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For Sale

Costs in South East Asia

A Thai 1,000 Baht bill, worth about $25US.
W elcome to this page on relative costs (and things to buy) in South East Asia.

Generally, we found SE Asia to be pretty cheap—no real surprise there—although there was a fair amount of difference in price for some things (accomodation, of course, but also Internet Cafes).

Below is a table of some of the costs you'd expect to find in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia—now and probably in the near future.

Also included on this page are some photos of things for sale or people selling them...

Chiles and chile powder for sale (Chiang Mai)

In December 2000 and January 2001, the exchange rates were as follows:

  • US $1 = +/- 40 Thai baht

  • US $1 = +/- 8,000 Lao kip

  • US $1 = +/- 4,200Cambodian riels

If you happen to be viewing this page a fair amount of time after early 2001—assuming this page remains online indefinitely—and you're wondering what the current exchange rates are, we suggest using the The Currency Site (




(in baht)


(in kip)


(mostly in US $)

Visa to enter country


About $37 (1,480 baht, in Thailand)


Hotel or guesthouse (budget) [for 2]








Breakfast [for 2]




Lunch, dinner [for 2]




Coke or other soda




Bottled water (large)



500 riels (about 25¢)

Beer (large bottle)








Newspaper (local)



1,000 riels (+/- 50¢)

Postcards (ea.)



10 for $1

Int'l p.c. stamps (ea.)



2,300 riels (+/- 55¢)

Internet access (hr.)



$4-6 / hour!

Airport / Departure tax [for 2]





Hungry, anyone? . . .

Young Lao woman selling roasted corn and eggs on a stick (southern Laos)...   YUM YUM!

What a relief!  You can get Dairy Queen ice cream everywhere!

Dried fish and all sorts of stuff on sale (Chiang Mai)

A bit about buying textiles—from Karen

You may or may not know that Marc and I collect textiles.

When we first started travelling in earnest, in 1991, we wanted to start picking up things along the way that reflected the culture we were seeing, but was fairly light and unbreakable. And as we'd always been interested in knitting, weaving and quilting, textile collection was an obvious choice.

Since then, we always budget for "souvenirs," which usually means lots of fabric, embroidery, weavings, etc. We usually try to buy some stuff we can also use. For example, we bought sarongs in Indonesia which we wore to temple festivals there. Karen's sarong then served as a towel throughout SE Asia, India and Nepal, as a sling after Karen broke her arm in Himachal Pradesh and now covers the headboard in our bedroom here in Oman!

This interest reached its peak in Guatemala and the Chiapas region of Mexico, when we took over $500 to buy textiles—more than 15% of our budget. We knew we'd find plenty to buy and we did—doing our best to help out Guatemala's economy! And still we passed up tons of gorgeous items. Oh time.

In Egypt, so much for light...the wool rug I picked out weighed over 25 lbs; Marc made me carry it! But it's absolutely beautiful; an expert artist made this; the quality is unbelievable and it was worth my sore shoulders.

In Laos, we knew we'd see some great weaving, too, along with exquisite hill tribe cloth work: embroidery, applique, etc. But we didn't know we'd see so many antique weaving items. So we bought a complete backstrap loom and several pieces of one, plus two drop spindles another piece to wind yard on—all hand-made from beautifully carved wood.

And, of course, so many weavings and pieces of fabric, we had to buy another duffel bag to get everything home, even though we took half-empty backpacks to start with! As we've seen all over the world, it's amazing what quality and creativity is available when you nail a few pieces of wood together, add some string, and start weaving!

- Karen Cooper     [ 2/23/01 ]

If you share our, um, dreaded affliction of buying lots and lots of fabric, weavings, and the like, and you're headed to SE Asia or some similarly interesting/promising locale, we can only suggest to stock up, then stock up some more. Never have we suffered buyer's remorse, unless that term can also be applied to that terrible feeling that you really should have, somehow, bought even more while you were there!

Finally, if you have a moment or two, you may want to look at the photos at the page from Luang Prabang, Laos, where we've included a few photos of women weaving at a nearby village.

There have been visitors to this page since February, 2001, including you...

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