several shades of turquoise water and luscious green hills in Ko Tao, Thailand

11 Cheapest Places In Thailand To Visit

Are you planning a trip to Thailand and looking for the cheapest places in Thailand to visit?

While there has been a surge in the cost of visiting Thailand in recent years, there are still many affordable places in Thailand to visit!

The most expensive aspects of traveling are always hotels and food. Luckily, hotels and food are cheap in Thailand overall, which is exactly why it remains one of the cheapest countries to visit.

three monks standing outside a famous temple in the evening in Chiang Mai

Even when visiting more expensive places in Thailand, like Phuket, you can still find affordable hotels and food!

This guide covers the seven cheapest places in Thailand to visit and live. If it’s your first time visiting Thailand, you must visit an island or two in Thailand!

Under each destination are average daily visiting costs and average monthly living costs.

Fun Fact: Thailand’s nickname is The Land of Smiles

The monthly cost is cheaper because of the lower daily accommodation costs. All average figures are estimates. Visiting or living in any of these places with far less or more is possible, depending on your travel and lifestyle preferences.

Chiang Mai

enterance gate into Old City Chiang Mai in the as the sun is shining onto the clouds / Is Chiang Mai Expensive
Credit: Matt Anderson

The largest Northern city in Thailand is Chiang Mai, and it’s also the cheapest place in Thailand to visit.

From Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a short one-hour flight, or you can fly directly into Chiang Mai International Airport.

Chiang Mai is famous for its mix of mountainous ranges and city life, offering the best of both worlds. The city is full of night markets to explore at night, and several beautiful temples and national parks surround Chiang Mai.

Over the last few years, Chiang Mai has become a hotspot for digital nomads and expats because of its low cost of living, stunning scenery, and still offering big city conveniences. Chiang Mai has some of the fastest internet speeds in Thailand.

Once the capital in the 14th century, today Chiang Mai is a slower-paced version of Bangkok, but not nearly as population-dense. If you need an escape, you can be amongst the mountains from Chiang Mai in minutes!

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $31 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $850 US

Chiang Rai

photo of the elaborate famous White Temple in Chiang Rai

Not far from the famous Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai is a small town that borders Burma and Laos. It is famous for its significant white temple, several historical sites, rice fields, mountains, and quiet lifestyle.

Located only 2 hours and a half drive from Chiang Mai. The town of Chiang Rai attracts far less tourists than Chiang Mai.

Compared to Chiang Mai, you will be able to enjoy a quieter atmosphere here. While some aspects of Chiang Rai are cheaper than Chiang Mai, food is costlier because the town is smaller.

In the last few years, the town has changed, and development is slowly giving this Nothern Thai town a more modern feel to it. A shopping mall, several housing including apartments/condos, and many restaurants, have changed the town’s older feel.

While there may be fewer things to do in Chiang Rai versus Chiang Mai, it’s more suitable for those looking for a laidback town amongst mountains but would prefer to avoid the busy side of Chiang Mai.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $34 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $890 US

Hua Hin

a beautiful vibrant, colourful sunset in Hua Hin, Thailand

Located along the coast and South of Bangkok is Hua Hin, a small seaside town known for its laidback seaside living, many seafood restaurants, temples, lively night markets, and low-cost living.

On one side is an extensive beach shoreline, and on the other side of the city are beautiful luscious green mountains.

From Bangkok to Hua Hin it’s a two-hour and 50 minutes drive at a total distance of 193 km. You can get here from Bangkok by either train or bus.

In recent years, condos and hotels have begun to pop up along the beach shorelines as the city is increasingly becoming more popular amongst retirees and nomads.

While this is the case, it’s not as noticeable as other places in Thailand that are popular amongst expats. The city isn’t spoiled by foreigners!

The city is known for having top-level health care, a bonus for those looking to reside here permanently.

Not only is Hua Hin one of the cheapest places in Thailand, but it’s also the cheapest coastal seaside town in Thailand.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $37 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $900 US


a long trail amongst the mountainous known as the popular Pai Canyon

Pai is a charming village in the lush hills north of Chiang Mai. Those who’ve backpacked Northern Thailand will be familiar with Pai, the small village just under three hours from Chiang Mai.

Pai Canyon, Yun Lai, and Phra That Mae Yen are the most famous viewpoints in the village.

The small village is surrounded by beautiful mountains that create a stunning backdrop amongst the town. Because of this, the town provides an ideal laid-back bohemian vibe, perfect for those looking to be around nature and relax.

The nightlife in Pai is lively, with its large night market surrounded by many bars and restaurants. Pai is known for its sunrise and sunset; here, you’ll be able to experience some of the most beautiful sunsets in Thailand.

Are you looking to chill out to the fullest at a low cost amongst nature? Pai is the place for you to visit!

