The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Thailand | Free Book | Part 7

This is part 7, to read from Part 1 in this free book, CLICK HERE.

25 Tips to Save You Money in Thailand

Here is a collection of 25 tips to save you money while traveling to Thailand. Some of the tips may seem extreme, like “stay away from the islands” but, keep in mind there are those that want to save a lot of money and those that want to see what Thailand has to offer as well. An island trip is highly recommended! Getting to Thailand can be very expensive, but it is possible to live cheaply once you’re here. While you can slip by on just $10 a day, it can be better to economize where and when you need to.

1. Visit Thailand in Low Season

Traveling between May and November is much cheaper than peak season, with rooms, food and vehicle rental often discounted. Also, there are fewer tourists about, so you’re more likely to feel welcome or get personal service.

2. Stay Off the Islands

Remember that everything you buy on an island is transported by boat or plane, so island life is always more expensive than traveling on the Thailand mainland. If saving money is of absolute importance stay away from the islands. However, if you’re only going to be in Thailand once in your life you’re really missing the most beautiful spots of all by skipping them.

3. Stick to Basic Accommodation

Simple rooms can be available for less than 150 baht a night at hostels, or you can share with another bargain hunter to split costs. Dorm rooms are even cheaper and still available in some areas, or you could travel in traditional Thai style and bed down in a local temple for free.

4. Travel Overnight

You can go a long way for very few baht on overnight trains, and save a few hundred baht by not needing a room for the night. Buses are more expensive, more dangerous, but they cover more routes.

5. Use Local Transport

Local buses and, songthaews (shared taxis) go everywhere if a little slow at times. Third-class rail is cheaper and slower still, though the rail network is pretty limited.

6. Thumbing a Ride

A little more daring, and a little more dangerous, but many people do successfully hitchhike around Thailand. It’s polite to offer money for gas, but it is rarely accepted.

7. Avoid Western Food

You can buy ten Thai meals for the cost of one pizza in Thailand. Nearly all foreign food is imported at great expense, and it rarely tastes the same as back home anyway.

8. Eat Like the Locals

Thais love food, and you will always be close to a market selling curry and rice, or a small restaurant making Thai food to order. Roadside stalls are everywhere, especially at night, and it’s all very cheap.

9. Don’t Leave Tips

Tipping is not expected in local restaurants, so don’t worry about it. Thais rarely tip.

10. Accept Offers of Food, Drink and Accommodation

Thais really are friendly and gracious people, and it’s possible you will be invited for a drink or to share a meal. Offering a bed for the night is a very generous gesture, but should be carefully considered.

11. Water is Good for You and Your Pocket

Buy big bottles rather than small bottles, drink plenty of free water whenever you eat a meal or even fill your water bottle for free in banks, hotel foyers, and Buddhist temples!

12. Alcohol can be an Expensive Luxury

Though supermarket beer is a third of the price of beer bought in bars, the cheapest drink is the local spirit called Lao Kao. Very cheap. Very harsh. Sang Som rum is pretty good with Coke – powerful and cheap also.

13. Make the Most of Free Entertainment

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Thailand all around you! Thais exercise at local parks, often there are free aerobics groups, basketball, tennis, ta-graw, or some performance going on – especially in the northeast around the holidays. Or you can watch free films at resorts or read a free newspaper in a library or a hotel.

14. Buy Clothes and Personal Items in Thailand

Clothes are very cheap and completely suitable for the hot climate. Toiletries will be much cheaper than back home, with free soap being provided in some rooms and sometimes in shared bathrooms. Keep in mind you may not find the exact brand you’re used to, but with an open mind, you’ll find something that works.

15. Consider Bringing Specialized Equipment

If you are planning to do more recreational activities, it could be better to bring your own gear from home rather than renting it. Much of what Thailand has is made in China and not the same quality you’re probably used to. Bring what you can’t do without.

16. Watch Your Money

Keep track of what you spend so you can see where it is going and what you are buying unnecessarily. Though your trip should be enjoyable and not crippled by obsessive budgeting.

17. Avoid Unnecessary Money Charges

If you use a bank card and are charged a flat fee for withdrawing money, make fewer but larger withdrawals. If you have to pay a fee each time you exchange a Travelers’ Check or cash, order larger denominations before you come.

18. Do You Need a Guide Book?

There is plenty of information on the internet to help you plan before and during your trip. Copy information to a memory stick and print in Thailand at 5 Thai Baht (15 cents) a page or print out the pages you need before you come. Bet it’s less weight to carry around than an entire guidebook! If you can’t do without a book, look for second-hand copies in bookstores once you arrive.

