Just a Pack | October 16th, 2018 | One Comment

phuket on a budget

Offering white sands, endless rays, blue waters, incredible sunsets, and (cheesy) nightlife, the lsland of Phuket in Thailand hosts millions of tourists and vacationers a year.

Jet-setters from all around the world flock to Phuket (pronounced Puh-Ket) for its resorts and its spas. Holiday travelers and vacationers come for an easy week away. And it really doesn’t get much easier. Phuket Province is probably the most Westernized part of Thailand, and offers very little in the way of culture shock.

Due to amount of visitors it receives Phuket is also one of the most expensive location in Thailand, which is an otherwise budget friendly travel destination. However, it’s possible to visit and stay in Phuket for as little as $25 dollars a day.

Phuket on a Budget

phuket on a budget

Best Time to Visit Phuket

One thing to remember when planning your get away to Phuket is that prices on the island vary drastically by season. High season in Phuket (which spans from November to April and peaks in Feb) sees prices for things such as hotels and resorts double or even triple.

Good weather can potentially be found in Phuket year round, but low season brings significantly less rain rainfall.

phuket on a budget

Where to Stay in Phuket

Phuket is a very large island, with a multitude of towns and beaches.  You can find anything from hostels, to guesthouses, to hotels, to exclusive resorts on the island, depending on your budget. Accommodation prices in Phuket vary by location. The closer you are to the beach the more you should expect to pay.

Want to book accommodations in Phuket, Thailand? We recommend using the following sites:

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Here are three accommodation options from budget to luxury in Phuket, Thailand.

Best Budget Hostel in Phuket, Thailand

Doolay Hostel in Phuket

Best Hostel in Phuket

Doolay Hostel in Phuket offers guests the opportunity to stay at a beachfront property for under $9.00 a night! Need we say more?

Doolay Hostel has 6 rooms (40 beds total), including all female dorm options for guests. In addition to it’s spectacular Karon Beach location, the hostel is also within walking distance of local restaurants, shops, and bars. The hostel has plenty of common areas for socializing, including a film room, balcony, bar, and restaurant. Doolay Hostel is an excellent option for backpackers on a budget traveling to Phuket.

Click here to read reviews or book a bed at Doolay Hostel on HostelWorld.

Mid-Range Budget Hotel in Phuket, Thailand

U Sabai Living Hotel in Phuket

U Sabai Living Hotel

In Patong we found the absolutely amazing U Sabai Living Hotel, which is run by a friendly Polish expat. It was, without a doubt, the best hotel value we found during our entire two month stay in Thailand, and the best budget hotel we found in Phuket. Immaculately clean (and by that we mean SPOTLESS), with comfortable beds, amazing pillows, new furniture, and a pleasant staff.

Our stay in Patong, (which is the largest tourist hub on the island and not the best place to go if you want to simply kick back and relax) was prolonged due to our reluctance at having to leave such a comfortable nest behind. When traveling for as long as we have been, you sometimes feel the need to just snuggle into a nice place and not move for a week or two. Such was the case with U Sabai Living Hotel. During low season the hotel is an absolutely amazing and affordable option.

Click here to read reviews or book a room at U Sabai Living Hotel on Booking.com!

Luxury Hotel in Phuket, Thailand

Keemala Resort in Phuket

Best Luxury Resort in Phuket

If budget accommodations aren’t your thing, or you want to take a break from inexpensive hotels and treat yourself to something special in Phuket, the Keemala resort is exactly what you’re looking for.

This luxury property, which is nestled in the hilltops overlooking Kamala Villaga, is the perfect place to relax, pamper yourself, and enjoy southern Thailand’s lush natural surroundings. With a spa and wellness center, private pool, complementary soft drinks, beer, and snacks, a fitness center, and an onsite restaurant everything you need to enjoy your time in Phuket is right at your fingertips.

