The cult of the 7-eleven (seven-eleven) in Thailand

Ah… 7-elevens, we shared a lot together!

You are maybe familiar with those convenience stores, but as a french guy, I didn’t know them before I get to Thailand.
And I gotta say they’re quiet convenient, most of them are open 24/7 and it is possible to find anything to make us feel better ;-)

The simple fact to wander in the streets justifies a visit to a 7-eleven because you are sweating like a fountain thanks to the big heat. Once you’re in, you can enjoy the aircon for a couple of minutes, and your brand new drink after you check out.

Frontage of a 7-eleven

Frontage of a 7-eleven

What is it inside of a 7-eleven ?

You can find pretty much everything for your own survival :

  • Water, iced tea, energy drinks, etc
  • Crackers, cakes, yogourts, etc
  • “Fresh” snacks non-refrigerated packed under protective atmosphere
  • “Sticky rice burgers” and various fresh sandwishes you can get microwaved at the counter
  • Ice creams
  • Alcohol : beers, rice wines, spirits
  • Cigarettes
  • Care supplies : toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, etc)
  • Magazines and DVDs
  • Credit for phone

Anyway, you’ve got it, you will often make a stop in those stores.

Where to find them ?

In Thailand the answer is everywhere, they are absolutely all over the place. At least one in every city, even the tiniest remots cities or the islands (The prices in some places like Ko Tao or Railay are more expensive than the regular prices though). As for Bangkok, you can find a seven eleven every two street. Sometimes two stores are facing each other in the same street, or may be located at less than 150 feet from each other.

And what a dismay when I passed the Lao border for the first time, I desperately tried to find 7-elevens… in vain. Eventually I had to face it : there is none of them is Laos, and same thing for Cambodia. There are alternatives though : some kind of no named stores on the border of the street who sell similar products but wish less choice and at a higher price than a 7-eleven (they need to import a lot).

For example, a bottle of water of 1.5l is 13 bahts in Thailand ($0.42), and 5,000 kips in Laos ($0.64)

New habits to take and a budget that rises for the basic supplies in Laos and Cambodia.
My biggest regret was not to be able to drink my morning fuel I was used to have : A 33cl soymilk at only 10 bahts, and it was so awesome :

10 bahts soy milk (vitamilk)

10 bahts soy milk (vitamilk)

The door chime, or how you will never forget about the 7-elevens

This specific sound of the door deserves its own paragraph. It is a very simple sound, not really discrete and lets the vendors know of you coming at the same time. It is also specific enough to engrave your brain for ever.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIoNpgIM38E&w=320&h=240]

Imagine the people working here all day… it’s like torture. I can already understand that a DisneyLand’s employee is sick of all the fairy melodies that air all day long, so imagine a 7-eleven employee who is subjected to that gameboy-like sounds that play every three seconds!

A few examples of items and prices

In dollars, 10 baht = $0.32, 12 baht = $0.39, 15 baht = $0.48, 20 baht = $0.64, 40 baht = $1.28, 100 baht = $3.2

  • Bottle of water of 1.5L : 13 to 14 bahts
  • “Cream-O” cookies (oreos like) : 10 bahts
  • Soy milk of 33cl (red or black packaging) : 10 bahts
  • Small lay’s pack : 20 bahts
  • Soda can : 13 to 15 bahts
  • Small iced tea : 12 bahts
  • Medium iced tea : 16 bahts
  • Cakes under atmosphere : 12 to 20 bahts
  • “Shredded pork bun” : 16 bahts
  • “Ham and cheese croissant” : 20 bahts
  • Touthpaste (small size) : 19 bahts
  • Shampoo (small size) : 29 bahts
  • Beer (65cl) : 44 bahts
  • Beer x2 : 84 bahts
  • Regency (Thaï whisky, 375ml) : 250 bahts
  • Cigarettes : more or less 80 bahts
  • Phone credit (at DTAC) : 60 bahts minimum (pick your amount)

Be aware that the food provided in these stores is not really healthy food though, cake and other kinds of sandwiches or most of the time fulfilled of artificial flavors, coloring agents, sugar, and preservatives all the way. But I’ve got to admit that it is pretty convenient to have this at disposal.

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