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Traveling to Thailand? Be sure to visit the south as well; with its tropical climate and idyllic paradise islands it’s like stepping inside a dream. Which is fantastic of course, but island hopping in Thailand is also a lot more expensive (and more touristic) than other parts of Thailand. You won’t escape the fact that food, drink, lodging and transport cost more. For more information on prices, and possible savings, read on.

Food & drink in the South of Thailand

Food & drink in the South of Thailand is on average 20% more expensive than it is around Bangkok and the north of the country. This isn’t entirely surprising of course, as most visitors to the south tend to stay on one the islands. Everything there has to be delivered by boat or by ferry. Generally speaking, the choice of restaurants is also not as varied and eating street food every day isn’t a viable option either. The prices (per person) mentioned below are generous estimates:

Western breakfast with bread, omelet and coffee: 250 Thai Baht.
Street food plus drink: 160 Thai Baht.
Dinner at a good restaurant including drinks: 300 Thai Baht.
Snacks at the 7-Eleven: 120 Thai Baht.

So food and drink expenses in the south of Thailand are roughly 850 Thai Baht per person, per day.

Please note: prices on the islands for things like a bottle of water, sun screen or sunglasses will often be double those on mainland Thailand.

Island Hopping Thailand - Delicious seafood on the Krabi Night Market

Hotel stays on the Thai islands

Most travelers close off their holidays in Thailand in the country’s south, where they’ll have a few days (weeks?) to relax before going home. That’s why many of them don’t mind paying a little more for a bit of extra comfort.

Keep in mind that location is of the essence in the south. If you want to stay directly on the beach, expect to see that reflected in the room price. We generally stay in a double room for around 1,000 Thai Baht (500 Thai Baht each) per night. Usually we don’t stay directly on the beach, but slightly more inland so we can still stay in a clean and comfortable room.

Our expenses are slightly lower than the average tourist’s. Expect to pay about 750 Thai Baht per person, per night for a decent hotel stay on a Thai island if you can share a double room.

Island Hopping Thailand - Crystal Clear waters of Koh Tao

Transport to the islands

The difference in transport fees between the north and the south are huge. Particularly if you’re traveling to one of the more secluded islands, in which case going by speedboat is often the best option. And those are a lot more expensive that some old, local bus.

Taxis are a lot more expensive as well. Whereas in Bangkok you’re charged on the meter, on the islands haggling for a ride is much more common. A simple ride from the pier to your hotel could easily cost you 200, 300 and even 400 baht.

Thankfully, the ferries to Thailand’s most popular islands are reasonably priced. A ferry ride from the mainland to Koh Samui is 400 baht. Estimating how much you’ll pay on transport is pretty difficult, but we think 500 Thai Baht per person, per day, is a reasonable amount to spend on transport in the south of Thailand.

The ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui

Additional expenses in the south of Thailand

Additional expenses could include using the ATM, an organized snorkeling trip or a bottle of sunscreen.

Organized day trips are pretty much unavoidable in the south of Thailand, as they’re only done by boat. Booking trips is possible at literally every hotel and street (beach) corner and it’s super easy. Compare the different tours; you can always try and negotiate a better price.

Additional expenses strongly depend on what type of traveler you are, but expect to spend 400 Thai Baht per person, per day. There will also be days on which you won’t spend anything at all.

Tip: Bring your own sunscreen and after sun from home; it’s a lot cheaper!

Koh Nang Yuan near Koh Tao

Total expenses for the south of Thailand

It could be a lot more expensive, but also a lot cheaper. You average daily expenses in the south of Thailand will come to around 2400 Thai Baht per person, per day.

And with that 2400 Thai Baht you can do a ton of fun stuff. Like, for instance, go on a great snorkeling trip, have dinner in a nice restaurant or stay the night in a beautiful hotel on the beach.

Or choose the cheaper option by taking the slow boat, not staying in a beach hotel and eating Thai food. It’s completely up to you!

How much money have you spent in the south of Thailand?


Author Sander

Former elementary school teacher, storyteller, sports enthusiast, and adventurer. Love to do the "impossible", which is usually the exact opposite of what’s expected.

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