Backpacking in Thailand

One of the biggest concerns that backpackers have when they are planning to visit a certain country is whether or not they will be able to explore that country on a backpacker’s budget. Well, as long as you have decided to go backpacking in Thailand, money is one thing that you need not be worried about!

Now when I say you need not be worried about money the point I am trying to make is that Thailand is an extremely cheap (solely in terms of money) country to visit. People from Asian countries such as Malaysia, India, China, and Cambodia find Thailand cheap so if you’re from USA or one of the European countries then Thailand is literally going to be a backpacker’s haven for you.

Backpacking Destinations in Thailand

1. The vibrant city of Bangkok:
No matter where else your backpacking adventures take you in Thailand, Bangkok is one city that simply cannot be missed! Not only is it the best city from where you can get easy connections to all other destinations within Thailand, but the city of Bangkok in itself is a tourist paradise. Here are some backpacking tips for this remarkable destination:

  • A bus is the cheapest way of getting into the city from the international airport that is about 30 km away. The public bus will cost you no more than $1.50 to get into the heart of Bangkok city, whereas the airport express bus will cost you about $5.
  • The most popular areas for backpackers in Bangkok are Khao San road and Banglamphu. You can get a single room in these areas for as less as $10, but these are facilities with the bare minimum. Slightly better places that are ideal for backpackers will cost between $20 and $30.
  • Food in Thailand, including in the capital city of Bangkok, is so cheap that you will be amazed at the prices. Thai food will only cost you $3 to $4 for each meal and the food is something to relish. Stay away from European or continental food as it costs a great deal more and is not half as tasty as Thai food.
  • Travelling within Bangkok is very convenient thanks to the different types of public transports systems. You can take your pick from buses, taxis, tuk tuks, the skytrain, or the BTS train network. While taxis are considered to be the most expensive way of getting around, the minimum fare for flagging a taxi is just over $1 which is not expensive by any means. However, the bus is a great way to see the unexplored side of Bangkok city and is friendlier on the backpacker’s pocket.
  • You simply cannot leave Bangkok without getting a wonderful Thai massage. Whether you want a simple foot massage or the traditional Thai massage, there are great places where you can get them. Expect to pay about $10 for a massage, which is extremely feasible even on a backpacker’s budget. And the amount of walking around you are likely to do in Bangkok, you’re definitely going to need a massage at the end of the day!

2. The lively personality of Chiang Mai:
If ever you could use the term ‘lively personality’ with regards to a city, it has to be the city of Chiang Mai. This is the second most popular destination in Thailand after Bangkok and is as much a backpacker’s paradise as the capital city. Here are some backpacking tips for this awesome destination:

  • Bangkok is connected to Chiang Mai by air, rail, and road. A bus will take you about 10 hours from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Although it is not the most luxurious way to travel, it is certainly satisfactory and economical. The train network too connects this city with most of the major cities in Thailand. Air Asia flies from Bangkok to Chiang Mai so if you’re really lucky you could get some cheap seats.
  • If you are willing to share a dorm with fellow backpackers, spending a night in this city will cost you a mere $3. However, if you want a decent room all to yourself, expect to pay around $10. In addition to being really cheap, most rooms in Chiang Mai are basic but clean.
  • Food too is really cheap in Chiang Mai as it is in most parts of Thailand. You can easily have all 3 meals in a day for about $10. In addition to Thai food, Chiang Mai is quite famous for its Burmese and Vietnamese cuisines too.
  • Backpackers looking for some exciting nightlife will not be disappointed in Chiang Mai. Most bars have cheap food and drinks and the live music is sure to get your feet tapping! The night bazaars too are a great source of entertainment in the nights.
  • The best part about this destination is that it offers different types of activities for backpackers. Starting from hiking, to rafting, caving, visiting village tribes and bathing under waterfalls – Chiang Mai has it all. Elephant riding is one activity that backpackers truly enjoy. However, make sure you look at different tours to find the best price and do not settle on the first operator you come across. Bargaining usually helps to bring the costs down for most activities.

3. Moon parties at Koh Phangan:
Even though Koh Phangan is a great destination with sandy beaches and amazing natural beauty, the main reason why it is extremely popular is because of the wild moon parties that take place in Koh Phangan! Once every month on the Full Moon day, these parties take place all over the city and truly rock it! Therefore, if Koh Phangan is on your backpacker’s itinerary (and it should be), make sure you’re there during the full moon. Getting to this destination from Bangkok is possible by road and rail. The nearest airport is at Koh Samui from where it is a short one hour ferry ride to Koh Phangan.

Best Bangkok Hotels for Backpackers

While most backpacker accommodations are basic, clean and cheap, there are many hotels in Bangkok that offer amazing facilities such as a swimming pool, good dining options, massage parlors, and free internet without breaking the bank. The top 3 such hotels for backpackers that cost less than $50 a night in Bangkok are:

  • Take A Nap Hotel
  • Baiyoke Boutique Hotel
  • Baan Silom

One trip to amazing Thailand will keep you hooked forever, even if you do explore it in backpacker style!