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Adventures in Thailand

It’s no secret that airfare from the States to Thailand is expensive. Don’t let that initial cost deter you from booking this trip of a lifetime, because the savings come pouring in once you’re actually there.

Airfare: While flights to Bangkok from the West Coast often cost about $1000, intra-Thailand flights come to just $21-$60 (on AirAsia) per leg to bounce around and experience everything from the beaches of Ko Phi Phi to the night markets of Chiang Mai.

Hotels: Thought Vegas was the only place to find a 5-star resort for less than $160? I was easily finding luxury resorts in beach towns and cities at this price point. If you want to slum it at a 4-star resort, those are widely available for less than $70 per night across the country. There’s currently a $67 deal for a 4-star Phuket suite that’s half off.

Packages: If you’re OK with a pre-determined schedule and someone handling all of the logistics of your trip (definitely a perk in the eyes of some) there’s a lot of value in package deals. Why? For starters packagers can, in some cases, negotiate prices with airlines, especially if they’re buying in bulk. A package price also allows well-known or upscale hotels to mask their low hotel-only pricing because it’s bundled into a total package. This also saves the headache of planning an itinerary and making all of the individual bookings yourself. 

In last week’s Top 20, we published an 11-night deal that visits five cities. It includes airfare from Los Angeles and stays at 4-star hotels, including Le Meridien properties for $1499 per person. Packaging these components separately would cost at least $1000 more. 

  • Tip: Don't instantly dismiss a package deal that’s not from your departure city. In many cases it’s less expensive to book a deal from the West Coast and then individually book a flight from your home airport to the package’s departure city.

Activities: Folks don’t necessarily equate Thailand with a spot chockfull of activity, but they’re sorely mistaken. Here are just a few of the very common day trips available at very reasonable prices:

  1. Cooking classes: Very common in Chiang Mai, this is less than $50 for a full day! (compare to $110 in NYC for a 4-hour class)
  2. Biking: less than $60 and includes equipment
  3. White water rafting: $115 full day on the Mae Tang River in northern Thailand. This includes lunch, transportation and other activities
  4. Elephant riding: price varies if you combine with other activities
  5. Rock climbing: $33 half-day course on Railay Beach in Krabi
  6. Weekend markets: Chatuchak in Bangkok, Sunday in Chiang Mai are free!
  7. Zip line: $100 for a full day out with lunch, transfers
  • Tip: Bring as many folks as you can with you! In many cases the per-person cost of activities goes down as the number in your group goes up.

And the best part … the $5 30-minute massages that can literally be found around every corner. The perfect way to unwind, every day.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Monday, April 4, 2011
See more Tips from
Jaime Freedman