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Do you want to travel but can’t afford the expenses?
I lived in New York for 25 years and fought hard to make ends meet. After moving to Chiang Mai over a year ago, I have figured out the master formula for living on $7 a day.
This will include the cost of delicious food, apartments, transportation, traveling the city and you’ll still have the money to rock a fresh pair of Yeezys if you buy them at the market. #Yeezy2020 lol, jk. Enjoy 🙂
For the record, I only lived like this for a short period of time when I was dead broke and couldn’t even afford a ticket home.
This is not in your $7 a day budget but it will save you a TON OF MONEY.
My one-way international flight was for 700 USD because I booked it a few weeks before I left the states. Now that I learned my lesson, I can save up to 80% on flights around the world. New York to Madrid for example is posted for only $235!
The first night I spent in Chiang Mai, I balled out and stayed at the Eastin Tan Hotel. This is not in the budget but check out the cool video I made:
Are you really broke?!
Stay at the temples for free like Wat Rampoeng, but please donate as they provide two meals and tea each day. WAIT! Should I call this blog post “Traveling Chiang Mai on Zero Dollars a Day”? JK, keep reading.
Are you semi broke?
Stay outside the Old City (5km East of Thai Pai Gate) at หอพักสุจิตรา for $50 USD per month ( Close to Central Festival Mall Area). It’s quiet with many dogs, no tourist’s and close to Muang Mai Market (one of the largest markets in the world).
Do you want a good value?
Stay in the Santiam Area and check out 99 คาราโอเกะ for $114 USD per month. It’s full of delicious restaurants, tops supermarket, Kad Suan Kaew Mall and tons of really kind locals. Shop for all your clothes, shoes, hangers, brooms, plants, sunglasses, yeezy’s and other miscellaneous items at Kat Rin Kham Night Bazaar.
You’ll find it overall more affordable and much more peaceful than the over priced and touristy Nimmanhaemin Road. Spend time researching on chiangmailocator.com for other apartments around the city in your budget. Also, join facebook groups Chiang Mai Realestate or realestate chiangmai
*Tip do your laundry in the sink or drop it off at the local shop for 3-5 Baht per item.
The beauty of having my bicycle is the ability to go when and where I wanted for however long I wanted, for FREE.
You can call me lazy, but I also have no shame in cycling 50 meters from my apartment to the 7-Eleven for a pack of chili broad beans. If you HAVE to get around with a group take the red songthaew for 20 baht ( $.66 ) a person.
I shipped my bicycle in a box for FREE from the U.S at approximately 20kg with Air Asia. I read the fine print about shipping policy, printed out the details and showed them when I checked my box. * Read Air Asia’s Policy Here.
When I was ready to leave Chiang Mai, I bought a box for 90 baht ($2.5) from the Bike Shop called La Bicycle.
*Tip: Keep you packed bicycle at max 20kg.
For a small price of 1 Baht, you can fill up your 1.25-liter water bottle all over the city. Instead of sprite and coke machines, they have pure reverse-osmosis water everywhere.
Buy a cheap gallon water at 7-Eleven to start and continue to fill that up. Then use your 750 ml water bottle you brought from home and fill it up as needed. As of November 2016 35 baht = $1.
*Tip: Bring your water bottle into restaurants and don’t drink the sealed bottles off the table.
This can range dependent to you taste buds but foods like corn, pad thai, fried rice, coconuts, fruit, steamed buns will be your cheapest option. Basically, eat like a local anywhere you go. However, my daily staple is watermelon, coconuts, and sometimes bananas I buy at Muang Mai market.
Many would call restaurants like Sangwiroon or Bun Song a “hole in the wall” but it’s actually some of the most authentic Thai foods you’ll eat here. The more low key the spot, the best flavor and the more kind people will be.
Here is my favorite soup spot for only 60 baht plus you get a mushroom steamed bun ( $1.70 )
If you really want to bootstrap it, buy a rice cooker and a blender and you’ll get your money’s worth in 4 weeks. If you are meeting with friends, go ahead and bring a bucket of rice with soy sauce in a tuber ware to the restaurant, the locals won’t wind.
P.S. Don’t worry about gaining weight on rice because the locals eat more then you’ll ever eat and they are skinny AF.
If you eat in tourist areas like Nimmanhaemin Road you’ll have to choose dinner intelligently with Burmese restaurant food. They have a set price of 30 baht per dish and 10 baht for a scoop of rice. When you go, it’s important you only get the tea leaf salad, mango salad and eggplant curry with rice.
Check out the other top 100 restaurants in Chiang Mai on Chiangmaihappycow.net
Only reason for a sim car? Flood your facebook feed with all the dope spots you visit and make your friends peanut butter and jealous. Also, think of it like your backup emergency plan. I once had a friend who could NOT find her way back to her hotel. Don’t be that person, please.
For a good value plan, go to the True Store in the basement of the Kad Suan Kaew across from tops supermarket. They have an unlimited data plan for 199 baht ($5.68) a month but it throttles speed after 1GB. If you want super fast wifi and some serious uploads/download speeds, go to the third floor in
The more I give, the more successful I become. Massive action means massive success, step by step day by day. Is that a song?… Lol check out new blog post on how my “Giving strategy” turns into success. #chiangmai #cycling #stockfootage #business #professional #digitalentrepreneur #pma + Updated footage of the video model shoot at end of blog*
A photo posted by The Journey is the Destination (@trektheworld.tv) on
Most activities I participate in are free or very cheap especially if you are more of a nature person like me. A great option just 18km south of town the Grand Canyon, 10km west you’ll find the beautiful Monthathan Waterfall, 30 km northeast Mae Kuang Dam, 11km north will be the peaceful Huai Tueng Thao Lake or a simple bike ride going south along the Ping River (start here).
You can visit places like Doi Pui, sticky waterfall, and attractions around the Old City like Wat Chedi Luang, Three King’s Monument, Sunday night market and the Thai Pai Gate all for under $5 per entry.
Check out my 24 video playlist of Chiang Mai for other ideas on what to do:
So, how did I get the impossible figure of $7 a day?
Well, assuming you chose the most affordable option for this trip, here is the breakdown:
$50.00 – Guesthouse outside of town
$02.57 – Drinking three liters of water per day
$90.00 – Eating out three meals a day
$05.71 – Unlimited data sim card
$03.00 – Bike box
$151.28 – Per month
$5.04 DAILY TOTAL
There is an extra $58.72 extra to use that can go towards any tourist attractions plus a few fresh coconuts. 🙂
If you are struggling to live or just want to start fresh, take action. I’ll see you in Chiang Mai!
Curious How I Made My First $100 on YouTube:
Important Thai Phrases:
Hello(male speaker)- Sa Wa De Cop-
Hello (female speaker)- Sa Wa De Kah-
Thank You (male speaker)- Cop Coon Cop-
Thank you (female speaker)- Cop Coon Kah-