Thailand’s Still a Cheap Holiday Destination
Beyond The Mango Juice is now camped and revamped (have you noticed the new look) in Udon Thani city at the start of my three-week stay in Thailand after arriving from the UK early Tuesday morning.
Despite being in the Kingdom for less than 36 hours I was quickly reminded of what a good value holiday destination the Land of Smiles still is. That’s assuming you have experience or knowledge of your intended location. Fortunately when it comes to Udon Thani I have a fair bit of both, and for me that makes Thailand a cheap holiday destination for most of my stay despite the ever resilient strength of the Thai baht against my British pound.
Putting together your own holiday schedule of flights and hotels is in my opinion far cheaper than booking a holiday package, but of course those two words, experience and knowledge, are invaluable help in cutting one’s holiday budget once you are there. Although being in the Kingdom for barely one and a half days I became very aware of three basic tourists needs that won’t have you feeling a need to run to a ATM or currency exchange too often.
Finding accommodation in Thailand is no problem at all, it’s purely a matter of choosing a hotel or apartment which suits your budget or particular needs. Wonderful Wi and myself have checked into Udon Thani’s Heritage Apartments and it is a place we often stay when taking a few days break in the city.
The rooms are a decent size with an admittedly are small bathroom and their furnishings and fittings basic but pleasant enough. Air con, satellite TV and a large fridge add comfort and each room has a balcony too. Rooms are cleaned daily and the Heritage’s staff are friendly with ever-present smiles. The price per room is just 350 baht a night and that equates to about 12 US dollars or 7 British pounds. Amazing value.
Thai cuisine is one of many reasons why people choose Thailand as a place to holiday. Tourist resort restaurants can sometimes be expensive but generally their prices are modest in comparison to the western world. However a good knowledge of the area where you are staying opens up a whole new avenue of eateries where Thais choose to eat.
One such area in Udon Thani is alongside Nong Prachak Park where small open air restaurants stretch for a few hundred yards. The breakfast on the right is one Wilai and myself have enjoyed a few times in the past and yesterday we visited our favourite breakfast stall once more.
The photo shows a large bowl of pork noodles, two lightly toasted bread rolls filled with minced pork and carrot, plus two cups of coffee. We also ordered a bottle of orange juice and after enjoying our hearty breakfast we were presented with a bill for only 106 baht. Starting our day breakfasting with the locals amounted to a converted sum of $3.50.
Thailand has its swish air con shopping malls full of pricey fashion clothing and also its day and night markets stocked full of cheap copy wares which have you wondering if Adidas is spelt with two D’s or three. There’s a huge gap in pricing between the two but another cheap fashion outlet is one that’s probably not even considered by most tourists, and yet it offers decent quality at a very reasonable cost.
Supermarket giant Tesco Lotus is more renown for filling its shopping trolleys with food rather than clothing but the latter is a big seller too. My photo shows two decent and fairly fashionable t-shirts purchased at the store and a pair of snappy shorts as well. The checkout till rang up a very budget friendly bill of 497 baht, that’s near as bang on ten British pounds.
I believe Thailand still has good value as a holiday destination if you pack a little bit of know how into your suitcase. Mind you, a 10-20% depreciation in the Thai baht would be a big help too.
That is a useful tip about shopping at Tesco Lotus for clothes, something I had not thought about, but will remember. A lot of the major western currencies have done badly against the baht recently, though I am very encouraged to see the Euro (the currency in which I am paid) climb slowly, but steadily against the baht in recent days.
Enjoy the rest of your vacation Martyn, may you and Wilai have fun times!
Peter – I’m happy my post will be of future benefit to you and the good thing with Tesco is that you can be assured a certain amount of quality will always be there.
I’m hoping the pound will climb a wee bit too during my stay.
The new crops look to be coming along nicely at the top, Martyn. I like it. I agree with what you say about Thailand being good value, too. I noticed it more this last year because in the space of a few months I was in 6 different countries before heading to Koh Samui in April. If I didn’t more or less live in Thailand I would definitely go for a holiday.
Let me try again. I was trying to say ‘The new crop looks to be coming along nicely’. ie I like your new banner. (Not so sure about the look of the text on the banner, though. Could be more assertive?
Lawrence – I edited your first comment, I’m sure you won’t mind.
Visiting six different in a short space of time puts you in an excellent postion to judge Thailand’s value as a tourist destination.
