Phuket on $25 a Day

Today, Jeff  is sharing with us top budget travel tips on how to survive in Phuket, Thailand for less than $25 a day. Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary film-making, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. You can follow them on TwitterFacebook YouTube & Instagram

Phuket is easily one of the most sought out dream destinations in the world, and while Thailand is also known as a cheap destination the tourist industry has driven Phuket to be the most expensive city in all of Thailand. While Phuket might still be cheaper than Los Angeles or London, you are sure to be caught off guard by some of the prices and it is amazing how quickly they add up.  There are a few tips and tricks to make sure you save your hard earned pennies which can help you visit Phuket for as little as $25 a day. So grab a pen and paper and plan out your perfect Thailand holiday without having to worry about breaking the bank!

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First off and most importantly you’ll need a comfy place to lay your head. While Phuket boasts some of the most expensive hotels in the entire world, there are loads and loads of budget accommodations as well, and don’t think you have to stay in a hostel either.

Phuket has 1,000’s of hotels, including many rooms for as little as $8 a day, and they can comfortable sleep two people! While you might have to search them out, we regularly see amazingly cheap deals on basic hotel rooms – and not the horrific ones you’ve seen in “The Beach”. In Patong, the party spot in Phuket, a budget hotel with aircon, wifi and two single beds can easily cost under $15. So find a friend, make a friend, grab a stranger and throw your stuff in a cheap room, shell out the $7 each and head out to explore.

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Now armed with $17 let’s see how far it will take you. If you are anywhere on the west coast of the island a beach won’t be far, and chances are you are walking distance from one. While Patong is easily the most popular beach you can easily head north to Kamala, Surin or Bangtao and if you hop down south you’ll find beautiful Karon and Kata. These beaches are not exactly walking distance but if you split a tuk-tuk with your new found friend, it should only cost you $3 each. After spending a day at the beach you will be hungry and ready for a bite to eat. Street food and markets are huge in Phuket and there is one to be found somewhere on the island every night. A simply meal of Pad Thai from the market won’t cost you more and $1-2 so go crazy and eat all you want.

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If you are feeling extra adventurous search out the insect stand and for another $3 grab a bag of fried crickets, maggots and grasshoppers. While not as disgusting as you might think, they aren’t the most delicious snack, tasting simply like that one burnt french fry you always get. After all, much of the world eat bugs as a normal part of their diet.

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Now that the sun is setting you’ll want to turn up the fun, right? You should have at least $10 left for the night which will be plenty to have a little fun. Thai beers are brewed stronger because many Thais add ice to make up for the extreme heat, so watch yourself as a 6.4% beer will hit you a lot harder after a day in the sun than a Miller Lite ever did. You should have enough to buy 4-6 bottles of beer at a convenient store or 3-4 in a bar, both on nearly every corner.

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By now you realize it is nearly 2am and somehow the night has flown by (especially if your friend bought a bottle of Sangsom Thai Whiskey with his $10) and you are probably ready for some good drunk food. Never fear, there is bound to be either a noodle soup or kebab store open somewhere right in your blurry line of sight. Spend your last couple bucks on a bite to eat and then stumble back to your hotel room, pump up the AC and pass out – then repeat!

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Now you know the steps, the tips and what you pay where and for what. Other cheap activities include visiting one of the many local Buddhist temples (free), renting a motorbike for the day ($10), taking a traditional Thai long tail boat out for a spin and a snorkel ($6) each if you have a small group and renting either a surfboard or body board on the beach ($5 per hour). While not technically Phuket, the close by Phi Phi Islands provide nonstop fun and a roundtrip ferry ticket is just $6. Phuket really is an exciting and adventurous place and while many easily spend way more than they need or intend to, a good time can be had in Phuket for $25 a day.

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If you would like to experience a bit more of Phuket’s water sports like kitesurfing and wind foiling, these are great activities to try here, but you would definitely need to prepare to pump in a bit more cash for these lessons.

 Would you like to spend a day in Phuket?


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Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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58 thoughts on “Phuket on $25 a Day”

  1. Avatar of Kristin W.

    Thanks for sharing Latitude 34. We will have to check out your blog more often! Unfortunately, we were terribly disappointed with Phuket and Ko Phi Phi when we went last December. Patong is just gross in my opinion and it was pricey to reach the nearby “nice” beaches. In Ko Phi Phi, we were disgusting by “Poo River” from all the sewage drainage in the beach.:-( It seems the island is building too quickly and they aren’t respecting the environment or local culture at all. We did, however, love the delicious and cheap fruit shakes from the lady at the beach in KPP (especially banana and coconut)! :-) We found other areas in Thailand we liked much more with more culture and delicious, authentic food.

    Safe, Happy Travels! :-)

    1. Avatar of Jeff Johns

      Ohh no Kristin! Unfortunately, we do hear that a lot. Many people are unable to find the hidden gems of both Phuket and Phi Phi which is really too bad. However, we totally understand all you are saying and while we don’t disagree about it all, we have found some really amazing places in Phuket that we really love and hope to be able to share with more travelers to help them better discover another side to Phi Phi and Phuket. Cheers!

