Probably the most exciting moment in Thailand was coming across a home improvement store just down the road from me in Chalong!
Forming the major part of a complex known as Home Pro it gave an interesting insight to the costs of renovations. Meticulously set up and spotless with several staff in every isle it left Bunnings for dead. Mind you the since the advent of Masters pretty well everyone leaves Bunnings for dead these days.
Home Pro seems to be a shopping mall established to cater for the foreigner market. It contains a mix of shops ranging from a wonderful looking supermarket, yet to explore, a computer outlet called Banana IT, an electronics store – TVs etc as well as a few clothing stores. KFC is on the top floor so that’s worth knowing!
The “Bunnings” part of the mall occupies a large part of the lower floor. It has all of the home improvement categories excluding building supplies – timber, pavers, gardening etc.
It was interesting to wander the isles and see the differences in things for sale between Thailand and Australia reflecting the variances in lifestyle. For example the majority of water heaters are the instant electric wall mounted versions. I haven’t tried one yet as the villa has a bulk storage hot water heater, the same as back home. I would imagine these examples shown below are more of a wet, soap up and wash off type of three step process.
The biggest range in cook tops are large two burner gas versions the burners spaced well apart and set up for wok cooking. Not to say you can’t buy traditional western style ovens (a roast and three veg for Sunday dinner) and cook tops but there just isn’t the variety to choose from.
Just following this theme of cooking and kitchens. Many houses here, and I’m talking those built by/for foreigners, have very simple Thai type kitchens. A gas cook-top and a sink is basically all provided. Not much in the way of bench-top space or storage sometimes. The fridges tend to be smaller too. The reason for this is that food tends to be bought for the meal on the way home rather than doing a “weekly” shop requiring storage space. Also meals are often eaten out or bought “takeaway”. I find it cheaper to buy a meal rather than buy the ingredients so I understand the lower priority kitchens have here than in Australia.
Prices? As a wild generalisation I would say maybe 50% of Australian prices.
So now I know where to come when I need a spot of boys only time – just me and my home improvement goodies.