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Phuket Live Wire: Is Phuket cheaper?

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Live Wire: Is Phuket cheaper? | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Hardly a day passes when somebody doesn’t ask me, “Woody, should I buy a laptop (phone, desktop computer, iPad, printer, camera, TV) here in Phuket, or is it cheaper in the US (or Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Seoul, Europe)?”

Once upon a time, it was relatively easy to answer that question. Times have changed.

Three or four years ago, prices in Bangkok – particularly Panthip Plaza – ran about 15 per cent cheaper than Phuket. You could find individual fluctuations from time to time, but there was a definite increase in prices here in Phuket, for just about everything, from paper to laptops, phones to scanners.

Those price differences have largely evaporated. Bangkok computer retailers, such as JIB Computer, now have branches in Phuket, and the Phuket shops charge the same prices as in Bangkok’s Panthip Plaza. Some even use the same price sheets. Other low-margin retailers, particularly in the basement of Big C and on or near Phang Nga Road in Phuket Town, have kept up.

For consumer electronics, Power Buy isn’t the cheapest in Thailand, but it’s close. Other Bangkok chains also sell at the same price here as in Bangkok. It’s rare that you’ll find anything significantly cheaper in Bangkok – although the selection is greater at Panthip.

By comparison, Bangkok tends to be a little more expensive than Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, or even occasionally Singapore. Five years ago, I flew to Hong Kong to buy a gorgeous 30-inch monitor, and saved enough to pay for the plane fare. That just wouldn’t happen today.

Specific brand name items might run 10 per cent cheaper in Hong Kong or Singapore – but at the same time, other items run 5 to 10 per cent more (I’m looking at you, Dell). I’ve come to the conclusion that going out of the country just isn’t worth the airfare, lugging the hardware, dealing with customs, or worrying about the warranty.

The one place where you can consistently find lower prices is the US. I can hear the guffaws all the way out here. But it’s true: on some items, particularly expensive big-name items, prices are lower in the US than just about anywhere in the world.

One big exception is Apple. The iPad 2 (16 GB with 3G) costs US$629 in the US. The same rig in Phuket goes for 19,900 baht, which is about US$637 at current exchange rates. The warranty is identical so there’s no reason to buy an iPad outside of Thailand.

If things are frequently cheaper in the US, it immediately raises the question: how much cheaper? I’ve found two web sites that tell you not only how much items sell for in the US (and some in Europe). They also show you the price history, so you can see where prices have been, and possibly get an idea of where they’re headed. Everybody wondering if they pay too much here for a specific piece of electronics should hop over to both sites and see how well local prices stack up.

The first site, camelegg.com, tracks prices at Newegg – one of the pre-eminent online electronics retailers in the US that sells computers and computer equipment, of course, but also televisions, cameras, kitchen appliances, refrigerators, washers, calculators, shredders, BBQ grills, bug zappers – and popcorn machines.

The second site, Decide.com, also tracks prices and shows you historical graphs, but it has two additional twists. Firstly, the database at Decide.com is enormous and covers hundreds of competing stores. Secondly, the people behind the site have put together some fancy programming – aided by human observers – and they make an educated guess on whether it’s better to buy something now or wait and see if something better is coming down the track.

Let me show you how this works. Say you’re in the market for a new DSLR camera. You’ve looked around and settled on a Canon EOS 600D with an 18-55 mm Canon EF-S IS II lens. You can find that camera at several locations in Phuket (the cheapest I found was 29,900 baht). If you go to Decide.com, you’ll see that the camera – known as an EOS Rebel T3i in the US – can be bought for US$655 (about 20,500 baht) from a lesser-known mass retailer, and up to US$708 at B&H (a reputable mass retailer with a long track record). Prices in Europe are higher.

The Decide.com web site recommends that you go ahead and buy it now, because of an anticipated price increase of up to $60 in the next two weeks.

Flipping over to camelegg.com, you’ll see that Newegg lists it for $899 right now, but seven weeks ago it was at $849. I’d be willing to bet that the price will come down at Newegg after Christmas.

