21 Money Saving Tips in Thailand

How to save money in Thailand

21 Money Saving Tips in Thailand, it  is relatively cheap city to live if you can avoid the western influence areas and places. In the Thai local areas you will find cheap accommodation and cheaper food. It will be difficult to spend a lot of money in these areas rather the western areas.

Traveling around Thailand can be cheap, if you do some research

Avoid Western Food in Thailand

Western food can be expensive wherever you go, whether it be in a n American coffee shop, not mentioning any names. And that’s just the coffee, what about the food. You could probably have ten Thai meals for the price of one western meal. Nearly all-western food is imported at a great cost although the menus do change to incorporate a Asian influence. So the answer is don’t eat western food in Thailand.


Eat from the street stalls

Street food is great, very tasty and fresh and very cheap. You can have pad Thai or fried rice for only 30 THB. The locals eat the food so it must be good, not only is it the best food, but it is also the cheapest. You can get great food also at the night markets, the smell of the food is just great, and who could resist such temptations. You will find food for every palate, such as all kinds of meats and the desserts are just out of this world, beyond temptation.Thailand has some great food, probably some of the best in the world, so don’t miss out.


Make sure your taxi turns on the meter

Taxis are notorious for not using their meters; this is especially true at night and during busy times and at shopping malls. All taxis are required to use their meter and you can report them if they don’t. Thai taxis don’t want to be stuck in traffic so they try to up the price to compensate otherwise they could lose business. At night the problem is worse and people need to get home and maybe don’t want to wait so you will pay a premium for this.

Always ask for the meter to be turned on and if they refuse then get out of the taxi, if most people did this then there would be less of a problem in Thailand.


Negotiate with Tuk Tuk drivers

Tuk Tuk drivers do not have meters so make sure you fix the price beforehand. If you are not on the ball then the prices could be 3 times the price of a Taxi or if your new to Thailand and just of the Plane then could cost you ten times as much, you will always come across plenty of Tuk Tuks so you can fix your own price. It is good to get the experience of a Tuk Tuk, but it can be very hot, noisy and lots of pollution from the Tuk Tuk or other vehicles around you. Don’t get scammed by Tuk Tuk drivers wanting to take you to the jewellers or tailors for free, it will cost you in the long run and the Tuk Tuk driver will get petrol vouchers in return.


Use public transportation

Why not use the public transport system rather than using taxis. You can use the BTS system to get anywhere in Bangkok to save money. Or use the bus, which costs 10 THB instead of 130 Taxi fare for the same destination. Songthaews are great and a cheap form of transport, they tend to run a specific route with set fares. They can also be hired as a form of private transport. When crowded, luggage is placed on the roof, but can also be left in the aisle or stuffed under the seats.The public transport in Thailand is very good and quite cheap,so why not take advantage of it.


Take the boats In Bangkok

Boats are a great way to travel, with famous historic attractions, temples and the great architecture. You can explore the great canals of Bangkok and go back in time and view Bangkok from yesteryear. You will find lots of different boats, from express boats, taxis and Tail boats, you can travel up and down the Chao Phraya river, or even use the free crossings to various hotels and restaurants in Bangkok Thailand.


Avoid Preventable Money Charges

Bank charges can be quite expensive in Thailand and Your bank or card company will normally charge a flat fee for withdrawing money, if you make fewer and larger withdrawals you will save money. Also If you have to pay a fee for each time you exchange a Travelers Cheques or cash, then order larger denominations before you go.


Barter Over Prices

Bartering for some items is expected in Thailand. Anything from a market is fair game, but keep it real when trying to get an extra few baht discount. Room prices can be negotiated, especially in low season or for longer stays. Be aware that if you are the first customer then they must get a sale otherwise if could be bad luck for them for the rest of the day, please be aware of this as they may even make a small loss or just a small baht profit, please do not abuse this as they could lose face.


