Thailand travel costs in 2023: prices of hotels, transportation, activities & food

How expensive or how cheap is Thailand still after corona? Prices are said to have risen sharply everywhere, but how much is that? We went to Central and Southern Thailand for three weeks and have listed our costs for you. So we did not go north, the north would still be cheaper than the south.

We went in high season (February 2023) to Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Khao Sok, Koh Phangan and Bangkok. We kept many receipts and listed most of the costs to give you an idea of the prices. From airfare to excursions and even supermarket prices.

In this blog, we mentioned the baht price paid and also convert to euro. 1 euro is currently 36 baht, sometimes we round the euros.

What do airline tickets cost?

Airline tickets from Belgium or the Netherlands to Thailand

Airline ticket prices are currently skyrocketing. We were aware of that, so we tried to book as soon as possible when we found a reasonable price.

For example, we paid €700 per person including 23 kg of luggage. We flew from Brussels via Etihad Airways with a 3-hour stopover in Abu Dhabi. Before corona you could still regularly score tickets for €600 per person, now €700 is really a nice price.

How long in advance to book?

We booked our flight to Bangkok six months in advance, which is generally always advisable for distant travel. Especially if you go in high season. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price usually is. Unless you’re super flexible on dates, then you might find a good deal later. In most cases, you can book up to almost a year in advance.

Our flight was almost twice as expensive a few months later.

Direct flight or transfer?

There are currently no direct flights from Brussels. Thai Airways stopped doing this due to capacity problems. From Brussels, you can fly to Bangkok with layovers with Etihad, Qatar or Emirates.

From Amsterdam, however, you can fly directly to Bangkok with Eva Air or KLM.

For us, a layover did not matter; it was great to be able to stretch our legs after 6 hours.

Are you only going to visit the south? Then it may pay to book a flight to Samui, Surat Thani or Phuket instead of Bangkok. You can then transfer in Bangkok, Dubai or Doha, for example. If you book these tickets all at once, you are guaranteed to catch your flights. Our flight was delayed for a few hours, those who had to travel on and bought the tickets at once still got a connection to their destination. If you book the extra flight separately, it’s usually a different story.


What do domestic flights cost?

In general, domestic flights in Thailand are very cheap. For example, from Bangkok to Krabi, we paid approximately €38 per person with 20 kg of checked baggage.

Even if you fly to other airports such as Surat Thani or Phuket, it won’t cost more than a few tens.

The only domestic flight for which you pay the main price is Samui. If you are staying on the islands of Koh Samui or Koh Phangan, this airport is the fastest route to Bangkok, Krabi or Phuket. Because this airport belongs to Bangkok Airways itself, there is no competition. And this is reflected in the prices.

For example, we paid €107 per person for a one-way trip from Samui to Bangkok, this includes 20 kg of checked baggage. A lot more expensive than from Surat Thani, but a lot faster. There are often multiple ways to get from A to B, from cheap to expensive, you have to make that trade-off for yourself. We thought the extra time was more important at that time. 

Tip: airline ticket price tracking

You can easily track flight prices through Google. Look up your ideal flight via Google Flights and check “Track prices. When the price changes, you will get a notification of this. This works for both international and domestic flights.

What does transportation cost?

The train & bus

The train is not only a fun way to travel around, it is also inexpensive. From Kanchanaburi to Bangkok, we paid only 100 baht (€2.70) per person. But you also have night trains and night buses that travel longer routes.

Local public transportation

Public transportation in each place consists of different vehicles. For example, in Kanchanaburi we saw a lot of motorcycles with sidecars, which we almost didn’t see in the south. What all the places did have in common were minivans, songthaews and private cabs.

Minivans are small vans and usually run a fixed route, at fixed times. You’re more likely to use them for some longer distances. They stop often, but are very cheap. For example, a trip of almost 4 hours, from Ao Nang to Khao Sok costs 400 baht (€10.80), from Krabi airport to Ao Nang costs 150 baht (€4). Flip open the accordions below to find examples of minivan prices and cabs.


Ao Nang: Prices minivans & cabs

These are the prices we found in Ao Nang:

  • Koh Phi Phi
    Minivan 450 baht
  • Penang
    Minivan 1,200 baht
  • Kualalumper
    Minivan 1,400 baht
  • Phuket
    Minivan 500 baht / 2,500 baht private cab
  • Kata/Karon
    Minivan 600 baht / 3,000 baht private cab
  • Phangna
    Minivan 400 baht / 2,000 baht private cab
  • Khao Sok
    Minivan 400 baht / 3,000 baht private cab
  • Khao Lak
    450 baht / 3,000 baht private cab
  • Lanta
    Minivan 450 baht / 3,000 baht private cab
  • Hat Yai
    Minivan 500 baht
  • Trang
    Minivan 400 baht / 3,000 baht private cab
  • Suratthani
    Minivan 450 baht
  • Koh Samui
    Minivan 800 baht / 3,500 baht private cab (up to Donsak pier)
  • Koh Phangan
    Minivan 900 baht / 3,500 baht private cab (up to Donsak pier)

These are the prices that were advertised, so haggling may still be possible. You can always arrange the minivans on the spot. If you want to book them in advance, you can do so via Bookaway. You can also book private cabs here.

