Lonely Beach Budget: week 1 in Koh Chang, Thailand

Welcome to this week's budget update, coming at you from the tropical beach bum's paradise, Lonely Beach! Highlights this week included stupid injuries, obnoxious transportation, and the prettiest beach I've ever seen in my entire life. Oh, and we've stayed within budget, although it's been a bit trying -- Thailand is not as cheap as people say it is!

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Our goal: $50 per day total, including transportation, accommodation, visas, and bills back home. For two people.

In every budget update I will add a prorated estimate of our bills back home (loans, phone plan, etc. which may vary slightly by month), to include in our $50/day travel budget. I am not including travel insurance -- this would add about $5.75 per day to our total.
  • Days: 7
  • Location: Lonely Beach, Koh Chang island, Thailand
  • Weekly spending: $263.61
  • Avg. spending per day: $37.66
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $40.86
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $45.96
Sunset over Lonely Beach
So what are our living expenses in Thailand this week? 
  • Conversion rate: 29.60 Thai Baht (thb)=$1.00 USD
  • Accommodation: $92.48 
    • Well, let's just say it's not great. We should always heed the advice of Erica from MumTravelDiaries.com and spend money on accommodation. Our place here sucks and it's very trying.
    • Our stinky hovel is around $13.21 per night, coming in as absolutely not our cheapest place and very much more than it should be. The whole area has "island prices" so it's at the bottom end... and we should have gone up to $20 for sure.
"Rustic charm"
  • Food and drinks: $128.37
    • Everyone talks about Thailand like it's basically free, the food is perfection, the whisky is rock-bottom prices... everyone lied! Well, the seafood is remarkable, as is the duck soup, but still.
    • I think our issue here is twofold. First, our accommodation doesn't offer drinking water AND they charge for hot water (stingy) so we spend about 50-60tbh ($2) per day just on clean water. It's not a lot, but it's frustrating. Second, we just came from Vietnam, where food was perfection and dirt cheap, and Cambodia, where $0.50 draft beers abound.
Bar art at Gu's Bay, Lonely Beach. Not inaccurate.
    • A coffee is about $1.50, fresh donuts are $1 for a small two-person bag, fruit smoothies are $1.50-$2, meals with meat and vegetables are about $2, and large beers are about 20oz and $2. Keep in mind this is the cheapest you can get anything, so if you don't get the cheapest food on the menu or want to go to a bar, double the cost of everything. It doesn't seem like a lot, but we also can't cook at all, so we have to go out for everything we eat. Two coffees, drinking water, three square meals for two people, plus one shared beer comes out to about $19. Not the worst, not the best.
Feed the monkeys?! I barely want to feed myself!
  • Transportation: $42.76
    • Although this week can't compare to the stress of my day of travel fails back in January, we had a ROUGH day getting to Thailand. RANT BELOW.
    • We chartered the whole journey from Siem Reap to Koh Chang island, including the ferry, for $18 per person. This could have been a bit cheaper if we had negotiated it ourselves, but our homestay host did it for us then drove us into town to catch the bus. She also made us noodles for breakfast in a takeaway container, so the extra few dollars was worth it.
    • We took an air conditioned bus from Siem Reap to the border, which was fine. At the border, we stood in line outside for about 2.5 hours, sweating very profusely, to get through immigration. Not the best, but the actual visa process was fingerprinting, stamps, and zero dollars for 30 days in Thailand.
    • Next came the minibus. They oversold one ticket, so requested that "four small people" had to share a three-seat row. Somehow, 6'4" 200lb Warren is considered "small" compared to the tiny French bitches (excuse my French, pun intended) who immediately got themselves good seats when they realized the circumstances. Long story short, he and I got the worst seats, sitting on top of plastic buckles without access to seatbelts for about 3 hours. After a short break, I voted to sit on the floor in the corner to give everyone space for the last 2-3 hours. Yes, the floor of an over-filled van was more comfortable than the seat we were given. I only swore at the driver once, so that's a win.
    • We did finally get the ferry, after which we paid another 200thb ($6.76) to go about 45 minutes to Lonely Beach.
Finally on the ferry and feigning excitement
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $0
    • THE BEACH. Our spot is on the water, but the beach is all rocks. About 15 minutes walk away from our place is the prettiest beach I've ever seen. Lonely Beach is amazing with crystal clear calm seas, white sand, beautiful jungle mountains, morning shade, lots of birds, and schools of fish in the water.
Making fun of the couple behind me spending half an hour taking model pictures

Sunset. This is the busiest it gets all day... notice that there is NO ONE HERE!

    • I'm going to call injuring yourself "entertainment". ANOTHER RANT BELOW.
    • The first morning here I wanted to relax in a hammock and was rewarded by it breaking underneath me instantly, throwing me onto my head and arm on the wooden railing. Nothing serious, but a terrible way to start a trip. Turns out, the rope holding it up was completely rotten and could be torn apart easily by just tugging on it. Our property owners didn't seem to care much, and Warren fixed it himself. About 12 hours after it happened they reported that they didn't see anything wrong with the hammock (because we fixed it).
This mustache cat summarizes my mood after falling on my head.
    • It's also dreadfully dark at night, and the pathway from our room to the front area (the only place we can get WiFi) is jagged concrete blocks. Warren at one point tripped in the dark, and ripped a giant gash in his big toe. After bleeding all over everything in sight, we hosed it down, slathered it with Neosporin, wrapped it in Bandaids, and hoped for the best. I'm convinced he's days from gangrene, but he insists it's fine.
Before tearing it open, this toe was used to befriend stray dogs

Lonely Beach is absolutely stunning, and full of hippies and backpackers and Thai people who seem to hate the hippies and backpackers. If it weren't for the perfect beach, we would be having a terrible time... but luckily, the beach is really great, and free! Great for working on our sunburns!


  1. So is a video tour of your amazing villa up next? ;-)

    1. I think we both wear our hearts on our faces and that would be a rough one...!

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