Thailand Budget

Thailand Budget

Our trip to Thailand was the longest we have taken thus far. And therefore, coming up with a Thailand budget was more difficult for us. Especially taking into account how much was on our bucket list for the country! Seriously guys, you could spend months here and still not see all of the attractions or participate in all of the adventurous activities they have to offer. To see what we did you can check out our adventures page here. Taking into account that we had activities such as visiting elephants, tigers, going rock climbing, scuba diving and zip lining, we had an idea that if we set our Thailand budget for under $5,000 we would be doing really well and it would give us plenty of leeway for all of the activities the country had to offer. So you can imagine our surprise (and excitement) when we came in way under budget! As with every trip, tickets are always the top determining factor of the budget. Luckily for us, they’re not too outrageous from Korea. You can book tickets to Thailand here.
The Thailand budget below is for 13 nights and 14 days and reflects the price for both my husband and I.

Thailand Budget

Our Little Piece of Paradise

Other than Chiang Mai, Railay Beach was our favorite spot in Thailand. Located on a peninsula in the South of Thailand, Railay acts like an island since there are no roads leading in or out of the area due to the large un-drillable limestone rocks that surround it. Everything and everyone must come by boat. We took a ferry from Phi Phi Island to Railay Beach with the hopes of rock climbing and cave exploring, both of which are highly popular in this area. We were not disappointed and as we approached the beach, we could see why this place was so popular.

railay beach thailand
While we were there we:
 
Hiked to the view point. There was also a lagoon on top of the mountain but we were told by some disgruntled tourists that it was currently a muddy pit so we turned back. (we’ve heard to go during high tide and it’s beautiful)
railay beach lookout thailand

 Enjoyed the cave scenes on the beach.

railay beach thailand

 Watched two dudes decrease each other’s brain cells.

thai boxing railay beach thailand

 Bought some food from a boat.

long tail boats railay beach thailand

 Climbed through a cave in the pitch black…

exploring caves in railay beach thailand

 Up old bamboo ladders…

cave exploring in railay beach thailand

 Through caves….

cave exploring in railay beach thailand

 To get to a view like this.

rock climbing in railay beach thailand

 Took a sailboat…

deep water solo in railay beach thailand

 To this place…

deep water solo in railay beach thailand
To go rock climbing…
deep water solo in railay beach thailand

 Then jumped!

deep water solo in railay beach thailand

 Celebrated Valentine’s Day with a lantern…

lanterns in thailand

 That crashed the first time…we eventually got it to float away.

lanterns in thailand

 Enjoyed drinks on the beach and made fun of hubs major farmer tan.

drinks on the beach in railay beach thailand

 Found some pretty amazing beach front restaurants

restaurant on the beach in railay beach thailand

 And the best cashew chicken I’ve ever tasted.

restaurants in railay beach thailand

 And ended every night enjoying the sunset and dreaming about living on a sailboat.

sunset in railay beach thailand

Is it time to go back yet??

An Island Getaway

After the hustle and bustle of being in cities during our first week in Thailand, we decided that we needed a break and headed down south to soak up the sun, do some diving and well…do absolutely nothing. Just a little island getaway. Like I’ve mentioned before, hubs and I are extremely a.d.d. when it comes to vacationing and while the plan was to spend our days on the beach, that didn’t happen for very long. My pale skin is proof of that.

After hopping on a plane from Chiang Mai to Phuket, we caught a ferry boat that would take us to Phi Phi Island. We heard very mixed reviews of the small island, but mostly that it had gorgeous beaches and a very lively (aka loud) party scene. We weren’t too worried because the hotel that we had found were small bungalows located on a hillside up from the water and about a ten minute boat ride (there were free shuttles through the hotel) or 20 minute walk from town. We figured that we would be far enough away from the bar scene that we wouldn’t be able to hear it. Wrong. Oh so wrong. While it didn’t stop us from getting a good night sleep, loud bumping music could still be heard on the other side of the cove.

