What to Buy in Thailand?
While there are so many choices for the dedicated shoppers, here are some of the most popular products among visitors to Thailand:
• Thai Silk & Cotton
• Art & Antiques
• Home Decoratives
• Custom Tailoring
• Gems & Jewelry
• Ceramics & Pottery
• Leather Products
• Preserved Fruits
Bangkok is a shopping mecca, with all kinds of goods on sale at a wealth of modern shopping malls and department stores. Upscale favorites include Central World, Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, The Emporium, Central Chidlom, Gaysorn Plaza and Erawan Bangkok. In these centers, you will find world-renowned designers, such as Gucci, Hermes, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.
The famous Chatuchak Weekend Market is an open-air treasure trove packed with stalls showcasing an array of clothing, jewelry, antiques, furniture, and books. Next best is Suan Lum Night Market, specializing in craft and traditional and modern designer goods. Patpong Night Market is a good compact market, with stalls along a short closed-to-traffic street, offering a variety of local products and souvenir items. The market is located in downtown and open every night until 1 am.
To shop for Thai handicrafts, visit Narai Phand. It is a splendid place to immerse yourself in the historical legacy of local arts, crafts, and clothes.
Other popular shopping districts include Siam Square, a teen paradise for leather products, handbags, and jeans; Mah Boon Krong or MBK, an enormous mall that caters to both shoppers on a tight budget and those with money to burn; Pratunam, a garment district with great deals on clothes and shoes; Sukhumvit Road (between Soi 3 and Soi 15), a tailor district; lower Silom and Surawong Roads and Charoen Krung Road, a gem district; and River City and Charoen Krung Road, a major trading center for antiques.
Chiang Mai, renowned for its quality handicrafts, offers the second best shopping in the country. For fast and easy shopping, head to Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. It is ideal for both traditional and modern handicrafts and souvenirs. Other popular shopping routes include Nimmanahaeminda Road, Wua Lai Walking Street, Tha Pae Walking Street, San Khamphaeng, Bo Sang, and Ban Thawai Village.
The northeast region is famous for its Mut Mi silk products and cotton Ikat cloth. Surin and Buri Ram are outstanding silk-producing provinces.
In the East Coast beach resort of Pattaya, you will find a complete range of shopping opportunities, while even further east, Chantaburi is a well-known center for gems.
Beach-loving tourists in Phuket and Samui will find plenty of crafts and souvenirs. Go to Phuket Town for the best selection of antiques and authentic handicrafts.
For more information on where to shop in Thailand, please see the Shopping Directory page.
Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at other places bargaining is to be expected. The final price can be 10% to 40% lower than the asking price. Be patient, use your skill, and a smile will carry the day.
Value Added Tax (VAT) will be refunded on items bought within 60 days of departure from a store displaying the VAT refund sign. This refund is entitled only to non-Thai visitors. On any day, goods purchased at each participating store shall not be less than 2,000 Baht, including VAT, and the total amount for the refund claim must not be less than 5,000 Baht, including VAT. At time of purchase, ask the clerk to fill out the VAT form so you can present it at departure. For more details, visit www.rd.go.th/vrt