Conclusion: you can save 7,800 baht by buying the camera at B&H in the US – providing you can get it here without incurring any shipping charges or customs duties. If you want to buy it from Newegg, the price in the US is only 1,900 baht cheaper than it is here.

No, I didn’t end up buying the camera but I sure felt better about prices in Phuket after looking at comparable prices in the US.

Prices can work the other way around, by the way: living in Phuket can have advantages, in a strange way. If you follow me on Twitter (@PhuketLiveWire), you saw a warning about skyrocketing hard drive prices that I published in InfoWorld several days before the big spike arrived. In the US, and around the world, the price of large hard drives just about tripled in the course of a couple of weeks, in late October.

If you were looking for a hard drive about that time, and you saw my tweet, you could’ve run out to one of the many retailers in Phuket and picked up a hard drive at something close to the original price. The folks in Phuket didn’t follow the sudden worldwide rise in prices for 24 to 48 hours after they’d hit worldwide.

Live Wire is Phuket Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket.

Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes and the Phuket Gazette sponsor free Wednesday afternoon computer help clinics around the island. See the Gazette Guide for times and locations.

Follow Woody on Twitter: @PhuketLiveWire, or “like” his page at facebook.com/SandwichShoppe.

— Woody Leonhard



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Phuket

Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Rawai Rescue workers / Phuket Tourist Police

The Phuket Tourist Police have been notified that a tourist had jumped from a building in Rawai and ended up on a steel awning covering the bottom floor today. But that wasn’t, in fact, what had happened.

The local Tourist Police say the owner of the building told staff at the Tourist Assistance Centre that the tourist had checked into the room on February 13.

The tourist didn’t actually jump down from the building but had moved a mattress from his room on to the awning and slept on it (mosquitos!!) He was also drunk and damaged some property inside the room.

The man is a 37 year old Estonian tourist. He was staying at the room with a 25 year old male friend.

Chalong Police have charged them both with being drunk and damaging property. They have said that they will pay for all damages to the owner of the property. They are heading back home on February 26.

Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The Thaiger Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The ThaigerPhuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The Thaiger Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The Thaiger Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The Thaiger Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The Thaiger Phuket tourist decides hotel awning more comfortable than his room | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Patong motorbike racer arrested and fined – VIDEO

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Patong motorbike racer arrested and fined – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police yesterday arrested a motorbike racer after identifying him and his motorbike from video clips that were popular in social media this week.

Patong Police are investigating alleged foreign motorbike racing gangs in Patong after video clips went viral in local social media.

Read more about the racing around Patong’s streets HERE.

Patong Police report that they have now arrested one motorbike racer and charged him with the maximum fine.

Patong Police are also asking motorbike rental operators to explain basic traffic rules for motorbike drivers who want to rent a motorbike.

(The Thaiger is assuming this would be covered when they get their motorbike license, which they are required to have before a motorbike is rented to them.)

PHUKETForeigners racing around Patong. Who would have thought?! https://thethaiger.com/news/phuket/police-investigate-motorbike-hoons-in-patongVIDEO: เป็นปากเป็นเสียง

Posted by The Thaiger on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Patong motorbike racer arrested and fined - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger Patong motorbike racer arrested and fined - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | The Thaiger

Patong Development Foundation together with Patong Police and Patong Municipality have given 500 helmets to motorbike drivers in Patong today under the campaign ‘Wear your helmet’.

Handing out the 500 helmets to motorbike user in Patong was led by Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee, Patong Municipality Chalermluck Kebsup and President of Patong Development Foundation Preechawut ‘Prap’ Keesin.

Col Anothai says, “Many motorbike drivers have been injured and died in road accident. We want 100 percent of motorbike drivers and passengers wearing helmets. ”

“More motorbike riders are now wearing helmets as the number of not wearing helmet charges has been dropping in Patong with better enforcement.”

500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | News by The Thaiger 500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | News by The Thaiger 500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | News by The Thaiger 500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | News by The Thaiger 500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | News by The Thaiger 500 free helmets handed out to motorbike drivers in Patong | News by The Thaiger

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