Self-Drive trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms): Part 8 – Concludes

In deference to the wishes expressed by some Ghumakkars, I devote this concluding part to practical issues for the visitors viz. expenses, practical tips etc. Most of these have already been covered in previous posts and here it is more of a compilation job with some amplification on a few issues. I have basically given the figures of all major/recurring expenses.

Once again, let me reiterate the Indian Rupee to Thai Baht conversion rates (and the fact that they are March 2012 rates and has changed thereafter) as follows –

1 Thai Baht (1 THB)  =  1.6 INR (Indian Rupee).

Airfare

This is the biggest drain on budget, hence being discussed first. We bought Del-Bkk-Del Indigo ticket @ INR 14,000/- each (total airfare,     14000 x 3 = INR 42,000/-). Currently, similar rates are available in Indigo for Feb/Mar 2013, if booked now.

Another option would be to explore Kolkata – Bangkok option. Kolkata being almost at midpoint between Delhi and Bangkok, there is a substantial drop in fare, if taken ex-Kolkata. For e.g. Thai airways fare for Feb 2013 currently available is as follows:-  Del – Bkk (return) –  INR 22,000/-,        Kol  – Bkk (return) –  INR 13,000/-

Indigo does not yet have Kol-Bkk flights. But Kolkata offers other ingenious options viz AirAsia, Bangladesh Airlines, etc.

Do remember that airfares depend on a large number of variables. Basic rule remains that the sooner you buy, you stand better chances for a good deal. Explore various air-travel portals (Makemytrip.com, yatra.com, Travelocity.com etc) to get an idea of the going rate. Find out the applicable charges if you were to change or cancel the tickets.



Car rental

This would normally be the second biggest expense, if one is looking at an approx 7-days rental. In Part 2 of this series, I have covered in detail about procedures, expenses and what/how issues. At a basic cost of  THB 900/- per day and an additional zero-liability insurance cost at THB 200/- per day, my total expense was approx INR 14000/-. Though I did not keep a record of the petrol expense, I would roughly put it at approx INR 9000/-.

Car hiring charges for 7 days = INR 14,000/-

Petrol expenses for 2000 kms = INR 9,000/-

Total expense on gaadi = INR (14,000 + 9,000) = INR 23,000/-

For purpose of planning expenses, one may also factor-in toll charges. In my case, toll road was restricted to Bangkok – Chonburi sector and charges varied between THB 50-100. The highways north of Bangkok all the way till Chiang Mai were totally toll-free.

Points that you should keep in mind before taking over the car are –

1. Do a thorough visual inspection. Any scratch/dent/damage marks are to be brought to the notice of renters.

2. Check state of tyres, as well as stepni. Take a drive and look for any issues which you would like to clarify before driving away.

3. Get details of emergency service/ numbers. Be clear about who and how to tackle issues of defects etc. midway.

4. Some people advise taking a few snapshots on your camera, especially of dents/damages/ such issues which could be a point of contention later on.

Hotel/stay

As I have said before, Thailand hotel charges are comparable to Indian rates. All our charges in Homestays were well below THB 1300/- per day. My budget for stay had shot up thanks to Baiyoke Hotel (Bangkok), where rate came to approx INR 7000/- per day.

Expense on stay in Homestays/ B&Bs = THB 1300/- x 7 days = THB 9,100/- = approx INR 14,500/-

Expense of INR 28,000/- on stay in Baiyoke Hotel (04 days) is being discounted here.

Total expense on stay room = THB 1300/- x 11 days = THB 14,300/-  = INR  22,800/-

Visa

Keep aside approx INR 2500/- per head for the visa. If you avail Visa on Arrival, charges would reduce marginally.

Total expense on VISA (for 3) – INR 7,500/-

Food

A dhaba thali on the highways (Part 5) would cost you some THB 50-75 per head. Lunch for 3 at mid-range restaurant in Chiang Mai would cost THB 400-500/- .  At an average, for a three member family, it would suffice to leave aside THB 300 for a major meal and perhaps THB 200 for other tit-bits.

Food expense @ 500THB per day (for three) for 11 days – 500 x 11 = THB 5,500/- = INR 8,800/-.

Related expenses include water (THB 15-25 a one-litre bottle). The GH/Home-stays usually provide unlimited complimentary water. Big hotels are thriftier and would usually fix it to 02 bottles a room a day. On such occasions, apart from putting water vending machine (Part 6) to good use, another option would be to buy the 5-litre dispense type bottle for some THB 60-70/-. Such bottles are usually available in 7/11 and other such departmental stores. Hotels/ homestays usually provide a coffee making machine and standard tea/coffee pouches with sugar. Milk powder may not be automatically available, though.

Sights

Fee at tourist sights are something which may add up to a large amount, if it is not factored-in. This is one aspect where visitors should be very careful in planning stage. Find out the sight visiting fee, etc and accordingly plan your visit.

Weather

Bangkok and central parts of Thailand generally follows the weather pattern of Kolkata/ East India. Best period for visit would therefore be winters, followed by the period succeeding winter months. Monsoons are harsh and last year’s flooding scene remains fresh in our memories. Sundry expenses/ daily use stuff cost almost same as what things would cost in India.  Some standard prices (out of my memory) are as follows:-

Water bottle (1 ltr) – THB 15-30/-
Daab (tender coconut) – THB 15/- (in Chiang Mai) to THB 60/- (Bangkok)
500 ml Singha beer – THB 50-70/-
Milk (1 litre) – THB 40/-
Coke 0.5 ltr bottle – THB 25/-

Itemised breakdown

Airfare     Del-Bkk return (14000 x 3)   INR 42,000/-

Car hiring charges (7 days) INR 14,000/-

Petrol expenses (approx 2000 kms) INR    9,000/

Stay –  THB 1300/- a room, for 11  Days = THB 14,300/-  =  INR 22,800/-

Visa (for 3)    INR   7,500/-

Food @ 500THB per day (for three) for 11 days – 500 x 11 = THB 5,500/- = INR 8,800/-.

