Shopper’s Paradise: A Guide to Shopping in Thailand

A Guide to Shopping in Thailand

With bustling markets and dazzling malls to explore, Thailand really is a shopper’s paradise and boasts hidden treasures waiting around every corner, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. From traditional handicrafts to luxurious modern items, Thailand offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in retail therapy in the most magical way.

No matter what magnificent items you find, at Crown Currency Exchange, we believe that the best holidays are those that have been carefully planned. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to shopping in Thailand. Below, you’ll find information on the best places to go shopping, what to buy, and some tips on how to make the most of the Thai shopping experience.

What to Buy When Shopping in Thailand

What to Buy When Shopping in Thailand

One of the best things about shopping in Thailand is that you’re offered a huge variety of products, from exquisite textiles to souvenirs; there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the things we think are unmissable items for anyone enjoying a shopping trip in Thailand.

Thai Silk

Renowned for its luxurious texture and vibrant colours, Thai silk is a must-buy for anyone shopping in Thailand. There are loads of choices, too, including traditional sarongs and scarves, or you can simply buy the fabric as it is and make something yourself when you’re back home.

One important thing to know about Thai silk, however, is the cost can vary quite dramatically depending on quality and size. For example, a 1.5m bolt of lower quality silk can cost as little as ฿3,500 Thai Baht ($151 AUD), while the highest quality silk can cost up to ฿106,670 THB ($4,450 AUD) per metre.

Thai Handicrafts

Thailand is home to a rich culture of craftsmanship, with artisans creating incredible pieces ranging from intricate wood carvings to delicate ceramics. Naturally, the cost of these varies depending on what you’re buying.

For instance, handmade pottery and ceramics at Chatuchak Market can sell for as little as ฿35 THB ($1.50 AUD) per piece, while handcrafted jewellery can range from ฿100 – ฿10,000 THB ($4 – $425 AUD), depending on the materials and quality.

Spices and Herbs

Thai cuisine is celebrated all over the world for its bold flavours and aromas, and there’s nothing quite like getting the real deal by buying your spices and herbs in Thailand. You’ll find ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, and Thai basil at markets, as well as pre-mixed spice packages.

Spice prices vary quite significantly between vendors, but one thing you shouldn’t be afraid to do when buying herbs or spices is haggle. Sellers expect this, and you can get a really good deal if you’re confident with bartering.

Street Food

As well as spices and herbs, you’ll find Thai cuisine that is ready made and ready to eat at street food stalls. There are loads of dishes on offer, including coconut candies, savoury fish snacks, and, for the more adventurous diner, crispy fried insects.

Prices for street food range from ฿25 – ฿90 THB ($1 – $3.80 AUD), but the most important thing to make sure of is that the stall seems clean and hygienically maintained.

Luxury Brands

In Bangkok, you’ll find shopping malls that sell a wide range of luxury international brands, which is ideal if you’re a label-lover who appreciates the finer things in life. Prices here are obviously quite high and vary depending on the brand, but do not try to haggle here – prices are set, and this is what you are expected to pay.

Elephant Souvenirs

No Bangkok trip is complete without picking up some souvenirs to remind you of your holiday, and one recurring theme you’ll find is elephants. From carved wooden figurines to colourful paintings, there are plenty of elephant-themed souvenirs to choose from. Better yet, many of the proceeds of these souvenir sales go to supporting elephant conservation, so you’ll be getting a beautiful memento and helping save these wonderful animals.

Best Places for Shopping in Thailand

Best Places for Shopping in Thailand

So, those are some of the unmissable items you should buy when you’re in Thailand. But where should you buy them from? Here are some of the very best places to go shopping in Thailand:

Asiatique The Riverfront

Situated along the Chao Phraya River, Asiatique The Riverfront offers amazing shopping opportunities, as well as dining and entertainment, all set within a charming riverside location. Here, you’ll find over 1,500 boutiques and stalls selling clothing, handicrafts, and a wide range of Thai products.

MBK Center

Known for its affordable shopping options, MBK Center is a popular shopping mall with tourists and locals alike, especially those who want to enjoy shopping without spending a fortune. There are loads of different products on offer here, including electronics, souvenirs, and accessories, all at bargain prices.

Pantip Plaza

This is the place to go if you’re shopping for tech, electronics, and IT products. You’ll find a huge variety of exciting gadgets at Pantip Plaza, including computers, smartphones, and gadgets, each of which is competitively priced. Think of this as Thailand’s dedicated IT shopping mall!

Phuket Old Town

Located in an area filled with colourful Sino-Portuguese buildings that house boutique shops, art galleries, and souvenir stores, Phuket Old Town is one of the most magical places to go shopping in Thailand. Here, you’ll find some really unique items, local crafts, and antiques.

