One thing you need to remember if you come to Thailand is to make sure you drink a lot of beverages. Thailand is one of the hottest countries in the world. Bangkok is the world’s hottest city, so if you don’t keep yourself hydrated, you can get sick. Luckily though, there are places to get something to drink in Thailand just about every 10 feet. The best place to buy drinks though in any Thai city, but especially in Bangkok, is at the street stalls. Bangkok has hundreds of thousands of street stalls set up only to sell drinks. They’re cheap, the drinks are made while you wait, and they’re delicious. But, if you want to buy a drink at a street stall in Bangkok, what’s available and what should you buy?
Thai Fresh Orange Juice at Street Stalls in Thailand – One of the best drinks to buy at a street stall in Thailand is fresh fruit juice. Many street stalls are set up just to sell orange juice, which is squeezed fresh at the stall itself. The seller then adds sugar and salt (you need this in a hot country as your body loses them when you sweat!), and then bottles it in an air-tight bottle. For 20 baht (around 60 cents), you can get a bottle of fresh orange juice, and a straw.
Other Fruit Juices at Street Stalls in Thailand – You can also get bottles or little plastic bags of other fresh fruit juices in most places in Thailand. Coconut juice, guava juice, watermelon juice, carrot juice, papaya juice, mango juice, rambutan juice, pineapple juice, longan juice, lichee juice, and any number of combinations of fresh fruit juices are available at Bangkok street stalls. Some stalls will serve them in bottles already mixed. Some stalls will mix them while you wait. I prefer to go to the stalls where they mix them, because then you can request “Mai Ow Nam Tgan”, which means “I don’t want sugar”, so they don’t add any sugar to the juice. Most fruit juices are 20 to 35 baht for a bottle (around 60 cents to $1) – much cheaper than in Western countries and often a lot fresher too!
Fruit Shakes at Thai Street Stalls – The latest craze in Thailand is fruit shakes and shake stalls are everywhere. I often get a fruit shake with banana, pineapple and watermelon. Incredibly delicious. Each stall usually has its own choices of fruit juices you can mix together, and you can also often create your own mixes. Sometimes the stall will mix with yoghurt or soy milk, sometimes just with juices. Sometimes you can choose . A fresh fruit shake with ice (and yes, the ice is perfectly safe!) is only around 30-35 baht (90 cents to $1).
Coffee Drinks at Street Stalls – When I first moved to Thailand six years ago, coffee wasn’t that popular. Then Starbucks arrived. Now, coffee in Bangkok (and in many other places in Thailand) is everywhere. Street stalls selling coffee and coffee drinks are on almost every street corner and they’re delicious. You can usually get normal coffee (hot, iced or a frappe), you can get Americanos, coffee lattes, lattes with caramel, lattes with chocolate, lattes with vanilla and a lot more flavors besides. At almost every stall, all these options come hot, iced or as a frappe. You can also get Thai coffee, which is very sweet as they add evaporated milk to it and sugar, but it is delicious. Prices usually run from 25 to 50 baht (80 cents to $1.40), depending on the shop. Much cheaper than Starbucks and they even taste better!
Tea Drinks at Thai Street Stalls – Green tea is also very popular in Thailand, like everywhere else in Asia. At street stalls, you can get straight green tea, cold, hot or as a frappe. You can also get green tea shakes, green tea smoothies, green tea mixed with ice cream, and a lot of other varieties of green tea drinks. Thai tea is another option and, although sweet, is lovely. Thai tea is the stuff that’s a strange orange color – sort of a mix between the color of tea and orange juice. Sugar and evaporated milk is also added to it, so for some people it’s too sweet. For those of us who live in Thailand long-term though, it tastes great and really hits the spot on a hot day. Tea drink prices are similar to the prices for coffee drinks, sometimes maybe 5 baht more for a green tea concoction.
Sweet Syrup Drinks at Thai Street Stalls – You’ll also see many drinks stalls selling brightly colored syrup drinks. These are usually bright red, bright yellow or bright green and are made from a syrupy fruit juice (very synthetic), and usually served in a plastic bag with ice and a straw. At only around 10 baht (30 cents), they’re cheap but I only drink them occasionally due to the extremely high sugar content.
All in all, there’s something for everyone in Thailand when it comes to drinks. I’ve lived here for six years and never gotten sick from any drink I’ve drunk from a street stall, and I doubt you will either. Remember, be adventurous. Thailand has amazing combinations of tastes in their drinks and almost everything I have tried has been wonderful.