TOTAL  (expense for a family of three, while hiring a car for 7 days and all and sundry inclusive)     INR  1 Lakh   (approx)  :-)
  

So here it is. A stay for 11 days for a family of three (one child) would be around 1 L. The prices above are obviously tentative, but they are aimed to provide a rough idea. And yes, I have not included shopping.  For further details, as and when any Ghumakkar decides on the plan, please do contact me. I will endeavour to provide any information that I have access to. So go ahead and enjoy your share of Amazing Thailand. Believe me,  it is worth it……….

Thanks

Auro.

17 Comments

  • Hi Auro,

    Detailed and will be very useful at planning stage…Tx for sharing…what’s next

    Regards,

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Amitav,

      Thanks for comments.

      Next is known, isn’t it, at least to us Bongs? It is almost October….so can it be anything but Durga Puja :-)

      Thanks again,

      Auro.

      • :-)
        It’s a father’s day out to show my 5 year old son ‘What is Kashful?’ since morning. He knows the flower Shiuli, since the tree is just in front of our home. After roaming around to the end of Gurgaon and even no man’s land…fortunately I found a spot but couldn’t have courage to leave him alone and go near to that for a photo shoot in the jungle…so had to satisfy myself from far…even I haven’t been to those places during my long stay of nearly a decade here…returned home a few minutes ago.

        Tomorrow, I promise to take him to see the making of Idols…that should not be difficult. So, it has already started for us as well…

        Have a nice day,

        • AUROJIT says:

          Great.

          Last week we drove down beyond Gurgaon. On the highway a few kms after the second toll gate, we sighted Kashful flowers on the roadside. Idols shouldn’t be difficult. N Delhi Kalibari could be one place.

          Enjoy :-)

          Auro.

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Excellent journey. Thanks for posting expenses.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Surinderji,

    Thanks for your encouraging comments through this series.

    Thanks a ton,

    Auro.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Very Informative post !

    helpful for the follow Ghumakkars.

  • ashok sharma says:

    detailed expenses become quite handy while planning a trip.
    thanks Auro.

    • AUROJIT says:

      Hi Ashok,

      Thanks for going through and commenting on the post.
      Foreign trips typically lead us to think about the expenses. Details here are aimed at presenting a clear picture about the expenses. Hope it helps..

      Thanks,

      Auro.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Thanks for the info, Auro; those planning a trip to Thailand will find it highly useful. 1 lakh for a 11 day trip for a family of three is quite reasonable. Also, the tips about car hire are useful for Indians who have never hired a car abroad before, since in India, the concept of self-driven cars for hire is non-existent, if I am not mistaken.

    However, what I liked most about this post was the caption to one of the pics (Masks are what we are). How true it is. We wear masks all the time once the innocence of childhood is lost. It reminded me of what Somerset Maugham once said in one of his novels, “Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.”

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi DL,

    Thanks for your thought provoking comments.

    1 Lakh also includes the car expenses ; and thus a trip of similar proposition minus a hired car would cost even lesser.

    Yes, self – driven cars do not come by easily here. In fact, I checked up with Avis India and all they had on offer was chauffeur driven stuff. Last year, I was exploring the possibility in Delhi (so that I could take hired cars to mountains and save own car the rigours of inhospitable roads), only to realise that there was not a single source who would provide such arrangement officially. Of course, it was available through my driver’s friend’s resources who runs a fleet of cars and he was willing to offer me one of them on ‘bhaibandi’ basis. Suppose Indian laws and insurance policies do not support this arrangement. But then we have at least one instance where it does happen – Goa comes to mind where you can hire the bikes with least hassles.

    Masks – they interest me, both, as an object and as a philosophical derivative. Masks are like our alter egos, they are what we are and what we are not. They are our face as well as they hide our face. Masks, as you said above, enable us to attain a world which without the mask would despise and deride me. In the process, of course, I forget the distinction between the mask and the original face.
    And that is the tragedy, when I loose myself in these masks…..

    Thanks really,

    Auro.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    A fitting finale to a fantastic float.

    And talk about masks to us city dwelling office workers, juxtaposed with a new mask, confined to a routine, almost all the time. I head to hills now.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Thanks. Enjoy hills and hope to read about on Ghumakkar soon….

    Auro.

  • Mayank says:

    Hi Auro,

    Been following this thread of yours since September.. Got a chance to read the conclude today… You have covered all the information one could think of.. Thailand no more seems a “Phoren Location”!!

    I am planning a trip to Thailand… BKK and southern region.. Wanted to discuss a few details with you on this… Could you please PM me…. Believe my mail ID would be visible to you..

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Mayank,

    Thanks for following the posts.

    Will ping back shortly on your mail id.

    Auro.

  • Abheeruchi Kanungo says:

    Hi Aurojit,

    Wow,what a post. This would be a real guide for all who are planning to visit in future.

    I haven’t read the complete series but now after reading the concluding post, I will read the whole series.

    This is the main advantage of being in Ghumakkar. One gets lot of information here.

    Thanks for writting.

    Keep travelling,keep posting

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