Thailand on a Budget, Elephants, Bugs, and Street Food

When I travel I like going against the flow. I like doing this for many reasons, I believe I get to understand the culture better, there are usually less people, and it’s almost always cheaper. I think when you travel you can find beauty in the road less traveled and get to see more when traveling on a budget. When I traveled to Thailand I only had a couple of weeks to explore the country, I knew my time wasn’t long but I wanted to get the most out of it. I decided not to travel to southern Thailand like most people and see the beautiful islands because It was more expensive and I know a lot of people who have done that.

I talk a lot about tourist traps when traveling and that is exactly what the Full Moon Parties in southern Thailand are. You go down, have to spend at least 4-5 days to rent a room at the hostels because they don’t allow one days stays, they are expensive, and you are surrounded by a bunch of westerners getting drunk. I can do that at home, so I decided to head north. Now, I’m not claiming this is an original idea, but I think northern Thailand is the road less traveled, but that is starting to change.
When flying into Thailand you will most likely land in Bangkok, get out of there as fast as you can. I was not a big fan of Bangkok, it was big, dirty, smelly and expensive. Khoa San Road is fun for a night, but again it is just westerners getting drunk and being loud. Also do not head to any of the Ping Pong Shows, these are giant rip offs, and why waste your money? Also, eating the scorpions, spiders, and all of the other insects is a giant tourist trap on Khoa San Road, you are paying $5 USD to eat a scorpion, I’ll pass. Trust me, those won’t be the only friend insects you can have a chance to eat.

Northern Thailand is much quieter than the south, but is rich in adventure. Renting a motor bike and cruising to the Grand Canyon in Chiang Mai and visiting the giant Buddhas in Pai is more fun and much cheaper if you are traveling on a budget. Make sure you take advantage of the street food when traveling around Thailand. The food you get served in the restaurants is all coming from the same place, so don’t think you are getting a higher quality meal by dining at a restaurant. It can be hard to get used to, but go along with it and you are sure to have some great stories to share back home and save money at the same time. 

Hostels are very cheap in Thailand, but they are even cheaper in northern Thailand compared to the south. Traveling in the rainy season in South East Asia is also a great way to save some money. One thing that does cost quite a bit of money is getting to go to the Elephant Sanctuaries, but it is well worth it. It is an incredible experience that you will never get at the San Diego Zoo. I’m going to end this article in a PSA style announcement that you should never, ever ride the elephants! Make sure you do your research when finding a sanctuary to visit, and don’t take advantage of the beautiful creatures.

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