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It comes as no surprise that Thailand is one of the best countries for shopping. The diverse array of merchandise it has to offer is so impressive that no buyers can resist their purchasing temptations. 

Thai Boxing shorts have been sought after by martial art enthusiasts since Muay Thai took the world by storm. The undeniable beauty of Thai silk has propelled the fabric into a global obsession. Without any doubt, an undying craze for Tom Yum Kung, Pad Thai, and green curry has turned local spices into the most popular presents among cooking fanatics. The country is also known for craftsmanship, which resonates well in crafts admired by international tourists.

A visit to the Land of Smiles is never complete without a memento to remember it by. For the time being, put aside the world-class tourist spots Thailand is famous for. The list of these well-liked products is a testament to the country being the ultimate destination as far as shopping sprees are concerned.


Thai Silk

Smooth as Thai Silk

Thanks to Jim Thompson who made this natural fabric a coveted item across the globe and to Sirikit, the Queen mother of Thailand and the queen consort of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who is very much the Mother Figure of Thai silk industry emergence, Thai silk has become one of the most popular souvenirs among visitors to the Kingdom. The silk industry itself has become a staple of Thailand’s expanding economy. 

Jim Thompson, whose name is now nearly synonymous with Thai silk, was an American man posted for a job in Bangkok in the 1940s. With no intention to return to his homeland after World War II, he invested in silk in Thailand in the 1950s and 1960s. Contrary to the mysterious end of his life when he went missing in 1967 while hiking in Malaysia, the revitalized Thai silk flourished. The once lackluster industry now has one of the widest fan bases as far as fabrics are concerned. His avant-garde and visionary entrepreneurship led to Time magazine claiming he “almost singlehanded saved Thailand’s vital silk industry from extinction.”

To be precise, local peasants who knew silk weaving skills only produced silk for home use during their spare time and the off-farm season for decades. Even nowadays, some farmers nationwide still regard the weaving task, not limited to silk,  as a second source of income. 

Once the name Jim Thompson went global with so much buzz about the Thai fabric, the local silk industry moved to well-established companies. However, provincial silk weavers still kept their production lines very limited. With support from government agencies and widened market opportunities, some local villagers started to team up and synergize their manufacturing capability. They formed within their village or sub-district a small enterprise of silk production in line with today’s trading environment.

During the reign of the late King Rama IX, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit always graced royal ceremonies and official functions in immaculately splendid Thai silk costumes. This practice included when Their Majesties went on an official state visit to the USA in June 1960. Sublime Thai silk designs accentuated Her Majesty’s elegance, turning heads and leaving fashion mavens in awe.

Her Majesty’s unlimited contributions to the Thai silk industry are on display in the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok. The Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, operated by the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Technique of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand (The SUPPORT Foundation), also provides the necessary training for local people during their pause from agricultural routines. This instruction triggered Thai sericulture’s widespread use in northeastern provinces like Surin, Khon Kaen, and Nakhon Ratchasima. The latter is one of the largest hotspots of Thai silk production activities. A visit to the northeastern region presents a golden opportunity for textile enthusiasts to research Thai silk more deeply.

The establishment of the Queen Sirikit Institute of Sericulture in 2005 helped guarantee that a large number of small-scale silk producers and weavers nationwide would receive the support needed to increase and improve silk production. Aside from providing silk farmers and weavers with necessary production and marketing knowledge, the institute went to great lengths in setting specific standards for the quality of silk and silk weaving in Thailand. They developed a grading system called the ‘Royal Peacock Mark’ with four classifications based on the fiber content and how naturally the fabric is made: Royal Thai Silk-The Golden Peacock Mark, Classic Thai Silk-The Silver Peacock Mark, Thai Silk-The Blue Peacock Mark, and Thai Silk Blend-The Green Peacock Mark. For serious silk lovers, this should be useful while shopping.

Though not quite popular among locals, nature’s sexiest fabric is available practically anywhere across the country.

Where to Buy It?

Jim Thompson Outlets

While a visit to Jim Thompson House & Art Center on Rama I Road is lovely, Soi Kasem 2 Alley is a must if you are keen on getting to know Thompson better. The company’s silk products are available in different shops and outlets across Thailand, ranging from clothing, accessories, and décor items.

The iconic store on Surawong Road in Bangkok was the brand’s first stand-alone shop and opened in 1950. Check out other locations on their website.


Another Thai brand with a fabric-based success story, NaRaYa offers a variety of high-quality silk products in its outlets and stores nationwide.

Chatuchak Weekend Market 

This crowd-pleasing weekend marketplace has something for everyone, and silk is no exception. With a cluster of silk stalls, Chatuchak (at Mo Chit BTS Station and Chatuchak MRT Station) offers various silk shawls, scarves, clothes, and accessories.

