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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.

Updated

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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM withdrawal fee Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
17.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Coles Rewards Mastercard

0%
$5
19.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
ING Orange One

2.5%
$2.50
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Keep costs low with $0 annual fee and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
ING Orange One Platinum

2.5%
$2.50
16.99% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Enjoy up to $30 cashback per month and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
Westpac Lite Card

0%
9.9% p.a.
$108 p.a.
Keep credit card costs low with a maximum credit limit of $4,000, a 9.9% p.a. purchase interest rate and no foreign transaction fees.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
21.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes and a global wifi access.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
12.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 6 months (with a 2% fee), complimentary travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card

0%
12.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive up to 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a 2% BT fee. Also enjoy exclusive offers with the home&Away Privilege Program.
Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Gold Credit Card

0%
0% for 15 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($89 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and an ongoing annual fee waiver when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, included insurances.
Skye Mastercard

0%
$0
23.99% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Get 110 days interest-free, 0% foreign transaction fees and flexible instalment plan options.
Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
20.49% p.a.
$160 p.a.
Enjoy 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurances and earn 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
19.99% p.a.
$160 p.a.
Earn 2 More Rewards Points per $1 spent, 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement and save with 0% foreign transaction fees.
Commonwealth Bank Ultimate Awards Card

0%
20.24% p.a.
$420 p.a.
Earn up to 3 Awards points / $1 spent, save with 0% international transaction fees and gain access to over 1,000 airport lounges.
Bankwest More World Mastercard

0%
$0
19.99% p.a.
$270 p.a.
Earn 115,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement, receive complimentary travel insurance and 10 LoungeKey passes per year.
Bankwest Qantas World Mastercard

0%
$0
20.49% p.a.
$270 p.a.
Earn uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, pay 0% foreign transaction fees and receive complimentary travel insurance.
Macquarie Black Card

0%
20.7% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Earn 20,000 bonus Macquarie Reward points and receive a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 14 months.
Macquarie Platinum Card

0%
20.7% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Earn 20,000 bonus points and receive a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 14 months.
Macquarie Black Card with Qantas Rewards

0%
20.7% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Earn 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 14 months.
Macquarie Platinum Card with Qantas Rewards

3%
20.7% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Collect 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 14 months.
Macquarie RateSaver Card

0%
15.95% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a 0% p.a. for 14 month balance transfer offer and exclusive offers from Visa Entertainment.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Travelex Money Card
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB

Overseas: $0

Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

1.1% of initial load value or $15, whichever is greater
1.1% of transaction value or $15, whichever is greater
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
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
$5
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.
NAB Traveller Card
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB

Overseas: $0 per withdrawal via international ATMs

Domestic: $3.75 fee applies

$0
$0
Load up and lock in up to 10 currencies and benefit from no fees for reloading funds. Comes with a secondary card for added security.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Internatonal ATM Fee Foreign transaction fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
0%
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
Travelex Foreign Currency
$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.
Foreign Xchange Travel Money
$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. No delivery fee for orders over $1,000. A $10 flat fee applies to orders less than $1,000.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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