Motoring Regulations and fines

In Thailand it is quite normal to see road blocks at times when the police are out in force to fine you, so here are some tips. Always bring your international driving license with you and carry it with you when driving. I don’t have an international one but I still bring My European one. Always wear seat belts in cars and helmets on motorbikes, or you will likely get an on the spot fine. They do put roadblocks every so often, these are normally in the morning, and some say it is to pay for their lunch. You could always avoid the roadblock and turn off before hand as you can normally see the traffic and police lights ahead.


Obey the Local Laws

Foreigners in Thailand have been targeted outside shopping malls, normally the foreigner would smoke and then finish the cigarette and throw it on the floor, you will then be taken away and fined, if you disagree to the fine then they will take you to the local police station, Normally you would not see the litter signs and fines until they take you to their office. Smoking can seriously harm your wealth


Don’t Get Scammed or Robbed

Be aware as soon as step foot in Thailand from the arrivals lounge from your international flight you will be approached by many drivers asking you do you want a taxi and how far you are going. Suvarnabhumi International Airport, has its own area for Taxis, this is the best way to get a proper Taxi, and if they see a problem then they will wave on the taxi themselves, you also have a ticket which you can complain if you need to. Meters will normally always be used at the airport, but if not tell them to put it on or tell them you want to get out and report them. I have never had a problem at the airport, but it is a bit of a potluck whether you get a nice newer taxi or a very old car with the Air-conditioner not quite making it. I have always found the Airport taxi drivers very friendly and helpful.


Protect your valuables and cash

Try not to make yourself an easy target in more dangerous areas of Thailand. People can always tell that you have just arrived as you are not tanned or by the clothes that you are wearing. Be careful during the Songkran festival, you will get wet, your money will get wet and your camera and laptop will get wet, so if you are travelling during this time and going outside, you must put all your items in waterproof bags, and don’t forget to include your phone. Its great taking some pictures of all the fun, but when your phone is wet, you may need another phone, so protect it.


Booking accommodation

When you traveling to Thailand try not to book your accommodation all in one go, as once you get to know the different locations that you would like to stay then you can move to a different accommodation or hotel. You could have saved a lot on cheaper deals in even better locations and better hotel facilities. I tend to only book the first 1-2 nights at a hotel. As you may find that you hotel is not as nice as you think it was by looking at the photos and maps, or it is not in the right location or problems with Internet being in the reception area and not in your room.

After settling in a little I will search the Internet for the best deals, I normally search agoda.com and booking.com at a discounted price. Don’t be put off by the size of guesthouses, as the smaller guesthouses can be more comfortable stays and the owners usually look after you well.


Booking Travel Tours

There are literally hundreds of travel agent and tour-booking shops all over Bangkok and other cities in Thailand. Don’t book anything over the internet or through the hotel as you will be paying premium prices, You can checkout the prices first and then compare them.

Sometimes I like some of the tours but would not want to be rushed from one place to another, an alternative is a taxi may be willing to take you to different places at a price that is cheaper and you will have the taxi driver waiting for you. If there is only one of you this might not be the cheaper option but if there is 2-3 of you then you will save money. The Taxi driver is happy to sit around and get paid is half-day rate or whole day rate.

You can walk in to any shop and book whichever trip or tour you want to do. Most of the activities will have a van, which will pick you up in the morning and drop you off at your hotel afterwards if you decide not to do it yourself.

The Island tours in the South: Angthong National Marine Park, Phi-Phi Island, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan etc., these one day trips are great and it is fun to get to know others and having fun together do its always worthwhile, in these cases definitely go for packages that include pick up, lunches and activities. You can get different quotes from different travel shops.


Packing for Travel

I have wasted so much money going to shops in the UK buying shower gels, Shampoo’s, conditioners, toothpaste, sun cream and other items. I didn’t have to do this as I can get everything in Thailand and most cases it is cheaper in Asia. Don’t forget that when you travel from America or UK your luggage allowance is quite large but then later when you are traveling to another location, you are on a smaller flight and then the luggage allowance has almost halved. Also don’t bring your heavy clothing, you wont need it and clothing is so cheap in Markets in Thailand.