Tailor Shops 

Silk enthusiasts will feel ecstatic exploring hundreds of tailor shops in Bangkok and across Thailand’s major cities. They have Thai silk fabrics in all colors for anyone craving a custom-made Thai silk shirt, skirt, jacket, or suit.

MBK Center 

Located right at the National Stadium station of BTS Skytrain, MBK is nearly equivalent to Chatuchak Weekend Market but air-conditioned. Here you can enjoy shopping for excellent quality Thai silk products.

Shopping malls throughout the country are ideal places to check out Thai silk. If you’re traveling through northern Thailand, a visit to family-owned farms and silk-weaving villages provides a golden opportunity to buy quality products made of hand-woven and pure Thai silk.

Beautiful Thai Crafts For Loved Ones

Thai Bags

Local craftsmanship often translates into merchandisable handicrafts.

Thailand offers its visitors myriad crafts painstakingly produced by local artisans. These items range from handmade bags to lacquerware and wood carvings.

Bag-obsessed tourists should enjoy exploring Thailand’s open air markets in particular. These markets, both weekend and night, often showcase a wide spectrum of bags. Provincial walking streets are amazing marketplaces that fascinate visitors with intricately designed products at far more affordable pricing than malls and department stores.

Chiang Mai is the epicenter of arts and crafts. Visitors can buy impeccably crafted Thai bags there. A quick exploration of numerous walking streets, Lao Zhou Alley close to Warorot Market, and local communities in different locations will introduce tourists to boundless Thai handcrafted bags. They will also find products like basketry, wooden carvings, and hand-woven fabric.

For more delicate merchandise like ceramics and pottery, local manufacturers across the country, including those in Chiang Mai and Lampang provinces, await your visit. These venues will have whatever you choose as presents for yourself and loved ones delivered to your doorstep for your utmost convenience. If you can’t make it to the premises selling the products, check out huge markets like Chatuchak. Some souvenir shops usually have a small section of these fragile goods as well.

From a small family business that started as a ceramic crockery plant widely recognized for its rooster trademark, Dhanabadee in Lampang has turned into a living museum. It has expanded into product lines other than the ‘chicken bowl’ that locals know.

Sukhothai province is also known for its most famous product and export, ancient ceramics. Many old kilns were uncovered as archaeological finds in Muang and Si Satchanalai districts. These villagers are now small-scale manufacturers. To witness their craftsmanship and buy some of their painstakingly-made products, you need to explore the local neighborhoods around the historical parks in those two districts.

Chiang Mai is a mecca of celadon evolution. Among other manufacturers, Baan Celadon keeps intact the handmade celadon production procedures that resonate in Thai arts and culture. Siam Celadon still maintains a high fired stoneware production process, which embodies a traditional wood-ash glaze formula discovered in China centuries ago.

Where to Buy It?
– Chatuchak Market
MBK Center 

Heighten Your Palate with Thai Spices

Thai Spices

It doesn’t take the likes of Gordon Ramsey or Julia Child to cook sumptuous Pad Thai or green curry similar to what’s available in Thailand. All it takes are the right ingredients and recipe.

While travelers visit local restaurants and pamper themselves with their favorite Tom Yum Kung or Massaman curry, bringing the tastes home is another story. The increased popularity of Thai cuisine prompts more food connoisseurs to go to great lengths and learn to cook Thai dishes. While fresh ingredients are available in their hometowns, local spices have become crucial for cooking enthusiasts to buy in Thailand. In that case, they’re ready to make their favorite Thai meal at home.

Ginger, coriander seeds, crushed chili, nutmeg, and cinnamon are some of the spices you can grab before your flight to bring the taste of Thai cuisine home. They come in dried and vacuum-sealed packs to contain their strong aromas while traveling. Chili paste and hot sauces are in air-tight containers to accompany those spices back with you.

These commonly used spices are available in fresh markets, supermarkets, and walking street markets

Where to Buy It?
– Chatuchak Market
MBK Center 
– Gourmet Markets in leading department stores
– Supermarket chains like Big C, Lotus, and Rimping Super Center (Chiang Mai only)
Little India (in Phahurat, Bangkok’s “Indian” neighborhood)
– Fresh markets across Thailand

Shiny Silverware

Thai Silver

While locals might prefer gold jewelry as a gift, silverware is among the favored souvenirs for international visitors to buy.

If you travel across the north, chances are you might come across small villages where locals, usually tribal people, make silver jewelry and ornaments. Their products are often 99 percent pure while, in standard silverware, 92.5 percent is acceptable. Look for a 0.925 stamp when you buy any silver gift for your loved ones.