  2. Avatar of Franca

    We stayed two days in Phuket town and didn’t go to the beach at all, I know we are weirdos! Great tips apart from the eating bugs bit, I would fill up on rice with veggies or fresh fruit instead.

  3. Avatar of The Guy

    Thanks for the great tips Jeff. Whilst I’ve been to Thailand a couple of times I’ve never made it to Phuket. I often hear people say how cheap it is but as you say the popularity is driving up prices.

    You provide some great advice. I think that once you nail cheap accommodation you are set for a great time at a good price. $1-$2 for food is fantastic.

    1. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      To be honest, I was surprised by how cheap Phuket can be. I’ve also heard that the popularity is driving up prices.

    2. Avatar of Jeff Johns

      Yes, Phuket is getting more expensive each year, and is currently the most expensive place in Thailand. However, it is still Thailand and almost dirt cheap options for everything can be found without much work.

  4. Avatar of Jamie

    I met Jeff and Marina in Phuket, nice people. Really seeing Phuket for 25 dollars a day is tricky. Accommodation – you can get dorms for about 6 dollars or cheap rooms for 12 dollars. Food – I normally eat for a couple of dollars, just find a roadside place where locals are eating. Transport is the tricky part, because Phuket is a large place, over 500 square km and taxis are expensive. If you base in Phuket Town, you can get a local bus from there to anywhere for a dollar, and town has plenty of less expensive accommodation too. Or (if you are a competent rider) rent a scooter to get around – a days rental is less than a couple of tuk tuk rides. If you are in a little group that helps as you can share transport costs. There are several museums around the island with entry fees no more than 6 dollars, but a lot of the main ‘tourist attractions’ have entry fees of around 10-15 dollars. Phuket’s not as expensive as people think, but I think if you want to really see the place and do some tours, you have to be looking at 40 – 50 dollars per day minimum. If you just mainly want to chill, have beach time, eat cheap local food and have a few beers .. sure you can stay on the cheap. I have lived here nearly 15 years, see you here!

    1. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      Hi Jamie,

      That’s so amazing. Thanks for sharing. Some of our friends want to move to Phuket for 6 months to travel around and live like locals. Knowing how affordable it is to stay there will definitely make them happy!


    2. Avatar of Jeff Johns

      Cheers Jamie! Agree 40-50 would be a bit more comfortable for sure, although it still can be done on the cheap. Definitely small groups can save a ton of money, especially if you are not a bid drinker.

  5. Avatar of Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans

    Since I’m not a drinker or a real party person, I really appreciate the tips at the end of the post about cheap activities in Phuket. I’ll keep these prices in mind for whenever I finally make it to Thailand.

    1. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      Hi five Dana. I don’t drink and I don’t party either and sightseeing is always on my list as no. 1 !

  6. Avatar of Becky Padmore

    I had to admit I didn’t get to Phuket when I went to Thailand even though I went to the other main islands along the West Coast. I’m curious to know what it’s like but I’ve heard it’s pretty overdeveloped now. I love the photo of the bottle top in the sand by the way, very effective shot! :-)

    1. Avatar of Agness Walewinder
      Agness Walewinder

      Maybe next time Becky! We didn’t go there either although we visited Thailand more than 3 times last year :-(…

  7. Avatar of Katie

    We didn’t make to Phuket while in Thailand, I’ve heard mixed reviews… good to know you can still find affordable options! Renting a long tail boat sounds like fun! I’m huge fan of street food, so we saved a ton all over Thailand by eating at the vendors on the street. Often for better tasting food too!

    1. Avatar of Jeff Johns

      I think the easiest way to spend money is on transport. Taxis are INSANE in Phuket so either jump on a motorbike for a day or take one of the 1$ local buses anywhere, you’ll save a fortune. Beyond that, accommodation and food can still be found for very little.

  8. Avatar of Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    A great list of tips! I love Phuket and have been there several times!! The place has so much to offer in terms of water activities and island adventures. A gorgeous place to explore by boat and motorcycle.

  9. Avatar of Doreen Pendgracs

    I’m with you all the way — other than eating the maggots and other bugs. Although I admit that my preference is friendly luxury, I do enjoy being practical and stretching my travel dollars if it gets me where I want to go. Thx for the post.

  10. Avatar of Megan Claire

    Fab post thanks! We haven’t visited much of Asia yet at all, but are really excited to get there since we’ve been visiting some pretty pricey destinations recently. Looks like Phuket might have to be our first stop!!

    1. Avatar of Jeff Johns

      It hurts hearing people feel like they need to steer clear of Phuket! Sure it has its partying nightlife in some small areas which give the whole island a bad name. I can understand why some people don’t enjoy certain parts of Phuket but by no means should that make anyone stay away, there is still so much Phuket has to offer.

  11. Avatar of Rebekah

    I have never come across a foreign food that I’ve refused to try yet… but friend maggots might someday be the first… Still great post. I love that includes finding drunk food though I’m usually more of an early riser when traveling, I don’t want to miss anything. I love the ideas for cheap things to do.

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