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.

5 responses to “Thailand: What a Dollar Can Buy You”

  1. Sounds like the prices are pretty similar to those in the U.S., with the exception of your rice & curry. Why is food so cheap there? Is the Thai gov’t majorly subsidizing rice, etc?

  2. avatar Tony says:

    I’m not sure if food is subsidized, or not. I assume the big difference is in labor costs, which are much lower here. I do notice that seafood is significantly more that it used to be, which certainly has to do with the export value of fish, lobster, prawns etc. No more cheap lobsters in the world – they’re all being bought up and shipped to the wealthy nations.

  3. If you’re sad about the rising cost of lobster, read Frank Schätzings “Der Schwarm” and you won’t want to eat them anymore anyway… 😉

  4. avatar Thomas says:

    Mmmmhhh, I read the book but I’m still hungry for lobster. I have to admit, it’s been several years so maybe I should read it again.

  5. avatar Noel S Crespi says:

    What about rent comparison, cost of living expense,and grocery?

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