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Getting prescription glasses made in Bangkok

I arrived in Southeast Asia during the hot, dry season. I usually wear contacts, but I found that couldn’t here due to the dust and pollution.

Time for prescription sunglasses? With two full days in Bangkok, I thought I’d give it a go!

I felt worried about all this before I arrived. Now that I’ve done it, it was so easy! So I thought I’d write this out for anyone other nervous travellers.

Where to go

Before I arrived in Thailand, I searched online for recommendations from expats.

I read a lot of very positive reviews forĀ V. Siam Optical. People said they did good work, spoke English well and had fair prices.

After I arrived in Bangkok, I saw that like any big city, there were glasses shops everywhere. Every floor of every mall had a bright, beautiful shop with gorgeous frames.

I decided to stick with V. Siam Optical because I had heard so many good things about it. And they were a bit away from downtown, so I hoped the prices would be cheaper.

My prescription

I called my optometrist at home and they were able to email me my prescription. This turns out to not have been necessary, but it was nice to know my glasses were all going to be exactly the same prescription!

Getting there

I decided to take the metro instead of a cab. I bought a day pass for 140 Thai bhat which let me not worry about exactly how much fare to purchase.

The metro in Bangkok was so easy to navigate. I also mapped out the directions on Google maps app before I left, which helped guide me.

My first metro experience in Bangkok

Ordering my glasses

I arrived shortly after they opened at 9:30am. I was the only customer there. The woman working there was very friendly and helpful … and spoke English fluently. Quite a relief when ordering glasses!

I checked to see if I could order them now and pick them up tomorrow. I have a strong prescription (-6.25). She wasn’t sure if she could order my prescription as sunglasses in time. But she said she’d try. And we talked about some back up plans — such as having a slightly lower prescription or less dark coating on the lenses.

This made me slightly nervous, but thought I’d give it a go. I paid about $100 USD for my new sunglasses and frames. This is over 75% cheaper than at home.

They also double checked my prescription for free. This was also to check if having a slightly lower prescription would be tolerable or not.

I gave the doctor a thumbs if I could see the letters, as he did not speak English. We figured it out.

Picking them up

I felt a bit nervous, as I was not sure what compromises they had to make in order to get them done so quickly. But they turned out perfect!

Me and my new sunglasses, and my new metro skills.

This was almost the same as getting glasses made at home. Except it was faster, cheaper and the shop was easier to get to.

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