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $39 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $920 US


train track along luscious green forest and the river in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi is a small city with a population of only around 65,000 people. It’s located only 123 km away from Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, and is less than a two-hour drive from Bangkok.

The town is most famous for its natural sites, including Erawan National Park and Sinakharin Damn National Park. Both parks are known for their wide mountainous range, waterfalls, hiking trails, and other hidden nature gems—a haven for explorers and trekkers.

A small group of retirees and ex-pats reside in Kanchanaburi and have called it home for many years. After all, the town offers a more traditional Thai experience, and it is only a two-hour drive from Bangkok.

From March through June, when Thailand is experiencing its highest humidity of the year, Kanchanaburi is known for having a lower average humidity level.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $41 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $940 US

Krabi Town

aerial photograph of Krabi Town along the Pak Nam River

Krabi Town is perfect for those looking for a small town with close access to some of the most beautiful nature in the world.

If you’re looking to visit a charming Thai village, Krabi Town ranks number one of the cheapest places in Thailand.

It is famous for its Krabi Night Market and the river flowing by the town. Krabi Town is popular amongst backpackers because of its cheap hostels and laid-back atmosphere.

Many must-visit islands and destinations are accessible from Krabi Town, such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, and Railay. By speedboat, you can reach any of these in a few hours or less, and the cost is around $20 US per person.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $45 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $950 US


views of several lane streets in Bangkok by Central World Mall

Famous for being one of the world’s most visited cities yearly, Thailand’s capital is known for its modern metropolitan city living, trade, temples, nightlife, night markets, shopping malls, and more.

Bangkok is one of the cheapest cities in Thailand and one of the cheapest developed metropolitan cities in the world. In recent years, digital nomads and expats have relocated to Bangkok temporarily and permanently.

The best part about Bangkok is the access to a large variety of different foods at low prices. Besides the many night markets that dominate the city, you can find any worldwide cuisine type in Bangkok at an affordable price. The average apartment rental is just $400 US per month.

Transportation around the city is easy with the BTS (Skytrain) and MRT (Subway) lines running all throughout the megacity.

Bangkok has two different airports, Suvarnabhumi (BKK), its international hub airport, and Don Mueang (DMK), a domestic airport offering cheap domestic flights within Thailand.

Negative aspects of Bangkok besides the heavy traffic is the air pollution, which can get quite bad at times during the year. Avoid visiting Bangkok during the off-season!

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $57 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $1,100 US

Koh Chang

several palm trees and luscious green mountains along the beach in Koh Chang, Thailand

Located along the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand is Koh Chang, a small island home to approximately 5000 residents.

Koh Chang is famous for its unique blend of lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and laid-back island vibes.

The island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, several beaches with healthy, colorful coral reefs, waterfalls, hiking trails, mangroves, and Mu Koh Chang National Park.

As you explore the coastlines of Koh Chang, you will continuously notice small beachside areas that are unique in their own way. Lonely Beach is a popular beach in Koh Chang and is famous amongst backpackers because of its many beach bars along this picturesque calm beach shoreline.

Despite being a tropical island, Koh Chang is conveniently only five hours away from Bangkok by bus and boat. The island is perfect for those who’d like to be off the grid living in a tropical paradise.

The best part about Koh Chang is tourists don’t frequent the island compared to other islands in Thailand. You can enjoy a more authentic way of Thai living in Koh Chang.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $62 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $1,150 US

Koh Lanta

aerial view of a beach in Ko Lanta, Thailand, several homes facing beach coastline

Located in the Andaman Sea and reachable from both Krabi and Phuket. Koh Lanta is an absolute paradise for those looking for a tropical experience.

Koh Lanta is famous for its bohemian island atmosphere, pristine beaches full of healthy reefs, rainforest mangroves, and many beautiful viewpoints.

The island splits into two but is connected by the Siri Lanta Bridge in the island’s Northern part.

The island has plenty of budget-friendly accommodations, from hostels to bungalows. Koh Lanta is known for its rustic, relaxing lodge-style affordable accommodation options. You can find hostels here for as low as $10 US a night!

A mix of the island’s alluring nature and reasonable accommodations makes Koh Lanta an ideal island for all to visit!

Digital nomads are slowly increasing in numbers to Koh Lanta. But despite the recent year of increased nomads and tourism, Koh Lanta remains a best-kept island secret amongst seasonal travelers visiting Thailand.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $64 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $1,157 US

Koh Tao

aerial views of luscious green forest along the coastline of Koh Tao island in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Tao is by far the smallest island on this list of the cheapest islands in Thailand.

The small island is most well-known for its diving and snorkeling excursions; it’s one of the cheapest places in the world to get your diving certification. As you walk around, you will spot diving schools everywhere.

