If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
We spent 30 days and 29 nights in Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok on the morning of August 18th after an all night flight from Munich. We decided to spend one night in Bangkok near the airport before finishing the journey to Chiang Mai since we knew we’d be pretty tired after flying all night. We arrived in Thailand on the morning of August 18th and left Chiang Mai on the afternoon of September 16th. This is our longest stop on the entire trip because we had heard such good things about Chiang Mai, and we were not disappointed! Not only was it full of history and natural beauty, but we were also surprised with how technologically advanced some of the malls and theaters in the area are, while still offering such cheap prices for accommodations, food, activities, and transportation. Chiang Mai is a wonderful place to spend a few weeks, and we will definitely return in the future.
We spent much of our time in the area relaxing, walking around the city, and enjoying the food. Things were so cheap here that I found myself being much more relaxed regarding my spending, which led to us doing things we don’t normally do such as eating every meal out, going to movies, going bowling, and getting massages. Overall it was a great experience, and it has led to a significant shift in our perspectives about South East Asia.
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on this part of the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while in and around Chiang Mai. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses are how I calculate the numbers below.
Accommodations: For our one night in Bangkok we stayed at an AirBnB near the Airport. For the 28 days in Chiang Mai, we stayed at an efficiency type AirBnB in the northwest corner of the old city which was a pretty good spot. The place didn’t have a kitchen, but we were fine eating cheap meals out, and the room itself was big and had a full size refrigerator which was nice. The 28 days at the AirBnB allowed us a significant discount on the nightly rate, which is something that we planned out in advance. Weekly and monthly discounts on AirBnB rates really add up over the course of a long trip and is one of the ways we have gone about keeping our expenses for housing low.
- Total for my expenses: $169
Food and drink: We ate all of our meals out while in Chiang Mai as I mentioned above. In Europe or parts of the US, this would be insanely expensive, but that is not the case in Thailand. On average I paid about $2 for a meal at a street food vendor or in a small restaurant, but we also went to many nicer places where the meals were more in the $5-$6 range. We also ate a lot of ice cream, desserts, smoothies/milkshakes, and I bought a couple bottles of rum to drink before going out to the awesome nightclubs in the area.
- Total for my expenses: $229
Transportation: For our flight from Munich to Bangkok we decided to pay out of pocket instead of using airline miles since the flight wasn’t too expensive ($358) and we wanted to save some miles for future trips where we could get a better value for them. This flight was by far the biggest expense for the month though, even with it being cheap compared to other flights from Europe to SE Asia. The flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was only $27, so we paid out of pocket for that one was well. Besides the flights, our transportation costs were minimal since we did a lot of walking and avoided paying to get around for most of the trip. When we didn’t feel like walking we used Grab (the SE Asian version of Uber) to get around, which usually only cost us about $1-$2 each. They also had coupon codes for Grab, which reduced the cost on the already low fares.
- Total for my expenses: $402
Activities: As I mentioned earlier, I relaxed quite a bit on my budget for activities while in Chiang Mai due to the low costs. It’s the rainy season in Chiang Mai right now and mid day is very hot, so we did our best to be out of the sun and indoors during the hottest hours or when it was raining. We went to a total of six movies during the month, bowling once, got three massages, went elephant riding, white water rafting, hiking, and visited a few waterfalls. We also visited the zoo and a ton of temples which are all over the city.
Since we had an entire month in the area, and I was feeling a little bad about myself after a month of too many calories while traveling through Europe and Morocco, we also paid for a gym membership ($40 each). Going to the gym 4-5 times per week combined with intermittent fasting and walking around a lot during the day paid off, and I was able to lose 6 pounds as well as regain some lost muscle tone. On a few of the nice days, we paid for pool passes ($1.50/each) to enjoy the weather and relax. There is no shortage of activities to embark on in Chiang Mai, almost all of which was cheap or free.
- Total for my expenses: $161
My total expenses for 30 days and 29 nights in Thailand, including accommodations, transportation, entertainment, and food was approximately $961! If we had used points for the flight from Munich to Bangkok, the total cost would have been only a little over $600.
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $2,943.
While in Chiang Mai, we passed the two month mark since beginning this trip. Less than $3,000 in total expenses for two whole months traveling around Europe, Morocco, and Thailand is much less than I was planning to spend when starting this trip, and I could have easily spent even less than that! It definitely goes to show that with credit card rewards, choosing less expensive accommodations, and choosing fairly frugal activities, international travel (even to expensive locations in Europe) doesn’t have to break the bank!
Since most of the rest of this trip will be to lower cost of living areas, I’m confident that I will spend less than $6,000 total while traveling around the world for over 5 months… which is pretty awesome!
We are headed to Luang Prabang, Laos next, so stay tuned for my next update and watch the Facebook page where we are posting much more frequently about the trip!