Can you save money by buying a camera in Bangkok?

Thailand was known as a cheap and exotic vacation destination, but if you want to buy a digital camera on vacation in places like Bangkok, can you save?

We get some email readers from our readers asking us to provide them with information about the prices of their particular cameras. These tend to be Point & Shoot type cameras from the likes of Nikon and Canon, but there are few who are looking for high quality, semi-professional and more professional cameras.

Their common point is that they come to Thailand and will make some shopping in Bangkok before going to the beaches and they want to buy a camera. They think they will probably save some money.

For starters, Thailand has 7% VAT, so you can start by comparing it with your country's VAT rate. You can "save" even if the pre-tax rate is the same. But there is a high duty on imported goods as well, which is often reflected in the price of many products and the cameras are no different.

We have done a lot of research in this area and we know that it varies depending on the exchange rate. The savings can be made one day and in a few weeks, not cheaper.

However, you can save after collecting value added tax at the airport, which means not using the product before leaving the country, causing discontent for those who want to buy and use on weekends.

You probably want a few examples at this point, and we are happy to provide two examples. One is point and shoot and the other is a semi-professional digital SLR.

For point-and-shoot, we randomly chose the Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS because it looks good and because Canon is a leader in the Point & Shoot digital camera market.
For the semi-professional D-SLR, we chose the Nikon D300 (body only) because we want to have one and spend every waking hour to see if we can really handle one.

For the prices, we chose two Thai websites for the prices and then compared those prices to those available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Point and shoot – Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS

Thailand Price:

Website 1:
fotofile.net –
15,900 Thailand Baht with VAT
14,787 Thai baht without VAT

Website 2:
tohome.com –
14,990 Thai baht with VAT
13,941 Thailand Baht without VAT

US Price:
Amazon.com –
$ 310 (Thai Baht 10,635)

This camera is known as: Canon Powershot SD990IS

UK Price:
Amazon.co.uk –
290 pounds (15,715 Thai baht)

Semi-Pro D-SLR – Nikon D300 (body only)

Website 1:
fotofile.net –
53,800 Thailand Baht with VAT
50,034 Thai baht without VAT

Website 2:
No comparisons are available on the website

US Price:
adorama.com –
$ 1697 (Thailand Baht 57,790)

UK Price:
amazon.co.uk
1,099 pounds (59,510 Thai baht)

From the above results, we can see that if you are from the UK, you can save a little on this and shoot, but quite substantial savings (almost £ 200 UK) as long as you claim can be in the semi-profession O done. VAT return on leaving the country.

However, if you are American, it is cheaper to buy points and shoot at home than in Thailand, but a semi-professional camera with and without VAT is also cheaper.

All of this is very interesting about the price but other factors must be taken into account including warranty and honesty and may be lost when buying in Thailand, especially when the legitimacy of the battery is present or the contents in the box.

Want to buy a digital camera in Thailand?

We live in Thailand and have little choice but if we were to go to Singapore or Hong Kong, we would probably wait and buy there because it's cheaper than Thailand. Having said that, though, we are not worried about being eliminated in Thailand because most camera stores, especially dedicated camera stores and large stores, are reliable and honest.