Thailand is quickly becoming the go-to destination for budget-conscious travelers thanks to cheap accommodations, delicious eats, and spectacular scenery. It’s easily one of the most affordable destinations in the world and offers great bang for your buck, which is why it needs to be on your must-see list before you die. Here are some tips for maximizing your dollar in this wonderful country, along with a few ideas on places you might want to see.
First and foremost, you have to get to Thailand before you can enjoy the area’s remarkable culture, which is the most expensive portion of the trip. Flying from America to Southeast Asia is a long voyage, so be prepared to throw down between $1,500 and $2,000 for a round-trip ticket. If you head there during the low season, which occurs from roughly April to October, you might be able to save a few hundred bucks on the journey. Don’t worry, though, the weather is still pretty fantastic all year long even if they do have occasional bouts of rain.
Passport and visa
Thailand has some pretty strict rules for visitors compared with other countries around the world, the reason for this being many people end up loving the country so much they don’t want to leave!
Due to this, Thailand requires anyone wishing to be in the country for more than 30 days to acquire a tourist visa. You can do so by applying at the Thai embassy nearest you. The fee is roughly $30 to $40 depending on where you apply, but if you plan on staying in the country for less than 30 days, you needn’t be concerned with this at all; you just need your passport and proof of your return flight out of Thailand, and they’ll let you in.
A U.S. passport will cost you $110.
Forget about $50 hotel rooms; in Thailand you can find a place to rest your head for as little as $3 a night! Hard to believe, right? Of course, on the flip side you can also find plenty of expensive resorts running you upward of $200 for the pleasure of having a place to stay. It all depends on your budget and your needs.
For money-conscious travelers, there are plenty of resorts along the coasts where you can stay comfortably for roughly $20 a day, so let’s set that as your goal. You’re going to spend hardly any time indoors anyway, so there’s really no need to blow all your cash on pricey accommodations with the beach at your backdoor.
Bangkok is one of those cities people love to hate, and hate to love. It’s messy, crowded, and in some areas even a little dirty. However, it’s also a sprawling work of art that’s ripe with culture and unique sights you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the highlights include the floating markets of Thaling Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom, along with the royal Grand Palace and neighboring Wat Pho, home to the famous reclining Buddha. If you’re here on the weekend, be sure to check out the world-renowned Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s the size of a football field!
Elephant trekking in Chiang Mai
The area surrounding the northern town of Chiang Mai has long been a safe haven for dozens of elephants who would otherwise be used for performance purposes. Here you can help out the cause by joining an elephant trekking adventure. You’ll be up close and personal with these enormous beauties while helping to feed, bathe, and care for them. The cost of the treks can seem kind of steep for Thailand standards, but the money spent goes directly toward helping elephants in need and providing them with sanctuaries to keep them safe.
Two of the best include Patara Elephant Farm and the Elephant Nature Park. Trips can last up to a week and range anywhere from $70 to $400 depending on your length of stay and activities you’d like to partake in.
The Tiger Cave Temple is somewhat of an amusing tourist attraction a short ride away from the town of Krabi. You won’t find any real tigers here, just a replica, but there are plenty of monkeys willing to give you their time! They’re also ready to steal your food if you let them. The real treat here, though, is the epic climb to the top of Wat Tham Suea. It’s 1,260 steps, some of which are only a few inches wide and a foot or so high, to reach the summit. You’ll be drenched in sweat and out of breath once it’s complete, but the view of the region from above it is totally worth it.
The Krabi province is also home to the world-famous Phi Phi Islands, which include the striking limestone formations jutting up out of the ocean like something out of a fantasy setting. People from all over the world flock to see them, so they’re definitely a sight you don’t want to miss.
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