I noticed some similar posts on the board but I would like get some advice regardless. Im a British guy approaching 40, not a natural backpacker but a natural penny-pincher, currently living and working in Tokyo. I'm going to be on a budget of around 60,000 baht (no more and quite possibly less) and will be staying in Thailand for bang on 60 days (going to pick up a single entry visa overnight in Kuala Lumpur ). I've been racking my brains on the best thing to do. Economically it makes sense to avoid Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket and try to stay long- term in somewhere like Chiang Mai . Basically this trip is just to recharge my batteries after a rather rough few months in Japan. However, it is my first trip to Thailand and it seems a wasted opportunity just staying in one or two places and not see more of the country. But the more you move around the more that budget gets eaten up...
To give you some idea of what I'm into - historical sites and temples, beaches, local food and culture, relaxing rather than partying. I'm not so interested in doing lots of activities more just relaxing forgetting about what day it is and going with the flow. I'd prefer a leisurely itinerary of 5-6 major places staying a week or so at each place than a mad dash around the country.
I've taken a look at options in Krabi, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin (tourist trap, right?). I am willing to spend a few days in Bangkok but that'll be just before I fly out back to Japan. As I'll be in Kuala Lumpur to begin with I was thinking maybe best idea is to work my way up by bus from the south. However, Jan-Feb is peak season in the resorts right so accommodation might be more expensive then than a month later. So would it be better to fly up to Chiang Mai and work my way down? How about Chiang Rai and Isaan?
Anyway, thanks for any advice in advance.
You have a thousand baht a day. It's not much. You are right in that if you get an apartment for, say, 3,000 baht a month, then you can limit your accomodation costs to about 8,000-9,000 baht (utilities). But that means staying in one place. Given your objective (chilling and recharging your batteries) that might be OK. I like Khon Kaen in Issan. Something like Nakhon Phanom would be more laid back still (and cheap). Overnight bus out of Mo chit will get you to either place.
Booze and women are the big budget eaters. On your budget you can take have a beer or two, but forget sex. You don't have the money for it, and it isn't likely you will find it for free (not the way things are normally done here unless you are a very young approaching 40 and lucky).
I would strongly recommend taking a e-book device and pre-load it with books you wanted to read and never had the time to. Finding a place on the Mekong to read and drink a beer is not a bad way to spend a day.
Hope this helps. Have a good trip no matter what you decide.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks for your reply. I've seen you around on the forums so it seems you know what you're talking about. Actually if that's the reality of 1000 baht a day, I'd prefer to be near a beach, but a couple of klicks away would be ok. I'm not going over for sex or parties. Just to have a look round and relax. But 2 months in one place might do my nut in.
You might want to consider joining an organization called Couchsurfing. Basically, you can stay with anybody offering free accommodation on the site. Although the concept is that you sleep on the counch, you do get a bed most of the time.
Here's the link which I've set to Thailand for you: https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/geolocations/thailand
Phuket for example has plenty of beaches and there are 566 locals offering free accommodation on the island: https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/places/mueang-phuket-phuket-thailand
#4 Xircal has been a member since 24/12/2012. Posts: 95
Yeah, most travelfishers aren't coming here as sex tourist. This place is more for the cultural tourist type. Nevertheless, two months is a long time for a single guy in his late 30s on vacation to go without sex. Hence I mentioned it.
I'm not a beach guy so I can't help you there. But there are others here that have a lot of experience in that department. And as Xircal mentions, there's the couch surfing group, which doesn't appeal to me, but might be for you.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
DISagree with most above; Here is why:
1.1000 bt/day is about double or more as what the tipical JPNese bekpekker spends/day.
2.you are in Nihon now-so contact as much as poss JPNese who did Thailand-or ask friends to translate the basic issues of their excellent guidebooks-they list all you want to know (do you ever see a JPnese asking such mundane things on lonelyplanet or this site?? as most western newbies tend to?
3.you say from the start you know how to pinch pennies-and thus Th is the ideal for you.
Contrary to what you think BKK is NOT the expensive bigtown-its actaully a load cheaper to live there longtime as IF you have learnt where to look, cheap lodging/food/transport (free citybuses)/loads of free entertainment are there. Yes, of course, just like as in TYO the many other possible ways to throw money out of the window are also there- the remedy is named Willpower.