Famous amongst budget backpackers, Koh Tao is full of viewpoints such as John-Suwan Viewpoint and Tanote Bay, stunning beaches, and excellent jungle parties.

Koh Nang Yuan is a unique viewpoint where narrow parts of sand lead you into other areas, and it is a must-see.

Despite the island being so remote, there is a decent expat community on the island, and it only seems to be growing. Koh Tao is far less touristy than its island neighbors, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

Koh Tao neighbors Koh Phangan, another island most famous for its full moon parties. On the other side is Koh Samui, a developed island with an airport and the closest airport to Koh Tao.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $65

Average Monthly Living Cost: $1,240 US

Koh Phangan

mountainous ranges and clear skies along the ocean in Koh Phangan, Thailand

Koh Phangan is an island located in the Gulf of Thailand and is most famous for its renowned Full Moon parties that occur once a month—tourists flock from all over the world to experience the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan.

But besides its full moon parties, Koh Phangan is famous for its beautiful tropical scenery, many beaches, and overall laid-back island atmosphere.

Despite being an island, it is decently developed, and there are many activities to enjoy on the island, including night markets.

The island makes for an ideal place to visit or live because of its many activities and restaurants while maintaining its tropical traits.

However, if you choose to live in Koh Phangan, you may slowly become bothered by the influx of tourists for 2-3 days for the full moon parties if you live in the areas near the monthly full moon parties!

Koh Phangan sits between two neighboring islands, Koh Tao and Koh Samui.

Average Daily Visitor Cost: $70 US

Average Monthly Living Cost: $1,320

calm shallow beach with mountainous views in the distance Island in Samui District

Cheapest Places in Thailand to Live

You now know where the cheapest places in Thailand to visit are, now let’s discuss the cheapest place to live in Thailand and how much it costs to live in Thailand overall!

These places must be liveable. By liveable, I mean decently developed, access to healthcare if needed, and somewhat close access to an airport!

There are cheaper parts of Thailand where you can live, but these places aren’t relatively suitable for most expats. The following places are ideal for all when deciding where to live in Thailand.

The average cost of living in Thailand for expats is $2,000 US, and this figure includes both cheap and expensive places to live in Thailand.

  • Chiang Mai is the most liveable place for cheap living in Thailand. The city has many private hospitals, and there’s an international airport. Chiang Mai is a fully developed city, and has many cheap apartments for expats to rent.
  • Hua Hin is an excellent choice; it’s under 3 hours away from Bangkok and beautiful, and the coastal town is developed enough to be considered a city soon.
  • Bangkok has the largest ex-pat community in Thailand. The megacity has everything you need and is a perfect place to reside: excellent transportation, low food, and low housing costs. The average living cost in Bangkok is $1,500 US a month.
  • Koh Phangan is an ideal choice if you’re looking to live on an island in Thailand. Despite its full moon party, the island is decently developed. And if you ever need something you can’t find or need to fly out somewhere, you can go over to Koh Samui, which is only 30 minutes by ferry.

Where is the cheapest place to live in Thailand as an expat?

The cheapest place to stay in Thailand as an expat is Chiang Mai. It’s the largest Northern city in Thailand.

It boasts a large ex-pat community, has fast internet, and all the conveniences of a big city, along with beautiful mountain ranges surrounding it.

famous roundabout location by theWat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan temple in China Town, Bangkok

Is Thailand a Cheap Place to Visit?

Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to visit. Here are a few quick references, you can find the Thailand’s national dish Pad Thai all over Thailand for $1-4 US.

You can find excellent hotels anywhere in Thailand for around $30-40 US, and beer can cost as low as $2 US!

Another important factor is transportation, which is also cheap in Thailand. For reference, you can leave the Bangkok BKK airport and go into the city for around $20 US.

A Tuk-Tuk in Bangkok can cost as little as $4 US, and rides are easy to find at affordable prices using Grab (an app like Uber).

Which part of Thailand is the cheapest?

Northern Thailand offers the most affordable destinations, with Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai standing out. These cities provide a high quality of life at lower costs and have diverse attractions, amenities, and food options for expats looking to relocate.

Where do most expats live in Thailand?

Most expats in Thailand reside in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui. These places offer an excellent standard of living with plenty of conveniences, expat communities, and amenities.

Is Thailand a cheap place to live?

Thailand is a very affordable place to live. For under $1,500 USD per month, one can cover housing, dining out, and utilities, making it an attractive option for those looking to move to a more affordable country!

Is Bangkok cheaper than Phuket?

Bangkok is cheaper than Phuket for everything, including hotels, housing rentals, food, and transportation. Phuket is the most expensive place to live in Thailand.

Happy & Safe Travels

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