Why I Love 7-Eleven in Thailand
11 Reasons Why Convenience Stores in Thailand are AMAZING
If you’ve lived in or traveled around Asia, chances are, you’ve completely fallen in love with the convenience stores, particularly 7-Eleven. Sure, we have these stores in the US, but they can’t compare with what you’ll find in Japan, Thailand, or elsewhere across Asia. Here, convenience stores are a major part of life, and the expat or traveler’s best friend. Don’t believe me? After living abroad as an expat for six years, here are the reasons that I think 7-Elevens in Thailand are amazing. Read on:
1. Open 24 hours
It’s rare to find a store in Thailand that’s open 24 hours. There’s no Walmart, and the Tops, Tesco, and Villa supermarkets all close in the evening. But sometimes you need to get something at night. Sometimes you might want to pick up a beer or a late-night snack. Where can you turn to? Why, to the convenience store, of course!
2. Lots of snacks
Snacks, snacks, and more snacks! If you are hungry, particularly if it’s the middle of the night, chances are, you’ll head to the local convenience store.
I recommend trying as many snacks as you can when traveling in Thailand. Some of the flavors are remarkably different! I recommend some of my favorites: pad khi mao broad beans (drunken noodle flavor), wasabi snack jack, and the many different strange and wonderful varieties of Lay’s potato chips that you can find only in Thailand.
3. Pay bills
Another reason to love 7-Eleven is that it makes paying your bills easy. You can bring an electric, cable, or internet bill to the counter during regular business hours. The employee simply scans the bar code on the bill and rings up your charge. You can even pay for your electricity or internet with cash! There’s no need to go to a district office, or even to deal with online banking and bill transfer. This really helps if you are a traveler or short-term expat who doesn’t have a Thai bank account.
4. Buy SIM cards
Tourist can buy SIM card at 7-Eleven stores, just make sure that you bring your passport to register your phone number.
5. Top up mobile phones
If you already have a SIM card and a mobile phone plan in Thailand, you can “top up”, or add money to your account at the counter at 7-Eleven. Just ask the employee to top up your phone. They will print out a recipt after you pay. Dial the number on the recipt, and the balance will automatically be credited to your mobile account.
6. Buy airline tickets
Just like paying for your utilities at the convenience store, you can also purchase airline tickets with cash! When purchasing a ticket from Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, or a number of other airlines, simply choose “counter pay” as your method of payment upon checkout. You will be prompted to print a PDF document with a bar code that you can take in to the 7-11. It works the same as paying a utility bill; the employee simply scans the bar code and rings up your ticket payment. Then, you can simply pay in cash to finalize your ticket booking!
Toasties are one of the greatest things about living in Thailand! I love these things! 7-Eleven stores stock a number of varieties of sandwiches which you can purchase any time of the day or night. When you buy a toasty, they will even grill the sandwich for you in a sandwich press. It’s an awesome breakfast or late-night snack. And, it pairs well with…
8. Canned coffee
A toasty sandwich and a can of coffee. This was my go-to breakfast for several years when I had to get up early to go to my office in Bangkok. Canned coffee is super popular nowadays in Asia, and in Thailand, a can of delicious coffee only costs around 10-15 baht! (My favorite canned coffee is Nescafe Black Ice. It’s not overly sweet, and only has 50 calories).
9. All Coffee
On the other hand, if you want to drink a fresher cup of coffee, many of the 7-Eleven stores run an All Coffee counter. Here, you can buy late, macchiato, mocha, and other types of fresh coffee for a great price. This is actually one of the cheapest coffee chains in Thailand, and in my opinion, the coffee is really good!
10. Quick hot meals
The 7-Eleven will also heat up their pre-made refrigerated and frozen meals. These come in a huge variety of dishes, from Thai dishes like fried rice and noodles to more western meals like spaghtti. I relied on 7-Eleven quit often for a tasty hot meal on nights when I was working late and didn’t want to cook or go out for dinner. While they may not be the halthiest options, the hot meals from the convenince store are just that… convenient.
11. Stamp collecting!
Starting in August every year, and running for several months, 7-Eleven Thailand sponsors a really fun stamp collecting promotional program. Every purchase over a certain amount earns you a few stamps that you can collect in a stamp book. The stamps have themes such as Thai dishes, ASEAN countries, or LINE Friends characters. The stamps can be redeemed for gifts, or can be cashed in for a discount on your purchase (every stamp is worth between 1 and 3 baht). It’s a fun little promotion, and it must work, because it makes me want to shop at 7-Eleven more often during these months!