One thing many western women worry about when they come to Thailand is the ready availability of tampons. Unlike in the west, where most women use them, in Thailand around 90% of Thai women never use tampons, so unless you want to switch to pads, you’ll have to look a bit harder for them here. In Bangkok, tampons are relatively easy to find once you know which stores stock them but outside the capital, unless you’re in a popular tourist area, you might have problems. That’s why, when you do find a place that sells tampons, stock up on a few boxes for your travels around Thailand or the rest of Asia.
Tesco Lotus – A large British supermarket chain, surprisingly Tesco Lotus doesn’t sell that many tampons. Just about the only brand they sell is the o.b. tampon brand, so if you’re looking for the kind of tampons that have a cardboard applicator, you’ll have to keep looking. For a small box of o.b. tampons at most Tesco Lotus branches, expect to pay around 75 baht ($2.45) for a box of eight.
You’ll find the tampons on the same aisle as the sanitary napkins, but where there will literally be fifty brands of those in all shapes, sizes and thicknesses, you’ll really have to look hard to discover the three boxes of tampons they have in stock tucked away in a corner somewhere.
Carrefour – Another large supermarket chain, this time a French company, Carrefour is a good place to buy tampons as it has a little better selection than does Tesco Lotus. At most Carrefour branches, you’ll find the o.b. brand of tampons as well as Tampax or an equivalent Asian brand. However, do be warned if you need a regular or a super size, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. But, if you need super plus for those heavy flow days, these are much more difficult to find. Thai women are much smaller than western women, in just about every way, so very few of them require tampons larger than a super size.
Prices at Carrefour range from 70 baht ($2.45) a box to 100 baht ($3.20) for a box of eight, depending on the brand.
Boots Chemist – Boots Chemist is a British pharmacy chain in Bangkok, so is a great place to buy tampons. Not only does Boots sell the o.b. brand of tampon but it also sells its own Boots brand, the type with the cardboard applicators, and they’re cheaper than the Tampax brand.
Boots Chemist has locations all over Bangkok, in supermarkets, department stores, malls and stand-alone shops and just about every one of them sells tampons. Expect to pay between $2.20 and $4 a box, depending on the size and how many tampons are in each one.
Watson’s Chemist – An Asian chain of chemist, Watson’s is another large pharmacy chain that sells tampons. Most Watson’s only sell the cardboard applicator type, and they’re usually a local Asian brand, which means the absorbency isn’t always like a western brand but, at a pinch, they’ll do.
You’ll find Watson’s in most malls in Bangkok as well as stand-alone stores.
If you’re planning on coming to Bangkok for a week or two, bring enough tampons to see you through your trip. If you’re going to be in Thailand longer, you don’t need to come with a year’s supply as a friend of mine recently did. You will find tampons in select shops in Bangkok and at prices relatively reasonable, to say they’re not a popular item with most Thai women. Just don’t expect to find them everywhere like you do in the west or with the same number of different brands, styles and sizes.