How to eat in Thailand for under £5 a day

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If you are planning a trip to Thailand and you are on a tight budget then take a read of my guide to eating in Thailand for under £5 a day. So you can spend your hard-earned money on the important things; like elephant pants and longboat rides…

Thailand is the perfect place for those thrifty travellers who are watching the pennies.

The number one best way to save money in Thailand is simple; eat Thai food. Or to be more specific; Eat Thai street food!

Bangkok, Thailand - December 28, 2015 : Thai exotic food in street food market. Like the charming people, exotic foods greets you on almost every corner in Thailand.
Bangkok, Thailand – December 28, 2015: Thai exotic food in street food market. Like the charming people, exotic foods greets you on almost every corner in Thailand.

If you are heading out to Thailand and the thought of eating from a street vendor turns your stomach and has you reaching for your anti bac hand gel, you might be in for a bit of a culture shock! If you want to really experience Thailand and also make sure you aren’t blowing your budget you are going to need to get over your fear of festering poultry and unwashed hands. I can honestly say I ate from street carts for most of my three weeks there and not once did I get an upset belly…The Singha beer is another matter, though!

Breakfast

Cost: 10tbt-200tbt

There is no such thing in Thailand as breakfast (well there is actually they have a dish called Joke but I didn’t come across it once in Thailand) . That said they have cottoned on to our western ways and most places will offer some sort of western version of breakfast. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Most of the sausages are chicken sausage
  • The bacon is streaky (like you get in the US)
  • Eggs are eggs- You normally get them fried, boiled, scrambled or as an omelette
  • In general, I found most places call a traditional English breakfast an “American Breakfast”
  • If you want a western breakfast it will normally cost you 100-200 tbt if you compare that to eating normal Thai food which will cost 30-60 tbt that’s a fair amount more.
  • If the thought of curry or noodles for breakfast makes you shudder then go for fruit. You can get it everywhere and it’s super cheap. If you want it all cut up nice for you grab a 10 tbt bag from one of the vendors.

If like me you aren’t a real person until you have had at least 1 cup of coffee you can normally get a half decent one for about 50-60 tbt

Thailand street food including cantaloupe and mango in plastic bag ready for sale. Bangkok, Thailand. Selective focus
Thailand street food including cantaloupe and mango in a plastic bag ready for sale. Bangkok, Thailand. Selective focus

Lunch and Dinner

Cost: 30 – 70 tbt (£0.80 – £1.20) 

In Thailand, you can’t walk for long without seeing a street cart selling food. Many of the carts will also have some tables and chairs for you to sit on whilst eating your food.

There are a few options to look out for:

  • Walking streets – This is basically a market, they close the road off and it becomes a pedestrian only street. There is always plenty of stalls offering food.
  • Food markets – This normally consists of a lot of food vendors with a large section centrally where you can sit and eat your food.
  • Street Carts – These are the street vendors who are spotted around the streets. They don’t normally have a seated area.
  • Restaurants’ – I found that even some of the most expensive restaurants still had Thai food on the menu for about 50-70 tbt. So when I wanted to sit inside with some air conditioning and get out of the heat for a bit by sticking to Thai food, I was still able to stick to our budget.

If you really just need a pizza or a cheeseburger they can be found! You will probably pay between 100 and 200 tbt (£2-£4) for western food

Thai food, spicy papaya salad
Thai food, spicy papaya salad

Drinks

We found drinks were about the same everywhere we went:

  • Coke, Fanta, sprite etc 40-60 tbt
  • Water 10-20 tbt
  • Tea and Coffee 50-100 tbt
Coconuts in cool water on a Thailand market
Coconuts in cool water on a Thailand market

Eating Thai Food

Breakfast – Bag of fruit and a coffee 70 tbt

Lunch – Pad Thai and a bottle of water 60 tbt

Dinner – Thai Green curry and a Coke 100 tbt

Total 230 tbt (or £4.80)

thai market fruit and grill
Thai market fruit and grill

Eating Western Food

Breakfast – Western style cooked breakfast and a coffee 150 tbt

Lunch – Toasted cheese sandwich and water 150 tbt

Dinner – Pizza and a coke 200 tbt

Total 500 tbt (or £10.50)

I love Thai food and I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever get sick of Pad Thai! That said most mornings I did opt for a more western style breakfast, sometimes a girl just needs eggs and a coffee in the morning.

If you are planning a trip to Thailand and you are on a tight budget then take a read of my guide to eat in Thailand for under £5 a day.

So what is your favorite Thai food? I’d love to hear from you so please do leave me a comment bellow and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

If you need a cheap flight to Thailand check Skyscanner first! Or download their App here, and don’t forget your insurance!

12 Replies to “How to eat in Thailand for under £5 a day”

  1. […] It’s easily possible to eat well in Bangkok with less than $7 a day. Read Claire’s Itchy Feet’s guide for […]

  2. This is something we loved about Thailand! You could get great meals for so cheap! I fell in love with the different curries and ate a version at least one meal a day. Especially if you cut beer, although that is also tempting because it’s so inexpensive, it’s easy to come in under 5 pounds a day!

    1. Haha I went a little crazy on Chang the first night so I had to calm it down after that. So tempting though!

  3. I’m a big fan of Pad Thai too! It’s interesting to see how reasonably you can eat in Thailand. We’ve only been to Bangkok, Phuket and Kao Lak and didn’t get an opportunity to go to the street markets in our timeframe sadly but they sound like a bargain. Thanks for the detailed information

    1. My pleasure! Sad you didn’t get to sample the street food but hope you had a great time while you were there 🙂

  4. This is quite a useful piece for eating out in Thailand. We were in Bangkok and Pattaya for a couple of days and bought some stuff from a local departmental stores. Being vegetarians our options get narrowed, but we did eat a lot of noodles with veggies. But Thailand does have a range of options spanning all budgets for eating..

    1. I was a meat eater when I went to Thailand. I’m now a vegetarian so I’m guessing I’ll run into a few more issues when I return. Glad to know I’ll at least be able to eat noodles and veggies!

  5. It is so fascinating how cheap Thailand is. I have only been to Bangkok but would love to go back and explore more of Thailand, especially when it is so cheap. I love Thai food and know I would eat so much in every corner when I visit Thailand 😀

  6. This post is making me miss Thailand so much and all its delicious food! The fruit was so good and fresh, and the fruit shakes…omg I was seriously addicted to those things. Thailand is where I fell in love with curry. Great post!

    1. The fruit in Thailand is out of this world 😍

  7. This is a very interesting post. I was in Nepal last year and ate several times in the street or local eateries. Unfortunately, they weren’t boiling the water for what they were cooking and I had major stomach problems after eating in the street. However, the food seemed tasty and hearty. And yes, you don’t have any chance to spend too much.

    1. Oh no! Yes sadly that can happen a bit in a lot of places. I think I’ve been lucky. Plus I. Thailand it’s normally safer to eat street food. Especially fish as it’s actually fresher. So sorry this happend to you!

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