You should be drinking lots of water while in the Land of Smiles. I have trouble with cramping if I don’t make myself drink a couple of liters a day. It’s hot and thirst isn’t a good indicator of dehydration. You can’t drink the tap water, so I bought a few 5 gallon plastic jugs from the water man (he delivers) and a caddy for pouring. Five gallons of water cost 10 baht ($.35). I pour the water from the jug into a half gallon container and keep that in the kitchen. I recycle and refill half liter plastic water bottles rather than buy new ones. I clean them and occasionally use some bleach for a thorough cleaning. I also take a magnesium supplement for the cramping. If I forget to take the magnesium and drink water, cramping comes back. Tonic water and Gatorade are good for cramping.
Fresh milk is available everywhere and comes in different flavors. I once mistakenly bought mint flavored milk. I won’t do that again. Coke is the number one pop drink. Fanta has many different flavored sodas. There are few diet drinks to choose from. Diet Coke and Pepsi are about it. I mix a little lime juice and artificial sweetener with water for homemade diet limeade. I always have a liter of that in the refrigerator.
The high caffeine Red Bull drinks are popular with the Thais. Thais have a number of their own brands, half the price of the Western brands. Anything imported is taxed, thus more expensive. This is especially true of alcoholic beverages. You’re probably going to pay twice as much for any known brand of booze. A bottle of Bacardi rum will run $18. Fortunately, for the drinkers there is Thai whisky. Sang Som is my go-to drink. It’s dark rum made with sugar cane and probably the most popular liquor in Thailand. It cost about $8 a bottle. I order it in bars with Coke for about $2. That’s a deal when drinks with call liquor run twice as much. There are numerous Thai whisky blends available for under $6 a bottle. Most of them are an acquired taste.
Beer is available retail for about $1 a bottle, $2 in bars. Heineken is more. Singha is the most popular Thai beer and is a little more expensive than some of the others, Leo, Tiger and Chang. All taste a little different with alcohol in the 5% range. Not much of a selection on light beers with San Miguel Light and Singha Light being the two I usually see.
There are a few brands of wine cooler and Bacardi Breezer kinds of drinks. Bars usually make very good Mojitos. All the better known cocktails are available.
The sad story in Thailand is wine. Thais don’t drink wine. There are a couple of fledgling wineries in the North making bad wine. I’ve never tasted a Thai wine I want to taste again. Since all wine has to be imported, it’s taxed heavily. There is some Australian wine in the $10 range that we settle for. There are wines from all over the world available, it’s just expensive. I rarely see an American wine. I used to make my own wine in small batches and was a wine enthusiast. When I had a drink in the US, it was a glass of wine. With the poor quality and the expense, I’ve just given it up. The go-to wine that’s available almost everywhere is a boxed South African wine with little character, in red or white. I wouldn’t drink it in the States. Whenever someone comes for a visit from the US, they know what to bring me…a decent bottle of wine!
A lot of the social life revolves around the pub. Even in my small town, there are 40 bars. They usually have a happy hour. Many have some kind of farang food menu. When you order a drink, it arrives with your bin. This is a cup with your receipt in it. Walking around socializing, I’m forever losing my bin. At the end of the night when it’s time to go, you say “check bin” and they total up your bill. It’s always a good idea to check what you’re paying for. There are often inadvertent mistakes. Tipping is optional in Thailand. Some cheap (keeneow) expats never tip. My policy is to always leave a 20 baht ($.70) note. I leave 20 baht if I’ve had one drink or 10 drinks.
Thailand can be a never ending party, but never ending parties get boring after a while and I’m getting old. I have my share of nights out, but most nights I’m home these days.
Cheers! Or as we say frequently (too frequently), choc de krap!