purchasing power across cities

posted in: bangkok, hong kong, montreal, new york | 0

as a follow up–when comparing the price of public transport, a friend duly noted that it would be more interesting to see the relative purchasing power of people in these cities.

conveniently, UBS has published a 2009 report on Prices and Earnings in 73 cities.

using New York as the benchmark, here are the relative purchasing powers (income / price of basket of goods & services) of some cities of note:

CityNet Hourly PayAnnual Income
New York100100
Hong Kong52.358.1
Kuala Lumpur38.439.5

In its report, UBS notes that when comparing purchasing power, the basket of goods and services would be different in Asian cities versus European or North American ones. For that reason, they came up with a measure based on the Economist’s Big Mac Index: working time required to buy a big mac (this is from page 11–download the full report for more info).

cities BM

It’s funny to use Big Macs as a comparison, since going to McDonald’s in North America (as a cheap place to eat) is not quite the same as in Asia, where it’s more a gimmicky thing (since it would be much cheaper to eat, say, a bowl of noodles). I’m sure McDonald’s considers that when marketing (& pricing?) its menu…

food tent

posted in: bangkok, food | 0

at phyathai there is crap all to eat compared to other BTS stations. still, there is a street food tent that’s open for breakfast and lunch:

(this is the entrance, right under the BTS station–you can see taxis and motocycle drivers waiting for fares under the stairs.)


And this is the view from inside. I’m eating congee here! it’s like HK style, but with fish sauce as the flavouring, and with meatballs and ginger…

better than a library

posted in: bangkok, food | 0

where I’ve been studying lately for the NY bar:


the food court at amarin plaza
the food court at amarin plaza


amarin is conveniently next to a BTS (chidlom station is visible in the window), and more importantly, really close to the central world megaplex. which means that fewer people come here, so no one ever bothers kicking me out. bonus is that the food court is all thai and has all the stuff you could find on the street (except that it’s ‘hygienic’, as some would say).

cafe inn, paragon
cafe inn, paragon

this cafe is semi-hidden within the paragon department store (3rd, 4th, 7th floor? who knows) of Siam Paragon, probably the most exclusive mall in bangkok. but here it’s never busy (as you can see) so I always get a seat. and it sounds strange, but I like this place because it’s noisy: it’s right next to the CD/DVD section. keeps me awake. added bonus is that the entire basement of Siam Paragon is devoted to the most insane food complex ever (calling it a food court does it injustice, especially since the actual food court is only a subsection).

central world

posted in: bangkok | 0
thai ordinals
thai ordinals

I just noticed in the pic it’s exactly “sihp-sorng” o’clock. time for lunch.

from here I cross the street to centralworld, the largest mall in bangkok (and larger than hong kong’s Ocean Terminal, according to wikipedia). there are over 100 restaurants in this mall, with shuttle golf carts that will take you on a taste tour, if requested.

ganesh & batman, forever
ganesh & batman, forever

by each of the malls in bangkok are shrines, often ‘wai-ed’ by passersby (I’ve even seen people do it from the skytrain). the one by centralworld has elephants everywhere, which I guess is for ganesh. batman looks on.


I’m not the most amiable towards shopping, but I have to admit that this place is always entertaining. scattered throughout the giant complex are several atria used for holding events, from vernissages to marching bands. but today they’ve really outdone themselves: they’ve brought in baby tigers (one of them albino) to amuse the crowd, while a jazz trio plays bossa nova in the background. incredible.

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