The Best Night Markets in Thailand

The Best Night Markets in Thailand

The Thai shopping experience really comes to life at night time, where everything dazzles a little bit more under the glow of fairy lights. Here are some of the best night markets you can visit in Thailand:

Pratunam Market

Another market known for its affordable prices, Pratunam Market has a bustling, vibrant atmosphere with numerous stalls and vendors selling clothing, shoes, jewellery, bags, and countless other items. The market usually opens in the late afternoon and goes on until the early hours of the morning, which is perfect for anyone looking to shop under the stars.

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Located in Northern Thailand, Chang Mai Night Bazaar is a vibrant market where you’ll find local handicrafts, artwork, textiles, and souvenirs. This is one of the most popular night markets with tourists and is an excellent place to shop if you want to pick up unique items while supporting local artisans.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

One of Thailand’s most famous markets, Chatuchak Weekend Market has over 8,000 stalls spread across 27 acres, which also makes it one of the largest markets in the world. You’ll find everything from traditional Thai garments and accessories to home decor and handicrafts here.

Phuket Weekend Market (Naka Market)

Another of Thailand’s largest and most popular night markets, Phuket Weekend Market (also known as Naka Market), is located on Wirat Hong Yok Road and is open on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 4 pm until 11 pm. You’ll find a diverse range of products here, including electronics, home decor, souvenirs, artwork, and more.

Rod Fai Night Market

Also known as “Train Night Market”, Rod Fai Night Market offers shopping and dining within a lively atmosphere. There are also two locations for this night market: Ratchada and Srinakarin, with the latter being the larger of the two. Both have a variety of products on offer, including vintage Thai items, clothing, and collectibles.

Best Modern Malls in Thailand

Best Modern Malls in Thailand

Thailand is also home to several modern malls that offer world-class shopping experiences, with a range of retail options, dining venues, and more. Here are some of the best modern malls in Thailand:

Siam Paragon

Regarded as one of Bangkok’s premier shopping destinations, Siam Paragon is a luxury mall located in the city’s bustling shopping district. Here, you’ll find a selection of international brands, upscale restaurants, and luxury boutiques. There’s even a multi-screen complex and an aquarium, so it’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a full day out.

Central World

One of Southeast Asia’s largest shopping complexes, Central World offers a huge range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. There are over 500 stores to visit here, including flagship outlets of world-famous fashion brands, as well as a cinema and even an ice skating rink!

ICONSIAM

Located along the Chao Phraya River, ICONSIAM is a modern mixed-use development that includes a luxury shopping mall, riverside promenade, and residential towers. You’ll find high-end fashion brand stores here, along with lifestyle shops and gourmet markets, making it popular with tourists and locals alike.

Central Festival Pattaya Beach

As one of the largest shopping malls in Pattaya, Central Festival Pattaya Beach offers a wide range of international and local brands, dining options, entertainment facilities, and a cinema complex.

Best Places for Clothes Shopping in Thailand

Best Places for Clothes Shopping in Thailand

From bustling markets to shopping malls, Thailand is well-known for having some of the best clothes shopping options in the world. Here are some of the best places for clothes shopping in Thailand:

Platinum Fashion Mall

Specialising in clothing and fashion accessories, Platinum Fashion Mall is a really affordable place for clothes shopping as everything is sold at wholesale prices. This also makes it a great option if you’re looking to buy clothing in bulk or simply find a fashion bargain!

Tha Pae Walking Street Markets

Chiang Mai is renowned for its vibrant night markets, including the famous Tha Pae Walking Street Markets. You’ll find a variety of clothing items here, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs, making for a unique shopping experience with a lively atmosphere.

Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre

A modern shopping mall that offers a mix of international fashion brands, Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre is one of the most popular destinations for clothes shopping in Thailand. You’ll also find local designer boutiques and lifestyle stores here, with something to suit different preferences and budgets.

Emporium and EmQuartier

Located in Bangkok’s upscale Sukhumvit area, Emporium and EmQuartier are luxury shopping malls that offer a curated selection of high-end fashion brands and designer boutiques. A shopping spree here can be pretty expensive, though, as the target shoppers here are people looking for premium clothing and luxury fashion items.

Best Floating Markets for Shopping in Thailand

Best Floating Markets for Shopping in Thailand

Thailand has some famous floating markets, which offer unique shopping experiences amidst picturesque waterways, creating a truly memorable shopping spree. Here are some of the best floating markets in Thailand:

Pattaya Floating Market

Unlike traditional floating markets, which are usually situated along rivers or canals, the Pattaya Floating Market is built around a man-made lake, offering visitors both a unique shopping and cultural experience. This is one of the most popular floating markets in Thailand, and this creates a buzzing atmosphere that is particularly enjoyable at night.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Perhaps the most famous floating market in Thailand, Damnoen Saduak is located around 100km Southwest of Bangkok and welcomes thousands of excited shoppers each year. Visitors to this market can explore stalls by boat, and you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, local snacks, handicrafts, and souvenirs on offer.

