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The Real Deal on Thai Food and Drink Expenses

The Real Deal on Thai Food and Drink Expenses

Do you want to know what it’s like to eat and drink like a local in Thailand? If you are planning a trip to this lovely country, you’ll want to know how much its food and drink costs. Here’s an insight into Thai food and drink expenses that you can expect, so you can prepare your budget accordingly.

The Rough Cost Breakdown

The cost of food and drink in Thailand varies based on where you buy them and what type of establishment you choose. Here’s a rough breakdown of what different food and drink items may cost in Thailand:

Street Food

Street food in Thailand is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. A serving of Pad Thai, a popular Thai noodle dish, costs about ฿40-฿50 ($1.20-$1.50), while a skewer of grilled meat, known as Satay, costs about ฿10-฿15 per stick ($0.30-$0.50).

Local Restaurants

In local restaurants, a typical Thai meal costs around ฿100-฿200 ($3-$6). This includes a rice or noodle dish, side dishes, and a bottle of water. Fancy restaurants will charge you about ฿500-฿1,000 ($15-$30) for the same meal.

Fruits and Snacks

Thailand is known for its fresh and exotic fruits like mangoes, pineapples, and papayas, which cost around ฿10-฿30 per piece ($0.30-$1). A bag of crispy pork rinds or fried insects like grasshoppers cost around ฿30-฿50 ($1-$2).


Beer in Thailand is relatively cheap. A large bottle of beer, known as a “big Leo” or “big Chang,” costs around ฿50-฿80 ($1.50-$2.50) in bars or restaurants. A glass of fresh juice or a bottle of water costs around ฿20-฿30 ($0.60-$1).

Additional Tips & Tricks

To maximize your travel budget and get the best experience, consider dipping into the local market scene to get fresh products and try new things. From there, use these tips to make the most of your experience:

Haggle Prices

In local markets and shops, it’s a common occurrence to negotiate prices. Be bold and ask for a discount, but be reasonable and try to avoid lowballing. This is especially true for expensive items like souvenirs, clothes, and accessories.

Watch Out for Additional Costs

In tourist hotspots, there are often hidden costs that visitors must take into account. Some cafes or restaurants may charge you a “service fee” of 10% and an additional 7% VAT. Always check the bill and ask the staff if you’re unsure.

Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

If you’re on a tight budget, consider staying in hostels or guesthouses. In Thailand, rooms in guesthouses typically cost between ฿300-฿500 ($9-$15) per night.

Closing Thoughts

Thai cuisine is diverse and delightful, and trying the local dishes is a must. By understanding the average cost of food and drink in Thailand, you can prevent a budget crisis while enjoying everything this wonderful country has to offer. Come with an open mind, and you’ll have an unforgettable vacation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is street food in Thailand safe to eat?

Yes, street food in Thailand is generally safe to eat. It is a crucial aspect of Thai culture, and Thais consume it every day. However, be cautious of stalls with obvious signs of unhygienic practices.

2. Do you need to tip in Thai restaurants?

Tipping is not customary in Thailand. However, it is appreciated if you tip hotel porters, taxi drivers, or waitresses.

3. Is it possible to live in Thailand on a tight budget?

Yes, it is possible to live in Thailand on a tight budget, as the cost of living in the country is generally lower than in Western countries. You can find cheap accommodation, travel using public transportation, and eat street food or cook for yourself.

4. Is the tap water in Thailand safe to drink?

No, it is not recommended to drink tap water in Thailand. Always drink bottled or boiled water to avoid getting sick.

5. What is the drinking age in Thailand?

The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20 years old. However, enforcement of this law is not strict in many places.

6. Can I use my credit card in Thailand?

Yes, many establishments in Thailand accept credit cards. However, some smaller shops and street food stalls may not have this as an option, so it’s best to carry local currency with you.

7. What is a typical Thai breakfast?

A typical Thai breakfast consists of rice congee, or “khao tom,” which is a rice porridge served with a variety of dishes like sausages, eggs, and stir-fried vegetables. Alternatively, you can try the famous Thai dish, “kao pad,” which is fried rice with chicken, vegetables, and chili.




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