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I'm in the north of Thailand now and according to some websites there is a sensible difference in prices between the north and south of Thailand. My budget is a bit tight so I would like to know what the prices for some basic things are in the south, so I can compare and know how many days I can stay there.

For example, in the north of Thailand, you can:

  • have a pad-thai from 35 bahts
  • sleep in a hostel from 100 bahts (bed in a shared room)
  • get a thai massage from 150 bahts
  • rent a motorbike from 150 bahts

Which are the equivalent corrected spellincosts in the south? (for example, in Ao Nang, Koh Samui, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi...)

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are you talking minimum, maximum, or average? Some people go for the cheapest hostels, all the time, for example, while others go for whichever has the higest rating (and often costs more). –  Mark Mayo Jul 31 '12 at 17:25
    
'from' would indicate 'minimum', no? –  MastaBaba Jul 31 '12 at 19:57
    
Sorry, a minimum :) –  Ivan Aug 1 '12 at 1:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You're right, South Thailand is definitely more expensive than North Thailand. In my mind everything is just doubled in price. That's not to say you can't find a 35thb pad-thai or 150thb massage down South, it's just not as easy and common as it is in the North.

I really only know about the South East islands:

  • Ko Phangan
  • Ko Tao
  • Ko Samui

So I'll just stick to them in my examples, but I'm certain that on the West side, Phuket is even more expensive, and Phi Phi similar.

Ko Samui is generally more expensive than Ko Phangan, while Ko Phangan is more expensive than Ko Tao. It all varies based on when you'll be there though.

If you're in Ko Phangan over New Years or a Full Moon Party, prices will generally be higher than Ko Samui for things like accommodation. However, on Ko Phangan if you decide to stay on a lesser known beach or more North (South Ko Phangan is where the Full Moon Party happens), you're likely to save quite a bit of money. It comes at a cost though, with 100thb+ shared taxis needed to get to the South.

In Ko Phangan, specifically the South area of the island, you'll pay about 80-150thb for meals (80thb being Thai food and 150thb western), but that price can go as high as 350-400thb if you go for a nicer meal. The cheapest & best value meal I could find around there was at a very famous place called Mama Schnitzel, where you would get a sizeable Schnitzel (fried crumbed chicken) sandwich for just 60thb. If you stick to that, you can save quite a bit of money as it's always open. Drinks are a little expensive too, with buckets going from 100thb (don't drink those ones if you value your life and health) to 400thb (your own bottle of alcohol), but those prices are given and if you're there for multiple days, make friends with one of the ladies and promise to go back daily - you can get a premium bucket for as low as 200thb if you do so.

Accomodation in Ko Phangan is pretty expensive too, but more than that, very very hard to get (in the South, at least). You're advised to book in advance, and should expect to pay 500thb minimum for a single room. Hostels are obviously preferable, but just as expensive. 300thb would be cheap for one - there are a few that go around that price right near the beach (good location but very small and impossible to sleep). Definitely book in advance any form of accommodation unless you're happy to sleep on the beach / spend 1000thb a night.

The only thing that is similar in price to North Thailand would be massages, but I'd still reserve 200thb for a good one.

Before I finish off this long responsive, I have to recommend you visit Ko Tao, about a 90 minute ferry away from Ko Phangan. It's a diving island. If you're not diving or happy to relax and do nothing, you'll probably get bored, but it's very beautiful, quiet and cheap. Prices are still higher than North Thailand but far cheaper than Ko Phangan. The best value you can get is to book a diving course from Ko Phangan, that'll often include the several-day course, accommodation, ferry to Ko Tao and some other freebies. I personally went with a company called Crystal Dive, which were really great.

Enjoy the rest of your trip and feel free to ask for clarification/elaboration on anything.

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+1 for diving recommendations \o/ –  Kennifer Jan 28 '13 at 9:55

The way I'd put it is that South Thailand is very cheap compared to the west, and North Thailand is ridiculously cheap. Like anywhere else, prices vary a lot depending on the area and your lifestyle.

Ko Phangan, Ko Samui, and Ko Phi Phi are tourism islands. Places like that are going to be overpriced for foreigners. Patong and Chalong (Phuket) are expensive too, again because of high tourism. I live in Phuket Town, which is a mix of tourists and locals, so prices are higher on average, but I don't find them excessive for my lifestyle. If you want to eat western food, drink lots of beer, and hit all the tourist spots, then it will be more expensive than North Thailand but still far cheaper than many other countries.

I can't be much help in this topic because I have only lived and worked here; I have not vacationed here. Most people would find it very fun and worth the price, I think.

In Phuket, you can get padthai for 35 baht. Noodles and rice are cheap. If you want a good portion of meat, you'll be getting meals for 45-60 baht. Last week I went to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ (the tables have a little grill and you cook the food yourself) for 140 baht. I've never been to a hostel, but the cheap hotel I first got here was 200 baht a night (I think). Now I pay 5,000 baht a month for an apartment. A motorbike can be 100-200 a day.

I know expats here that spend over 20,000 baht a month on beer and girls, or go the Phang Nga caves or Krabi waterfalls every weekend, or eat a 500 baht western dinner every night. Thailand is a place where you can live very cheaply, but it also has a huge tourism industry that has grown accustomed to wealthy tourists who don't balk at $10 for a meal. There's a wide spectrum of prices.

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It's more to do with the province than the region.

Bangkok is the capital, so most things are more expensive, but there is more choice and with enough time to look around prices can be matched against other major cities easily enough.

The islands are more expensive because they are very touristy (rich pickings) and because there are transport costs to take in to account.

Some places like Phuket, Pataya and parts ok Bangkok are expensive due to both tourist trade, amount of wealthier foreigners AND locals (Thais) and due to extortion/corruption.

Where I live, Chiang Mai, it is much cheaper than most places with large foreign communities and tourists, but still not that cheap (at least not any more). Of course bargains can be found and CM is small enough that it is not hard to. CM also benefits from cheap labour from neighbouring provinces and Burma, probably more so than anywhere else in Thailand.

This leaves almost 70 provinces that are mostly very cheap> areas in central Thailand (such as Lampang for example) and to the east (Kohn Kaen) are very cheap. Smaller towns and villages, one can live on a fraction of the money (if one wants to live that way!).

All this also depends on what is on the shopping list of course. Items that locals buy/live on and going to be much cheaper as there is much competition (everywhere) - so 35Baht Phad Thai can be got in any province as far as I have visited anyway (which is a fair number of provinces). Beer fluctuates (though more by local location, such as near clubs or red light areas (Loi Kroh in CM) than province), though Lao Kow is cheap everywhere (even in 7-11). Cars are expoensive everywhere (with up to 350% import tax). Western food is expensive, but actually more likely to be cheaper in areas where it warrants stocking supermarkets (in CM we have many supermarkets that sell western food - some almsot entirely western - and as a result they can be cheaper than local markets and Tesco Lotus/BigC for the same products).

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