3-Day Thailand Getaway Budget Tips

Here’s how you can spend less than 20,000 pesos ($ 450) on a 3-day Thailand getaway budget trip.

  1. BOOK A PROMO FARE. This one’s pretty obvious. The discount from a year-round fare to a promo fare could be as high as 75% so this could save you a lot of money. I usually book Cebu Pacific because of the abundance of their promo fare offers. Like their page to get the latest updates on promo fares. They have promos almost every day and they change them every 3 days or so. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting for one for your target destination and target travel date.
  2. HAVE YOUR PESO EXCHANGED TO THAI BAHT AHEAD OF TIME. The airport has the worst money exchange rate so better buy your Baht pocket money at Czarina’s or Sanry’s at least a week before because it can be subject to reservation.
  3. BOOK A CHEAP HOSTEL. I have always used booking.com for accommodation before I discovered the wonders of AirBnB. If you’re more comfortable living in a hostel and not having to deal with hosts, booking.com is the best way to go. Most hotels offer free cancellation up to a certain period of time, normally up to a day before the scheduled stay and they offer discounts if you book ahead of time.
  4. KHAO SAN ROAD IS A PRETTY OKAY PLACE TO STAY IN. For example, Sawasdee Inn is not the best hostel there is, but it’s close to the restaurants, bars and street scene of Bangkok. Plus, it’s so cheap! Just 900 THB ($ 26.88/ ₱ 1221) per person for 2 nights.
  5. EAT STREET FOOD. This won’t just help you budget your pocket money, but you get to try the best local delicacies as well. Go to Khao San Road or Soi Rambuttri and have a taste of their grilled meat and veggie skewers, pad thai, sticky rice or coconut ice cream. If you’re not squeamish, why not try their edible insects and bugs.
  6. TRY THE LOCAL BARS AND RESTAURANTS IN KSR OR SOI RAMBUTTRI. They’re actually cheap. And you get free entertainment from acoustic singers. You can try the local beers as well: Singha and Chang.
  7. BOOK A PACKAGE TOUR. If you’re staying in Bangkok for 3 days, you wouldn’t want to commute to all the temples and attractions in your itinerary. Package tours like the one we booked included transportation already. We paid 2850 THB ($ 85/ ₱ 3780) for the following activities: Temple Tour (Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha), Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, 30-minute elephant ride @ Chang Puak Camp, some bonus tours (a gem factory and a woodcarving museum/store) and transportation (air-conditioned van).
  8. BE CAREFUL AT PATPONG. This is for those who wish to watch the pingpong shows. Travel agencies actually offer assistance with these kinds of tourist attractions as well. They just don’t offer them explicitly. In our case, they just let us know the rates and all when we asked it to them.
  9. SAY “PHAENG!” TO VENDORS. In other words, try to haggle. Most will try to rip you off if they know you’re a tourist so never take their first offer. When we were at the floating market, another tourist on our boat had to haggle for a 900 THB trousers. It actually took us some time before the vendor finally agreed on selling it for 300 THB.
  10. SOUVENIRS ARE CHEAP. There are lots of souvenirs you can buy: tank tops, trousers, bags, keychains and magnets that are actually of good taste and quality. You can get those really comfy loose harem pants for 140 THB or tank tops with Thai designs for 100 THB.

Here’s the breakdown of the expenses of our Bangkok weekend. For my pocket money, I spent almost 8500 THB ($ 254/ ₱ 11,532) but don’t forget about the exchange rate of your money exchanger. Plus, the return airfare of 6300 PHP ($ 141.88) from Cebu Pacific, 1620 PHP ($ 36.48) Travel tax and 550 PHP ($ 12.39) terminal fee. All in all, less than 20,000 PHP ($ 495.45).

Thailand Getaway: Part II (Elephant Ride + Floating Market + Patpong)

Day 2 of our Thailand getaway started with a one-hour trip outside Bangkok to go to Chang Puak Camp in Hat Yai. Chang is not just a famous beer brand. Chang actually means elephant in Thai. So yes, that was one of our must-do activity in Bangkok, an elephant ride. This was arranged by Mr.Off and was included in the tour package.