Khao Sok: minivan prices

A few examples of prices by minivan from Khao Sok.

  • Phuket: 600 baht
  • Karon: 800 baht
  • Kta: 800 baht
  • Rawai: 800 baht
  • Chalong: 800 baht
  • Patong: 800 baht
  • Kamala: 800 baht

These are the prices that were advertised, so haggling may still be possible. You can always arrange the minivans on the spot. If you want to book them in advance, you can do so via Bookaway. You can also book private cabs here.

Songthaews are shared cabs; you just stop them along the road. Songthaews you usually use for shorter distances and often cost between 50 and 300 baht (€1.35 – €8.10), depending on your destination. They often work with each other, so if one person has to go to A and you have to go to B, the driver will arrange for you to be picked up by another Songthaew halfway through the trip.

On Koh Phangan, this is almost the only public transportation. Haggling is always possible, and you can haggle a lot more if there are several of you. So if you see people who seem to be looking for a cab, talk to them, if you have the same destination or direction this can save some money again.

Grab & Bolt: the Asian Ubers

You can also arrange your transportation with the Asian Ubers: Bolt and Grab. Download these apps on your smartphone, enter your destination and then you will see the options with prices. You can link your credit card as well as pay with cash. In Bangkok, tolls may be added.

These apps are cheaper than regular cabs. There is also usually a price difference between the two apps, but sometimes there are no drivers available so you still have to choose the more expensive option.

You can also order motorcycle cabs in Bangkok via Bolt and Grab, you just jump on the back of the motorcycle!

Note, Grab can be downloaded before your trip to Thailand, but not activated. You can activate this pass in Thailand itself.

Unfortunately, these apps do not work everywhere. They work in Bangkok anyway, but otherwise only in major places. You can always give it a try! In Krabi, it seemed to work occasionally, but we did not use it. In places like Phuket and Pattaya, it would work.

Of course, you do need mobile data for these apps. You can buy a local SIM card, or get an e-SIM. We bought an e-SIM in advance, that way we had instant internet when we arrived in Bangkok. You can buy the same e-SIM here.


Public transportation in Bangkok

There are other options in Bangkok. The cheapest but also the slowest means of transportation is the bus. Tickets are bought from the conductress on the bus itself and you pay – depending on your terminus – about 15 baht (€0.40) per trip. Air-conditioned buses are slightly more expensive.

The skytrain and subway is faster and also slightly more expensive. You easily pay 35 to 70 baht (€0.95 – €1.90) per trip here, but it’s still pretty cheap.

No need to memorize the subway and bus network, you can just use Google Maps, which will then show you where to get on and off. Although you can download Google Maps offline, mobile data is also useful here for real-time info. So buy a local SIM card or an e-SIM.

Cabs and tuktuks are the most expensive. A valuable tip we can give you here is: check the price on Bolt and Grab. Then negotiate the price with the cab or tuktuk. We sometimes paid 50 baht (€1.35) more than a Bolt or Grab, but then we didn’t have to wait and a tuktuk is also just more fun.


Renting a car

Of course, you don’t have to do everything by public transportation or cab. You can also perfectly well rent a car by yourself in Thailand. It takes some getting used to driving on the left, but otherwise it is not too bad, the signs are usually in English as well. Of course, an app such as Google Maps is recommended. The only downside to renting a car is that it is quite pricey.

You usually have two options here. Either you rent from a local car rental company, or you rent through an international car rental company. Unfortunately, there are no international car rental companies in Kanchanaburi so we had no choice but to choose a local company. Here we paid about €25 (900 baht) per day. In the south we did not rent a car, but the price there may be a little higher. The disadvantage of this is that you drive around almost uninsured, in Thailand they only know very minimal insurance, so damage you just pay yourself.

With an international rental company such as Sunnycars, you are fully insured and therefore pay nothing at all in the event of an accident or damage. Another advantage is that you can, for example, pick up the car at Krabi airport and return it at Surat Thani airport. Through Sunnycars you pay about €45 per day.

Gasoline at a gas station cost 36 baht (€1) per liter

Renting a scooter

Renting a scooter is many times cheaper than renting a car. You can rent a scooter for as little as 200 baht (€5) a day.

