A lot of travellers spend quite some time in Thailand so inevitably they want to know how to do laundry and dry cleaning there.
Thais love clean, smart clothes – to my shame, I have even had someone come up to me on the street and offer to iron my shirt before, as they felt that its creased appearance must be embarrassing me. However, that does not mean that laundry is always easy to do there.
Self-service launderettes are all but unknown in Thailand. Even in large cities you are unlikely to find one.
A lot of small shops take in laundry and some will also take in dry cleaning, which may be processed offsite. Laundry is often ready in a day or two and typically it can be available the same day, sometimes for a premium. These are often one woman shops and they tend to be open until late evening six or seven days a week. In some cases even if they look closed, the owner’s home will be nearby and if you wait at the shop they will come to help you.
Charging is normally by weight and as well as laundry will often include ironing or pressing for shirts and the like. Be aware that the pricing can vary widely and in large cities is often not as cheap as you may expect, so be sure to ask at the time of dropping off the laundry (or not) how much it will be.
Hotel and serviced apartment staff will often be able to help you arrange laundry service whether or not this service is advertised. Prices are normally – although not always – at a premium to laundry shops, albeit with the added convenience of not having to traipse around to find a laundry shop. Hotels may charge by piece rather than by total weight, especially higher end hotels.
With its warm climate much of the year in the non-mountainous areas, laundry can dry easily in Thailand. So at a pinch, you can handwash laundry and hope to dry it on your hotel balcony or windowsill fairly fast. Most local shops sell small sachets of laundry detergent which are well-suited to this purpose.