Thailand is one of the best places in the world for shopping and visitors are spoilt for choice. You can you shop for anything from antiques and gems to computers and high technology, even designer items that look very much like designer items, but aren’t quite!
Thailand’s markets are legendary, not simply because they are places to find affordable and cheap gifts, but because they are also an element of the daily life in Thailand. Markets are not just there for the tourists, they are focal points for the various communities that make up the Kingdom. The Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is a gigantic outdoor market selling practically everything you can think of ranging from handicrafts and genuine antiques to fighting fish. There are over 8000 vendors and up to 400,000 people visit on weekends. Though hot and tiring, its is a regular with tourists in Bangkok. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is convienently located at Mo Chit BTS Sky Train station.
Bangkok and Chiang Mai have excellent night markets or night bazaars where you can spend an evening picking up some bargains and also get your dinner or a bite to eat and drink.
First time visitors to Thailand are surprised at the sheer scope of malls in Bangkok and there is usually a fully-fledged mall within a few minute’s walk of any major hotel. You can find pretty much anything you’ll find at malls in major European or US cities, and in many cases, the prices will be lower. Most shopping malls have a main large store with other shops as part of the shopping complex. All accept major credit cards. Opening hours are usually from 10am until 10pm, including Sundays.
Fixed prices are the norm in department stores and a number of shops in Bangkok, but at most other places bargaining is acceptable and expected.
Tailor-made clothes, or custom tailoring, is very affordable and tailors can produce or copy (!) most styles in just a few days or even hours. Silk is probably the most famous of all Thai handicrafts and is available in a wide range of colours, patterns and plys, and is sold by the yard, or as ready-made clothing and souvenir items. The best known outlet for Thai silk is undoubtedly Jim Thompson’s shop at the top of Surawong Road in Bangkok.
Generally, shopping in Thailand is easy, fun and very rewarding; if shopping is your thing, Thailand is the right place for you and you get the best value for your money.