Thailand is one of the best shopping destinations in Southeast Asia. There are several shopping malls, department stores, antique shops, and street bazaars spread across major cities including Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Great buys such as traditional batiks, leather goods, precious stones, semi-precious pearls, Thai cotton and silks, lacquerware, and wood and bamboo artifacts always top the list of a shopping enthusiast. But that's not all, as several glitzy shopping malls offer superb luxury goods, assuring plenty of shopping options for tourists.
Shopping in Thailand can be pretty addictive, due to several duty-free shops located throughout the country. These shops deliver goods to the airport on time, so there's no worry on delays during departing flights. Moreover, there are many shops in Thailand that refund the value added tax (7 percent) on goods purchased worth more than 2,000 Thai Baht (about 60 US dollars). To take advantage of this, you will have to fill out the VAT Refund Application for Tourists form and show your passport at the time of buying the goods. Bangkok is one of the excellent destinations that boast a wide range of tourist-centric shops; however, your Bangkok shopping would be incomplete without a visit to the traditional markets. From the local markets selling superb arts and crafts to the unique floating markets, the City of Joy certainly provides the perfect Thai experience.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Located beside Bangkok Metro's Kamphaengphet station, Chatuchak Market covers approximately 25 acres and contains more than 15,000 stalls, and it holds the title of the world's largest weekend market. Often called J.J., Chatuchak Market is one of the biggest weekend markets in the world. Travelers looking for an exhaustive Bangkok shopping experience will find stalls teeming with religious artifacts, Thai souvenirs, and handicrafts, as well as excellent Thai food. However, travelers should also be aware that Chatuchak Weekend Market is also notorious for its illegal trafficking of endangered animal species.
One of the city of Bangkok's most vibrant and busy areas, Pratunam provides an excellent bargain experience among the Thailand shopping scenarios. Lined with multitudes of local vendors, fashion outlets, and roadside stands, this famous Bangkok market offers the best bargain options for all types of fashion accessories, watches, jewelry, clothing, belts, and jewelry. When visiting Pratunam, decide what to buy first and then compare prices by visiting a couple of shops. You can also get huge discounts if you purchase in bulk.
Suan Lum Night Bazaar
Situated in the city's Pathum district near Lumpini Park, the Suan Lum Night Bazaar has numerous shops selling clothing, jewelry, fine arts, and electronic items. This Bangkok market also boasts a beer garden with an array of food choices and live music. There's an assortment of Thai foods and beers as well as international cuisine served in the outdoor garden. Tourists visit the night bazaar to take home beautiful clothing, attractive jewelry, compact discs, and packaged dry food as souvenirs from their Thailand vacation.
Khao San Road Markets
Khao San Road is a backpacker's hub. It is also one of the best areas for budget travelers. Everything from bookshops, tattoo shops, and chemists to massage parlors and tailors can be found in the Khao San Markets. However, Khao San Road is also known for its shabbiness, courtesy of somewhat sleazy hotels and unhygienic fast-food outlets. Still, the area is best known for its second-hand book shops, creating a unique Bangkok shopping experience. The Khao San Road is mainly visited by budget backpackers who are looking for trendy and inexpensive T-shirts, bikinis, textiles, and collectibles, which are mainly sold by street vendors.
With its expansive complex, CentralWorld meets a traveler's luxury demands. The second-largest shopping complex in Southeast Asia was originally known as the World Trade Center. Today, this revamped eight-story mall promises the finest Thailand shopping experience. Tourists looking for things to do in Thailand will find shopping, dining, and entertainment for the entire family. The mall complex has stores for sophisticated electronics and electrical appliances, sports equipment, local and international fashion accessories, exquisite apparel, and a wide selection of DVDs and CDs. The mall also provides delicious dining options and hosts a variety of coffee shops, food courts, and more than 50 restaurants.
The inland waterways of Bangkok create a perfect channel for floating markets. Quite unique from a regular Bangkok market, a floating market consists of boats laden with different varieties of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, among other goods. Sellers complete with one another to attract locals and travelers looking for fresh farm produce. Owing to the growth of modern shopping malls, there are few such markets left, but they are still one of the most popular Thailand shopping destinations because of their uniqueness. The Damnoen Saduak floating market is one attractive place tourists never miss. Situated 65 miles west of Bangkok, the market teems with small boats selling fresh produce. It is colorful, vibrant, and is one of the most-photographed destinations in Thailand.