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Finance and money

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Food and drink budget

Posted by ambersaffron on 9/9/2017 at 20:15

Hi everyone!
My husband and I are planning a year long trip to SE Asia starting in March. We aren't going to plan an itinerary but we know we want to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and maybe Burma.

I've got a good idea of our accommodation budget but I need some help on the food and drink budget. We plan to do street food for about 60% of the time and the rest low end restaurants.

We do drink and plan to have at least a few beers or cocktails most nights.

Right now I'm going off information from old posts and am thinking of a budget of around $18 US dollars per person per day. Can anyone tell me if they think this is accurate?


#1 ambersaffron has been a member since 14/6/2011. Posts: 24

Posted by somtam2000 on 10/9/2017 at 01:03 admin

Hmmm I'd say maybe a bit tight, primarily because of the "few drinks most nights bit". Drinking in Thailand is quite affordable, but it isn't as cheap as it used to be.

In Chiang Mai in a low-key Thai restaurant you might pay 80 to 100 baht for a large Chang beer—lets say $3 a pop to keep the math simple. So two large beers at the end of the day will eat up a third of your food budget—maybe stick to small beers!

You'll get simple one plate dishes for say 40-70 baht in local restaurants, but a Thai curry in a tourist restaurant can easily set you back 200+ baht.

In Cambodia and Burma both the food and booze are cheaper than in Thailand. In Laos the booze is cheaper but the food a little more expensive. So much will come out in the wash depending on how much time you are spending in each country.

The other thing is, if there are two of you, you'll often be sharing meals (eating Thai-style) so that will perhaps bring your costs down a little.

Then there's the occasional blow-out - the skyscraper sunset cocktails or the bottle of wine and seafood bbq that equate to a week of street food eating.

I'd say, ballpark, averaging across the region, $14-16 would be manageable (with not too many boozy nights in Bangkok!) while something around $20 would be an easier-to-achieve cheap eating budget.


#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by ambersaffron on 10/9/2017 at 13:08

Thanks Somtam, that's very helpful!

#3 ambersaffron has been a member since 14/6/2011. Posts: 24

Posted by somtam2000 on 10/9/2017 at 16:54 admin

No problem.

Another thing to consider, if you’re wanting to watch your food budget carefully, is breakfast and western-style coffee. Unless your breakfast is free/included in your room, you will near always get a cheaper local breakfast outside—and it will often be better too.

Most guesthouses will offer (among others) what they call an “American Breakfast”. This is normally two greasy eggs, a couple of plastic sausages, manufactured ham and a decorative tomato or cucumber. Don’t be surprised when it costs the equivalent of US$4-5. Skip the overpriced fat-fest, walk out the door and plonk yourself down for some fried rice or noodle soup for a dollar or so.

Western style coffee shops (Gloria Jeans, Starbucks and so on) may offer a comfort-food hit, but they’ll also hit your wallet—hard. A morning Starbucks coffee every day for a week in Thailand equates to another night in a flash packer guesthouse...


#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by suhasj123 on 23/3/2018 at 05:23

It may be good have some dry food with in our bags as the food test is different at many place, I don't like spice food and sometime you don't have the option your test so I always carries some food with myself but be careful while having food with yourself it could increase the bag-pack.

#5 suhasj123 has been a member since 23/8/2017. Posts: 5

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