If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
- Chiang Mai
- Luang Prabang
- Chiang Rai
- Hanoi and Ha Long
- Da Nang, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh
- Kuala Lumpur
- Siem Reap and Phnom Penh
We spent 21 days and 21 nights in southern Thailand, split between Hua Hin, Ao Nang, Ko Lanta, and Phuket, arriving on the afternoon of November 13th in Hua Hin from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and leaving from Patong, Phuket on the afternoon of December 4th headed to Bangkok, Thailand. Southern Thailand was amazing and possibly our favorite part of the entire trip so far. We loved all of the beaches, but specifically the beaches in Ko Lanta were our favorite. While traveling between Ko Lanta and Phuket we stopped for the day in Ko Phi Phi, which was a really cool place as well, but much more tourist oriented and expensive. There are many more islands and beaches in southern Thailand that we plan on checking out in the future since we heard great things from other travelers about almost all of them.
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 Southern Thailand. 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 I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses.
Accommodations: Our first night in Hua Hin we used a free hotel night to stay at the Intercontinental Hua Hin. It would be difficult to overstate how beautiful the property is and how wonderful the staff was to us. They upgraded us to a suite, gave us late checkout, and free access to a nearby water park which we took advantage of. The property also offered free access to a sports complex, but unfortunately we didn’t get to go there since we decided to spend most of our time by the beach and pools. This hotel was easily in the top 3 best hotels we’ve ever visited, and we would have loved to stay longer, but with the hotel costing about 20 times more than the Airbnb we stayed at for the rest of our time there instead, there was no way to justify it. All the rest of the nights on this portion of the trip were spent in Airbnbs. We were never more than about a mile walk from where ever we wanted to go, and all of the places were very nice. After our one night in the Intercontinental, we had a condo to ourselves in Hua Hin that had a pool and gym on the premises. We had a private bungalow in Ao Nang in a quiet neighborhood not far from all the action. We even stayed at a beautiful beachfront Airbnb property in Ko Lanta with THREE different pools for less than $20/night ($10/each). Our place in Phuket wasn’t quite as exquisite as the other Airbnbs, but was still great for the price. Overall the places we stayed at were very affordable, conveniently located, and clean which is all we ask for.
- Total for my expenses: $169
Food and drink: We had much more difficulty finding gyms on this portion of the trip, so we were forced to put lifting on the back burner. To make up for that somewhat, I concentrated on limiting my calories by doing my best to fast for 16-18 hours per day, which also reduced my food expenses. We found affordable and good places to eat pretty easily in each place we visited. $1.50-$2.50/meal was about the average for this portion of the trip. We splurged on some more expensive “western” food a few times, particularly in Ko Lanta where we found a great place with the best chicken sandwiches I’ve ever had!
- Total for my expenses: $146
Transportation: We took a flight from Phnom Penh to Bangkok followed, by a van ride from Bangkok to Hua Hin. From Hua Hin, we took a bus back to Bangkok and flew from there to Krabi (Ao Nang). From Ao Nang, we took a van to Ko Lanta (about 4 hours in total). From Ko Lanta we took a ferry in the morning to Ko Phi Phi, spent the day there, and then took an afternoon ferry to Patong, Phuket. Even with the two flights, all the van/bus rides, and the ferries, transportation costs were pretty low. We were able to walk most places, so we spent very little on taxis or tuktuks.
- Total for my expenses: $155
Activities: We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of some tours, kayaking, snorkeling, and boat rides while surrounded by all the amazing beaches and islands. We took a day trip from Ao Nang to Railay Beach in Krabi, which was one of our favorite beaches for sure. While there, we rented a kayak for a couple of hours to get a closer look at some of the massive rock formations (similar to Ha Long Bay). We also did a pub crawl in Ao Nang, even though my drinking has been severely limited since my birthday shenanigans. It was fun but a little overpriced.
We took a day trip from Ko Lanta to a few different nearby islands, with about an hour of snorkeling included as part of a tour, which was well worth the money ($18 each). We also rented a scooter for the day in Ko Lanta to explore the island. This included going to the national park, hiking to a waterfall, and seeing some of the beaches on the island that weren’t within walking distance from where we were staying.
In Phuket, we did a boat and canoeing tour which took us to some beautiful beaches and a cave/lagoon that we would have never seen otherwise. This tour also included James Bond Island which is where some scenes from the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ were filmed. Whitney did a good job haggling for our tickets to this tour, which was very overpriced compared to some other great tours we’ve been on during this trip (ranging from $18-30 for a full day!). The original prices for the boat and canoeing tours ranged from $60-120 per person. After some searching around and Whitney doing some serious haggling, we got our tickets for $35/each! We also got massages in Patong, which was the best massage of my life for only $4.50!
During this part of the trip we were able to enjoy plenty of free activities including: hanging out at the beach and pools, visiting a couple of temples, and witnessing some of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen!
- Total for my expenses: $87
My total expenses for 21 days and 21 nights in Southern Thailand (Hua Hin, Ao Nang, Ko Lanta, and Patong), including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food were approximately $557!
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $5,339.
We headed to Bangkok, Thailand next, so stay tuned for my next update. It’s really hard to believe that after this there were only two weeks left in our trip (one week as of when I’m publishing this)! The time has flown by so quickly! Keep an eye on the Facebook page where we are posting much more frequently about the trip including our favorite pictures!