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Thread: Is Thailand now an expensive place?

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Is Thailand now an expensive place?

    This is more based on locals.....not a holiday or expats( although costs obviously factor for them also)

    Ao was just home for 6 weeks and she said w/o a doubt when you compare incomes in Canada vs pricing/costs and incomes in Thailand vs pricing/costs she thinks it is "cheaper" in Canada

    She was saying most things she was buying were almost the same or if not the same as in Canada
    From vegetables to hair products. Etc....

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    If you count the prices in work hour - as Ao has done - I am sure it has been like that for many, many years. A few things may be cheaper in Thailand, other things are way more expensive.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    I am completely baffled how Thais are able to have the living standard they appear to do.. On the wages they appear to earn..

    Everyones driving round in cars only a few years old.. All these younger guys loading them up with 40k of wheels and 50 stereos.. Getting them 'wrapped'. Etc etc.. These cars are 10's of 1000s of USD and these same guys make under 1k a month from which they must live..

    Housing is clearly cheaper than the west.. eating out is cheaper, tho increasingly less than it used to be.. But so much of everything is imported and more expensive.. The amount of them out on ducati bikes or triumphs.. Drinking 250 baht beers.. Fair play to them, I just dont see how Thai incomes manage to stretch..

    Land prices have just gone nuts.. The asking price for the land next to our plot is 350% more than we paid, what was that 3 years ago ?? They have turned down a cash offer of 275% more than we paid.. I am told that it went up the same in the 3 years before so that its about 1000% in 6 or 8 years..
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    I am completely baffled how Thais are able to have the living standard they appear to do.. On the wages they appear to earn..

    Everyones driving round in cars only a few years old.. All these younger guys loading them up with 40k of wheels and 50 stereos.. Getting them 'wrapped'. Etc etc.. These cars are 10's of 1000s of USD and these same guys make under 1k a month from which they must live..

    Housing is clearly cheaper than the west.. eating out is cheaper, tho increasingly less than it used to be.. But so much of everything is imported and more expensive.. The amount of them out on ducati bikes or triumphs.. Drinking 250 baht beers.. Fair play to them, I just dont see how Thai incomes manage to stretch..

    Land prices have just gone nuts.. The asking price for the land next to our plot is 350% more than we paid, what was that 3 years ago ?? They have turned down a cash offer of 275% more than we paid.. I am told that it went up the same in the 3 years before so that its about 1000% in 6 or 8 years..
    But you are talking about a different demographic, although the comparison's are still valid

    But I am talking about Ao being able to make 60-70k/mo and paying almost the same prices for vegetables as someone in Thailand making 10k/mo

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Maybe I wasnt clear.. Yes I find it baffling.. Yes some things are a little bit cheaper, but others are MUCH more expensive..

    But going shopping is only one part of life.. When you talk about the cost of things then relative income, as it relates to cost, determines a large part of if somethings 'cheap' or 'expensive'.

    If the cost of a piece of land rises 1000% in a handful of years.. What is happening with the salaries.. Maybe they have doubled ?? How can they afford to buy them now ?? They cant, they use a bank to finance it, claim they own it when in fact the bank does, and add another cost to their lives in debt servicing. Of course if they can flip it before it crashes great, but so few do.

    My bafflement comes at the conspicuous consumption and way they can maintain disposable income.. Everyone has to have a flagship phone.. Everyone has to have a near new car.. Everyones out spending baht that would be a large% of their months income.. How do they do it ??

    Even with the huge rise in personal credit, that just adds a credit cost element to their lives.. Now how much of any income is debt servicing.. And in a country with no unemployment or social security that debt servicing leaves them unable to ever quit a job, change employment, get sick, etc etc.. Its like the have gone from one struggle to one which to me seems like leveraging the risk.. The smallest thing and their whole lives come crashing down.

    Personally as the only thing I can see thats booming is debt.. Sure wages are rising, but no where to match the rise in spending.. Before families owned land maybe owned assets, but has little income and debt.. Now they have hocked any assets to the bank to live the lifestyle of today.. Its just not sustainable to have these western tastes and goods, unless incomes rise to near western levels.
    Last edited by LivinLOS; 2nd February 2015 at 13:40.

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    I wonder how much of it is due to easy credit though. Are the banks being stupid when dolling out credit?

    Any chance that what you are seeing is people spending everything they have on one flash item. I know a lot of people in my neck of the woods who regularly pull their Tesla up to their shack.

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    Cast your mind back to the 1980's in the West - well, Oz and UK anyway - when easy credit was everywhere.
    Just put it on the credit card and you could have it Now...... then, later that decade, it all fell in a heap ....

    I see those same ads today playing on the Skytrain ... the pretty girls falling all over the guy who pulls out his credit card and saves the day ...
    I would be interested to see some stats on the rise of personal debt in Thailand in the last decade...

    Enjoy....

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    I don't know though, seemed to me to be such a cash based society when I was living there. I know I didn't even use credit cards in Thailand at all mostly because either there were fees, or they didn't take cards in a bunch of places at all.

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    Bloomberg had this article about the personal debt in December 2014:
    Record Thai Household Debt Crimps Rate-Cut Room: Southeast Asia - Bloomberg Business

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    I've never found Thailand to be outrageously cheap, some things are like hotels, transport, market clothes and eating/drinking but it's also a place where you'd have no problem spending money if you wanted to. If you went to the fancy malls for your clothes and electronics you'd be spending as much and more as in the west. This is why I think Cambodia is really going to take over the really cheap charlie and backpacker scene as it is so much cheaper than a lot of Thailand and has ever improving infrastructure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post

    My bafflement comes at the conspicuous consumption and way they can maintain disposable income.. Everyone has to have a flagship phone.. Everyone has to have a near new car.. Everyones out spending baht that would be a large% of their months income.. How do they do it ??

