Thai islands on a budget.
If you think you need a lot of money to live on Thai islands, you’re wrong. We visited Koh Samui, Ko Phangan and Koh Tao in May and explored the option of cheap traveling on Thai islands. Here are some important tips for a budget vacation on Thai islands:
Go in low season
This is probably the most important advice of all. Accomodation which is normally at least 500-600 THB gets cheaper to 300-350 THB. Sometimes you get an additional discount if you stay for 3 days or more.
Good morning at 7/11
If you can’t get a good deal on a breakfast set (which can easily be 120 THB), try a warm toast (30 THB) and coffee (15 THB) in 7/11. You can eat in the front of the shop.
Save your 1,5 l water bottle and refill it for free in certain restaurants (ask first, of course) or find the closest water machine (we found them on Koh Samui, Bangkok and Chiang Mai and Koh Tao) where you pay 1 THB per liter. They’re not very visible as they want tourists buying bottled water but they exist! Cheeeeap!
If you have time and will, try to hitchhike. We had a lot of success with hitchhiking in Thailand. There are no public buses/trucks so the taxis are very expensive, sometimes even 200 THB/person for 10 km. If it’s a small distance, you can walk. Otherwise, bargain. It’s also easier in low season, because drivers have no customers. Take your time and talk talk talk. Another option is to make a move (guesthouse on the other part of the island or to the pier) with a motorbike, if there’s 3 of you. A bit complicated but saves a lot of money.
Well, don’t rent for 200 THB if you can rent it for 150 THB or even 100 THB. Buy gasoline on gas stations and not by the road because it’s much more expensive (and don’t forget that those bottles are not even a full liter). And on Koh Tao, be VERY VERY careful not to scratch the bike because they can charge you up to 1000 $ and you can’t do anything about it.
If you don’t need a full meal or you’re just hungry and don’t want to spend money in a restaurant, you can visit 7/11 or FamilyMart (again!) and have a noodle soup for 15 THB – they have hot water for free.
For 30 – 40 THB you can wash a whole load of dirty laundry and just dry it in your guesthouse.
And that’s it! With few simple steps you can have a low budget vacation on Thai islands and spend 20 $ per day.