Thai silks, cottons, nielloware, silverware,
bronzeware, pottery and celadon, pewterware, precious stones
and finished jewelry, and a dazzling range of folk handicrafts
make memorable gifts and souvenirs; international standard readymade
sports and leisurewear is inexpensive; and quality tailors and
dressmakers offer reliable 24-hour services in Bangkok and major
Shoppers in Bangkok have a wide choice of
areas in which to pursue their search for bargains, most of
them located within walking distance of major hotels.
One such area, for example, is along Silom
and Suriwongse Roads in the vicinity of the Dusit Thani, Montien,
and Tawana Hotels. This includes Robinson's Department Store,
Central Department Store, the Charn Issara Shopping Center,
dozens of silk shops, antique and decorative reproduction shops,
boutiques of ready-to-wear women's clothes, men's tailors and
shops selling leatherwear and other goods.
From the Rajprasong intersection, near the
Meridian President Hotel, it is but a short walk to the Amarin
Plaza Shopping Center and Central Department Store in one direction,
to Rajadamri Arcade and Narayanaphand Store in another which
is in opposite to World Trade Center, and to the Peninsula Arcade
and Galleries Lafayette in a third.
Shoppers should not overlook Bangkok's many
department stores, which offer locally made goods and feature
Air-conditioned shopping centers outside
areas previously mentioned include the Oriental Plaza, in an
atmospheric old building that has been remodeled; the River
City Shopping Complex, adjacent to the Royal Orchid Sheraton
Hotel, where two floors are devoted to shops selling antiques
and decorative items; Siam Center, near the Siam Intercontinental
Hotel, which contains numerous fashionable boutiques; and Mah
Boon Krong, a teeming emporium that contains hundreds of shops
as well as Tokyu Department Store and that is a particular favourite
with younger Thais.
As comfortable as these centers are, any
serious shopper will also want to explore some of the city's
markets for their colorful atmosphere and generally lower prices.
Pratunam, near the Indra Hotel, specializes in ready-to-wear
clothing of all kinds. In the older section of town, at the
corner of Pahurat and Chakraphet, is the Pahurat Cloth Market,
where locals go for textile bargains, while Sampheng Lane and
Yaowarat, both in Chinatown, have countless shops selling gold,
jewelry, cooking utensils, and other items.
The biggest market of all, and the most fascinating,
is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, held on Saturday and Sunday
at Chatuchak Park, not far from the Central Plaza Hotel. Here
just about everything Thailand makes or grows is on sale, from
blue-and-white porcelain to hybrid orchids, and huge crowds
come to buy or just to enjoy the ambiance.
Outside Bangkok, the main city for shopping
is Chiang Mai, the unquestioned center of traditional Thai handicrafts.
The Night Bazaar, is a good place to sample the full range of
local products such as cotton, lacquerware, silver, hilltribe
clothing, Burmese tapestries, painted umbrellas, and woodcarvings.
While in Chiang Mai, make a point of going to some of the factories
that offer demonstrations of how these goods-particularly lacquer,
silk silver, and paper umbrellas - are actually made.
Pattaya also has many shops selling Thai
goods and a particularly wide selection of precious and semi-precious
stones since the popular resort lies near Chanthaburi, where
numerous gem mines are located.
Department stores and a number of shops in
Bangkok have fixed prices, but at most of the others bargaining
is acceptable and expected; even some department stores will
offer a discount on expensive items like jewelry and fine furniture.
No fixed rules can be given on the process, depending as it
does on the bargainer's skill and the shopkeeper's mood, but
the final price may be reduced as much as 30 percent to that
first quoted. An important point to keep in mind is that Thais
admire good manners and a sense of humor and tend to be put
off by loud voices and a loss of temper. Providing you have
the time, a good general rule is to make a survey of several
shops selling the sort of items you want before coming to a
and Shipping Services
Thanks to the number of tourists coming to
Thailand, most shops are experienced at shipping abroad and
will attend to all the documents such as insurance, customs,
and necessary permits. The Central Post Office also offers a
parcel-wrapping service for those who want to make small shipments
themselves. For larger items or bulk shipments who specialize
in such matters.
The Department of Export Promotion (DEP),
Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government, offers the Permanent
Exhibition, One Stop Export Showcase whereby all manufactured
Thai quality products are on display by more than 250 selected
exhibitors with more than 10,000 items in the 3 exhibition halls
of 4,000 square metres exhibition area. The same services are
also available at DEP regional offices.
You can browse to your content among top
quality products ranging from gift items and handicrafts, all
kinds of furniture, toys, leather products, artificial flowers,
garments, food products, construction materials, auto-parts,
hardware, tools and appliances, stationery and sporting equipment,
to mention only some of the items on hard, all carefully selected
for reliability and a high standard of workmanship.
If you find products that suit your requirements,
you may contact the manufactures directly or DEP staff can provide
a variety of services to help make things easy. For example,
they will arrange appointments with any companies and also provide
negotiating rooms with full office facilities. All of the Permanent
Exhibition's services are free of charge.
For more information please contact Thai
Trade Center or a Commercial Counselors Office located in your
own country, at the nearest Royal Thai Embassy, or at Department
of Export Promotion, Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok. Tel : 511-5066-77,
Telex : 82354 DEPEP TH, Fax : 512-1075, 5131917
Thailand Duty Free Shops Co., Ltd. (TDFS)
is located for tourists' convenience in Bangkok's World Trade
Center on Ratchadamri Road in the heart of the Thai capital
and the pre-order points are in the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel,
the River City Complex (Bangkok), Sam Phran park (Nakhon Pathom,
and Alcazar (Pattaya).