Daily Costs in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Amazing Thailand...things on offer.
How Much Do the Local's Pay?
Traveling to a foreign country can be a daunting task, especially when you don't know how much things cost. The following are approximate prices from this year 2010 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. You can expect Bangkok, which is a larger city, to have higher prices on many of these items, unless specified. And, further afield in smaller provinces, you can expect western goods to be more expensive since they are harder to get. The prices are in Baht, but you can transfer them to your own currency here:
Taxi's in Chiang Mai, come in three versions; and actual car which is called a "metered taxi" with air conditioning which can be found at the airport, a red flatbed truck with a covered back for passenger - this is called a Songtaew, or a three-wheeled vehicle referred to as a tuk tuk. Always, no matter what, decide on a fare with the driver before entering their vehicle. Not all drivers are very fair or honest. *A songtaew in the city, is the only exception.
Metered Taxis - which are not always metered...from the airport to the city will be anywhere from100 Baht to around 150 Baht.
Songtaew - The base rate is 20 Baht within the city. If you are near the airport or the Shopping Mall, Airport Plaza, expect to pay 150 - 200 Baht to get back in town. * If you are going somewhere in the city and know it isn't far, just tell the driver where you are going and get in. Oftentimes, if you ask how much before getting in, they will raise the fare. However,if you get out of the songtaew at the end of the ride and give them exact change 20 Baht, you won't have any problems.
Tuk Tuk - These guys are haggle monsters. The base rate in the city is 80 Baht. They may start out as high as 600 Baht. The most you should ever pay, even at night is 100 Baht...and if you're very desperate and have 3 people, 150 Baht at night may be acceptable.
Tipping - There is no tipping at noodle or food stalls. 10% is an acceptable tip for an average western food restaurant. At a Thai restaurant, expect to tip around 10-20 Baht. For fancy restaurants, 15% is normal.
Meals - Prices can vary drastically. Noodle stalls can be 15 Baht for a bowl of soup, Thai restaurants are around 60 - 80 Baht per person, western restaurants (not the fancy ones) can be around 100-160 Baht a person and fancy restaurants can run upwards of 2000 Baht a head. It is easy to get by on 200 Baht a day in Chiang Mai and eat well.
Clothing - Not much clothing here fits westerners. If you want to make something and you purchase the materials at the Day Market, a seamstress at the market will charge about 300 Baht for a pair of pants and about 500 Baht for a dress, and men can expect to pay around 350 Baht for a dress shirt. These prices are more if you go to a store specializing in tailoring.
Hairdressers - There are Thai hairdressers that learned in Thailand and others that learned in the west. Avoid the ones that learned in Thailand if you are a woman. For men, expect a Thai-trained barber to charge 80 Baht for a buzz trim and a shave (they may even trim your nose and ear hair!). Women expect 100 Baht for a wash, 60 Baht for a blowdry, 600-1500 Baht for coloring, and anywhere from 600-1800 for a cut. Good luck with anything beyond a wash...
Souvenirs - These some in a million shapes and sizes. I recommend going to the Sunday walking market for the best deals. If you buy more than 2 of anything, ask for a discount. And, haggle before you pull out your money. The best way to haggle is to offer 50-70% of the asking price depending on how cheap it already is, then go up from there. Anything less is insulting. Don't forget, these people have a family too...10 Baht to us may not be anything, but to them it may be a meal.
Beer- Thai beer is about 60-120 Baht a bottle depending where you go. The price continues to rise, but that's about average.
Shake - Fruit Shakes and smoothies are amazing in Thailand - freshly made with fruit you may have never even seen before. They are 15 Baht on the street, served in a plastic baggie with a straw, or around 35-50 Baht in a restaurant served in a glass. Tell them if you want sugar or not before they make it. Oftentimes, the fruit shakes are too sweet!
Gasoline - Petrol is sold by the liter. It changes often and rapidly. The only thing I can guarantee, is that it's more expensive than what you pay at home. Though, if you're driving a motorbike, it seems cheap.
Motorbike Rental - Expect to pay around 100-200 Baht a day for a regular motorbike. If you want one with more cc's, the price goes up. Rental places will usually cut you a deal if you rent for more than a week. Monthly rates are around 2000 Baht.
Massage - If you go where the locals go, a foot massage is around 150 Baht for an hour. A Thai massage is around 250 Baht an hour. A fancy massage at a spa can run around 800-1200 Baht an hour.
Doctor Visit - I will write another hub on hospitals in Chiang Mai. After living here 8 years without medical insurance, I will say, (knock on wood), the hospitals are very affordable for the services they offer. A visit to the emergency room with x-rays, medicine and a specialist doctor (after a motorbike accident - no worries...everyone's ok), ran the equivalent of 1200 baht...that's nothinig!! A surgery for a broken collarbone (different accident...they're ok too), was about 43,000 Baht, that was in a deluxe suite and included the follow up visit (and the surgery). A kidney stone basket surgery (That person is fine too...) was about the same. The Thai teaching hospital is the best one to go to. Suan Dok Hospital on Suthep Road. It looks like its out of a 1950s horror film, but the doctors are all trained in the west and speak good English.
Dentist - A good teeth cleaning with scaling will set you back about 1200 Baht and if you're really good at flossing, they'll reward you a bill of only 1000 Baht. This is the dentist office rated number 1 in Chiang Mai, Grace Dental.
Acupuncture - A visit to the Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor is 800 Baht, and well worth it. Though, if you don't need needles and only need some herbs for a sore throat or a cough, the consultation is free and the herbs are usually around 400 Baht or so.