19. Haggle Over Prices

Bargaining for some items is expected in Thailand. Anything from a market is fair game but keep it real when trying to get an extra few baht discount. Room prices can be negotiated, especially in low season or for longer stays.

20. Do Your Own Laundry

A packet of washing powder and a few minutes each day is all that you need. If you buy loose, light clothing here, it will dry in minutes in the hot sun. Buy a sarong here to use instead of a heavy towel.

21. Be Aware of Motoring Regulations

Bring an international driving license with you and always carry it when driving. Always wear seat belts in cars and helmets on motorbikes, or you will be risking an on the spot fine.

22. Obey the Local Laws

Littering is an offense in Thailand, and people have been fined for dropping cigarette butts on the ground. Police will pay more attention to the actions of a foreigner, so be aware especially in Bangkok.

23. Don’t Get Scammed or Robbed

Read about the gem shop scams, the free rides on tuk-tuks, and find out the real price of airport taxis. Ask all taxis to run the meters. Agree on prices for any service before you go anywhere or do anything. Protect your valuables and cash and try not to make yourself an easy target in more dangerous areas.

24. Make Money While Traveling

Working without the necessary paperwork in Thailand is illegal, though it might be possible to get paid as a film extra or to appear in advertising photos. Many people are able to sell their photos or stories of their travels, and even just having advertisements on your blog pages can help.

25. Avoid the Tourist Traps

For real cheap traveling, stay away from places like Pattaya, Phuket and Ko Samui. Instead, head off the beaten track to the forest temples and national parks of Udon Ratchathani in the north-east, or try the beaches and unique cuisine of Nakhon Si Thammarat in the south.

Helpful Phone Numbers & Other Info

You might find some trouble, or trouble might find you. I’m not saying you’re going to wake up in a shack in a tub full of ice with a kidney missing but, you might wake up in intensive care hit with a metal bar to the back of your head.

Or you might find yourself in a horrible accident in which everyone is blaming you – including the police if they didn’t see what happened and must rely on the other witnesses.

Or you might find yourself the victim of some scam you didn’t see coming.

Know these few phone numbers…

1. Tourist Police in Thailand – every city. They speak English and will do their best to help you out. The tourist police I’ve met in tourist cities really seem interested in helping tourists. They don’t seem to be governed by the same group as the other police – and in fact, have their own offices away from the central police offices most times.

Phone: 191 or 123 Police; 1155 – Tourist Police (speak English better)

2. Your Embassy: They can’t help much, and won’t help for most things but occasionally you’ll hit on something they can do for you. If you’re in jail the embassy is a good one to call. Please look up your embassy in Bangkok for the phone number now – there are people from 150+ countries reading The Ultimate Teaching English in Thailand Guide and we can’t list all countries phone numbers here in this email. Know your embassy phone number by heart.

3. A Thai lawyer that speaks English VERY well. Call these guys in Bangkok – Sunbelt Asia – they have a good history of helping expats out of jams. They know the ropes and they’re realistic about what they can do. You’ll pay a lot of cash – but, you might not be able to do without them.

Sunbelt Asia: Phone: 02-642-0213


Ok, that concludes the Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Thailand. I hope you had all your questions answered about the topic and give teaching in Thailand a shot. Some people love it – and some don’t. You should have a good idea after reading this ebook whether it’s worth a try in your particular case, or not.

If you noticed anything that is factually incorrect, politically incorrect, or otherwise anything that made you squirm when you read it, would you please write: and let me know what you found? I’d really like to keep this ebook updated with the latest information as it changes, so if you have anything to add please let me know.

Feel free to drop me a note at that email and ask any questions you have. If I can’t answer them I’ll refer you to someone that can.

Best of Luck!

Mike Fook


Though I went to great lengths to assure the accuracy of the information provided here, there may exist factual discrepancies. Please notify me of such and I will do my best to correct them.


If you want to add anything to this page send me an email and I’ll consider it.

Hundreds of pages of helpful resources teachers can use – all free.

Children, The Challenge a book by one of my favorite psychologists, Rudolph Dreikurs – an amazing, in-depth look at how to handle children in many circumstances. Great advice that spans most cultures. The ultimate resource for teachers and parents. Look it up on Amazon. – Phil’s teaching jobs classifieds section is the best Thailand has. – Though catering to all of southeast Asia, Dave’s has a number of Thai vacancies. I’ve also found the forums here very helpful at times.

I’d strongly recommend you take a couple of hours and visit and to read up on the current state of events happening with teaching in Thailand before you arrive.

Choke Dee Krup!

(Good luck!)