Stickman Readers' Submissions April 25th, 2015

Is Thailand Becoming Very Expensive for Euro Citizens?

A few days ago I was fiddling around with a currency converter and I saw to my surprise that one Euro now gives you 34 Thai baht. Actually, I should not be shocked because this was to be expected considering what the ECB is doing at the moment (printing oceans of Euros to benefit the banks and the multinationals). The Euro has gone down about 25% to the US Dollar in less then one year and is expected to go A LOT LOWER. Perhaps in 6 months or so one can expect to get for example only 25 baht for one Euro.

Truth be told I have not been back to Thailand for a while. The last time I was in Thailand was in June, 2013. I remember I got around 39 baht then for one Euro, and I was shocked at how much prices had gone up compared to 2009 (my last long stay in Thailand). The prices had gone up averagely by about 12% in 2013 compared to 2009 and the baht had gone up against the Euro from (approx) 47 THB for one Euro in 2009 to 39 THB for one Euro in 2014 (or 17%).

He Clinic Bangkok

So effectively for a Euro citizen the prices in Thailand had gone up by around 29% between 2009 and 2013 which is quite a lot I think.

I don't know about the current prices of, for instance, rent and food in Thailand but I would guess they will have gone up since June, 2013. Let's say they have gone up 5%, I think that is a fair estimate, probably a bit on the low side. At the same time the Euro has depreciated again against the Thai baht by 39 – 34 = 5/39 = 12.8%.

So in the almost 2 years that have passed since June 2013 Thailand has become 5 + 12.8% = 17.8% more expensive again for Euro citizens. This is almost mild hyper inflation.

CBD bangkok

Just a few small examples: I remember in 2009 I could buy a nice big roasted fish at a street vendor for 100 or 120 baht. With the exchange rate of the day this would equal about 2 or 2.5 Euros. Compared to prices for a comparable fish in my country this was reasonably cheap. In my country such a thing would cost around 3 to 4 Euros.

Nowadays the same fish costs between 120 and 150 baht, which equals 3.5 to 4.40 Euros. In my country the price is about equal.

About 250 ml freshly squeezed orange juice would cost 20 baht in 2009 which was about 40 eurocents. Now this orange juice is almost 60 eurocents and that is rather expensive.

For me I like shopping at Carrefour or a comparable supermarket when I am in Thailand. In 2009 the prices at Carrefour were quite expensive (but still a bit cheaper on average) than in my home country. In 2013 I went a few times to a supermarket and noticed that the prices were quite a bit higher on average then in my home country. Now the prices for shopping at an international supermarket in Thailand will probably be about 25% to 30% higher than in my country.

wonderland clinic

Drinking out is quite expensive in my country. You can expect to pay about 4 euro on average for a small bottle or a glass of beer in a cafe or pub (mind you ,not in a nightclub the prices where the price will be much higher). With the current exchange rate this equals 136 baht. I am not familiar with the prices of beer and stuff in the bars in Thailand now, but I can imagine that in Bangkok there are places where you can expect to pay this kind of prices nowadays? In a Pattaya beer bar the beers will probably still be a lot cheaper though (maybe 60 to 80 baht but I don't know).

Even with the current exchange rate of the Euro to the baht, accommodation and restaurant dining in Thailand is probably still (quite a lot) cheaper in Thailand compared to my country. If you go out to a (simple) restaurant in The Netherlands you can expect to pay about 30 Euro (give or take) for one person which would be about 1020 baht. A night in a budget hotel could set you back 50 to 80 Euros so lets say 65 Euros which equals 2,210 baht.

In 2013 I could still dine for 150 to 200 baht in a decent restaurant in Jomtien and we paid if I recall right 800 baht for our room with balcony and sea view. I think those prices have not gone up a lot so this is at least still a lot cheaper in Thailand compared to my country.

To the subject of girls for pay, I am hearing that people now pay 800 baht for short time in Pattaya and often up to 1500 Thai baht for the same treat in Bangkok. I never go to the hookers in my country but I hear stories from friends that they calculate between 30 and 60 Euros for probably one hour, which is not a lot more expensive then the prices in Bangkok, of course the experience and time spend in Thailand is much more flexible compared to my country.

So to wrap it all up, Thailand is not really cheap any more I think for Euro citizens. If I compare the prices to the prices in my country (The Netherlands which is one of the most expensive countries in the Euro zone), then I can conclude that many things are now more expensive in Thailand compared to The Netherlands. Some things are still a lot cheaper though (accommodation, street food, restaurant and a beer in a Pattaya Beer bar), but if you like to eat (important) western style food from the supermarket you are in for a shock.

I think the Euro will go down a lot more against the US Dollar and therefore also against the Thai baht. I would not be surprised to see 30 baht for one Euro by the end of this year, and perhaps down to 25 by the middle of next year. If this happens and all the signs point that way, I think Thailand will soon become a destination for only the wealthy Euro citizens.

Stickman's thoughts:

Thailand has become much more expensive in recent years and is no longer the bargain it used to be. Some things are still a lot cheaper than the West, but many things which used to be a lot cheaper may no longer be, and some things which used to be cheaper may now in fact be more expensive. But what I really notice is that in the West the quality of things is generally a lot better, irrespective of price. As I write this I am sitting in a beachfront unit with views of a bar and snow-capped mountains in the distance. The unit would be about 70 square metres and is fully featured with everything you need, quality materials and nice touches like good coffee and a quality coffee maker. It's the equivalent of 2,150 baht per night. I don't think you would get this sort of quality and setting in Thailand for the same price.

nana plaza