Answered by The Fearless Shopper
As it happens, I will be traveling to Thailand in October as well, and will have the most up-to-date info after that trip. But until then, I would suggest traveling to Chiang Mai for authentic arts and crafts. Of course, you can get unusual items in Bangkok and other areas, but it’s Chiang Mai if you are looking for artisan goods where you can watch the creative process.
If you are only in Bangkok, here are a few ideas:
Thai silk is a must, and Jim Thompson’s Thai Silk Company is the place for the luxurious threads in every style and design for personal or home décor (for sales outlets go to www.jimthompson.com/sales_outlet.asp).
I love markets and Bangkok is chockablock. For ready-to-wear clothing, score finds at the Pratunam market in the Pratunam-Phetchaburi district. Nearby is the Nai Lert Market where you can purchase handcrafts as well as clothing. At the Narayana Phand Pavilion and the World Trade Centre, you’ll also discover crafts from all over the country.
Looking for gemstone jewelry or gold? Check out Bangkok’s Chinatown (Yaowarat Road and Sampheng Lane) or the nearby Ban Mo Jewellery Street. For fun and interesting finds on Saturday and Sunday, browse the weekend market next to Chatuchak Park. And don’t miss the well-known Patpong night market.
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, hop a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (about 50 miles outside of Bangkok).
For tips on bargaining here and other shopping suggestions see pages 161-163 in The Fearless Shopper.
Have fun bargaining and maybe we can compare notes after your trip!
The Fearless Shopper