February budget roundup!
February was an unusual month budget-wise as we spent most of the month with some good friends who met us in Thailand. I was expecting to have really overspent for those weeks, but it actually looks pretty good. I was pretty money paranoid after our friends left as I’d thought we seriously overspent, so we tightened the budget quite a bit in the weeks following by not moving around so much.
I’ll also admit to not taking great budget notes while our friends were with us so some of the costs I recorded are estimates. Thankfully, Darren’s memory is pretty amazing so many of the estimates are pretty darn accurate.
Here’s a summary for February:
Total spending: CAD$3485
We had some really cheap accommodation and some really expensive accommodation this month, so it pretty much balanced out. Our most expensive place was on the beach on Koh Phangan at $80/night. Our cheapest was in Chiang Mai at $21/night. The overall monthly average was $49/night, a little less than our average hotel costs for last month (January). We also had one night train, which means we saved a night’s accommodation.
We spent a little more than usual on food this month. I’m not surprised, as one of the things Darren and I like to do is enjoy food with friends. Which means getting the appetizers and desserts for a change. We had some amazing inexpensive meals in Chiang Mai, at the night market and at various restaurants.
We spent a lot more on booze this month. Those sunset happy hours on the beach do it every time, not to mention enjoying those nightly sunsets with friends! This total also includes an $8 Belgian beer on the beach!
The big attraction expense this month was a day-long visit to the Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai. For the three of us it cost approximately $220. It’s one of the highlights of our entire trip and worth every penny. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of elephant trekking businesses in northern Thailand. These businesses don’t have the best track record for treating their animals humanely. It was an opportunity not only learn about the problems with the elephant businesses in Thailand, but also chance to spend an afternoon with the elephants and put our tourist dollar to a good cause. No, we didn’t ride the elephants. I thought Swanson would have been more disappointed – from a kid’s perspective, hopping on an elephant looks pretty awesome – but after he’d learned how it’s bad for the elephants, he wasn’t interested any more.
We also spent a nominal amount on entry fees to Ayutthaya.
There were two big travel expenses in February
Flight from Krabi to BKK for three: $104
Train, bus, ferry combo for two adults and child: $85
The rest is for taxis and short train trips – some inaccuracy because we didn’t really keep track of our shared expenses with out friends.
We went to a movie in Chiang Mai and I purchased some books for Gus. We haven’t had to buy a lot of books for Gus thanks to the Vancouver Public Library’s eBook collection. While in Chiang Mai we found a pile of kids books in a used bookstore. Gus came away with a Captain Underpants book which he gobbled up on a single train ride. Later in the month we discovered Asia Books in the mall and purchased a brand new Captain Underpants for about $6.
When I think about the highlights of this month, I am reminded that the things that cost nothing are so much more valuable and memorable than the hotels or restaurants or even the sights we saw. Indeed, we were visiting some pretty amazing places, but it was connecting with our friends that really made this month special.