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Drinks in Thailand, a selection of drinks available

Tap water is usually not drinkable in Thailand. Bottled water is cheap and ubiquitous at 5-10 Baht a bottle, and drinking water served in restaurants is always at least boiled. Ice in Thailand usually comes packaged straight from the factory and is safe; there is only reason to worry if you are served hand-cut ice.

Iced drinks


Coconut Milk  - naam ma-phrao, iced and drunk directly from a fresh coconut is a cheap and healthy way to cool the body - available at restaurants and also from vendors that specialize in fruit juice.


Fruit juices, freezes and milkshakes of all kinds are very popular with Thais and visitors alike. Most cafés and restaurants charge 20-40 Baht, but a bottle of freshly squeezed Thai sweet orange juice - naam som - which really is orange in colour! - can be sold on the street for 20 baht or less. Thai’s often add salt to their fruit juices-- an acquired taste that you might just learn to like. Thai’s also like to have basil seeds in their iced fruit juice sold on the road - which looks like small jelly balls down of the bottle.


Tea and coffee

One of Thailand's most characteristic drink is Thai iced tea  -  chaa yen. Instantly identifiable thanks to its lurid orange colour, this is the side affect of adding ground tamarind seed (or, these days, artificial colour) during the curing process. The iced tea is always very strong and very sweet, and usually served with a dash of condensed milk; ask for chaa dam yen to skip the milk. Naam chaa and chaa jiin are weak and full-strength Chinese tea, often served in restaurants for free. Western-style black tea is chaa ron.

Coffee  is also widely available, and is usually served with condensed milk and lots of sugar. Ask for kaafae thung to get traditional filtered bag coffee instead of  instant.

The Starbucks phenomenon has also arrived in Thailand, but for the moment local competitors Black Canyon Coffee and S&P still have the edge in market share. These are the places to look for if you want that triple-mocha latte with hazelnut swirl and are willing to pay 100 baht for the privilege.

Black Canyon Coffee is Thailand's home-brewed Starbucks, but while coffee is their mainstay they also offer a limited meal menu. Try the chaa yen (lurid orange Thai iced tea with milk).


Energy  drinks

Thailand is the original home of the Red Bull brand energy drink - a licensed and re-branded version of Thailand's original Krathing Daeng - Red Bull, complete with the familiar logo of two bulls charging at each other.

The Thai version, however, is syrupy sweet, un-carbonated and comes packaged in medicinal - looking brown glass bottles, as the target customers are not trendy clubbers, but Thailand's working class of construction workers and bus drivers in need of a pick-me-up. And a pick-me-up it most certainly is; the caffeine content is higher even than Western-style Red Bull, and packs a punch equivalent to two or three shots of espresso coffee. Krathing Daeng and its many competitors

(including M150, Shark, .357 and the inevitable

Karabao Daeng, "Red Buffalo") are available in

any convenience store for 10 Baht a pop, although

in some places you can now buy  imported

European Red Bull for five times the price.

Krating Daeng  drink is mostly sold in Asia

but can be found in Australia and New Zealand

where it is sometimes renamed - Thai Red Bull.

Cont next page:

Drinks in Thailand Page 2, Thai Whisky