Much like a recent post on my previous blog, Chris in South Korea, the question of how much stuff costs comes up during that ‘we should probably start planning this out’ phase. The first assurance here is that things are almost universally cheaper, so long as you shop and live off the tourist trails. The country’s reputation for scams and schemes should be so well known by now that anyone approaching you should be regarded with suspicion.
Photo credit: BKM_BR (CC BY 2.0)
It’s also worth noting that the system is set up to favor the locals that read the Thai script, and that foreigners occasionally pay a higher price. Call it the tourist tax, if you like, but whooping and hollering about a few bucks is unlikely to garner much sympathy – especially when you’re carrying a camera worth hundreds of dollars and a smartphone worth hundreds more.
Be sure to check the local rates against your home currency at xe.com.
Without further ado…
Food and drink
500ml plastic bottle of Coke (at a convenience store): 18-20 baht
1.5 liter bottle of Coke (at a grocery store): 27-30 baht
Bottle of water (at a convenience store): 6-10 baht
Bottle of water (at a restaurant): 10-30 baht (a pitcher of water is sometimes on the table at some restaurants)
About 600 grams of cantaloupe, cut and ready to eat (at a grocery store: 45-60 baht
Can of Pringles (at the grocery store): 45-60 baht
Single serving of yogurt: 12-25 baht
Street food (snack): 25-60 baht
Street food (meal): 30-100 baht
Basic Thai meal in a Thai neighborhood: 30-60 baht
McDonalds Big Mac set: 155 baht
Vegetarian Indian entree along Sukhumvit: 150 baht
Pub grub (entrees): 200-500 baht
Large (640ml) bottle of local beer (at the grocery store): 40-65 baht
Large (640ml) bottle of imported beer (at the grocery store): 60-100 baht
Draft local beer during the bar’s happy hour: 70-100 baht
Bottle of Thai whiskey (at the grocery store): 120-180 baht
Draft imported brew at the bar: 100-250 baht
Cocktails at a street bar, or from the side of a VW bus: 100-250 baht
Apartments in Thailand can be very cheap. In Chaing Mai they run anywhere from as low as $150 – and they are very high quality!
If you are staying in Thailand a great way to save some money is by staying in hostels. They are cheap, so much fun, and the staff will give you the inside knowledge to have the time of your life. Check out the best hostels in Chiang Mai.
Setting up and settling in
King-sized sheet set at Tesco – 700-1,500 baht (note that a ’sheet set’ in Thailand comprises of a fitted sheet, two pillowcases, and two open-ended body pillow cases. Blankets / flat sheets sold separately.)
Drying rack (much like the ones used in Korea) – 2,000 baht for a larger version.
Ceramic plates – 50-100 baht
Ceramic bowls – 50-100 baht
Rice cooker – 500-2,000 baht (depending on the specials and whether it’s imported or made locally)
Fan – 500-1,000 baht (based mainly on size and brand name)
Croc knockoffs: 149-199 baht
Men’s dress shirts: 199-499 baht
T-shirts: 99-199 baht
Shorts: 239-399 baht
Body wash: 55-135 baht
Spoon and fork set (2 each) 59 baht
Stir-fry wok: 129-449 baht
Local city bus around Bangkok – 8-22 baht (based on distance traveled and whether the bus is fan-cooled or A/C)
SkyTrain / BTS ride – (central and eastern Bangkok) – 20-55 baht (based on distance) – note that while no discounts are given by using a stored-value card, it does provide more convenience and less chance of getting stuck in a long line.
Subway / MRT ride (Bangkok) – 15-45 baht (based on distance). Note that there’s no free transfer option here going from one to the other.
Taxi fares – officially, the meter starts at 35 baht and goes up incrementally by time and distance. Unless you’re going quite a distance or traffic is especially horrific, a metered ride should only rarely cost more than 100 baht. Unofficially, you might pay up to 600-700 baht for a taxi to Bangkok’s airport, or if the unscrupulous driver claims ’no meter’. Quoted prices are typically 2-4 times higher than a metered fare would be. Note that metered taxis only exist in Bangkok.
Motorcycle taxis – while they have some loose systems in place, very rarely offer the true price in English. Expect to pay as little as 10 baht for a short ride down a long soi, or perhaps up to 200 baht if you’re foolish enough to read the sign in English.
Tuk-tuk rides will vary entirely based on how far your destination is, and whether you’re willing to walk away and take another form of transportation. The issue is that even touristy areas don’t have a variety of transportation options. We’ve paid 500 baht to a driver to ourselves for the better part of a day. At the risk of stating the obvious, a tuk-tuk driver simply see money signs from a foreigner.
Minibus ride from Bangkok to Ayutthaya (about a 2 hour ride) – 60 baht. It’ll be relatively comfortable but cramped, so claustrophobics need not apply.
Bus ride from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi (about a 3 hour ride) – 110 baht. Note that fancier / first-class buses exist to most destinations.
A full-day guided tour in Kanchanaburi – 750-1,090 baht per person (each one offering several destinations, transportations, lunch, admission fees and guide).
Readers, what prices are you curious about?
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