General Information - The Unofficial Airports Guide

Duty Free Shopping Around Southeast Asia

Duty free shopping can be one of the 'perks' of international travel. Airports throughout Southeast Asia compete for claims to have the best prices. To try and sort through the claims, we've developed our own index of selected items representing the three mainstays of duty free shops: booze, cigarettes and perfume. We chose the representative items - Chivas Regal, Marlboro Red and Chanel No. 5 - for their universality. They're items we're sure to find in every duty free shop. In addition to Southeast Asian airports, we've also included Dubai, since it also has a reputation for cheap duty free goods.

The bottom line is that there's very little difference between prices in one place and another. Most of the differences can be put down to exchange rates and the effects of rounding. So, if you're looking for 'basic' items, you might as well buy it where it's most convenient.

Duty Free Benchmark Prices

The prices in the table below are in USD.

Airport Last Checked Marlboro Cigarettes
(Carton of 100)
Chivas Regal
(1 liter)
Chanel No. 5
(50 ml)
Bangkok August 2009 18.09 37.52 94.47
Denpasar August 2009 17.00 35.00 54.00
Hanoi September 2007 14.00 25.00 N/A
Ho Chi Minh May 2006 14.00 27.00 57.00
Jakarta May 2009 17.00 40.00 72.00
Kuala Lumpur April 2009 16.68 38.35 N/A
Phnom Penh November 2007 14.00 29.50 N/A
Singapore September 2009 15.54 39.55 41.12
Dubai April 2006 12.53 26.96 53.10