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Phuket Opinion: Hi-so holidays harder for tourists to afford



Phuket Opinion: Hi-so holidays harder for tourists to afford | Thaiger

PHUKET: Over the years, a number of my friends have made the journey from England to visit Phuket and enjoy a well-earned holiday. The recurring theme of their time here used to be how cheap the island was compared to the UK, but that has now changed.

When I first moved to Phuket, years ago, the exchange rate from baht to British pound was around 64:1. This gave my friends every reason to claim that Phuket was an absolute bargain and a number of them lived it up during their two-week holiday.

Today, the baht is 44:1. To put that into perspective, if someone comes to Phuket on a two-week holiday and they bring UK£1,000 spending money, when the exchange rate was 64:1 their £1,000 was worth 64,000 baht. Today, the same amount of British pounds is worth 44,000 baht.

If you then compare drinks and food – these prices have stayed roughly the same over the years – a bottle of beer that costs 70 baht (just under £2) is now close to the same price you would pay for a drink in England.

If you go to an upscale area like Surin – where a beer can cost 150 baht – you’re now paying close to £4 for a drink, which is more than you would pay in England. These bars will argue that customers are paying for the location and setting but it’s still a lot of money. Street food will always be cheap but tourists don’t tend to eat street food. They go to restaurants in their hotel or a restaurant that has been recommended in a book or online.

Around the Laguna area, one of the cheapest three-course meals in a popular restaurant will set you back just over 500 baht (£11). Add in a few drinks of any description and the bill could be closer to 880 baht (£20). And that’s at one of the cheaper restaurants.

Once you start to factor in tours, taxis and souvenirs it becomes shockingly clear that £1,000 doesn’t go far. On the plus side, people living in Phuket who go back to England benefit when they convert their baht to British pounds, but who wants to go on holiday to England?

— Winston Gunn


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