You may choose from the activities in the camp like elephant acrobatics, crocodile shows, and shooting ranges but we only took the half an hour of elephant ride. It was fun, better than any 4D ride. Seeing elephant dung in random places was equally fun. We had to wait for the other tourists who shared the van with us so while waiting, we had massages given by vibrating massage chairs for 100 BAHT ($ 2.99/ ₱ 133) per 15 minutes.

Next stop: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. I recommend riding the boat just for the heck of it but never agree on the vendors’ first offer. When haggling, Mr. Off told us to say “Phaeng!” which means expensive! The price could be brought down up to 70% off. Don’t show much interest in a store if you don’t want to deal with annoying vendors. If you show the slightest interest in something, they will hook your boat and pull it towards their store and won’t let you go on until you buy their product.

And we had to go to a woodcarving museum/shop, as it was part of the tour. We had some refreshments while waiting for the van to take us to Platinum Mall. We had lunch and bought some souvenirs and took a taxi back to Khao San Road. We would have taken a tuk-tuk but they were ripping us off, so we shook them off and rode a taxi.

One of the main activities in our Bangkok agenda is to see one of them ping pong shows. Thank god we booked this tour because they helped us through the whole process. Our driver bought us tickets, took us to Patpong by van and waited for us outside the strip club. All of this for only 700 THB ($ 20.91/ ₱ 950). I know it might sound pricey for a 30-minute show, but we’ve read a lot of scary stories of tourists getting ripped off by strippers and club managers and thankfully, unlike them, we had a very smooth Bangkok pussy show experience. Taking photos was prohibited, obviously. So I just have this one badge I proudly hang on my wall.

Thailand Getaway: Part I (Temple Hopping + Khao San Road)

Three days are just not enough to experience the strangely beautiful and beautifully strange Bangkok. I had a lot of things to do on my list but sadly we couldn’t cram it all in our short trip. The least we could do was make the most out of it.

Days before the trip, we contacted the Bangkok tour guide named Benya referred to me by a friend. I got in touch with her via Facebook and we talked about our trip plans. She asked me which places and activities we planned to see and do and minutes later, she sent me our itinerary and their rates. It was a bit weird that she didn’t give us any official documents or receipts but she told us she represented a travel agency. She didn’t ask us any money beforehand so I didn’t have any problem with it.

Tropical storm Mario caused delay on our flight schedule but the travel agency didn’t mind. They’re flexible like that. I just updated Benya through Facebook from time to time. Our flight departure was moved from 6:30 am to 8:30 AM. It was a more than 3 hour flight so we arrived at 11:00 AM, Bangkok time. Remember: Manila is one hour ahead of Bangkok. Benya informed me she couldn’t go with us due to the arrival schedule but his brother, self-named Mr. Off, would go with us instead.thailand

I bought a Thai data sim card at the Suvarnhabumi airport for 299 BAHT ($ 8.93/ ₱ 400) that was valid for 7 days. After that, we looked for Mr. Off at Exit B. He was there holding a paper with my name on it. The tour package included transportation from airport to hotel so.. awesome, since it was really hot outside. Since we already lost two hours in the airport, we opted going directly to our temple tour before checking in our hotel.

Here’s the lineup of our temple hopping afternoon:

  1. WAT PHRA KAEW (TEMPLE OF EMERALD BUDDHA)
  2. WAT PHO (TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA)
  3. WAT TRAIMIT (GOLDEN BUDDHA)

While inside the van, Mr. Off gave us some trivia and background history of the temples. We didn’t understand a lot because of his accent so we just nodded and asked him stupid questions like “where does Mario Maurer live?”.

We stayed 2 nights in Sawasdee Inn at Khao San Road. The location was great but the hotel sucked. The staff didn’t speak English and we had the impression that they were always out on a company trip. Well, I didn’t mind since we were out most of the time. And budget travel is the best way to go for me, because I believe in the principle “spend less, see more”.

The crazy Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri were just a few minutes’ walk away. They were so chaotic I don’t even know how to describe these places properly. There were so many stuff going on – street food vendors, street massage parlors, random street song and dance presentations, bars and restaurants, and random shops of souvenirs, clothes, weird trinkets and even fake IDs.