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Bangkok has been described as a shopping paradise. Whether this is absolutely true depends on who is doing the describing. There’s a lot to buy in Bangkok, so much so that you would end up purchasing extra suitcases to cart the bounty home. But whether the city is a shopping hot spot such as Hong Kong is really a question of what you’re hoping to buy. There are luxury brands here like in other Asian cities, but Bangkok is not considered posh in that sense. On the other hand, the lack of obvious posh does not mean the absence of quality. In fact, if variety in merchandise and range in price give you an adrenaline rush, welcome to the sprawling bazaar that is Bangkok.

Thai-made goods are especially alluring. Given Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and her people’s predilection for beauty and beautiful things, it is to be expected that shops are filled with a dazzling array of good-looking, creative products—many you’d never thought you’d need, let alone encounter. From crafts to clothes to cloths to creams, you’re only limited by how much you can cash and carry.

Now that international brands are available, well, internationally, why come to Bangkok to buy what you can get elsewhere? Thais shop Thai, so should you!

Our Pick

Map

Thai Fashion

Thai Fashion

Siam Center

For the longest time, Siam Center is where locals go for their fashion fix. Similarly, visitors from South East Asia make this their first stop when they want to dress Thai. Although the center has seen brands come and go with the same regularity as motorcycle taxis plying a soi, this is still Thai fashion’s undisputed mother ship. Check out the new young designer haven MObF on level 4: it’s a high-energy hub of unrestrained creativity.

979 Rama I Road, Pathumwan • (66)2-6581000 Ext 501 • www.siamcenter.co.th
It Happens to be a Closet

It Happens to be a Closet

Which really means it’s more than a closet. This off-beat boutique in Siam Square is often mentioned in publications serving the bohemian set and it’s not hard to see why. Designer Siriwan Tharananithikul’s clothes—hippie chic by way of Asia, major and minor—draw post-grunge girls who dig tiered gypsy skirts and embroidered denim shorts, and boys who prefer to wait in the café upstairs while their sweetheart unearth dream buys from the jumble and tumble.

266/3 Siam Square Soi 3, Rama 1, Pratumwan • (66)8-14037418 • Daily 11am to 9pm

Thai Leather Products

Thai Leather Products

Viera by Ragazze

Looking like a craftsman’s front shop, Viera is a treasure trove, bursting with every imaginable fashion accessory that can be made in leather. Sure, the products may not be exactly groundbreaking, design wise, but they are constructed to last. And with wallet-friendly pricing, they beckon as gifts as much as treats for yourself.

2nd floor, Silom Complex, Silom Road • (66)2-231-3190 • Daily 10.30am to 9pm

Thai Objet D’Art

Thai Objet D’Art

Lotus Arts de Vivre

In the hands of their craftsmen, the ordinary becomes extraordinary: a gecko is bedecked with gems and looks ready to perch on a lapel. Such is the creative power of Lotus Arts de Vivre, a family-run enterprise continually proving that Thai craftsmanship can be exquisite and of luxury-class. For the first-time customers besotted with the items' breathtaking beauty, walking away is rarely an option.

Four Seasons Hotel, 155 Rajdamri Road • (66)2-250-0732 • www.lotusartsdevivre.com • Daily 11am to 7pm

Thai Crafts (Traditional)

Thai Crafts (Traditional)

River City

Although this riverside mall looks unremarkable from the outside, there are quite a few good craft and antique shops inside. It is, of course, commercial and caters to the touristic penchant for the exotic. Still, this is a one-stop destination for all the crafts you may wish to buy, including those by hill tribes and from lowland villages.

23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Charoen Krung 30, Si Phaya Pier, Yota Road, Sampantawong (next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton) (66)2-237-0077 • www.rivercity.co.th

Thai Crafts (Modern)

Thai Crafts (Modern)

Doi Tung

A Thai Royal Family project, Doi Tung encourages northern villagers to preserve age-old craft traditions so that they can stop growing narcotic crops such as opium. Here, rather than churning out products similar to those you can find in street markets, the producers are given guidance to create contemporary handicrafts that can suit any modern interior.

416, 4/F Siam Discovery, 989 Rama I Road • (66)2-6580427 • www.doitung.org • Mon to Thur, 11am to 8pm; Fri to Sun, 11am to 9pm

Thai Silks

Thai Silks

Baan Krua Thai Silk

This is a home factory, not a swanky outlet like the internationally renowned Jim Thompson, yet it is here that you’ll find some of the most beautiful silks in Bangkok. In fact, the Baan Krua community—a Muslim enclave—has been credited as the original creators of Mr Thompson’s colour-saturated hand-woven silks.

837 Baan Krua Nua Soi 9, Ratchathewi • (66)2-2439089 • phamaibaankrua.com • Daily 7am to 6pm
Almeta Shop

Almeta Shop

Eschewing traditional motifs for modern patterns, Almeta produces stunning silk fabrics much loved by the city’s fashion designers. Best of all you can custom-order your swathes of silk from over 1,ooo colours and four yarn-types. And since no minimum quantity is demanded, you can even ask for the equivalent of a handkerchief! This is bespoke fashion at its source.

