The Costs – a week in Koh Tao, Bangkok & Chiang Mai

I thought it might be useful to give a breakdown on what we’re spending our money on so that you can plan and save for your own travels. We’re on a pretty tight budget and watching the pennies so you can easily spend more than this. We’re travelling as a couple so things like accommodation can be cheaper than travelling alone. We do, however, require our hotels to have halfway descent wifi and a working space. We’re also working on the road so we’re not necessarily having as many of the ‘tourist experiences’ as others might.


This week was a pretty expensive week for us because we moved from the islands in the Gulf of Thailand all the way up to Chiang Mai so planes, trains and automobiles had their impact. We had a mix of accommodation but did our best to keep the costs down by eating in sidewalk cafes instead of restaurants with three or four walls.


  • 9520 Baht – (180 GBP) (217 Euros) (295 USD)

Whoa – you’d think we were staying in five star resorts at this total, almost double a week in Koh Phangan. But we prepaid for our accommodation in Chiang Mai for a month – 650 per night versus 7500 for a month. Makes sense to me.


  • 5157.60 Baht – (98 GBP) (118 Euros) (160 USD)

Oh boy. Flights, bicycle rental and tuk tuks can really add up.

Food and Drinks (non alcoholic):

  • 2650 Baht – (50 GBP) (60 Euros) (82 USD)

Not bad at all. Food is cheaper up in the north.

Drinks (alcoholic):

  • 445 Baht – (8 GBP) (10 Euros) (14 USD)

We’re actually drinking more in Chiang Mai. The beer is cheaper and we had to celebrate finding a home for a month, and my job offer for 2014.


  • 782 baht – (15 GBP) (18 Euros) (24 USD)

We’ve introduced a new category because we’re spending a lot more time in cafes, drinking tea, coffee, hot chocolate and nibbling on snacks (lucky we’re exercising to make up for the increase in sugar).


  • 43 baht – (1 GBP) (1 Euros) (1 USD)

I can’t even remember what we did. Must have been a pretty exciting activity.


  • 53 baht – (1 GBP) (1 Euros) (2 USD)

I’m pretty sure this was the machine wash I finally allowed into our budget. Why save 53 baht you ask? Well, before we got to our semi-permanent home we would have had to pay 30 or 40 baht per kilogram. In Chiang Mai, it’s 20 baht for self service washing machines and wee bit extra for detergent.

Obviously the exchange rate is different but these last ones are such small numbers, the rounding worked out evenly.

TOTAL: 18 650.60 BAHT – (353 GBP) (425 EUROS) (578 USD)

Whoa. Guess we’re not eating next week!

How are you doing on your budget? I’d love to hear from other travellers on a shoestring.

*All transactions were conducted in Thai Baht. Currency conversions are approximate, rounded to the nearest whole, and calculated at the time of writing.*

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