Keemala resort is an excellent option for anyone who wants to experience a bit of luxury while in Southeast Asia.

To read reviews or book your stay at Keemala resort on Booking.com, click here!

Bottom Line

We stayed in Phuket for about ten days recently and aimed for a $27 a day budget. On some days this was a struggle, but when we prepared our own food and laid around on the beach instead of paying for activities we were mostly successful. Daily scooter rental and partaking in activities such as bowling, trips to the movie theater, or going out at night spiked our budget to around $40 a day. Check out our Phuket price guide below to get an idea for what things cost on the island.

Red Price Guide

Budget Accommodations

Budget Eating Out

  • Pizza – $3.12 and up
  • Sushi Roll – $2.15 and up
  • Thai Dishes – $2.80 and up

  • Egg Salad Sandwich and French Fries – $3.90
  • Breakfast Set (Eggs, Bacon/Ham, Toast, Coffee/Tea & Juice) – $4.06 and up

Budget Groceries

  • 2 Liter OJ – $5.20
  • 2 Liter Milk – $2.78
  • Box of Pasta – $1.40J
  • Jar of Jam – $3.56
  • 1 Kilo Brown Rice – $1.50
  • 1 Kilo White Rice – $0.96
  • 3 Cups Instant Noodle Soup – $1.20
  • 1.5 Liter Sprite – $1.20
  • 6 Liters Water – $1.25
  • 250 ml Soy Milk – $1.50
  • 5 Pack Granola Bars – $3.03
  • 340 Grams Jiff Peanut butter – $4.09
  • Croissant – $0.50
  • Loaf of White Bread – $0.60
  • Loaf of Black Sesame Bread – $1.12

  • Piece of Fried Chicken – $1.00
  • Sliced Ham (8 ct) – $2.25
  • Sliced Cheddar Cheese (10 ct) – $4.34
  • Sausalito Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies – $3.40
  • Sliced Dragonfruit – $1.50
  • Oranges – $2.15
  • Olive Oil, 17 fl oz – $5.78
  • Medium Bag of Doritos Style Chips – $0.84
  • 500 Grams Muesli – $5.60
  • Gerolstein Sparkling Water, 750 ml – $2.20
  • Block of Tofu – $0.80
  • Dozen Eggs – $2.40
  • Avocado – $2.15


  • Can of Singha or Leo Beer at 7/11 – $1.18
  • Mug of Chang Beer at a Bar – $1.56 and up

  • Glass of Wine at a Bar – $3.75 and up

Budget Transportation

  • Bus from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica to the Sixaola on the Border of Panama – $7.00
  • Taxi from the Border to Alirante, Panama – $5.00 per person

  • Boat to Bocas del Toro – $4.00 per person


  • Motor Bike Rental – $4.68 to $6.25 a day
  • Bus Ticket to Bangkok (with transport to station) – $21.87 – $46.87

  • Ferry to Phi Phi – $7.80
  • Taxi from Patong to Docks – $15.60

Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Final Thoughts

Phuket has a bad reputation among certain travelers for being over crowded and over priced. While it is true that the island is generally more expensive than the rest of Thailand you can totally get by on minimum budget of $27 a day, and even less in low season.

Expenses for activities you might want to partake in should not be factored into your daily budget. This becomes overly complicated. An easier way of going about things is to calculate your minimum daily expense and then set aside all left over funds you care to spend into an “activities” pool. Thus on a day when we went to the movies, bowling, or had a few extra drinks in the evening we did not consider ourselves over budget even though we spent a bit more, we just subtracted it out of the “activities” pool.

There it is folks, our little article on how YOU can visit Phuket on a backpacking or shoestring budget. We hope you gave you something to think about, and a bit of inspiration too. As always happy travels, and we’ll see you on the road!


Disclaimer – We have included a few handy little affiliate links in case any of our readers want to book accommodations. We receive a small commission for any sales made, without any additional cost to you, our dear reader.

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