is very cheap. The north (around Chiang Mai) is the cheapest in general. The southern lying islands of the Krabi province are more expensive.
Backpacker pay around 100 THB to 200 THB a night for a bed in a dorm (€2,5 to €5 or $3 to $6,5).
A single room in a guesthouse or a little budget hotel costs around 200 – 300 THB a night. In the less touristic areas you can even find one for 150 to 200 THB.
A nice hotel will cost something more. Around 1300 THB (€33,5 or $37) a night. The ressorts (most of them can be found on the islands) cost around 1700 THB (€43,5 or $48).

Eat – You can find delicious food for no money all around Thailand. The world famous Thai meals don’t even cost what you would pay back at home to make these dishes.
Street food is cheapest. (and most of the time also the best!) Just search around a little and you’ll find food starting from 20 THB. Most of the times you’ll find street food a little more expensive for 30 to 100 THB.
Eating something in a restaurant will cost you a little more. Depending on where you are and what you take, prices will range from 100 to 200 THB.
If you prefer western food, prepare to pay more than 200 THB (€5 or $6).

Transport – Public busses in Thailand are dirt cheap but not reliable. Trains and metro’s are a lot more convenient and still cheap. Busses start at 8 THB for one ride. Metro’s and trains cost a little more. Between 15 and 50 THB (€0,4 to €1,3 or $0,5 to $1,5).
A popular form of transportation is the tuk tuk. Try to negotiate and have a fixed price before you leave. Otherwise, you’ll definitely pay too much.
In some cases, taxi’s are even cheaper because they have a meter with fixed pricing.

A short drive with the tuktuk costs between 100 and 200 THB (€2,5 to €5 or $3 to $6). A taxi the same or a little cheaper.

Activities – Arranging your own tours in Thailand is difficult and stressful. I have to admit I booked most of the tours I did. Driving myself in Thailand looked way to dangerous. Especially when I heard stories from other tourists…
Depending on the region you’re in and which tours you’re taking, expect to pay a minimum of 400 THB (€10 or $11). The price can rise to about 2000 THB (€50 to $55). But really everything depends on what kind of tour you’re taking.

Multiple day activities obviously cost more. Popular are the diving trips which start at 9500 THB (€245 or $ 270) or visiting an elephant park for about 3000 THB (€77 or $85,5).



  Saving money

Don’t choose a luxury vacation  Don’t get me wrong, of course you can let yourself go in Thailand. But to have a lot of luxury in Thailand doesn’t mean you should go to a luxurious (and overpriced) ressort, expensive restaurants and expensive massages. For a lot less, you get the exact same quality. Because, let’s be honest, do you really need such a big room who might look a little better? Most of the time you only sleep there, no?

Watch out for roaming costs – Nothing is more annoying than not be able to share your vacation pictures on social media. Prevent this problem by buying a sim card in Thailand. Wait until you get in a bigger city, because in the airports the more expensive sim cards often only get sold. A sim card from one of the three biggest operators can be bought in every 7/11 store in the country. You can even buy a card that’s only working for two weeks.

7/11 No, not the Beyonce song. The most viewed chain shop in the country. If you need a fast and cheap bite, you can buy two cheese and ham sandwiches for only 70 eurocent or about $0,80. Beer and other alcoholic drinks are a lot less expensive than in bars too. At most places, alcohol is very expensive at bars or clubs in Thailand.

Similan Eilanden in Thailand.

Similan Islands in Thailand.


Temples – With almost 41,000 temples spread over the whole country, you have plenty of opportunities to visit one. The most beautiful temples can be found around bigger cities such as Bangkok, Phuket and Krabi. However, some temples a little further away are definitely worth the trip too.

Try to alternate your sightseeing days. When you immediately see too much temples, they might bore you quite fast.

Thai kitchen – Try as much Thai food as you can! Sometimes, the way of cooking is a little different in the different regions. It always is a good idea to ask for the least spicy food. Even when I asked a non-spicy dish at certian places, I could feel my throat burning and my eyes starting to form tears.

Go exploring – With cheap airlines like Air Asia you can travel very cheap throughout Thailand. If you stay in Thailand for a couple of weeks, why not go see something else?
The north is a little more alternative and has more forests than the south. In Krabi (south) you can enjoy the snow white beaches, gorgeous blue oceans and delicious freshly squeezed fruit drinks.
The center of Thailand is a mix of the whole country, with Bangkok being the pinnacle of this South-East Asian country.

Party – For the younger readers; you HAVE to go out in Thailand! Everywhere you can find some great parties. If you stay in the coastal areas of Thailand, try a full or half moon party. A giant party in the middle of the night on a tropical beach… Who doesn’t want to do that?!

longboats thailand

Typical longboats in Thailand.


Certain forms of elephant tourism – It might sound like fun to have a great photo opportunity, sitting on an elephant, but please think before you do tours like this. A lot of these elephant tours are just plain animal cruelty. An elephant’s back is not made to carry tourists day in, day out. If you really want to sit on an elephant, do some research and book a company where you can climb on the elephant’s neck. That is the only place where an elephant can actually carry someone.
Also get away from tours where elephants do tricks, paint something or have a very heavy bench on their backs to transport someone. To do all these kind of things, they get abused and traumatised as babies.

A meeting with these gentle giants is definitely one of the top things in Thailand, so by all means: do an elephant activity! There are plenty of options where you can touch them, hug them, join them in their mud baths or just play with them in the river… At least that way you are certain that they are not mistreated.

‘Special’ discounts from tuktuk drivers – Certain tuktuk drivers take you on a free trip to some of the monuments in the city, because (so they say) it is a national holiday.
After one or two monuments, they will take you from one tourist center to another so you can book tours over there. Next, they bring you to a place where you can buy some souvenirs… You get it. When this happens, stay friendly and just walk away from the tuktuk.

Bloemenmarkt in Bangkok.

Flower market in Bangkok.

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