While you might not immediately think Thailand when you think of an oversea vacation, it’s definitely one to put at the top of your list. The country has tons of hidden ancient gems, a unique culture, and best of all, it’s one of the cheapest countries to travel in.
While you travel through this exciting and vibrant country, you will experience the world as you never have before. Gone are the days of envy over a friend’s Eiffel Tower picture, because you’ll be posting Instagram photos of elephants and towering temples. Traveling in a country where English is not as widely spoken as most European countries may seem intimidating, but if you stay near tourist destinations and plan ahead, your vacation will change your life.
Lets get the basics down: This price is calculated for two people to go to Bangkok for a week sometime in the off-season. The off-season for Thailand is September-November, which is also the time you’ll get the cheapest flights. Once you’re there, your lodging will cost under $40 if you stay in a hostel. Food, travel and attractions in Thailand are surprisingly affordable; so don’t worry about spending too much on anything other than the flight and hotel (although it doesn’t hurt to put room in the budget for spending money).
If you’re in the mood to browse cheap flights and indulge in your wanderlust, head to SkyScanner.com. There, you’ll find the cheapest flight to anywhere, including Bangkok. Flights from major travel hubs, including Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, are under $550 round-trip, which is a steal for any international flight, let alone one that takes you almost exactly halfway around the world.
Once you’ve landed in Bangkok Airport, the real adventure begins. Getting a taxi to the city center is your best bet, but you’re sure to be targeted as a tourist. Don’t let this get you down, you can still get a good deal by going for a metered tab and you’ll end up paying about $20. For more details on the Bangkok airport check out this Trip Advisor post.
Where to Stay ($35):
In Europe, I’d say go for AirBnb when you’re looking for a luxury deal, but in Thailand this isn’t true. You can get hotels and hostels for under $10 per person a night. If you aren’t up for the risk, book a hotel or hostel ahead of time and pay a little higher price. But if you’re ready to be a totally backpacker, don’t book ahead and just head to Khao San Road, the “backpacker ghetto” of Bangkok. If you’re lucky, you’ll stay the night for just $5 a piece.
In Bangkok, you can pay almost nothing for food, so be sure to try it all. With so many street vendors, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and markets lined with options, it’s impossible to avoid the local cuisine. Luckily, it’s also hard to pay more than $5 to $10 a day, even when you stuff yourself with all the food you can eat. Among the many different food options, be sure to eat stir-fry, steamed crab, and anything with curry. The Guardian suggests multiple districts to get the best eats, including Chinatown and Saphan Lueng.
What to see:
The most talked about and popular thing to do in Bangkok is the Grand Palace. While it may be a huge tourist destination, it’s a can’t-miss sight for a good reason. Be sure to also check out the numerous temples including: Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Traimit (Golden Buddah), Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
Ayutthaya is the former capital of Thailand and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is relatively cheap, but takes travel smarts and common sense. Head to Victory Monument in Bangkok and you’ll see many minivans and buses. Take one of the buses that head to Ayutthaya for about $4. For detailed information on the buses check out this ‘The Whole World is a Playground” post.
The ruins left behind by the former cosmopolitan urban center are all breathtaking, but make sure you don’t miss the symbol of Ayutthaya: “Wat Phra Si Sanphet.” Take a walk through the old city walls and take in the ruins as you spend a leisurely day in a world heritage site.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (+$15)
Visiting a floating market is something that is unique to Southeast Asia, namely Thailand, and this is the most famous of them all. Catch a minibus from Victory Monument in Bangkok. The drive is about two hours, so be sure to catch the bus early to beat the heat and crowds. Boats float down the river to sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, and more so buy to your hearts content, or just interact with the locals and enjoy the spectacle.
Thailand is a hub of Southeast Asian cultures and your trip will be one for the books without breaking your wallet. Get ready for a culture shock and an eye-opening trip that you’ll never forget. Next time your feet get itchy, remember Thailand is just a flight away!