Our next stop after Bali was a month in Southern Thailand. Now you might be wondering why we are spending exactly a month in each location. This is because many countries offer tourist visas / visa exemptions of 30 days only. If you want to spend more time than this then visa options get a little more complicated and expensive.
Overall Southern Thailand cost us $116 AUD per day ($118 AUD per day if you include some small shopping items). Still over budget by around $3 per day, but pretty damn close. We did find everywhere apart from Phuket Town to be slightly more expensive (or of less value) than our previous destination, Bali, at least in regards to our two largest costs; food and accommodation. However, we much preferred Thailand over Bali as a destination… mostly due to the incredibly beautiful islands and beaches. It isn’t always about the dollar signs 🙂
- The beaches! Awesome way to waste away hours without spending a cent. Three out of four of our Thailand destinations were only minutes away from the beach making this our go-to option for the days entertainment.
- Internal travel was much cheaper than we had budgeted. We found we could book our combined minivan/bus/ferry transfers much cheaper at the local agents than online. For example a 10 hour journey from Koh Phangan to Phuket for the four of us, involving two ferries & two bus’s cost us a grand total of $81 AUD.
- Phuket Town was surprisingly cheap. Many of the restaurants and shops (including a modern mall) were predominantly marketed at locals rather than tourists. Everything from Lego toys (from $1 AUD) to Pad Thai (from $2 AUD) went for around half the price of the more touristy areas.
- We found accommodation tougher here than other parts of SEA we know (Bali, Malaysia, Cambodia and Northern Thailand). Even though we booked well in advance and spent many hours online before we left making sure we were getting good value for money we paid an average of around $42 per night for 2 x hostel rooms (4 bunks, shared bathrooms) & 2 x fairly basic island bungalows.
- Finding quality food on budget was also tougher than we had envisaged in Ao Nang & Ko Phangan. This was particularity due to Victoria & the boys food allergies, which made local Thai food only viable if the vendor spoke A+ English i.e. understood if he was going to kill my wife or not. On the flip side Phuket Town was surprisingly ‘local’ and affordable (different story if you stay on one of the beaches – see this blog post) & Phi Phi, whilst expensive for accommodation, had plenty of budget food options.
And finally, for the other spreadsheet nerds out there…..