Use drinking water from filtered water dispensers

If you’re spending some time in one town, then keep an eye out for filtered water dispensers. Instead of buying 1.5 L or 6 L water containers from Tesco, FamilyMart, or 7-Eleven, and throwing away the empty plastic bottles. Save them when you’re finished and refill them with filtered water. If you drink tap water in Thailand you could end up with an upset stomach, the water could even come from a well, so go for the filtered water.

If your staying for some months and renting out a building then you can get your drinking water delivered in bottles or in larger plastic bottles from your local water company.


Thailand dual pricing

Thailand is very bad for charging the foreigners one price and then charging the locals another. In some places they would ask for the foreigners to walk one way and the locals to walk another. Reason for this is the locals did not pay to get inside but the foreigners had to queue and pay.

This is really annoying at times and other times it is warranted, even my wife gets annoyed when she has to pay a much cheaper price as in the UK we all pay the same. Other times I have now changed my mind, when it comes to temples, as I have found when a foreigner goes into a temple we may be eager taking photos and having a good look around. But the locals would be spending money on candles, incense and putting money in each pot, as they pray, where as the westerner would not in most cases. So in would become evident that the locals actually pay more than the westerner by not paying an entrance fee but will spend more once inside, this is part of their upbringing and belief. When it comes to other places like a zoo or national parks this can be annoying to the westerner, as back home it would not be allowed.


BUY BEER AT 7-ELEVEN or FamilyMart

It is far cheaper to go into the local 7-ELEVEN, FamilyMart stores to get your beers rather than going to the bars in Thailand.

A beer costs a lot cheaper in comparison to a restaurant and those beers can soon add up. You can sip your beer outside and take advantage of the cheap price and you may even bump into some locals.



Rent a Motorbike

Taking a Taxi or getting a Tuk Tuk or Songthaew can add up over time, so why not rent a motorbike, You will find that over time it will work out a lot cheaper and you wont have to wait around. Be aware to not hand in your passport when doing this and if there is any damage to the motorbike beforehand then make sure you take photos of these. There are scams around Motorbikes to please be aware of them in Thailand.


Don’t have toTip

It is not customary to tip in Thailand, unless you are in a high-class western restaurant then this may be expected. As it is not expected then just be very nice to them instead, My wife would prefer to give some money for the poor or disabled instead that may be sitting outside the restaurant or nearby. But you don’t have to tip or if you do decide to tip, then you don’t need to tip that much.


Setting yourself a Budget

And the last advice to you is to make yourself a budget, be it a daily, weekly or monthly budget. If you don’t control; your finances, you could easily run out of money if you don’t budget your finances. Its easy to think that you are on holiday and take a trip to another country and another city, but make sure you have enough money coming in to cover the costs.

So if you are a freelancer, sometimes you may have money coming in and at other times the money could just dry up, so take care and live within your means until you have enough income from different income streams to cover your finances so remember to always budget. Remember all your bills and the bills that may come every quarter that you might forget about. It might be best to do a spreadsheet of all your normal outgoing expenses whilst your staying in Thailand.




So in summary here is the list of 21 Tips that will save you money in Thailand, although some of these tips you could possible use across Asia.


  1. Avoid Western Foods

  2. Eat from the street stalls

  3. Make sure your taxi turns on the meter

  4. Negotiate with Tuk Tuk drivers

  5. Use public transportation

  6. Take the boats In Bangkok

  7. Avoid Preventable Money Charges

  8. Barter Over Prices

  9. Motoring Regulations and fines

  10. Obey the Local Laws

  11. Don’t Get Scammed or Robbed

  12. Protect your valuables and cash

  13. Booking accommodation

  14. Booking Travel Tours

  15. Packing for Travel

  16. Use filtered water dispensers

  17. Thailand dual pricing

  18. BUY BEER AT 7-ELEVEN or FamilyMart

  19. Rent a Motorbike

  20. don’t Tip

  21. Setting yourself a Budget