Thai silver jewelry is famed for its intricate designs. Shiny silverware is available in various venues across Thailand, from walking streets and chic flea markets in leading tourist cities to community malls and leading department stores in Bangkok.

In particular, Khaosan Road and Yaowarat present a rich selection of silver products at wholesale prices.

Where to Buy It?
– Department stores and malls
Chatuchak Market
MBK Center 
– Khao San Road
– Yaowarat
– Provincial Walking Streets
Rainbow Silver

Train Like A Thai Boxer with Muay Thai Trunks

Muay Thai Trunks

For Muay Thai fanatics who can’t resist the ringside exhilaration and want to watch live fights when in Thailand, a visit to the new Lumpinee Stadium on Ramindra Road will fulfill their wish. It also presents an opportunity to buy the kind of boxing trunks real boxers wear.

Where to Buy It?
Chatuchak Market
MBK Center  
– Khao San Road
– Sports shops in Bangkok’s National Stadium neighborhood
– Night markets and walking streets across Thailand

Soothe Your Skin with Thai Spa Products

Thai Rice Soap

Besides Thai food and the much sought after Thai boxing shorts, there is another way you can spoil yourself with made-in-Thailand products.

Thai massage and aesthetic treatments have made their mark worldwide with more and more patrons craving those outstanding services. Spa products have enjoyed the trend and become one of the most sold souvenirs as more and more tourists jump on the bandwagon and bring home Thai spa products.

With many beauty parlors and spa premises all over Bangkok and other major cities, visitors are encouraged to try their services to sample the merchandise. For less specific buyers, they can shop for skin-care spa items at leading malls and department stores. Chatuchak Weekend Market is ideal for those who never get tired of sniffing scented candles and rubbing samples of essential oils and soothing body lotions on their skin.

Where to Buy It?
– Chatuchak Market
– MBK Center 
– Supermarket chains
– Boots, Watson, and super drugstores usually have a section of Thai spa products
– Night markets and walking streets across Thailand

Bring The Tiger (Balm) Home

Tiger Balm

Not only is Tiger Balm in high demand, it’s also effective. This household medicine item is proven to relieve all sorts of pain and inflammation.

Stories of its powerful attributes have passed by word of mouth from locals to tourists, and interest has spiked in recent years. Mosquito bites, insect bites, muscular tensions, and headaches are among the ailments Tiger Balm alleviates. Its primary ingredients are camphor and menthol. Muay Thai aficionados should also note that local boxers use it regularly to loosen their muscles following strenuous exercise.

So when in Thailand and experiencing muscle pain, let Tiger Balm be your comforting friend. 

Where to Buy It?
– Local drug stores
– Boots, Watsons, and super chain drug stores
– Local grocery stores 
– Supermarkets

Keep Mosquitoes at Bay with Repellent

“Mosquitoes are more malicious than tigers,” as the slogan of an old, local advertisement goes. Residents of tropical Thailand have long been familiar with insect repellents. They should come in handy while you’re traveling, as many have an easy-to-use spray or lotion.

Add this to your shopping list when in Thailand, especially during the rainy season. It is also a must-have if your trip includes a visit to a natural park or any location in the naturally exposed environment.

Like Tiger Balm, these products are very common and readily available in convenience stores, drugstores, and supermarkets.

Where to Buy It?
– Local drug stores
– Boots, Watsons, and super chain drug stores
– Local grocery stores 
– Supermarkets

The Magical Thai Coconut Oil

Thai Coconuts

Numerous scientifically-proven benefits of coconut oil have catapulted it to extreme popularity among locals and international tourists. The tropical climate, which facilitates coconut farming, helps increase the popularity of coconut oil consumption.

An effective natural body-beautifying product for both skin and hair, the magical oil is available anywhere across the Land of Smiles with hundreds of local brands to choose from. Popular products include virgin coconut oil, aroma oil bath, body, and hair products. Look for them at a local organic product store.

Try a ubiquitous Tum Rub Thai Herbs retail chain, with 115 branches nationwide, 34 of which are in Bangkok. You can get other herb-based products to go along with the coconut oil.

Where to Buy It?
– Local drug stores
– Boots, Watsons, and super chain drug stores
– Supermarkets
– Organic shops
– Health and beauty stores

Trinket Treat

Thai Trinkets

For preference-averse purchasers, it is okay to play it safe by buying your friends some small Thai trinkets.

Anything from key chains, accessories, fridge magnets, and small pouches can make for beautiful gifts.

The elephant is Thailand’s national animal and is widely regarded as the symbol of the country itself. Anything involving elephants will be a memorable souvenir for yourself and a meaningful gift for your loved ones.

Where to Buy It?
– Local souvenir shops including shops at airports
– Department stores and malls
– Night markets and walking streets across Thailand

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