March budget roundup

March was a rough month for unexpected expenses. On our last night in Hoi An our laptop and two iPads were stolen. We went out for a nice dinner (which still cost less than $23CAD, including two beer). We were out for less than two hours. In addition to the cost of replacing our computers, we also had to miss our early morning flight the next day so we could get a police report for insurance. I’ve calculated the costs separately, as they don’t represent usual travel costs.

Here’s a summary of what March’s costs were:

Total spending: CAD$3472 or about CAD$112/day

If you include replacement laptop and iPad and the additional flight ($1540) it works out to $162/day. Some of these expenses will be covered by insurance.

We spent 12 days in Vietnam, The rest of the month we were travelling in Thailand: 8 nights in Chiang Mai, 4 nights in Pai, an airport hotel in Bangkok and 4 days at the Seaflower on Koh Phangan.


$848 (average $27.35/night)

I’m pretty sure that you can’t find a place for a family of three (or anyone) to rent in Vancouver for under $900.

Our cheapest room for the month was a fan-cooled room in Chiang Mai for $18/night. We upgraded to airconditioning after four nights for an extra $3/night.

Our most expensive room this month, one night at an airport hotel in Bangkok for $50/night. We could have found a cheaper place but we splurged for a pool. Too bad it was so green and murky that no one went in.

The best value was at the Seaflower, a fan cooled beach bungalow for just $27/night.



Chiang Mai offered some of the best quality food at low prices. For just a couple dollars, you can get a tasty meal and a large Leo at the night market. Restaurants were more expensive, but still good value.



Beer in Vietnam was really inexpensive. Usually around $2/bottle. We are also drinking less, it seems. We spent a little extra on beer in Pai one night when we ran into a friend of Darren’s from back home.

Bia hoi corner in Hanoi.

Bia hoi corner in Hanoi.



The majority of the attractions budget went towards a cooking class in Chiang Mai for. It cost $54 for two people, and we each made 4 dishes.



We ended up spending extra for flights because we had to miss a flight to submit our police report in Hoi An. (extra $240)

Flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok $140

Hanoi to Danang $254 return.

Hanoi to Bangkok $336 return.

Miscellaneous: $588

$289 for Vietnamese visa through an agent in Chiang Mai. There are online services that are cheaper.

$255 for tailor made clothing made in Hoi An, Vietnam. Darren had three dress shirts made. I had a copy of my favourite dress made, plus a shirt. Gus has a pair of Thai fisherman pants made in his size.

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of a lot of these things. We do have photos on the backup, but I haven’t figured out how to open the back up files without putting them on our laptop. Too busy snorkelling.

One of the highlights this month was visiting with the novice monks in Chiang Mai. Gus and I spent about an hour at the monk chat.  Here’s a quick summary of our Q and A:

Are there any girl monks? (thanks to our friends’ girls for coming up with this one): Yes, girls can be monks, but there aren’t any in Chiang Mai because there is no female teacher here. Women who are monks in Thailand wear white instead of orange. In Burma (Myanmar), they wear pink!

Why do monks wear orange? There are different kinds of orange that the monks wear. The shade of orange tells you where the monk lives. Dark orange is for the forest monks. Golden orange is the royal colour. We wear it for special occasions or for the king. Yellow is the king’s favourite colour.

What is the meaning of incense in Buddhism? Buddhists use incense as part of rituals in our homes and at the temples.

Do you live here at this temple? My temple is in another part of Chiang Mai. I come here to do monk chats and study.

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At the monk chat

At the monk chat


Working to pay for the replacement iPad.

Working to pay for the replacement iPad.


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