The week after coming back from Thailand was hard. It was one of those times when you need a holiday to recover from the holiday you’ve just had. It would’ve been great to’ve had more time there. If we travel again in the region I’d definitely like to see Angkor Wat.
Anyway. There was one little story from when we went to Chatuchak Market that I forgot to relate – and it was one of my favourite incidents from Thailand.
I like coins, and have a modest collection (in fact, because I simply enjoy collecting I have a few collections of coins; in addition to just collecting different foreign coins I also collect Korean 10 won coins (worth about half a penny) and old design 10, 50 and 100 won coins (the oldest of which is a 1966 10 won piece)). So, while I was in Thailand, I tried to get hold of a bunch different Thai coins. 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht pieces were very common (usually with one of two portraits of the king on one side) (£1 is about 55 baht). I knew that there were sub-baht denominations, but everything seemed to be priced in whole bahts.
While in Chatuchak Market Habiba and I needed to go to the bathroom. The various public toilets in the market – and remember, the place is huge – have an entry fee: I can’t recall the exact prices, but it was no more than 7 baht if you needed paper (less if not).
I went in, did my thing (I didn’t need paper) and came out. I could see Habiba just inside the doorway to the ladies’, still waiting for a cubicle. As she takes her time even if she doesn’t need to queue, I knew I had a bit of a wait ahead of me. I took advantage of the seating provided, presumably for just this eventuality.
But before I sat down I also noticed some small brazen coins on the attendants’ desk. After thinking it over for a minute, I decided I wouldn’t have a better chance to get some of these small demonination coins, so I asked (with hand gestures demonstrating the concepts of ‘half’and ‘small’) if I could change 1 baht for two half-baht coins (Wikipedia informs me that the baht is divided into 100 satang). They seemed very happy to oblige me.
Feeling good about the transaction, I sat down to examine the booty and resume my wait. A moment later one of the attendants came up to me with a clutch of tiny coins and gave them to me. I thanked them with enthusiasm (relatively speaking – you know me). The person (I can’t remember if they were male or female) had given me another two 50 satang and four 25 satang coins. I didn’t have any more change so I didn’t offer to give them 2 baht in return – and they didn’t seem to expect it.
That little episode made my day. (A day that was later unmade by China, but we won’t speak of that.)
Here is a selection of Thai coins, and a pound coin for comparison.