Keep in mind that these are not scooters as we know them. You officially need a motorcycle license for this; if you don’t have one, your travel insurance will not intervene in an accident. You also always pay for damages yourself.

In Belgium, a B license also allows you to drive a motorcycle, but this does not apply abroad (source).


How much does accommodation cost?

In terms of accommodation, you can actually make it as crazy as you want. In true backpack style, you can sleep just fine for €10 a night.

In the meantime, we do choose accommodations with private bathrooms, a good bed (as far as possible) and, above all, a good location. In the south, our cheapest stay in Khao Sok was €21 per night, our most expensive was in Koh Phangan at €46 per night. In the latter, we were also really at the most popular beach. For our luxury stay in Bangkok, we paid €80 per night.

For our entire Thailand trip, we were at an average of €45 per night. So that’s less than €1,000 for 3 weeks in Thailand. This was a self-selected budget and this allowed the vacation to start more luxuriously and end in luxury (read: a hotel with infinity pool😉 ).

Thus, accommodations with private bathrooms in Thailand cost on average between €21 to €50 per night. And you can go way above or below.


What does food & drink cost in Thailand?

Service fee & VAT

In Thailand they are allowed by law to charge up to 10% service fee, this is added to the final bill. Also, sometimes prices without VAT are displayed on the menu, VAT is 7%. So in some cases, this means adding another 17% to your total bill. If it says “just” at the bottom of the menu, you can assume that there will be no additional charges.

Restaurants / street food

Food is still cheap in Thailand. At least if you eat Thai food. Thai food usually costs between 80 and 120 baht (€2.15 – €3.25). One of our favorite dishes is the Panang curry, for this we usually paid about 100 baht (€2.70), sometimes the rice was not included and cost an additional 20 baht (€0.55). A Pad Thai often cost no more than 80 baht (€2.15).

A Western dish, on the other hand, such as lasagna or a pizza, easily costs 230 – 300 baht (€6.20 – €8.10).

In food prices, there did not seem to be major differences between restaurants and street food, or between Central Thailand and Southern Thailand.

A fruit smoothie usually costs between 70 and 90 baht (€1.90 – €2.45), fresh fruit juice can be had for as little as 40 baht. A soft drink at restaurant costs between 20 and 35 (€0.55 – €1) baht.

Examples supermarket

What will you pay in the 7-Eleven anno 2023?

  • Mosquito spray: 65 baht (€1.10)
  • Can of Chang: 39 baht (€1.05)
  • Cake: 39 baht (€1.05)
  • Toasted sandwich: 33 baht (€0.90)
  • Chocolate bread: 20 baht (€0.55)
  • Bottle of Fanta: 14 baht (€0.38)
  • 1.5 liters of water: 14 baht (€0.38)
  • Red Bull: 10 baht (€0.27)
  • 600ml of water: 7 baht (€0.19)

These are 7-Eleven (supermarket chain) prices, local supermarkets may be slightly more expensive. For example, in Railay (peninsula, no cars, remote) we paid about 30 baht (€0.80) for a large bottle of water.


What does alcohol cost in Thailand?

A bottle of beer in a bar: 70 – 120 baht (€1.90 – €3.25) – a can of beer in the supermarket: 39 baht (€1.05)

Alcohol is comparatively quite expensive in Thailand. Prices vary from place to place.

On average, in a bar you will spend between 70 and 120 baht (€1.90 – €3.25) for a beer, a small Chang. A large Chang costs between 120 and 150 baht (€3.25 – €4.05). Sometimes cafes also charge two prices, from 10 p.m. onward you pay more.

At the supermarket, beer is cheaper; at the 7-Eleven you pay 39 baht (€1.05) for a can of beer.

By the way, you can only buy alcohol in Thai supermarkets between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to midnight. Most 7-Elevens and other supermarkets abide by this rule; some local stores do still offer alcohol.

Cocktails vary greatly in price, costing between 150 and 250 baht (€4.05 – €6.75). All prices include any service fee and VAT.

We unfortunately didn’t note the wine prices, but I remember deciding after checking the price that this vacation was going to be mostly beer. You can assume the price of beer times two.

Rooftop bar in Bangkok: 160 – 260 baht for a beer

We paid around 260 baht (€7) for a bottle of beer (Chang, Singha, Tiger, …) at several rooftop bars in Bangkok. A cocktail at a rooftop bar in Bangkok will cost you 320 to 390 baht (€8.65 – €10.55).

There are also exceptions. So we went to Bangkok’s rooftop bar‘Heaven‘ where we paid only 200 baht (€5.40) for a Mai Tai cocktail and 160 baht (€4.30) for a beer – though excluding 10% service fee and 7% VAT.

For a can of coca-cola at a rooftop bar we paid 80 baht (€2.15), for a glass of fresh orange juice (€3.25), also excluding the 17%.


