Planning for our Thailand trip was no easy feat. Zack is worried about the price tag whereas I’m worried we’re not going to have enough time to fit everything into our itinerary!
We decided on having Thailand as our first major trip together as a couple because it’s the only country that really caught Zack’s eye. I was drooling over different videos of the country and stumbled across one in particular that did a really great job of outlining the costs and the daily life of living in Chiang Mai. The first thing that Zach locked onto was the cost of living. We were watching this couple eat amazing food, and spend less than $5 for both of them. They were living on a budget of less than $600 for an entire month and still managed to live fairly luxuriously. If you’re interested in the video I’m talking about, check it out here.
I figured the best way to plan out the trip is to organize it by location, assuming we travel from the North side to the South side or vice-versa. Since I love beaches I wanted to start our trip on one, which means we’ll probably be starting in southern Thailand. Planning on going around mid winter, the beach will be a great contrast to shoveling snow!
Since we’re still in the planning phase, some of this may end up changing once we actually land. For now, it gives a great idea of how much time and money is needed to budget for doing everything we want to see. We’re thinking of going for around 2 ½ – 3 weeks in total, or as long as we’re able to go. Zach is really all about the numbers and less about the spontaneity, so I have to make sure I have the prices as realistic as possible. Also I’ll be setting aside extra money to account for unexpected spending, like fees or extra things to do while we’re there.
Cost of Flights from Toronto to Phuket = $1600/per person
Phuket, I figured, would be a great place to start our journey as it’s one of the bigger tourist destinations. My reasoning behind this is that it will be the first major trip that Zach has ever been on. If we went to a smaller community the culture shock may be a lot to take in, so Phuket is a safe starting point to get him used to being away from home. It’s also a great opportunity for him to take a swim in the ocean for the first time in his life!
Budgeting a good 5 days for Phuket alone should give us enough time to adjust to the climate and recover from jet lag. Time to relax by the ocean and get out of that 9-5 mentality of constantly working!
Budget for local things to do including tours and spas = $100/per person
Phi Phi Islands
Cost of Ferry from Phuket = $40/per person
Zach is kind of obsessed with saltwater reef tanks, which is funny considering he’s never been to the ocean, but I wanted to make sure that we were able to go scuba diving at least once on this trip. So I decided that I wanted to make the Phi Phi Islands where that happens. If time and budget permits then we might end up going on a few different occasions at different beaches throughout the trip.
Diving = $100/per person for a full day trip including 2-3 dives
Railay (Rai Leh) Beach
Cost of Ferry from Phi Phi = $30/ per person
I wanted to make a smooth transition from southern Thailand to Bangkok, so I decided to make a stop at Railay beach on our way up to the Krabi Airport.
One of the main things that I saw to do at the beach was going rock climbing, so I decided to make sure we budgeted time for that as well as a little more time relaxing on the beach.
Rock Climbing = $30/each, includes a half day of rock climbing including lessons
Flight from Krabi to Bangkok = $50/each
I definitely want to get some shopping done while I’m in Thailand and take advantage of the low prices of literally everything there. Although I want to do some shopping on the streets of Thailand I also wanted to go to at least one of the biggest malls in Bangkok, the MBK Center. With over 2000 stores inside, I’m sure I could budget at least a day to shopping here.
MBK Center = $100/each for shopping
Buying things on a boat, from other boats? Apparently this is a thing in Thailand and there are loads of different “floating markets” to check out. Through surfing the web I found a huge list of different markets to check out but decided that if I have to visit only one during our trip it would be the Amphawa Market.
Floating Amphawa Market = $100 for transport there, food, and a little shopping
Flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai = $50/each
There are lots of elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, some of which actually abuse their animals in order to train them to take people on rides. It’s important to make sure it’s a place where elephants aren’t abused, so watch out for places that offer elephant rides or places where you see elephants doing things that are unnatural.
Elephant Sanctuary = $100/each
Ziplining is something I’ve never done before and I wanted to get a tour in this trip at some point to cross it off my bucket list. I was researching a few different ziplining tours and haven’t decided exactly which one I want to choose yet, but I figure I’ll find out which one I like best when I get there and ask some of the locals.
Ziplining = $100/each
Transportation = $3740
So with flights costing almost more than half of the trip, I’ll definitely be looking into different ways to cut my costs down there. A round trip flight from Toronto to Phuket is $1600 each, coming to a $3200 total! I’ve been playing around with the departure dates and it seems to fluctuate the costs quite a bit, but the average stays around $1600. I’ve also found that flying to Bangkok and then buying a separate ticket to Phuket seems much cheaper. In some cases the flight to Bangkok ended up being about $400 cheaper and then the flight down to Phuket was only $50 if bought separately. With two people travelling those kinds of differences would definitely add up quickly.
Look forward to a blog post about my findings about how to find the cheapest flights online as it gets closer to the trip!
Separating the local travel from the main flight, the costs break down to around $340 for short flights, ferries, and bus rides. I’ll also put in a generous $200 for miscellaneous travel expenses like Tuk Tuk’s and renting bikes to go exploring on day trips.
Accommodations = $840
Assuming that we live in some of the “more expensive” apartments on Airbnb as we travel and spend on average $40 per night, a 3 week trip would cost approximately $840. From what I’ve seen $20 a night can still get you some pretty nice accommodations, so I can definitely see us saving a lot of money in this category when we actually start booking our rooms.
Food = $630
Assuming we spend around $15 a day each on food, it would set the budget to around $30 per day. Based on what research I’ve done on the cost of food, this is much higher than what it would actually be, but it’s easier to budget higher for if we wanted to dine at more expensive restaurants throughout the trip. In total, food for the trip would come to around $630.
Experiences/Shopping = $1160
I don’t usually shop very often, mostly because I find the quality of the clothing for the cost isn’t worth it. I intend on spending more money while traveling than I would regularly because my money will go a lot farther in Thailand than it would in Canada. Zack is pretty much the same way and so we plan to go to Thailand with an almost empty suitcase and buy clothes while we’re there. We’re budgeting around $300 in spending money for clothes, but that’s very likely to change depending on what we find there.
Experiences are the most important part of any trip, and so it’s important that we budget quite a bit for them. There will be a lot of times where we’ll just be going on walks or swimming at the beach which won’t cost anything, but for the really special things we want to do there is a budget of around $860 for the trip.
Grand Total = $6370
So in total as of right now the costs are sitting at $6370 for a 3-week trip to Thailand, if you don’t include the main flights it only comes to about $3100 which makes it much more affordable assuming you live closer to Thailand than us or are able to get really cheap flights there. Costs are definitely over guess-timated and are likely to be much cheaper when we actually go. I’ll be putting up another post of what we actually spent on the trip once we get back, so we’ll see how it goes!
Are you planning any big trips soon, or trying to figure out costs of different things to do in Thailand? Let me know if you’ve had any issues trying to plan your trip or if you have any tips to help me with mine! Until next time, let’s blast off and explore together!