When people think of Thailand they automatically dream of the tropical beaches, opulent temples and figures of Buddha. As they dream, they will most likely think that Southeast Asia would cost them a fortune to visit. The idea that Thailand is just a dream to visit is a huge misconception! It is actually a super affordable country to visit. Food and flights from destination to destination are all really cheap and it is also worth mentioning that you can stay in some 4+ star hotels spending the same amount that you would to stay in a hostel. If you really wanted to “ball out” you could stay in some gorgeous 5 star locations with infinity pools for less than $200 a night! Here is the budget break down of our trip:

Flight from San Francisco, CA to Bangkok: $440 ROUND TRIP

(Purchased all flights from

We did have a long layover on the way back but it gave us the opportunity to check out Shanghai for the night. We ended up staying in a cave room from I had a free night’s stay with my rewards. The hotel is called Moonlo Hotel. It was such a neat experience to be able to sleep in their secret cave room. I highly recommend this hotel!

First Stop: Bangkok

Although Bangkok is the primary stop in to Thailand for international flights, I recommend not staying there for long. Bangkok is muggy, dirty and does not have much to offer. We stayed at the A1 Boutique, which was a cute stay. They had a really nice gym and pool. We paid $94 for two nights split between two people. I had booked the room for two nights since we did not arrive until late Saturday night/early Sunday Monday.

We spent the day catching up on rest. We went to the well known counterfeit MBK mall. I came back with a Louis Vuitton duffle bag, purse, wallet, Yeezy shoes and a Michael Kors watch all for under $160. These items would have costed me thousands of dollars in America and you honestly cannot tell the difference if they are real or not.

That night we were ready to hit the town. We went to the infamous Khao San Road which is a backpackers/travel hub which is jam packed with vendors, bars and nightlife. You’ll find all sorts of creepy crawlers to eat here, if you dare. I paid the 5 cents the vendor charges to take a photo of the stand. You can eat scorpions, spiders, snake, centipedes and more. People often will eat them if they lost a bet or they’re just plain drunk & wild. I recommend the street food as it is dirt cheap. Pad Thai will sell for only $1. However, be careful that the street food is surrounded by other vendors and is in a well-lit and generally clean area. For example, if you see a single street vendor on a street with random cats walking around, you probably shouldn’t eat there. You will also see many ladyboys, signs for a vagina “ping pong show”, and outlandish vendors selling other eccentric meat including a whole crocodile display. The best part is you can get a bucket of alcohol for only 150 baht, which is about $4.80. In America, one drink would cost you double that. We also saw a guy crawl on his hands and knees throughout the road. He must have lost some sort of bet. The music was bumpin and it was a good time to say the least!

When you go back to your hotel, ride a Tuk Tuk – an open air taxi. Although the driver whisks through the streets, it is a fun experience you don’t want to miss out on. Be mindful of taxi drivers that will not turn on their meters. Everything in Thailand is negotiable. Before you enter the Taxi (or purchase anything really) ask them to turn on their meter, if they won’t DO NOT GET IN THE TAXI. They will charge you triple than what the actual cost is. It is best to wait around for the taxi that will turn on the meter.

The next day, we traveled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Cost: $34

We stayed at the Kiree Thara Boutique Resort, which I do not recommend but will include the link anyway.

We paid $128 for two nights split between two people. The hotel is way out of the way of the main downtown area. We tried to cancel but it was nonrefundable. In exchange, they offered us a shuttle to downtown and they upgraded our room. We ate lunch, explored some of the temples and got a massage. Thai massages are only $6 for one hour. We got one almost every day. When we returned, I found ants all in our bags. We switched rooms only to find more ants and even a massive cockroach in the bathroom.

There are two musts in Chiang Mai. First is the Nimnam area, which has the cutest shopping and coffee shops. The second is the elephant sanctuaries! NEVER EVER RIDE THE ELEPHANTS. This practice is considered unethical. We found a place called the Elephant Sanctuary. If you book on their site, it is $50 a person just for the elephant sanctuary but we went with a driver who charged us $50 each to drive us around the whole day. The driver took us to several temples including the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Elephant Sanctuary and then took us to swim at the Huay Kaew Waterfall. Negotiate with companies and drivers to book an all day excursion like we did.

The Elephant Sanctuary was absolutely magical. You got to feed the elephants and then wash them in the river (which wasn’t the most cleanly thing to do but a good experience). The baby elephants know how to give you a kiss on the cheek and can even put your hat on your head.

Our last day in Chiang Mai, we participated in a cooking class at Asia Scenic Thai Cooking Class. The class was only $20 and we cooked a ton of food. We bought the cooking class here

After walking to the local market to pick up fresh ingredients, you’re guided to cook several delicious dishes. Sexy Sue was our instructor and she was amazing! After our class, we bar hopped with some of the other cooking students. It was a great way to make new friends.

That night we flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket. Cost: $77

We stayed at Naina Resort & Spa for one night for $72 split between two people. We ended up switching rooms the next night because our bed was so uncomfortable and our rooms were placed in a way where you could hear the housekeeping walk by with their carts every 30 mins. The hotel was about 45 mins away from the airport in Patong but taxis are ridiculously cheap. It was Thanksgiving Day while we were in Patong. We wanted to eat a proper Thanksgiving meal but ended up laying at the beach all day instead and slept through dinner. We decided Patong/Phuket wasn’t all that special and went on a whim to take the ferry to Koh Phi Phi. Ferry Cost: $10

Koh Phi Phi is what I imagined Thailand to be. The turquoise waters and white sand were a dream come true. We took the loss for the other night of the hotel in Patong and booked an AirBnB in the cutest bungalow. There were monkeys all over the island. The fastest way to get from one side of the island to the other was with a taxi boat. If you have the chance to visit Koh Phi Phi, you must go to the fire show. The fire dancers are spectacular and will leave you on the edge of your seat. The island also has some pretty awesome nightlife. We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning dancing at the beach clubs.

We had planned to drive from Phuket to our next destination, Krabi, but now that we were on Koh Phi Phi, we just took the ferry straight to Krabi. Cost: $15.

We stayed at the BlueSotel Krabi Ao Nang Hotel. They give you a cute blue refreshing drink upon arrival. They even have a swim up bar! I highly recommend this hotel. It is even walking distance to the beach. We paid $135 for two nights split between two people.

When in Krabi, I recommend going to Raleigh Beach. It is only accessible by taxi boat. It is the most breathtaking beach that we saw in Thailand.

As our trip came to a close, we flew back to Bangkok to head home. Flight Cost: $53

Other costs:

Alcohol: $125 (make sure you negotiate prices, if they’re trying to charge American prices $10 a drink, then go somewhere else or check out a 7/11 instead)

Food: For the whole week, we probably only spent about $100 in food. Many restaurants will try to charge for American prices but indulge in street food or check out the 7/11’s. They surprisingly have the best fast food.

Total Cost:  $1300

This price includes hotels, flights, food, alcohol, shopping and all activities. Your price could fluctuate based on the activities and shopping you choose.

Do you have any budget travel tips? Comment below!