A Day of Expenditures in Thailand

On the way to Sala Daeng

Like most places in the world, you can get by spending a lot or a little.  What I typically try to do is get the best value for my money.

As an example of what things cost in Thailand, I’d like to break down exactly what I spent yesterday.

Upon leaving my friend’s plush apartment in the upscale Sathorn area of Bangkok, I power walked about a kilometer or .62 miles to the closest BTS Bangkok Transit System or Sky Train station of Sala Daeng.

On the way I purchased a coconut from a roadside stand.  It cost 20 Baht or $.64.

The five-stop Sky Train ride from Sala Daeng to Wongwian Yai cost 30 Baht or $.96.  Fares are based on the number of stops.  This is a great value as this transit system is only a few years old and as modern as any I’ve seen on earth.

At Wongwian station I needed to take a taxi to the Thonburi railway station, colloquially known as Bangkok Noi.  This isn’t Bangkok’s main station.   It’s a real small one that’s out of the way of the city proper.  The cab ride cost 91 Baht or $2.92.

Compared to the US or Europe this is cheap as the ride took around 40 minutes due  ridiculous traffic.  The meter started off at 32 Baht or $1.03.  I didn’t give the man a tip as I felt that he took a way that was longer necessary.  Still, I didn’t blame him.  I thought: If our roles were reversed, I may have done the same.  Regardless, tips aren’t commonplace in Thailand like in the US.

I needed to eat something after taking my mid-day stomach medication.  My only option was street food.  I opted for sticky rice, two skewers of grilled chicken, two small banana muffins and a small bag of freshly cut pineapple.  The total cost of these food items was 52 Baht or $1.67.

Due to the unfortunate occurrence that happened after eating roadside stall food, I try not to eat this way anymore; however, I was in a bind.

The only option for my train ride to Kanchanaburi was a third class non-a/c train.  There are two a day that leave at 7.45 and 13.55.  The ride was just
under three hours long and cost 100 Baht or $3.21.  You get what you pay for.  It was hot and a couple of times I became nauseous from petrol and sewage smells emanating through the rolled down windows.  Although the scenery was splendid at times, I’ll opt for a bus or minivan back.

A man greeted me the instant I got off the train.

Where are you going?  Which hotel?”

I need a place that has a/c and wifi.”

He showed me a picture of a swimming pool.

500 baht.”

I got on a seat on the back of his three wheeled bicycle.  He peddled and coughed during the ride that lasted about seven minutes.

I am 49 years old.  I have baby at home.”

We arrived at the hotel.

You have wifi in the room right?”

Yes, I give you room next to router.”

I checked out the room and decided to shell out the 500 Baht or $16.06.  You can get places for a lot cheaper than that in Thailand.  But, I thought:  Compared to in Europe or the U.S. this is less than what I’d pay for a hostel dorm bed so why not enjoy this wonderful value.  The room has a private bath with very hot water, cable TV, a desk, and a reading light with a switch by the bed.  There’s also a decent-sized swimming pool about 20 feet outside my door.  This is what I call a deal.

View from outside my door

I went out to retrieve my bags from the man’s bicycle rickshaw.

How much?”

How much you want pay?”

I started with 20 Baht.  He looked at me incredulously.  I upped it to 30.

50 Baht.”

50 Baht for a seven-minute ride?”

Yes 50 Baht.”

OK, 50 Baht.  You have a baby to feed.”

While receiving the 50 Baht bill, he chuckled and said:

And I have beer to drink.

He clearly ripped me off.  It would have been 20 had I negotiated the price before accepting his ride.  50 Baht is $1.61.  I thought: I’m not going to argue over a dollar considering that this man earns a meager living.  Not to mention, in his eyes, this hotel is very expensive.  I must be wealthy. 

For dinner in my guesthouse I had a plate of Pad Thai for 40 Baht or $1.29 and a blueberry lassie for 50 Baht or $1.61.   After trying the lassie I thought: This is the last lassie I’m going to order in Thailand.  I’ll leave it at that.

After eating I walked down the road and got a 40-minute foot massage for 100 Baht and added a 20 Baht tip.  120 Baht is $3.85.

Including food, four modes of transportation, decent accommodation and a massage plus optional tip, I spent a total of $34.40.   Because I’m charged ATM withdrawal fees I’ll add $1 and call my daily costs for yesterday $35.40.  That’s not too shabby.

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

I use xe.com‘s universal currency converter for all of my conversions.  If you know of a better currency conversion tool then please let me know.  

NOTE: Because of the Euro’s recent turmoil, the dollar has strengthened against most currencies as of late.  This includes the Thai Baht.

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