phi phi island thailand
View from our room
We decided that with Phi Phi, we would go low maintenance and focus on the experience instead. So with no air conditioner and no hot water we ‘roughed it’ on this little island getaway. It actually worked out a lot better than I expected. We weren’t there during the day so we had little need for the air conditioner since the sea breeze at night cooled us down plenty. And we were so hot in the morning before we left that the ‘only cold’ water option felt great! The only problem were the bugs that seemed to love our room.
There were also monkeys in the forest that we were in which we could see on the dirt path that led to town. One night, after we were all settled inside our mosquito net, with all the doors open and fast asleep, we both woke with a startle. In a matter of minutes, while I scanned unsuccessfully around the pitch black room, I was convinced that there was a monkey inside the room. Just a side note, I’m not a huge fan of monkeys. While they’re cute to look at, I’ve seen too many of them try to attack people to think that they’re harmless. Thank goodness for brave husbands that go and check for vicious monkeys in the dark. Even though he found nothing, I still wasn’t convinced and had a hard time sleeping as I imagined what our torn apart room would look like in the morning…that ocean breeze can sure do wonders with plastic bags and creaky doors.
keep it simple in phi phi island thailand
Our bungalow getaway on a hill.
thai sunset
View from the hotel shore.
phi phi island
long tail boats thailand
One of our first nights on the island (we spent a total of two nights, three days there) we ventured into town to grab a drink and sit on the beach. They have awesome beach front bars there with bean bags to sit on in the sand while you watch the sunset and sip away on a bucket. Yup, a bucket. They have these sand castle bucket stands on the streets and also in bars. They have a variety of options and often include liquor, energy drinks or soda. When you choose which one you want, they simply pour everything inside and add a straw. Dangerous…but delicious.
bucket drinks thailand
via
Every bar also had fire shows at night. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the nightlife because I have never seen anything like it. These guys went crazy walking up and down the beaches doing tricks with their fire staffs and almost throwing sparks into the crowd. I guess that’s why they want you to buy a bucket first, so you won’t care so much if sparks of fire come hurling towards you…
fire show thailand
Before we left on the last day we took a hike up the tallest point of the island. From here you could see the entirety of the island. To get here, there were steep stairs all the way up the mountainside with hotels on either side. I’m so glad that we didn’t have to do the stair master to get to and from our hotel every day. Even though it may have not been a bad idea with the amount of pad thai and roti pancakes that we were having on a daily basis.
This area is also the evacuation route in case of a tsunami. They had before and after pictures at the top from the last tsunami and it really hit home just how much of this island was washed away. If you haven’t seen the movie The Impossible or the documentary, Tsunami Caught on Tape I would highly recommend it. It will leave you in tears but it does such a great job at portraying not only the horror of Mother Nature but also the compassion of people as they risk their lives to save perfect strangers.
phi phi island lookout
Overall we’re really glad that we went because it’s a beautiful island but we probably wouldn’t go back again. As great of a place that it is for scuba diving, relaxing on the beach and also doing a bit of hiking, the town itself is overly crowded with tourists there for a drinking holiday. Fun for some, but just not our style as we’re attracted to more of a laid back, not as touristy sort of feel.

 

The Open Road

For our last adventure in Chiang Mai, we decided to follow a friends advice and take a motorbike ride around the Samoeng Loop, around the mountains surrounding the city. Renting a motorbike in general was one of the best decisions we made during our stay in Chiang Mai. For just 200 baht a day (roughly $7.00) we could rent a motorbike, versus taking taxis or tuk tuks which often came in around the same price per day if not higher. The advantage of the motorbike was that we saved money and we also saved the hassle of having to track down transportation and then haggle with them about a fair price.

samoeng loop chiang mai
Samoeng Loop

We left early in the morning and planned to spend the whole day making our way around the Samoeng Loop and also making pit stops along the way at local attractions. Along the trip we:

Saw elephants! Ok, this was my favorite moment by far. You know how much I love elephants. Well, when we were riding along, I looked over and spotted elephants from a distance. I may or may not have yelled in hubs ears that I saw elephants and that we should pull over. I blame the road noise, I had to yell. It seemed like we had stumbled upon the back entrance to one of the elephant conservation parks where they kept the momma elephants and new babies.

patara elephant farm
We made sure to keep our distance but the curious little one kept getting closer and closer. As tempted as I was to see how close he would get, I did not want to see how fast the momma elephant could rip through her chain, so we left.
thai elephants
We headed back up towards the road to sit and watch as one of the workers hosed down both mom and baby.
thai elephants

Enjoyed the gorgeous roadside views.

Samoeng Loop
Played in the Mae Sa Waterfalls. This place was awesome to spend a few hours hiking and swimming in some of the waterfall pools. There are a series of around 10 different waterfalls, all on the same inclined hiking path. The lower ones are safe for families to swim in while the higher ones just offer great views but faster moving water. Notice how hubs shorts are wet? Yea, that’s what happens when you’re not careful on slippery rocks.
Mae Sa Waterfalls
Mae Sa Waterfalls

Found some choice words at local temples

thai temples
Saw old and new collide. TIP: the red truck is a mix between a taxi and bus. In the back there are just two long benches where people pile in and it makes pit stops along the route dropping people off. It can take longer depending on who else is in there with you and where they are going but can save money.
motorbike rental thailand
streets of thailand
We’re so glad that we rented a bike for our stay in Chiang Mai. We loved the ease of it (even though there were times when the driving and traffic were a little scary!) and also being able to see so much more of the city and the country side. It was the perfect end to our favorite city.
motorbike rental in thailand

A Place to Rest Your Head & Stuff Your Face

Those are the two most important things on a trip right? While hotels don’t make or break a trip for us, it’s always an added perk when we actually look forward to going back to our room at night (because trust me, we’ve had many a times in our budget traveling that we tried to spend as much time out of the room as possible). Thankfully Chiang Mai was not one of those times.

We typically gravitate away from large chains when we travel and instead look for small, locally run boutique hotels. We feel that we can get to know the hotel staff more personally and not be as segregated from the culture of the country we are visiting. In Chiang Mai we really lucked out in this department because Qi68 was by far my favorite hotel we have stayed at. The owner Qi really makes this place stand out. He goes out of his way to help the guests make the most out of their stay in Thailand by helping find unique restaurants in the area and help book local day trips. And that’s not even the best part. Qi also makes some of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten. Every morning, hubs would turn to me and ask if I could replicate it back home. The answer was always ‘I wish, dear.’ because each dish served every morning was so unique and different. I wish I would have grabbed some photos of them but it was gone before the thought ever crossed my mind!

Qi68 chiang mai thailand
This six room guesthouse’s ambiance is so peaceful and every element and piece of furniture was handpicked by Qi and his father when they built it. Staying here was one of the many highlights from our trip to Chiang Mai and we wouldn’t hesitate staying there again when we visit.
stay at Qi68 in chiang mai thailand

Another one of our favorite things about Chiang Mai was the food! No surprises there. We loved walking around the small backstreets and deciding where we would try next. The only trouble was deciding where to eat since the streets are often lined with unique little spots.
Among our favorites was the outdoor stands located at the night bazaar (good food to give you energy for some good bargaining). We went around from stand to stand collecting little parts of a meal (pad thai, Thai tea, dumplings) before we sat down at the little plastic tables in the middle of the square and dug in.

night market in chiang mai thailand

Here are some more of our favorite restaurants to try and what we loved there:
Rachadamneon-Green Curry
Ms. Cornery-Fish and Chips
The Corner Restaurant- Banana Egg Rolls (our favorite dessert along with the roti pancakes!)
The Good View- this was our favorite restaurant. It’s located just north of the Nawarat Bridge. Not only was the food great but the views of the river were spectacular and they even had live music at night. I recommend getting the green curry and the Thai tea.

where to eat in chiang mai