Planning for a holiday puts most travelers smack dab into a major catch-22: we want to make our money go further without compromising on quality. That’s probably the best thing about traveling in Thailand, where it is possible to live the high life on a low budget.
Bangkok is one of the most popular international hubs in the world and the competition means flight prices are keenly competitive and hotels offer great rates for the gamut of room types. In Phuket, luxury hotels rooms can cost as little as £63 a night, which goes to show that travelers can sleep in five-star comfort at prices that are three-star level in Europe.
Companies like Trailfinders and others are putting together great deals to attract more travelers in this tough economic climate as well, which means there are plenty of exclusive free night offers and reduced rates to be had, as long as you do your research and be prepared to be flexible as well.
Even without all the free goodies, however, one you’re in Thailand, prices are favorable for just about everything – so much so that no matter where we travel after spending three months in Europe, we always yearn for the prices in Thailand. A recent Royal Mail survey looked at a raft of goods from sun tan lotion to coffee and dining out, and Thailand was found to be the best destination in the world for value. To put that in perspective the study found Thailand to be 40% cheaper than Spain, most European’s go to summer holiday hot spot. We regularly ate Pad Thai or interesting market goodies for under £2, but even perfectly prepared Western food rarely cost over £5 per person – possibly with a deliciously fresh smoothie included!
Even the renowned Baan Rim Pa in Phuket, which has drawn plaudits from Tatler and Time Magazine, will only set you back less than £15 a head.
The two of us really dislike shopping, but when you are in Thailand, you just have to. It would be silly to miss the deals to be had everywhere from the giant modern shopping malls or adorable independent t-shirts for sale in the markets. Some people supposedly buy silk suits or tailor made jeans for great value, and while we have never seen it, we certainly believe it.
What we know for sure is that pampering comes cheap in Thailand, with expert massages on the beach, a dedicated shop or even at the many markets don’t cost more than £4, unless you go to a high end establishment. And why not? You can experience a massage in some of Thailand’s best spa hotels for no more than £30, and you have the luxury of excellent service and views of palm trees and the sea.
The only problem you’re likely to encounter after your Thai holiday is just how you’ll go back to living like a mere mortal after your trip is over. We have struggled with this for over a year since we left and the only way we can figure to solve it is to get back to Thailand sometime very soon!