I have been in Thailand for 1 year now and what an amazing year it has been!
I am asked on a daily basis how I have managed to stay here for so long without working. I have been extremely luck in that my gym Phuket Top Team, and my amazing friends have helped me out massively! Words cannot express how deeply appreciative of all the help I have received.
In celebration of my 1 year anniversary, here are some things you can do too so you can stretch your stay in the beautiful paradise that is Thailand. I have only lived in Phuket but I am sure most of these if not all will apply to other parts of the Kingdom.
1. Get out of holiday mode immediately!
Everything is new and exciting when you first arrive so you try to do everything. This leads to you spending money unnecessarily.
2. Think in Thai baht!
Prices seem so cheap when you convert them from Thai baht to your home currency. 450THB for a pizza seems cheap when converted to dollars but 450THB can buy you 5 or 6 meals.
3. Stay away from foreign restaurants!
You will get cravings for home or familiar foods but these can cost as much as 4 times the cost of a Thai meal. So keep visits to non-thai restaurants to a minimum. Do not go to Indian restaurants!
4. Have a budget!
Have in mind how much you want to spend daily and weekly. This helps you to keep track of your finances and stops unnecessary spending. Always put a little aside for those unexpected emergencies.
5. Rent a motorbike!
Getting around by taxi is really expensive! Renting a scooter/motorcycle for 100-200THB per day is a much cheaper option. You get discounts for long term rentak. Depending on the type of scooter, you can fill up with petrol for 40-70THB. A full tank will last for days depending on how much riding you do. Another benefit of having a scooter is that you can take off and explore any time you please.
6. Find accommodation away from the Gym
Generally speaking, the further you are away from the gym the cheaper accommodation tends to be.
7. Opt for fan room instead of a/c
A standard fan room is a lot cheaper than an air conditioned one. It can get hot but nothing and extra fan, opening door and windows wouldn’t solve. Or just pay your friend with an a/c and impromptu visit during the height of the heat.
8. Eat less frequently
Instead of your usual 3-5 meals a day, eat just twice. After morning training then again after afternoon training. Same as the Thais do. You will surprised at how quickly your body adapts to it.
9. Don’t be afraid to haggle
One of the greatest things about markets in Thailand is that you can haggle on the asking price. As a general rule, half or just below the asking price and work from there. For example, if they are asking for 500thb, offer 200 or 250 as a starting point. You will end up paying 300 or 350thb.
10. Don’t do privates!
This one might be controversial but don’t pay for private lessons with a trainer. Privates are a great way to learn more technique and can accelerate your progress tremendously. But, they can be expensive. A free option is to work with that trainer during group class over an extended period of time and get him to teach you.
These are just general suggestions.