International Mail and the Black Hole of Bangkok

It’s rare that I need a letter from the US bad enough to not include it with the next box of something even if it means waiting months. Once they reach Bangkok, boxes move through the system at the expected pace because somebody is going to collect duty plus an informal fee before letting go of a box. Letters, however, usually have zero value and thus no duty. Five days after leaving my US mail service, letters arrive in Bangkok. Three weeks later, on average, they make the 250km trip to Hua Hin with no tracking info explaining the time between clearing customs and arriving at the local post office.

But this time I’m in Chiang Mai, so I wondered if anything would be different. After all, Chaing Mai has an airport and an international one at that. Twenty six days was better than average. Still, it could have been faster if not for the 3 weeks that included a round trip to Hong Kong:

For what it’s worth, I sent it USPS Priority Mail Express. DHL is much faster but costs 3 – 4 times more.


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