HHIn and Krabi -and Phuket too, are not ''traps.. but the usual like anywhere in thos world beachside resorts. HH specialises in 65+ scandinavians, PHUket is by far the most expensive. aiming rich Russians and Koreans honeymooners, Krabi is quite spread out and has a bit of everything.
By using the local transport-the dirt cheap 3d cl trains or the local buses and staying for a few days/week or so in places like Ayuttaya-Sukhothai/Phitsanuloke and then ChMai+more places in the north its easily doable. You did not say specifically if you are beach minded or not (I am not at all)-so I wont mention that.Also-again 1 more time-the last time this year; do NOT think that the cheap places (the really cheap ones) are on the web and bookable. They work on the ages old idea of first come/first served. Even when in Th ask a JPnese bekpekker for the cheapest places-they are the best source. Places where they stay also tend to be more clean, and less full with stinking and ''having a goodtime drunk and stoned'' western bekpekkers
#6 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
I can't speak for you, but when I am on vacation I don't want to be exerting a lot of "Willpower". I want to have a good time. Call me off on this one...
Yes, you can probably eat and sleep on 500 baht a day. And maybe Japanese backpackers do it. But I can do the basic math of how much it costs here to eat, drink, find a place to sleep (and the absolute cheapest in Muk is still at 200 - and it's a hole). There's not much left over to do anything. So if you want to have some cash to go to a place and enjoy a band, or eat something that doesn't come from a street stall... you ain't doing it on 500 baht.
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks for the replies everyone (and keep them coming!)
Just to clarify the situation, this is kind of an enforced vacation. Ran into a spot of bother here in Japan that has left me without a job. I can get another easily enough but kind of need a break and a break that keeps the costs down as I'll essentially being spreading one month's pay over 2-3 months. So what captainbkk says is really interesting and I immediately contacted my Japanese friend who comes to Thailand 2-3 times a year and when she heard my budget she said you'll be living like a king. Probably half joking - but she speaks fluent Thai and eats and lives the way Thais do when she visits. I sure would like to get a hold of one of those guidebooks in translation. And living in Tokyo I can vouch for the fact that if you know what you are doing you can definitely keep the costs down. But as Madmac says it ain't going to be all that fun.
Btw captain bkk I would be interested in beaches too, just not the crazy tourist-rammed ones. I'll be interested in some more suggestions about how to get the balance of keeping costs down and having some sort of variety chucked in too.
smart move sorting your visa needs with a single-entry tourist visa. that will give you maximum flexibility.
agree that given your age and interests that 1,000 baht per day isn't a lot, but it is possible. if it were me, i might consider spending a bit less time if at all possible to increase my daily budget, because i really like to include at least one fancier meal and a massage every day when i travel in southeast asia. i also like to be able to splurge on the VIP bus instead of the regular bus. however, if less time isn't an option for you and the 1000 baht per day is a hard budget ceiling, then you can save money as suggested above by not moving around too much and by selecting less expensive rooms (shared bath, fan instead of aircon, off the beach as opposed to on the sand, etc.).
based on your interests, places like chiang mai and sukhothai may be good options. in chiang mai, for example, if you can stay in places that have fan-cooled rooms with shared bath, you'll save a few hundred baht a day on accommodation. ginny guest house comes to mind as an option, but there are certainly others.
i'm a big fan of the thai side of the mekong river. MADMAC already mentioned some good options in that area. i particularly like nong khai, but there are some even smaller villages like sangkhom in nong khai province that are even cheaper and more charming, to me anyway. plus, they make a good variety contrast with bigger spots like chiang mai.
once you arrive, you'll get a feel for what's what and chat with other travellers to get information on other options, current prices, etc. maybe save the beach portion until the end of your trip, since beach prices will be higher than other places and by the end of your trip you'll have a better idea of costs vs. your budget, etc. in any case, i hope that helps at least a little. best wishes.
p.s. oops. you posted again while i was typing this, so please just disregard any suggestions that don't fit with your updated information. cheers.