CURRENCY & SHOPPING
The Currency in Thailand is the Baht. The exchange rate at the time of typing this is around 50 bahts to the pound (UK), although just 3 years ago it was 70 to the pound.(The world financial crisis has really screwed exchange rates around the world). Notes are available in 20,50,100,500 and 1,000 baht denominations, Coins are 10,5,2 and 1 baht. There are also satang coins in various denominations of which there are 100 to the baht, although you don't use these hardly at all, as everything tends to be in whole bahts.
Shopping in Bangkok is an experience not to be missed. The large department stores and shopping centres have everything you may need at prices far cheaper than in the UK, and genuine designer labels.
One of the many Central World's
The 'Central' Shopping centres offer a discount to Tourists, so ask at any till for your discount card before making any purchases. Central also offer VAT free shopping for tourists, just take your passport and till receipts to the Customer Service desk to get your voucher and redeem the refund at the Airport when you leave.
You must also visit the many bazaars and markets especially the JJ (Jatujak) market, which is another shopping area where many Thai people and tourists go to at the weekend. A Recommended visit when you are in Bangkok! You can find many inexpensive items. However, outside the big department stores, don't accept that the designer brands on sale are genuine items, because most of the time they won't be, just excellent copies.
Clothes are far cheaper than in the UK, and you can pick up some good quality men's shirts and ladies top's for as little as a couple of pounds.
There are some European and US companies operating Hypermarkets, such as Tesco Lotus, Carrefour, Robinsons, Central and Big C. You will also find many Boots stores and Debenhams have concessions in
In Bangkok there are almost all designer brands, in one or more of the shopping centres. On the edge of Bangkok you will find Fashion Island, a fashion concious ladies dream, just head for Safari World and you'll see Fashion Island signed. The shopping centres and hypermarkets are far bigger than those found in the UK, and all have food halls and coffee shops.
FOOD & DRINK
Thai food is incredible, the flavours, colours and varieties are endless. In essence most Thai food consists of vegetables, and fish. Meet such as Pork, Chicken, Duck and Beef are relatively new additions to the Thai diet.
Food in Thailand is so much cheaper than in the UK and is available everywhere 24/7. On the sides of streets, restaurants and hotels, every where food. It is always so fresh, and the seafood is just amazing.
As an example 7 of us went to a good quality riverside restaurant, we had around 10 different seafood dishes, including huge king prawns, Tum Yam soup and fresh Sea Bass. With it we had a fresh Duck dish, and a Thai Chicken Green Curry, we had ice-creams for sweet. Together with the drinks the whole lot cost just 2,700 Bahts (around £38 – just £5.50 each!), and we couldn't eat everything.
Some Thai food is very spicy, so if you do not like spicy food, tell the waiter/cook up front and they will cut down on the spices for you.
You will also find, especially in Bangkok, European/US/Japanese etc. outlets such as Pizza Hut, Kentucky, McDonalds, MK, Sorenson, Fuji, Mister Donut and many others. Central, Tesco, Big C, Carrefour and other hypermarkets also have restaurants within them.
But you must really try a traditional Thai riverside restaurant for a taste experience topped by no other.
In future posts we will look at much more
see part 1 here
see part 2 here
© 2010 – Steve Riches