Amphawa Floating Market

Known for its charming atmosphere and authentic local experience, Amphawa Floating Market is located along the Mae Klong River, and it really comes alive at night. The usual items are on sale here, including clothing, handicrafts, and souvenirs, and there are also food stalls to enjoy (just use your best judgement on hygiene standards).

Taling Chan Floating Market

This is a great option if you’re looking for something a little less-known, and at Taling Chan Floating Market you’ll find a tranquil shopping experience compared to the larger markets. You can explore the stalls here either by boat or on foot, and you’ll find a range of handicrafts, souvenirs, and plants on sale.

Top Tip: No matter where you decide to go on your Thai shopping adventures, the preferred form of transaction is cash, so make sure you have plenty on you. You can find the best rates on AUD to THB here.

Tips for Shopping in Thailand

Tips for Shopping in Thailand

Shopping in Thailand is really exciting, and it offers the opportunity to purchase a range of products you can’t get anywhere else in the world. However, as with shopping in any country, there are some important things you should know before you head out on your shopping spree.

Shopping Etiquette and Cultural Sensitivity

When you’re shopping in Bangkok or any other part of Thailand, it’s important that you respect local customs by dressing moderately and removing your shoes before you enter certain shops.

You should also bargain politely and avoid overly aggressive haggling, even if you’re confident with bartering. Instead, maintain a friendly demeanour and be super cautious about accidentally making disrespectful remarks. Remember, what might be funny to you can be incredibly offensive to someone else.

It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with basic Thai phrases so you can greet stall vendors and express your gratitude. A simple “Sawasdee” (“Hello” in Thai) is suitable for greeting, and to say “Thank You”, use “Khop Khun”.

Authenticity and Ethical Shopping

It is also important to consider authenticity and ethical shopping practices in Thailand, looking for products that are locally made and have been sourced from reputable vendors who are known for their craftsmanship and quality. Don’t be afraid to ask about the production process or materials used when purchasing artisanal goods, and if possible, choose a vendor where you can see some products being made on site.

In terms of authenticity, it’s important to remain cautious of unusually low prices or overly-perfect items, as this could indicate counterfeit goods. This is especially important when clothes shopping, so look for official labels, holograms, and certifications that verify the authenticity of branded items.

For sustainability, look for products certified by organisations like Fair Trade Thailand or the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS), especially when buying Thai silk or other material-based products.

Practical Advice for Navigating the Bustling Markets and Shopping Malls

It can seem pretty daunting to enter a bustling Thai market or shopping mall, but with some practical advice, there are some ways you can feel more confident.

Firstly, remember that bargaining is a common practice in Thailand, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself engaging in this. The best thing to do is to approach negotiations with a friendly demeanour, start by offering a lower price than the initial asking price, and then work your way through the deal. Be respectful and patient during the haggling process, and don’t feel pressured into buying anything – if the price isn’t right, you can walk away.

It’s also important to stay hydrated and comfortable, as the mix of Thailand’s tropical climate and the busyness of the markets means things can get pretty hot! Carry a reusable water bottle and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and wear lightweight, breathable clothing to keep cool.

Paying for goods in Thailand is pretty straightforward, so there isn’t too much to worry about here. However, it’s best to carry cash as this is what is mostly accepted in markets, and you won’t find yourself in the difficult situation of trying to pay for something with a card in an establishment that doesn’t support card payments!

Budget Your Money for Shopping in Thailand

Of course, carrying cash is all good, but you also need to make sure you’ve budgeted correctly to make sure you have enough for your trip to Thailand.

The best thing you can do is figure out where you’d like to go and what you’d like to buy, setting a realistic budget for each category (e.g. clothing, souvenirs, gifts, etc.) Then, research the average price of these items, as this will give you a much clearer idea of how much you’ll need to budget for each item.

Keep exchange rates in mind when doing this, too, as this can easily throw your budget out of place and, once you’ve arrived in Thailand, try to stick to the money you’ve exchanged and allocated to your trip. Otherwise, you may have to pay ATM fees, high exchange rates, and International Transaction Fees charged by your bank or credit card provider.

Get the Best Rates on Thai Baht at Crown Currency

Thailand isn’t just one of the best shopping destinations in the world – it’s a magical experience with so many different products on offer and so many different ways to buy them! However, to ensure you can enjoy the Thai shopping experience to the fullest, it’s important to have cash on you at all times.

At Crown Currency Exchange, you’ll find the best rates on Australian Dollars to Thai Baht, with no commission fees or hidden costs. Visit one of our many branches today and speak with a member of our expert team to start bringing your Thai shopping dream to life!

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