Top 3 Things I Hate About Thailand: 3 – Sunblock and Razors

Firstly, hate is probably bit too a strong a word – the three things I hate about Thailand are more like things that frustrate me every now and then. At first, I couldn’t think of anything that was too bad. But in keeping with the tradition of the comments and views held on various forums about Thailand (in particular, the ThaiVisa forum), I felt I had to whinge about something. So two things that have caused me stress over the past few months has been buying sunblock and razors (not necessarily at the same time).

Sunblock and razors

Starting with the most annoying - sunblock (cream, screen, lotion, whatever), and in particular the inability for me to find cheap, good sunblock. I did bring a half empty 125ml container with me, so the first time I needed to buy some sunblock was when I was at the beach at Jomtien (I forgot to take mine with me). After walking around in the sun for about 15 minutes I started to realise I needed some block pretty fast. So I head into a local shop on the main street. Jomtien is a tourist town, but not entirely full of foreigners - a lot of Thai's go there for holidays. So one can expect some high prices for a lot of products, but not ridiculously high. When I saw the prices marked on the sun cream I thought it must be in another currency (rubles - there are a lot of Russians in Jomtien?). No - 400 Baht for a standard size bottle of sun cream. About $AU14! That's more than you pay in Australia (maybe double the price?). So given the relatively low cost of living here, 400 Baht is absolutely recockulous! However I wasn't in the mood to walk around a bunch of other shops to get the price down to 300 Baht. I smiled, bought the sun cream and went off to the beach.

The problem is that that wasn't a once off case of me being ripped off in a beach town. Back in Bangkok and at Future Park Shopping Centre, I spent some time looking around department stores and supermarkets (e.g. Big C) for sunblock. The only place I found it was in a pharmacy (of which there are plenty). So I have another attempt at buying sunblock - I grab a box (looks like its about 100ml, but didn't take too much notice) and the price is 200 Baht. Oh well, not so bad (but still expensive relative to most things in Thailand). The problem is when I get home and open the box, the sunblock inside is about 1/4 the size of the box (see the photo above). Its just 20grams! Hardly enough to cover both of my ears!

The other items that causes me stress when shopping are razors. I have always been a bit of a tight-arse when buying razors, to the extent that I don't like buying the top of the range Gillette/Schick blades. Not that I use the 10cent disposable razors. I prefer the Schick Ultra blades - about $AU7 for a pack of 5. The problem I have here is that I can't find Schick blades - I only see Gillette blades and some generic brands. And the Gillette blades are 250Baht ($AU9) for a pack of 4. So I've had to invest 100 Baht in a new shaver (handle), and am using some generic blades. Not so bad, although quality control is not good - I did get one pack of 4 where all of the blades were blunt.

So buying sunblock and razors is one thing that I hate about Thailand. But in all fairness, most likely its more a matter of me not finding the right places to buy these items. If anyone knows, please let me know!!!