The banner text…the beauty of the template I’m using is that the header is changeable. The writing on the header is meant to appear as if the words have been laid on top of the rice crop. I’m still undecided about it myself but I am warming to it.
Martyn, I always love it when you land in Thailand for your many yearly visits. You have more time to rest, more time to share, and… you know.
I don’t buy clothes at Tesco Lotus but the prices I do pay for stuff made in Thailand is around the same. I can get a sweet looking cotton shirt for 100-150 baht – can’t match the same in the west.
I’m enjoying your new look (the rice fields are soothing) and ditto on the mention of the larger copy. This lass is getting older (real soon) and the eyes are not what they used to be.
Catherine I’m getting plenty of rest but not too much sleep, it takes a while for my sleep pattern to adjust.
Somehow I never imagined you in 100 baht clothing, fair play to you. Everyone loves a bargain.
The main reason I switched WordPress themes was to make the fonts bigger, a few people mentioned the fonts were too small. I just needed the guts to make the change but I’ve managed to keep a similar look.
See my reply to Lawrence about the header.
Hi Martyn, before I moved to Thailand the thought of buying clothes in a supermarket would have horrified me. It was one of the few things that I was snobbish about. These days all my clothes come from supermarkets.
Paul I know where you’re coming from regarding UK supermarket clothing, I’ve never bought any from one myself. I can’t even recall looking. I don’t know much about UK kids tastes nowadays but their parents ever tightening pursestrings may force them to shop for clothes at places like Tesco. In Thailand the store has good quality gear.
Martyn, WP indeed does create a cleaner look right out of the box (I like).
As for Thai clothes – they are selling similar clothes on the streets to what we pay bucks for in the west. Not all (you have to continuously keep your eye on the stalls when driving by) but they can certainly be found. And it’s fun to do – just like a treasure hunt.
A fabulous street find at a mere 100 baht plus gives just as much or more pleasure as one from Emporium or Central. They don’t last as long but then again they don’t need to.
I’ve recently been told about a clothes market in BKK where you buy everything in lots to get an even cheaper price. A friend and I are going to cruise the market so I’ll get back to you on that.
The thing I find with most markets (not all) is that the style of clothing is a bit behind the times, especially in the small rural towns. It’s like they bought in big bulk many years ago and still haven’t sold out. The markets in the bigger cities, certainly the night ones, tend to stock more modern styles and some real good cheap deals can be had.
I used to buy and sell football shirts during my Pattaya days and buying in bulk gives you a great weapon to talk down the price.
Agreed – small town markets have old and oftentimes butt ugly clothes for gals but BKK has some pretty sweet selections if you know to look for them. And to avoid the cheap products, rub the cloth between your fingers. Other clues to watch for are the types of seams and how the buttons are sewn on.
But you can go equally wrong buying at Emporium and Central. For instance, I just came home from the grocery store. I didn’t notice that the buttons on the shirt I had on were too small for the holes. Bought at Central, it’s a nice looking shirt with great lines and all, but my security guard and maybe even my taxi driver got an eyeful. And that’s where buying really cute bras comes into it 😀
But t-shirts are the biggest bargains for me. My kids all love t’s. I was in Italy in December so selected a t-shirt each for the kids = 6 t’s. When I asked the price they said 42 EU / £36.5 / US$90 = crazy prices. I put them back, said “sorry kids!”, and then bought cheaper t-shirts once back in Thailand.
The full-length lounge pants (not sure what they are called, surfer pants?) are another item I buy by the half dozen. My son lives in them.
So yeah, Thailand has great bargains. And being a clothes snob only ends up costing you plenty extra when there is no need.
Catherine – compared to Thailand most European prices are crazy. Despite living in the UK it’s a very rare day I buy clothes there. Much too pricey for me. Thailand kind of spoils you.
Your taut blouse buttons are the equivalent of a man with a broken trouser fly .At least now your security guard will be well aware of you being about from now on. That’s good for your safety.
I can only guess at the full length lounge pants….training bottoms perhaps.
Excellent sales pitch for Udon, Martyn. Your posts showing the wide variety of things to see and do in Udon give it a very good boost. I just might catch up with you on your next return, which I believe is September? I’m in (unseasonably very chilly) Canada now.
Those are very affordable prices for accommodation and food. I will check out the Heritage hotel when in Udon.
Have a happy vacation with Wonderful Wi! I’m having a “working” vacation in Canada. Can’t wait to get back and get warm again.
Thailand is a lot cheaper and a lot prettier than other SE Asian countries. Plus how cool is Bangkok…