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Summer 2016

Thailand on a Budget

Amazing beaches, delicious food, and affordable prices; Bangkok, Thailand has everything you want and more at an affordable price. Some people travel off as little as $30 ($1 converts to about 30 to 35 THB) per day. 

The methods of transportation you use can easily cut down on travel time and cost. Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) and Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) stations are among the most tourist-friendly and reasonably-priced methods of transportation in Bangkok, with prices ranging from 15–25 THB (less than $1) per one-way ticket. In addition to the MRT and BTS, other affordable means of transportation include taxis, tuk-tuks, public buses, and motorcycle taxis.

Tuk-tuks are the way to travel in Thailand. Photo by Stacy MacKay www.mackayphotographystudio.comPay specific attention to hotels which are in close proximity to main transportation hubs, such as BTS and MRT stations. Many hotels will also arrange transportation services for you at reasonable prices. Silom Embassy Row and the Sukhamvit are promising areas for affordable hotels, with May through September being the cheapest season. Remember to always check customer ratings on a reputable site before booking your room.

Cultural attractions are a “must see” in Thailand; this encompasses Buddhist “wats” or temples. The most frequented temples are Wat Phra Gaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn, which also has a spectacular view of Bangkok). These three prominent temples are accessible by long boat along the Chao Phraya River and are renowned for their architectural beauty and unique historical significance. While in the area, be sure to visit Dusit Zoo and the Parliament House which encases many of Thailand’s royal treasures and art.

When planning your trip to Thailand, don’t forget to budget shopping money. Chatuchack, Pratunam, and Talin Chin Markets are high-energy places with cheap souvenirs and food. Whether you are looking for traditional tourist souvenirs such as shirts and keychains, or for the more unique souvenirs such as homemade crafts, traditional clothing, or fine china, these markets are sure to have what you are looking for! Terminal 21, Siam Paragon, and Central World (popular shopping malls) may be out of your price range, but even window shopping can be a quality experience.

Child wearing traditional Thai clothing. Photo by Stacy MacKay www.mackayphotographystudio.comDelicious, authentic, and cheap Thai food can be purchased from street vendors. Thai food is a cross between Chinese and Indian food, with variations of curries, stir-fries, and noodle soups. Thai people also pride their food on touching all five flavors: spicy, bitter, sweet, salty, and sour. Areas such as Chinatown, Banglamphu, and Sukumvhit Soi 38 are known for their street food. To get the best (and safest) food for your money, go where the native Thais go, eat only food that was made to order, and avoid vendors near tourist places (e.g., shopping malls). Generally prices range anywhere between 30 to 40 THB ($1 to $1.50) per meal for good street food. Talk about the best dollar ever spent!

Your ideal trip to Thailand doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little research and planning, a destination vacation is within your reach, regardless of your budget.

Amber Norrell