Bangkok – 4. Shopping

Convenience stores are everywhere. I counted six 7-11s within a block of our hotel. One of our friends who lives in BKK said the 7-11 shops are all licensees who buy their franchises from 7-11 for $2 million baht ($64,000), and get turnkey stores.  In mid-2020, it was stated that there are around 12,000 7-11 stores in Thailand. In addition to 7-11 stores, there are independent convenience stores, Family Marts, and other such chains. Most stores are open 24/7. Prices are extremely competitive.
For example, across the Radisson Hotel (where we stayed) on soi (street) 13, in the Insaf Tower project, there is an Insaf Mini Mart.  A 450 ml bottle of Coke Zero is 12 baht ($0.38). A 1.5 liter bottle of Nestle water is 14 baht ($0.45). A travel-sized 40 gram tube of Colgate or Crest toothpaste is also 12 baht  ($0.38); it costs over $1.49 for a 21 gram tube at Honolulu Walgreen’s. A half-liter bottle of Listerine Cool Mint is 71 baht ($2.28); the same sized bottle is $4.99 at Honolulu Walgreen’s.  Although taxes are imposed, all taxes are included in the prices.
So bottom line, for such items, you can get them fairly close to wherever you are, and they are readily available.
Bangkok has quite a few shopping centers in vertical buildings, and they are in close proximity to Skytrain stations.
Lunch at Terminal 21’s food court is truly a bargain.  We ate there almost every day.  Terminal 21 is a six-story world class shopping building built in 2011.  In the food court, you first add a specified amount of funds which are credited to a provided debit card.  In other words, you can get 100 or 200 baht (or more) added to the Center’s debit card by queuing up at the coupon counter at the perimeter of the food court.  In the food court proper, you go to one of 20 or so food stands, and order your dish or drink.  Your debit card is decremented, and you wait for your order to be placed.  Although the size of the plate is relatively small by Hawaii or American standards, the food is tasty and very reasonably priced.  It appears that the building developers run the food court as a loss leader, to get the volume of people into the shopping complex. A lot of area office workers frequent the food court for lunch. Most dishes are 30 – 50 baht, and most drinks are 20 – 30 baht.  So for less than $2, you can get a tasty spicy papaya salad, a very tasty fried chicken boneless thigh chopped on a green salad, or a terrific red pork curry dish with rice and excellent shredded pork leg, plus a drink.
In addition to the food court in Terminal 21, it has another 20 or 30 full service restaurants, where the prices are also very reasonable.  There are all kinds of restaurants, serving American, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and many other cuisines.
In the shopping center, there are numerous boutiques and stores. American products appear as expensive as they are in Hawaii, and designer labels are probably as expensive although I did not shop for those and don’t know price points in Hawaii, so don’t know for sure.

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