HOW EXPENSIVE IS THAILAND
Thailand - the first foreign destination country that comes to most of the average Indian's mind. No doubt, the fares to Thailand are quite cheap - in some cases, even cheaper than a domestic destination. However, there are a few things that you must keep in mind while travelling there. If you don't take care, then you are going to spend in lakhs, trust me ! Thailand is cheap only to people who knows how to travel.
Let's read on....
1. FLIGHT TICKETS
It is normally seen that fares to Thailand - be it Bangkok or Phuket is cheaper from Kolkata. It's obvious, because Kolkata is at the shortest distance. It hardly tales a couple of hours to reach Bangkok. Do your flight bookings at least 3-4 months in advance. Prices during November-February may be on the higher side because that's the prime time for travel there. You can get lower fares in the lean months i.e in the months of July and August. However, keep in mind that it's the rainy season during that time. If it rains, your plans of visiting the beach will be gone. Thus, plan during the leaner months only if you don't have sufficient money with you. Lost Cost flights from Kolkata - Bangkok may be available for as low as INR 4000- INR 5000 per person one way. Just keep in mind that these low cost flights do not allow any luggage for free. They only allow 7 kg as cabin bag and if you are carrying any luggage, you must pay for that. It's cheaper if you purchase the luggage during the time of booking tickets. If you book later, the price increases. The most exorbitant rates are while paying at the airport, so beware!
Next comes accommodation. Budget hotels and hostels are available but you have to search for it. The country is relatively safe, you don't need to worry about the area that you should book your hotel - but bad elements can be anywhere. So, always use your own wisdom and judgement while doing anything. The safety rules applies everywhere - Avoid isolated areas at late night, do not show your money too much and do not wear anything costly and flashy. You should be fine if you follow these rules.
Hostels are available for as low as Rs 300 per night per bunk bed in a dormitory. Budget hotels are available for around Rs 3000 or so per night. And luxury hotels price per night can go through the roof. AirBnB is illegal in Thailand. Actually, it's a grey area. You will get many hosts advertising their apartments in AirBnB but i will recommend that you book a hotel instead. No use taking risks as your visa may get cancelled due to all these. I had stayed at 1 Sabai hostel in Bangkok when I went there. It was an average normal hostel. If you like parties and loud music at night, then you can book party hostels like Slumber Party Hostel etc. I had booked a single room in the hostel. Price was about INR 1000 per night and it was located in a good area - just about 10-15 minutes walk from the famous Terminal 21 shopping mall. Thus, as a bachelor, it is recommended for you to stay in a hostel for around INR 300 - INR 500 per night. But, if you are going as a family, then either take a single room in a hostel or take a room in a hotel as your budget may be. Expect to spend anywhere between INR 3000 to INR 10,000 per night for hotels in Bangkok.
Hotel prices are almost the same in other places like Krabi, Phuket, Pattaya etc. One important thing is that hotels near beaches generally tend to cost more. I had stayed at WAKE UP AONANG in Krabi and THE MINOTEL in Phuket. Both the hotels are budget hotels, breakfast was not included and everything was average.
Public transportation like metro is available in Bangkok. However, it is not available in other popular places like Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi etc. In those cases, you have to rely on the local cabs and tuk-tuk for your transportation. Please keep in mind that these local cabs and tuk-tuks charge a lot and you have to bargain hard. Whenever a taxi driver sees a foreigner, he refuses to start the meter and just says a flat fee. Be aware of this as taxi haggling is prohibited. Grab Cab is available in Bangkok but are very limited in other areas and you will have to depend on local taxis only. Another good tip is to just rent a bike which is considerably cheaper. Be sure to have an International Driver's Permit with you at all times as I had seen the cops catching foreigners in Phuket for lack of valid documents. Taxi charges are not cheap but are not astronomical either. Expect it to be around double the price than in India. One good thing is that the cars are quite good, clean and luxurious compared to the cars that we get while booking a cab in India. Remember that Thai drivers cannot speak fluent English. It is advisable for you to download an offline translation app like Google Translate so that you can communicate with the driver through the app if required.
Food prices in fine dining restaurants and other restaurants is costly. Expect the prices to be at least 2-3 times the prices of India for the same standard and category of restaurant. Street food is also another option which you can consider. It is a little less costly but one issue is that there is a strong pungent smell of fish oil - one which may not be appealing for the average traveller who is not used to such kind of food. Another option is to have food at multinational fast food chains like Mc Donald's, KFC, Burger King etc whose prices are slightly higher than the prices in India. Keep in mind that no restaurant serves free water, so it is advisable to take a bottle from your hotel or buy one in the restaurant. Do not drink tap water in Thailand as it is not recommended. You can also buy instant noodles and other packaged food from the supermarkets.
If you are comfortable with the huge number of South East Asian food that Thailand offers, you will surely be in for a treat. There are streets like Khaosan road which serves several varieties of food that you can eat. Apart from the restaurants, there are a lot of pubs and cafes where you can chill out to the maximum. Several eateries are available 24/7, so there are no worries in case you reach late from somewhere.
5. ATTRACTION PRICES
There are many attractions which you can visit while at Thailand. Some places to visit while at Bangkok include but not limited to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise, Sea Life Bangkok, Soi Cowboy, Bangkok Safari and Marine Park etc. Places to visit in Phuket are FantaSea, Simon Cabaret Show, Big Buddha, Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Bangla Road, Trick Eye Museum etc.
Price of admission to these attractions depends from FREE to more than INR 4000 per ticket. It is generally seen that most of the attractions charges at least INR 1500 for a single person. Thus,it can safely be said that attraction ticket prices eat up a lot of budget from the trip. In case you are short of money, then try to visit the places which are free like the beautiful beaches etc.
A little planning here and there can save a lot of money while travelling. Thailand is a great country to visit. The country is quite clean. However, a small problem is the huge traffic jams in Bangkok. You have to plan your day in Bangkok by taking into account the time that you will spend in the traffic jams. Other than that, everything is good.
Recommended Days to stay in Bangkok: 3 days
Recommended Days to stay in Phuket: 5 days
Recommended Days to stay in Krabi: 2 days
Recommended Days to stay in Pattaya: 2 days
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