20/3 Sukhumvit Soi 23 • (66)2-2041413 • www.almeta.com • Daily 10am to 6pm

Thai Umbrellas

Thai Umbrellas

Romfathai

Why would you need an umbrella, you may ask. Well, it gets pretty hot in Bangkok, and you may wish to shield yourself against the harsh rays of the sun. Or you may like a parasol for a costume party back home. Whatever you require to shade yourself from the elements, they’re all here, except decorative paper ones.

624-626 Chakraphet Road • (66)2-2211507 • www.romfathai.com • Daily 9am to 8pm

Thai Art

Thai Art

100 Tonson Gallery

On this quiet street of mostly residences and media offices sits this nondescript house that is considered Bangkok art world’s best-kept (or worse) secret. Its surreptitious standing is, of course, so only to those who are not aware that this gallery has been rated as one of the best 50 in the world. Thai art takes centre stage here, but Western works are also on display for those who are so inclined.

100 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road • (66)2-6841527 • 100tonsongallery.com • Thu to Sun, 11am to 7pm

Thai Foodstuff

Thai Foodstuff

Shop 94

Its simple name belies the quiet grandeur of the store. Shop 94 sits serenely in the Dusit District, the “new” royal city, where the present King lives in the Chitlada Palace. The shop is supported by HRH Princess Srirasmi who promotes all things Thai here. Especially sought after are the kanom, confectionary from all over Thailand that tastes as good as they look.

904 Rajchawithee Road, Dusit District • (66)2-2439199 Ext 177 • Daily 9am to 8pm

Thai Spices

Thai Spices

Spice Story

This boutique cum cafe with its flora-pop interior puts unabashed zing and zest into its space. There’s nothing mild about Spice Story and the combination of product and design speaks of a tale as colourful as those told during 17th century spice trade. An offshoot of a Chinatown legend, the Nguan Soon spice shop, the current incarnation is Nigella Lawson-sexy rather than Martha Stewart-smart.

G/F Siam Paragon, 991 Rama I Road, Pathumwan • (66)2-6107505

Thai Herbal Healing

Thai Herbal Healing

Chao Krom Pho

Those wary about herbal remedies and supplements can rest assured that at Chinatown’s venerable Chao Krom Pho, they know what they’re dispensing. This apothecary has been the business of the Suvantamee family for the past 150 years. A visit is well worth the effort even if you’re not seeking a prescription.

229-231 Chakkrawat Road, Samphanthawong • (66)2-2213272 • Mon to Sat, 8am to 4.30pm

Thai Spa Products

Thai Spa Products

Harnn

The Oriental boudoir setting makes every potion it sells here look like magical spells. So beautifully packaged is each bottle that shoppers are often tempted to buy more than just the bath products they are renowned for. Room fragrances are irresistible intoxicating, so are the assorted diffusers for making your private space sweet-scented.

1/F and 2/F, Atrium Zone, CentralWorld, 4 RajdamriRoad • (66)2-6131028 • www.harnn.com • Daily 10am to 10pm

Thai Furniture

Thai Furniture

Benja Collection

It is a cliché to think that Thai furniture is as ornate as those you’ve seen on your tour of palaces. The traditional Thai house is as rare as modern apartments are omnipresent. In fact, most locals furnish their homes with sleek monochromatic furniture like those found in Benja, a manufacturer and retailer of sofas, chair, tables and their kindred fittings. At its showroom, be bowled over by settings that could have come straight out of House & Garden!

1 Passana 2, Ekamai Soi 4, Phra Khanong Nua, Wattana Distrrict • (66)2-7269972 • www.benjacollection.com • Daily 10am to 7.30pm

Thai Home Furnishing

Thai Home Furnishing

Jaspal Home Collection

What started as a fashion label has become a lifestyle brand. Jaspal Home Collection initially boasted an impressive range of cotton bed linens and bath towels (attesting to the brand’s strength in textile), but now includes a selection of home furnishing and bathroom accessories.

3/F Siam Paragon, 991 Rama I Road • (66)2-1294505 • www.jaspalhome.com • Daily, 10am to 10pm

Thai Decorative Fabrics

Thai Decorative Fabrics

Pasaya

Pasaya produces such stunning and original fabrics that many of them can be considered textile art. It is no wonder that they are a favourite with interior designers. Even if you’re not armed with the dimensions for curtains, there are other products to captivate you. The bed linens in sumptuous fabrics are an enticing buy.

3/F Siam Paragon, 991 Rama I Road • (66)2-6109338 • www.pasaya.com • Daily, 10am to 10pm

Thai Antiques

Thai Antiques

House of Chao

Owner Khun Chaovanee is the main reason why so many of her customers come to her. And regularly too. Here, the antiques are chosen by her, and the restoration overseen by this charming lady too. Apart from Thai antiques, expect to find bric-a-bracs from Burma, India, and China, all crammed into an old dusty shop.

9/1 Decho Road, Suriyawong, Bangrak • (66)2-6357188 • Daily 9am to 7pm
 
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