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.
© 2011, Martyn. All rights reserved.