Are excursions/activities expensive?

The prices of excursions can be very off. Sometimes they are very good unmanageable, sometimes they are fixed prices. We’ll give you some examples.


Kayaking in Ao Thalane (Krabi)

The official price of kayaking in Ao Thalane was supposed to be 1,200 baht (€32), but in Ao Nang we were able to haggle down to 700 baht (€19) per person. Now we must admit that the excursion was wonderful, but not the best organized. The guide did not speak a word of English and he did not help the 2 people who could not kayak. As a result, we lost an awful lot of time.

For that reason, next time we would “just” book through GetYourGuide to make sure we get into an excursion with good reviews. These days we book a lot through this site and it has never disappointed. You can book the same excursion – but with good reviews – through GetYourGuide here.

7 islands sunset & BBQ tour (Krabi)

From Railay, you can do the 7 Islands sunset tour for 1,000 baht (€27) by longtail boat and 1,300 baht (€35) by speed boat. In Ao Nang, the excursion will be slightly cheaper, unfortunately we did not save the price.

You can also book this excursion here through GetYourGuide. After the BBQ, they stop to swim in bio-luminescent plankton. Can you also tick that right off your bucket list 😉

Two days, one night Cheow Lan lake tour (Khao Sok)

The most expensive but also the most complete excursion was the one in Khao Sok. In total, we spent 2,800 baht (€75) per person here. But then it included the following:

  • 1 night in a luxury floating bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • Hotel transfer (2x one-hour minivan)
  • Activities: trekking, morning & night safari, boat tour, cave and viewpoint.

When you look at the total picture, that converted, total €150 is not at all crazy. 

The Ang Thong Marine Park (Koh Phangan)

The Ang Thong day excursion cost us 2,100 baht (€57) per person. That included national park fee and the extra fee for kayaking.

Also included in this excursion was a hotel transfer to and from the pier, the boat trip to Angthong Marine Park, breakfast, lunch and drinks, a snorkel and towel. We visited the Esmerald Pool, kayaked a bit, discovered the beautiful underwater world and did a hike to the viewpoint.

National Parks

For national parks, you have to pay a fee in most cases. It often costs between 200 and 300 baht (€5.40 – €8.10) per person.

Even if you go on an excursion, this fee is often not included and you still have to bring it in cash. So check in advance whether or not this fee is already included. This may also explain the price difference between tour operators.

What does a Thai massage in Thailand cost?

We are big fans of Thai massages so we took massage names in just about every place. In most places, one hour of traditional Thai massage costs 300 baht (€8.10).

You have outliers to 200 to 400 baht (€5.40 – €10.80). Whether you want a massage on the beach or at a salon, there is usually no price difference. We also sometimes thought to opt for the more expensive one of 400 baht, but can speak from experience that this does not mean the massages are better then.

The traditional Thai massage is always the cheapest, usually 300 baht. Going for an oil massage costs 400 baht. Foot massages often cost 300 baht as well.

If you go into a more luxurious (spa) salon, you’ll spend more, up to 1,000 baht (€27) for an hour.


Bank charges

When you withdraw cash from an ATM in Thailand, you pay 220 baht per transaction to the local bank. But even your own bank in Belgium or the Netherlands charges transaction and exchange fees. In our case, this ran to more than €200!

We now use both Wise and Revolut which have significantly reduced our banking costs. 

Conclusion: is Thailand cheap?

Yes, Thailand is still a cheap country anno 2023. However, everything was just a little more expensive than we had thought beforehand. But that’s because we once visited Bali and expected those prices earlier. Thailand is more expensive than Bali, but still dirt cheap.

The inland areas are slightly cheaper than the coastal towns; we saw that price difference in Kanchanaburi and Khao Sok. On the coast it was a little more expensive, especially the islands. But that in itself is normal.

We should add that we did not (always) choose the cheapest options. Thus, we often drank cocktails and pints in beach bars and always took a hotel close to the beach.

All in all, Thailand is still a cheap vacation destination and prices are (thankfully) not comparable to ours.


How much budget do you need for 3 weeks in Thailand?

We spent a total of about €4,250 for the two of us for 21 days. This included €1,800 in airfare (international and domestic) and €600 in excursions and transportation.

That leaves about €45 per person per day for food, drinks, and other purchases. This in itself is quite a lot, but this includes local cab rides, medication and the necessary parties, Chang’s, cocktails and souvenirs 😉 This amount also includes bank and exchange fees, which turned out to be very high through ING in the end.

If you pay a little attention to your budget, you can get a lot cheaper.


Hopefully you got something out of this blog and it will help put together your Thailand budget! Anything missing from this article? Be sure to let us know in the comments.