I’ve written a few speculative posts about Thailand–some updates on those, given my new experiences in Laos:
- In Laos, currently the poorest country in SE Asia, I’ve been seeing a higher ratio of “Asian pickups,” and also a larger Korean and Japanese presence in the market in general. This leads me to believe that there are probably factors beyond necessity playing into the high Thai usage of “American” pickups, but the ratio I’ve observed in Laos has still been roughly 3:1 American:Asian pickups, so my guess may still hold some weight. There’s also a lot of Korean and Japanese aid going to Laos, so it’s possible that their pickup preference may derive from convenience over preference. I’m not ready to make this my master’s thesis yet though, so I’ll stop myself short of any actual research.
- ATM fees in Laos are about $2 USD, though given relative Lao income, this is still a fairly steep fee. Again, I believe it is only levied on foreign cards. We did once pay $4 since we were unsure of where the next ATM was going to be and we needed cash, thus contributing another data point to the elasticity of demand equation.