Bangkok Travel Guide

Bangkok is known around the world for its chaotic, crowded streets, cheap prices, wild nightlife, and never ending traffic. Most travelers either love or hate it. I used to hate it because of its pollution, noise, and crowds, but when I got to know it more, I changed my mind. The city is like an onion. It slowly reveals its secrets to those who spend a little extra time here. You’ll find that this seemingly ugly city has a lot of beauty. There’s not a lot for travelers “to do” here, but when you stay a little while, you see this isn’t a city of activities – it’s one of friends, food, drinks, and life. There’s a flow to it. I lived here in 2006, fell madly in love, and I’ve visited every year since! Let this travel guide show you there’s more to Thailand’s “City of Angels” than you think!

Typical Costs

Hostel prices – Dorm beds start at 90 THB, but nicer dorms in prime locations can cost up to 675 THB (which is a giant rip off). You’ll find a good selection of basic dorm rooms with 6-8 beds (with air-conditioning included) starting at 225 THB. Private rooms at these same type of hostels start at 500 THB. A better option, instead, is private rooms in small guesthouses, especially those in the backpacker area of Khao San Road, which start at 300 THB. Although there’s a growing hostel scene downtown, I find the rooms expensive – especially when you can get cheaper accommodation and meet more travelers on Khao San Road. 

Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels start around the 400-500 THB range per night and include hot water and private bathrooms. Quality varies greatly so be sure to look at the reviews online. Most hotels offer free WiFi and air-conditioning and many offer free breakfast as well.   As for Airbnb, you can find full apartments for rent at an average of 1,250 THB. Although not a budget option, Aloft Hotel is one of my favorite hotels to redeem Starwood points for.  Note: In this city, I recommend getting a private room in a hostel or a guesthouse over a cheap budget hotel room.

Average cost of food – In Bangkok, you can eat from the street vendors for as little as 30 THB per meal (i.e., soup, pad thai, fried rice, som tam, etc), purchase a bag of freshly cut fruit or Thai ice tea for 20 THB, or get a grilled chicken, rice, and som tam meal for 150 THB. Sit down restaurants begin at 50 THB per meal while Western food begins at around 100 THB and go as high as you want! If you’re eating downtown, expect a Western breakfast or lunch to cost between 150-200 THB. Many of the malls have huge (and popular) food courts where you can get a filling meal starting at 40 THB. Like the rest of Thailand, if you eat at the street markets like the locals, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than 200 THB a day on food (and maybe not even close to that).  For specific restaurant suggestions and more details on the local market, see the in-depth guide at the end of this article. When it comes to drinking, going to bars can become pricey with the cheapest beers costing about 60 THB each and cocktails sometimes cost double or triple that. Whereas actually buying beers from 7-Eleven to drink on the street can be 30 THB per can.

Transportation costs – Although city buses can be very crowded, they are convenient and inexpensive. For 10 THB on the non-air conditioned buses and 15 THB on the air-conditioned buses, you can travel pretty much anywhere in the city. The SkyTrain and Metro cost 15-50 THB per trip. You can get a day pass for 120 THB. Taxis throughout the city cost around 70-100 THB, and one from the airport to Khao San Road will set you back 300-500 THB. Alternatively, there’s a Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link Express that’s a 15-minute non-stop journey between the city and the airport, costing only 150 THB per trip.  Note: Transportation is Thailand is relatively easy to navigate as a non-Thai speaker, so just be sure you have a map with you and the name of where you’re going written down and you’ll be able to find your way with the help of some locals.

Suggested daily budget – 1080 THB / $30 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals or eating cheap street food, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

Money Saving Tips

Bangkok can be a pretty cheap city if you avoid the higher end or Western-influenced places. Sticking to the Thai places and cheap accommodation and you’ll be hard pressed to spend a lot of money but here are some ways to save money in Bangkok:

Top Things to See and Do in Bangkok


GO DEEPER: Nomadic Matt’s In-Depth Budget Guide to Bangkok!

For more in-depth information and tips, check out my detail digital guide to Bangkok (a city I used to call home). This guide is written for budget travelers like yourself – people who want to be more than tourists – and cuts out the fluff found in other guides while getting straight to the practical information you need to travel and save money. In this book, you’ll get all the above information plus detailed suggested itineraries and budgets, more ways to save money, more on and off the beaten path things to see and do, and all my favorite non-touristy restaurants, markets, hostels, bars, and more!! You’ll be able to save it to your phone, Kindle, or iPad and have it with you whenever you are. Just click here to learn more and get started.


Articles About Thailand

Booking Resources