Food & Drink

This Is the Best City in the World for an Affordable Luxury Vacation

Find out why luxury travel in Bangkok is great for your wallet.

The Standard Mahanakorn with Bangkok City Skyline

The Standard Mahanakorn with Bangkok City Skyline. Photo by Weerasaksaeku/Getty Images/Canva

By Dobrina Zhekov

Jun 1, 2022

EVERYBODY DESERVES a little pampering once in a while. But taking a luxury trip tends to come with a hefty price tag when you’re after high-end services and five-star stays and top-tire meals. Unless, of course, you head to Bangkok, which was just named the most affordable city for a luxury travel experience in the world.

According to the British website Money.co.uk, the Thai capital, known by many for its backpacking scene, also offers something frequent travelers Southeast Asia already know: the best value for luxe experiences, such as a car, nice hotel stay, and Michelin-starred meals. Travelers can expect to pay around US$59 a day to rent a luxury vehicle such as a Mercedes-Benz and about US$150 to indulge in a fine-dining experience. A stay at a five-star property in Bangkok city will set you back about US$295, which is significantly less than the least affordable destination on the list of rankings: Paris. (In Paris, a luxury hotel stay will set you back US$1,753 a night, according to Money.co.uk’s findings.)

Maa Lai Suite Room at Kimpton Maa Lai Bangkok affordable luxury travel city
Maa Lai Suite Room at Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok. Courtesy of Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok

Speaking of luxury stays, travel to Bangkok will yield you no shortage of great hotels (and villas) to spend the night. Take your pick of the newest, such as Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya and Capella Bangkok. T+L Tip: The Standard is about to debut its first outpost in Asia, The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, located in the pixelated 78-story King Power Mahanakhon skyscraper with absolutely breathtaking views of the city and a slew of F&B options we’re excited about.

Despite tough challenges, including three lockdowns, a great many gorgeous high-end hotels and restaurants opened in the Thai capital during the pandemic. Many Michelin-starred and 50 Best-listed spots in the city are surprisingly affordable, making luxury dining within reach of relatively modest budgets. And good news for veg-lovers: you might be an even cheaper date if you select one of the awesome plant-based fine dining menus that are trending in Bangkok now.

Brussels came in at No. 2 on Money.co.uk’s list of the most affordable cities for a luxury vacation on a budget. The Belgium capital, famous for its chocolate and beer, is also the cheapest destination in Europe, particularly when it comes to the cost of a five-star hotel (US$680) and luxury car hire (US$150). A Michelin-starred meal in Brussels will set you back about US$156.

Frankfurter grüne Soße & smoked eel at sühring affordable luxury vacation travel bangkok
Frankfurter grüne Soße & smoked eel. Courtesy of sühring restaurant Bangkok, with two Michelin stars

The No. 3 destination on Money.co.uk’s list was Verona. The Italian city has the second-cheapest average cost for a spa hotel, at just US$177 per night.

If you want to travel beyond Bangkok, Brussels and Verona, read the full report on the most affordable high-end city experiences here and start planning your luxury vacation on a budget.

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