When I leave Chiang Mai in two days I will have spent three months and a day here. I never plannned to be here this long, but you never know how travel plans can change. I have really enjoyed the city and its culture and people. I can get around easily on foot and there is cheap public transportation when I need it.
The street food is awesome and one can eat quite well from $1 to $3 US. Because of my accident, I only have expense data for 66 of the days I was here; but I doubt the daily average would change significantly. I did not include my medical costs as travel insurance has taken care of those and they would not be a typical expense. I will say, from experience, that world class medical care is readily available here at a fraction of the cost in the U.S.
All numbers below have been converted to U.S. dollars.
Accomodation: $797.48 Daily average: $12.08 (Note: Once I got onto a monthly rate my daily average dropped to $9.14)
Entertainment: $93.28 Daily average: $1.41 (Saw some good free concerts here too.)
Food: $734.59 Daily average: $11.13 (Yes, that’s 2-3 meals a day, fresh fruit smoothies, snacks, my daily $2 cup of gourmet Joe at Coffeetime, the whole shebang-even a couple high-end dinners @ around $30 incl. 7% tax, tip and wine.)
Massages: $168.55 Daily average: $2.55 (My only regret is that with a typical cost of $4 for one hour and $6-7 for two hours I did not get more. But hey, I was busy!)
Thai Sim Card, cell top offs: $25 Daily average: $0.37
Cooking class: $33 Worth it! Oh yeah, that’s $0.50/day.
Transportation: $99.54 Daily average: $1.50
Total daily average: $29.54
$212 for 5 day car rental, gas and insurance for mini holiday to Chiang Rai provence.
$130 approximate for lodging on above mini trip including a luxury spa resort for one night.
$50 approximate for upgrades to my electronics.
For under $30/day I have been living a very nice lifestyle here in Chinag Mai. For those looking to save even more, there are plenty of backpacker hostels. One could probably get this number under $20 or even $15/day. I love hostels and “dormed” it all the way through Latin America two years ago. It is a great way to meet people. But here (and most of SE Asia from what I understand) you can get a private ensuite room in a nice guesthouse so cheaply that why wouldn’t you?
I plan to publish a personally recommended Chiang Mai resource list in the near future. Meanwhile if you have further questions about costs here you can use the comment section below to ask or send me an email through the Contact button at the top of this page.