Life in Isaan is okay. It’s this awkward balance of farm life and Western habits that my family must navigate through on a daily basis. What makes things a little more complicated is that everything is in Bangkok. Yes, in recent years there has been some great progress in Isaan, like more immigration check points and a passport centre in both Khorat and Khon Kaen, but for the most part, we must still make our way down to Bangkok at least three to four times a year for various reasons.
During each visit to the capital, I am continually surprised at how much money my family and I are able to spend doing next to nothing. This last particular visit was on our way to Canada to see relatives. My family of three stayed in Bangkok for two nights to do some shopping and to make sure we could get to the airport on time and well rested. Here is a cost breakdown of one of our days in Bangkok:
Prices in Bangkok
Taxi from hotel to Rail Link: 65 THB
Cost for two adults to take the Rail Link to Phyathai Station (BTS): 70 THB
Water all day, four bottles total: 40 THB
Three bottles of fresh orange juice: 60 THB
Assortment of fresh fruit: 100 THB
Breakfast at a small food stall (3 people): 150 THB
Taxi from Phayathai Station (BTS) to Action Zone Muay Thai store: 65 THB
Taxi to a friend’s house near Lumpini Park: 65 THB
Lunch at a small, indoor, family run restaurant (4 people): 215 THB
Taxi to Terminal 21 Shopping Complex: 60 THB
Taxi to hotel: 350 THB
Dinner at a restaurant inside the Paseo Mall: 420 THB
Grand Total: 1,660 THB (at time of writing approximately 46.25 USD and 43.60 EUR)
We were staying in Lat Krangbang Soi 20 at The Cottage Suvarnabhumi Hotel. The hotel was average but had a swimming pool which was a necessity for my daughter. Within walking distance was The Paseo Mall. There, you will find everything you need to get ready for a long hall flight such as fresh fruit, travel snacks, pharmaceuticals, and souvenirs. Along with Villa Market, Tesco Lotus Express, Starbucks, and McDonalds, there was as a lot of great shopping and food stalls that offered in-demand styles and flavours at competitive Bangkok prices.
As you can see from my total, it did not include hotel or shopping costs. Simply, it covered the cost of just being in Bangkok. On this particular day we needed to grab some Muay Thai equipment, see a friend before leaving, and do some minor shopping for my family.
After receiving a Muay Thai scholarship to train at a prominent gym in Northern Thailand, Watthanaya packed her bags at 19 leaving home with a one way ticket. She ended up however at a Bangkok street gym affiliated with Sor. Thanikul and married one of the fighters. They took off for Khorat and Watthanaya fought her way through Issan. Now, with a degree in tote, a four year old daughter, and a passion to fight again, she is back. Connect with Frances Watthanaya on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.