Thailand: What a Dollar Can Buy You

People ask us all the time, “Is Thailand expensive?” Well, it all depends on your budget and what things are worth to you. Some tourists probably think that a $300 hotel room is a bargain. A budget traveler faced with such prices, however, might go into the fetal position and rock back and forth uncontrollably for a day or two. It’s all relative. Perhaps, a better question is, “What can a dollar buy you in Thailand?”


Here’s what you can get in Bangkok for around a buck:

  • Four liters of drinking water (1 gallon), or 1.5 liters of sparkling water
  • One hour of talking time on your cell phone within Thailand using the 1-2-Call SIM card. Similarly, if your phone and your laptop have Bluetooth capability, you can surf the Internet for 60 minutes.
  • Local English-language newspaper such as the Bangkok Post (compare that to the Times of India for $0.06)
  • Eight stops on the Skytrain, Bangkok’s rapid transit system
  • Three soft serve ice cream cones at Dairy Queen
  • A plate of Thai green curry with rice
  • One liter of gasoline, which translates to $4 per gallon
  • Initial charge for a taxi (including the first couple of kilometers)
  • Two liters of Coke (1/2 gallon)

Well, I just checked what you can get at Starbucks. For $1 you get zero, nada, nil. Actually, let me correct that. You CAN get 2 servings of whipped cream on your imaginary cappuccino venti.