One of the duty free shop at the border of Nong Khai, in Laos.
Few years ago, it was really difficult to find good wine in Isaan. It is still not easy, but here some tricks:
- Tesco-Lotus has probably the best “cheap” wine collection. Thais will like sweet wine like Muscado (Hardy’s) at about 350 baht a bottle. They also have boxes of 5 liters, Mont-Clair might be the most popular. You get a 5 liters at about 1,000 baht. The Tesco-Lotus in Pak Chong, for an unknown reason, has normally a good variety of bottles for a cheap price.
- Big supermarkets can have a small selection. In Korat, there is a shop wine beside the main supermarket at The Mall. It is the best one to my opinion in Nakhon Ratchasima. In Udon or Khon Kaen, you will find some wine at Tops or there are shops also selling wine in Central.
- Lately, there is a number of “online” shops selling wine in Thailand: www.wine-now.com, www.wineconnection.co.th, and many others
- PB Winery and Château de Loei are the two biggest winery in Thailand and they are in Isaan (Loei and Nakhon Ratchasima). They sell directly at their wineyard.
- Other shops are starting to sell wine, like “Wine 22” in Khon Kaen (or around) and “Wine society” in Udon. In Korat, it is starting with places like “Hansa” or “Mix Restaurant”. But these places will be more expensive.
However, that is the best place near Isaan: The duty free of Vientiane. Why? Because of the prices and the selection.
Thai people can cross and shop for about 120 baht (price to cross for them). Unfortunately, they are only allowed 1 bottle or 1 box and THEY DO CHECK A LOT AT THE MOMENT. Be careful if you intend to bring more than 1 bottle (They have scanners now).
Here’s some examples at the moment:
– Peter Vella, red wine, 5 liters : 680 baht. Yes, that’s about 25 baht per glass! (See below)
– A Port should be around 20-25$ per bottle. That “Cockburn bottle below was 25$”.
– If you are into whiskey, Johnny Walker Gold Label is 1,200 baht.
– If you are into beer, Beer Lao Dark is 680 baht for 24 bottles.
If you talk to the shop because you want to buy more than allowed, they might ask you to pay a fee and someone will deliver them to you on the Thai border side. It might even be the border police itself….Welcome to Thailand!
Vientiane duty free has also impressive bottles like these Chateau Petrus for only about 4,000$ US a bottle.
Map and adress of Wine Connection http://www.wineconnection.co.th/contact_wine_connection.aspx