Why Chiang Mai is a Great Budget Destination for Food Lovers

Thailand’s Chiang Mai is among of the world’s most wallet-friendly food cities

 Chiang Mai is one of the best for food lovers as well, as the city is known for its cooking schools

One of the most fun aspects of traveling is exploring and trying out foods from different cultures. Depending on where you go, globetrotting can be very expensive, between flights, hotel costs, activities, and dining.

Still, there are plenty of places left in the world where travellers can eat like kings while spending like commoners, and we’ve listed the top global spots for delicious eats on a dime. To create our list, we looked at the price of a meal at an average restaurant, the kind many might choose for a basic lunch, as well as the prices of more upscale dinnertime fare. We also factored in the prices of things like street food when applicable, and, because vacation is a time for relaxation, we also took into account the price of local beer and coffee.

Another factor in our list was the quality of the local cuisine. There are lots of cheap foods to be had in the world, but some food is inexpensive for a reason; we wanted to focus on foods that are as delicious as they are affordable. All of the cities we’ve ranked have food that is well loved by locals and global epicureans alike, with signature dishes and fun dining scenes that will leave you wanting to travel back for one more bite.

At the top of our list for the world’s most wallet-friendly food cities is Chiang Mai, Thailand, a city nestled in the northern jungles that is known for its spectacular food scene.


This northern capital is home to some beautiful Buddhist temples and some amazing food as well as plenty of opportunities to try your hand at Thai food by taking a cooking class. The destination was recently named one of the best for backpackers by Price of Travel, and it’s one of the best for food lovers as well, as the city is known for its cooking schools. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant only costs about $1.50, and a meal for two at a nicer spot is a steal at just $16 on average.