    Exactly. I cannot for the hell of me figure it out. How does the thai economy survive year in year out. Even if borrowing was lax, you don't hear of banks going bust,etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidvicious View Post
    Exactly. I cannot for the hell of me figure it out. How does the thai economy survive year in year out. Even if borrowing was lax, you don't hear of banks going bust,etc.
    Maybe the easy credit is so new that the negative effects hasn't really had time to show? As long as they can still borrow to pay old debt, there isn't really a problem. The day they can no longer borrow new money, then the shit hits the fan.

    Actually the debt is not that high compared to some other countries (Denmark comes to mind), but the growth of the debt does not bode well.
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    Senior Member Geespot's Avatar
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    Dont want to get into the economic analysis but just some observations

    Middle class do seem to have access to funds above their salary levels, parents? debt? Dunno maybe both
    Isaan gets more difficult to find local employees on 300 baht day, maybe the realistic standard is higher. Still huge migration to employment and entertainment hot spots where 'big money can be earned'
    Big money can be earned? Entertainment hotspots, you don't need to be a hooker to be earning good crust..........shoe shine guys earn 100 baht a pop around Pattaya.........well in demand! conservative estimate is 1000 baht a day, that's around 30k per month! Now that's just nuts but not untypical in a tourist hotspot actually offering a decent product / service

    Food costs have definitely risen, but a decent plate of Thai food in a chop shop will still cost u somewhere between 35 and 55 baht. So to me it's about choices. Got a great steak restaurant here; Steak & Co........250g Ozzie Wagyu rib eye 1100 baht, to me that's a fkin bargain I'm willing to pay
    Last edited by Geespot; 2nd February 2015 at 20:16.
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  14. #14
    PTG
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    No one really pays any personal income tax, everyone seems to be in debt from banks money to personal loan shark money, and a lot of land is being held as collateral, so there is a lot of spending over means.

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    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    Food costs have definitely risen, but a decent plate of Thai food in a chop shop will still cost u somewhere between 35 and 55 baht. So to me it's about choices. Got a great steak restaurant here; Steak & Co........250g Ozzie Wagyu rib eye 1100 baht, to me that's a fkin bargain I'm willing to pay
    Is that the same as the Japanese Wagyu, or Kobe? Or a variant? I’ve seen the Japanese kind at Villa Market for 440 THB / 100 g... And that's only for the raw meat. Just had my Norwegian cousin over who got one for 2,900 at H.C. Andersen in Kamala. He’s a chef and thought it was one of the best steaks he ever had, and at “bargain prices” 555. Can get a grass-fed Angus at Makro for way cheaper though.

    But agree, the range of options is great these days. My everyday dinner sets me back still only about 50 – 60 THB.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Geespot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundancekid View Post
    Is that the same as the Japanese Wagyu, or Kobe? Or a variant? I’ve seen the Japanese kind at Villa Market for 440 THB / 100 g... And that's only for the raw meat. Just had my Norwegian cousin over who got one for 2,900 at H.C. Andersen in Kamala. He’s a chef and thought it was one of the best steaks he ever had, and at “bargain prices” 555. Can get a grass-fed Angus at Makro for way cheaper though.

    But agree, the range of options is great these days. My everyday dinner sets me back still only about 50 – 60 THB.
    I eat at Steak & Co in Pattaya Home - Steak & Co Pattaya 1100 baht for 250g, 1600 baht 400g

    The Ribeye Wagyu is Australian Jack's Creek Wagyu Beef Australia - Jack's Creek Premium Australian Beef

  17. #17
    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    I eat at Steak & Co in Pattaya Home - Steak & Co Pattaya 1100 baht for 250g, 1600 baht 400g

    The Ribeye Wagyu is Australian Jack's Creek Wagyu Beef Australia - Jack's Creek Premium Australian Beef
    Yep, that does indeed sound like a bargain. At least if it was anywhere near the tenderness of the one I tested at almost tripple the price. I'm not really a steak guy though, but for around 1K with that quality, I could make it more of a habit... Anyone knows of similar places and prices on Phuket? Just in case my cousin decides to return...
    Last edited by sundancekid; 3rd February 2015 at 22:06.

  18. #18
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    I eat at Steak & Co in Pattaya Home - Steak & Co Pattaya 1100 baht for 250g, 1600 baht 400g

    The Ribeye Wagyu is Australian Jack's Creek Wagyu Beef Australia - Jack's Creek Premium Australian Beef
    Looking at the steaks i'd compare it to the nice chain steak places we have here but not to the standard of an actual steakhouse in the US
    Still very good steaks but at 1,100 baht it would be the same price as those chain steak places here, so not really a bargain
    I am not disparaging those steaks at all, I am sure they are very good but at the price no cheaper than North America for the same standard

    The only place I have seen in Thailand with proper US steakhouse steaks is NY Steakhouse in JW Marriott but they are very pricey

  19. #19
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    ^There's a new Argentinian Steakhouse near Asoke... friggin awesome steaks. Roughly 3K-5K price range.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    And then you came back to.. Thais now living western standard lifestyles.. With those kind of costs.. On salaries that just dont stack up..

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