by Gilly Brewster
Even though folks say prices are cheaper in Thailand, it is easy to rack up high bills if you don’t know the ways to visit Thailand on a budget. Also, some places in this country are tourist and foreigner traps where prices are inflated. You can visit the country and keep costs under control by following these simple tips.
Eating and Drinking
Eating and drinking at street food stands and “mom & pop” sidewalkrestaurants can save you a lot of money and are great ways to visit Thailand on a Budget. The first time you come to Thailand, you might be a little nervous about eating Thai food cooked in street stands and small sidewalk restaurants. However, food sold from street vendors in Thailand is not only safe but very delicious and inexpensive. You can avoid food poisoning by eating at these places where the food is cooked right there and the ingredients are covered.
If you like beer, drink at outdoor gathering places and avoid high-priced pubs geared towards foreigners. In Thailand, there are several outdoor places with tables next to a convenience store where you can buy a large bottle of local beer and sit outside to drink it.
Local Thai beers are very inexpensive and some of these convenience stores will even let you borrow one of their glasses plus sell you a smallbag of ice. Likewise, outdoor restaurants tucked away on small side streets have reduced overhead and can sell you food and beer at much lower prices which helps you visit Thailand on a budget.
If you don’t drink beer but prefer spirits like whiskey instead, you can take your own bottle to a restaurant in Thailand. It is no problem and they will sell you the mixer drinks like soda water or cola plus provide the ice. All you pay for are the mixers and the ice. Some restaurants might charge a fee for bringing an open bottle but not all of them do. It is an excellent alternative to buying mixed drinks at the venue.
Save on Transportation
Take the local bus service to save on transportation expenses when you visit Thailand on a budget. The buses might seem intimidating at first. Oftentimes, the wording on them is not written in English. However, there are bus route maps that you can buy in some of the bookstores that show routes by number. When you get on a bus, the attendant walks up to you and will ask where you are going.
The Thai phrase you will probably hear is “pai nai?” which is the question asking where you are going. If you have the street name and sub-street name (sub-street is called “soi” in Thailand) then the attendant will tell you how much. If you don’t understand the attendant, just hand this person a 20-Baht note. Bus rides such as in the City of Bangkok rarely go above 20 Baht.
To travel on side streets, motorcycle taxis are a cost-effective way to visit Thailand on a budget and get to your destination. However, understand the risk when you get on the back of one of these. They are by far the most dangerous way to travel.
Also, before you get on one, agree with the driver as to the cost. If you can, ask people you know how much a motorcycle taxi costs on the particular route that you wish to travel. It is not uncommon where an unsuspecting foreigner gets hit with a higher charge at the destination unless the price is agreed upon beforehand.
Of course there are plenty of taxis but their costs can get out of control if you do not have an idea as to where you are going. Taxi drivers have been known to take longer routes to a destination because the foreign passenger has no idea where he is going. Always insist that the driver turn on the meter.
A couple of other popular modes of transportation include the famous tuk tuk and the song taew which is a pickup truck with a covered bed for passengers. Song teaws are extremely cheap but they tend to get a bit overcrowded.
It is not uncommon to find yourself standing on the running board outside the back and holding on the rail. Tuk tuks are not metered so drivers are notorious for inflating their rates for foreigners. Like motorcycle taxis, you should agree on a price with the tuk tuk driver before getting in.
Other Ways to Save
Just saving on eating, drinking, and transportation will make quite an impact on when you visit Thailand. A couple of other ways to save include using a pharmacy if you get sick and shopping in outdoor markets or places where you can bargain a little.
If you get sick in Thailand, a pharmacist can prescribe medication for you. All you need to do is describe the symptoms. While there is some risk to this, it can be quite affordable and effective if you are fairly certain of your ailment. In other words, if you pick up a sinus infection, the pharmacist can recommend an antibiotic for you. This is much more affordable than going to the hospital.
Don’t hesitate to plan your next trip to Thailand for fear of the expense. Yes, it can be quite expensive if you don’t know where to find the bargains. However, once you get all the facts, you too can visit Thailand on a budget.