The Costs – a Week Travelling From Chiang Mai to Laos

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.

Although we’ve since moved on from Chiang Mai, it was only a few weeks ago so the figures are still relevant and useful.



  • 1200 Baht – (22 GBP) (27 Euros) (36 USD)

We were still covered by our monthly rate in Chiang Mai but we crossed into Laos at the end of the week and had to pay for two nights’ accommodation.


  • 3315 Baht – (61 GBP) (74 Euros) (101 USD)

Big increase on the previous week. We hired a scooter for a day, caught a bus to the Laos border and a slow boat to Luang Prabang.

Chiang Mai - Luang Prabang 035

Food and Drinks (non alcoholic):

  • 1824 Baht – (34 GBP) (41 Euros) (55 USD)

It appears to be down on the previous week but I think I must have forgotten something. We probably spend more this week, having one last Thai curry, saying goodbye to friends in Chiang Mai with a visit to a Thai Barbeque hall, not to mention trying out some food on the Laos side.

2013-12-12 20.13.01

Drinks (alcoholic):

  • 430 Baht – (8 GBP) (10 Euros) (13 USD)

Hmmm. Think the same reason above applies here!


  • 727 baht – (13 GBP) (16 Euros) (22 USD)

I stopped working in the cafes so we spent less (I exchanged my laptop for a visit to the Hill Tribe Museum, going to a ‘flying yoga’ class and being a guinea pig for a massage student for a few hours).

Chiang Mai - Luang Prabang 001


  • $70 for Laos visas
  • 80 Baht for the ‘overtime’ fee of crossing the border after 4pm
  • 3 Baht for the toilet

TOTAL: 7579 BAHT – (139 GBP) (169 EUROS) (230 USD)

+ $70 for a visa 

I decided there was no point doing an exchange on the visa cost as you should always pay your Laos visa in USD.


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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