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How much spending money do I need for Thailand?

An at-a-glance guide to budgeting for a trip to Thailand.

Thailand has long had a reputation of being a paradise for backpackers, where you can sleep, eat and unwind on a tight budget. More recently, though, the country has unveiled a luxury side and it now woos upmarket tourists with 5-star hotels and fine dining restaurants.

Whatever type of traveller you are, you'll find a lot of prices in Thailand to be between 35 and 70% lower than in Australia.

How much spending money do I need for Thailand?

  • Shoestring budgets: If you're taking public transportation, chowing down on street food and staying in budget hotels, you can travel comfortably for a week for about $250, or $35 per day.
  • Luxury travellers: If you want to pamper yourself at spas, upscale hotels and be ferried around by taxi, set a budget closer to $750 per person or $107 per day.

Prices are exclusive of flights and hotels as you've (hopefully) already sorted these out. If not, you can check out flight deals to the country here and search for hotel accommodation to suit your budget at Hotels Finder.


What is the best way to take money to Thailand?

Debit and credit cards are becoming more widely accepted across Thailand, but it's still best to have a decent amount of cash on you for paying for things at local markets and in smaller restaurants and shops.

Most travellers take a small amount of their home country's currency (around $50–$100) over to Thailand with them and exchange it for Thai baht when they arrive.

They then top up their budget with money from ATMs. However, some cards charge quite a bit for withdrawals, so it's worth shopping around for the right card.

How much does a taxi cost in Thailand?

In Bangkok taxi fares start at 35 baht (just over a dollar). After the first two kilometres the fare starts to go up by about two baht a kilometre. A taxi from the airport to the city is about 400-500 baht.

Tuk tuks offer an alternative to a taxi ride. These are automatic rickshaws that typically fit two passengers. Short journeys cost about 30 baht, but you must negotiate a fare before you get in.


How much does a hire car or scooter cost in Thailand?

You can hire a car in Thailand for around 4,944 baht ($206) a week. Well known companies like Europcar and Hertz have pick-up points at Bangkok Airport.

Scooters are cheaper to hire, but be aware that they're more dangerous to drive. You can usually hire one for about 1,344 baht ($56) a week.


How much is food and drink in Thailand?

Whether you have the budget of a prince or a pauper, you'll not go hungry in Thailand. If your purse strings are tight, you can pick up a bowl of street food soup or noodles for 30 baht (around $1). A meal in a basic Thai restaurant will cost you between 90 and 150 baht ($4–$6).

You'll find the cost of food increases when you're in more touristy areas. A 3-course meal at a fine dining restaurant overlooking the sea in Koh Samui, for example, can set up back as much as 1,360 baht ($56).

Alcohol can also be pricey in Thailand. Buy a beer from a 7-Eleven and you'll pay between $2 and $3. Order a beer in a hotel and you can pay up to $7.

If you're one to tick off must-do food experience in a city, street food is something not to miss in Thailand and tours can help you find the best of the best. Bangkok's towering skyscrapers are also home to rooftop bars and buffets, and while they may cost a bit more than the average meal they come with unrivalled views of the city.

Bangkok Rooftop Buffet Dining Experience
Bangkok Rooftop Buffet Dining Experience

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How much is sightseeing in Thailand?

As with any destination, you can spend a little on sightseeing or you can spend a lot. A tour to The Bridge over the River Kwai will set you back a little over $80 while a trip to see the floating markets from Bangkok will cost a little over $50. If you're after an elephant experience, sanctuary visits will set you back about $100 per day, while island hopping tours in Thailand's south will be less than $30.

Chiang Mai: Elephant Sanctuary Tour
Chiang Mai: Elephant Sanctuary Tour

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How much for a Thai SIM card?

Three networks operate in Thailand: dtac, AIS and TrueMove. AIS is the largest provider and tourists can buy prepaid SIMs called 1–2 Call and You from spots like Bangkok Airport.

You need to show your passport when you buy a SIM card. In terms of cost, you'll be looking at paying about $10 for a SIM that lasts a week.

You can also pre-purchase SIM cards before you leave home.


How much money do I need for a week?

It doesn't matter if you're splashing the cash or travelling on a shoestring, you can have a great trip to Thailand.

Backpackers should budget 800–1,200 baht a day ($35–$50) to cover the costs of hostel rooms, street food meals, a couple of drinks and a spot of sightseeing.

Holiday makers looking for a touch more luxury should budget 1,800–3,000 baht ($75–$125) a day to cover nice hotels, gourmet meals and cocktails.

Quick facts about money in Thailand

  • Currency: Thai baht (THB).
  • Exchange rate to AUD: $1 = 24 baht.
  • Cost of food: 25–100 baht.
  • Cost of a local beer: 75–150 baht due to taxes.
  • Travel money cards: Go in prepared. Compare travel money cards before you leave.

Exchange rate is approximate, obtained from xe.com on 11 November 2018

Compare travel money options for your trip to Thailand

Rates last updated February 20th, 2019
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated February 20th, 2019
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
AUD $1.95, CAD $2.00, EUR €1.50, GBP £1.25, HKD $15.00, JPY ¥160, NZD $2.50, SGD $2.50, USD $1.95, THB ฿70.00, AED 6.50
1%
$0
Get the chance to win a share of 1 million Qantas Points for every $100 in foreign currency you load onto your Qantas Travel Money card plus ear up to 5000 bonus points.
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
$0
$0
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated February 20th, 2019
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Visa
$0
$0
$0
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
$10 cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance.
$10 monthly account fee.
Receive $10 cashback when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria.
Visa
$0
$5
0%
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated February 20th, 2019
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
$500
$10,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$5,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
$0
$9,999
In Store, Home Delivery
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.

Compare up to 4 providers

Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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