I love shopping!

Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:18 PM
  #1  
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I love shopping!

Tell me the what "buys" I shouldn't miss on our trip to Thailand this July. What are some special things to get there. And should I save my shopping till Bangkok or are the prices about the same in Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, where we'll also be going? (PS: my husband doesn't love shopping so I'll have to know what I'm looking for and be fast!).
suep1 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:29 PM
  #2  
 
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As a husband of a shopper, it would really help if you would help us narrow down what you like to shop for. Just wandering doesn't cut it - we don't like to do that

Is it crafts, knock-offs, souvenirs, textiles, porcelain, custom-made clothes, knick-knacks, furniture, food items...?
Craig is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:31 PM
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Your best shopping will be in Bangkok. Koh Samui won't have much and the prices will be high. Some people love Chiang Mai for shopping. Years ago, you used to be able to find more crafts and the prices were lower. Last time I went to CM, the prices were higher and, with the exception of one hilltribe shop, all the things available in CM were available in Bangkok.

Nonetheless, you might enjoy the Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Market. It's quite touristy, but not as bad as the night market.

What shouldn't you miss? Local crafts, hand-woven silks, Jim Thompson merchandise (great silk prints, nice handbags, etc), and if you are in the market for jewelry, sapphires.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 05:16 PM
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Kathie is right about BKK shopping being better than Samui. Lots more options in BKK. CM is good for shopping, but at markets that are off the beaten path (IMO). In a lot of cases, the things at the CM night market can be bought in BKK for a lesser price. There are some items in CM that are only available at out-of-the-way places, and the prices are really great (plus you can bargain).

I'm a shopper! I like to look for specific handmade items.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:42 PM
  #5  
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Simpson: where are the markets off the beaten path in Chiang Mai? I love going off the beaten path...just need to know what direction.
suep1 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:54 PM
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I can't give you a direction... we have had the same driver for years. He "knows" where to go! One of my favorites is BoSang Market. I would think that drivers would know where it is. Get your hotel to arrange someone to drive for you while in CM. We pay Jit about 2000 baht for an entire day. He drives us from around 9 in the morning until 8 in the evening.
Carol
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Mar 22nd, 2010, 07:33 PM
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ok, the main buy i know about in CM is the chiang mai celedon pottery....there are two main sellers and both have lovely shops....any hotel will be able to tell you about them...

BUT

the main shopping is in bkk...

gold used to be a good buy but now with the price where it is you have to really like something to buy, but sapphires and rubies are still a good buy along with other semi-precious stones and colored stones... DO NOT BUY ON THE STREET... we figure to save 40-75% on sapphires over usa prices... and maybe 30% on certain diamonds... sapphires come in tons of colors as do many stones so ask a good jeweler....i use thai stone jewelry in the nana hotel, soi 4 sukhumvit rd....a horrible hotel but a good small family run place...earings don't use much gold..

MBK and platinum fashion mall are two good places to get women's bargains....sizes are generally toooo small for the american frame however, but costume jewelry (4th floor--platinum) and shoes and bags are good... in back of platinum is the street market pratinum---a series of lanes under cover...bargain hard...

custom clothing is a special but you need a number of days for this...

home furnishings are a great buy...pillows, table runners, wall hangings, tablecloths, trinkets, asian theme statues and decorations, silk flowers are a thailand speciality...

the thai craft organization holds monthly craft fairs...go to their site for schedule: www.thaicraft.org

jim thompson silk shops are unbelievable but expensive...go to the main store on suriwongse rd at rama IV rd....also an outlet on soi 93, sukhumvit rd (huge quantities of decorator fabrics on floors 1-3 and general merchandis on 4...

great lunch place at the main JT shop...

there are many upscale malls...two of our favorites are siam paragon mall on plenochit rd and down the road gaysorn plaza and across from it another huge mall... siam square and siam discovery are two other big areas near to MBK (national stadium stop on skytrain)....

most of the big hotels have nice shopping areas too..

patpong and patpong II have nite markets and there is the slowly closing sun lum nite market at wireless rd and rama IV (subway stop there), across from lumpini park...

you will not want for shopping.... bargain hard at markets but most other places are fixed price, but you can always ask about discounts being offered---don't be shy...

cash is best and credit cards used in most shops but a service charge up to 5% may be requested, but not always..

in back of and beside the intercontinental hotel is the new location of a large fixed price craft shop called narang prang...it is worth a visit too for trully thai made things with asian motifs...on plenochit rd not far from gaysorn

as others have mentioned tell us what you might be interested in and we can head you directly to the best shops...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:55 PM
  #8  
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Bob-
Thanks so much for that super informative answer. I'm printing it out and will bring it with us. Hard to say what we want: fabric, art for our home, beautiful gifts, clothes for me (!), bags, celedon pottery, jewelry (but not too pricey), things that feel exotic and unique (how is that for general?). I've been enough places where something that you saw everywhere in the country and didn't seem so special as a result, then were revealed to be so special when we got home (a beautiful hand decorated mexican bowl comes to mind). I want to get things that remind us of our trip and that you don't see here (ny, ny) all over. Traditional Thai art is good.
Thanks all for your generous help and ideas!
suep1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:01 PM
  #9  
 
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rhkkmk, is the Jim Thompson outlet easily accessible by the SkyTrain?
barefootbeach is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:21 PM
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yes with some walking or short cab ride....take the train to on nut---that used to be the end of the line but is no longer... you might be able to go one stop further but i am not sure of that...

for me it is too far and hot to walk to soi 93 so i take a taxi (about 35B)-- it might be a 10+ minute walk with no shade....turn left on soi 93 and down about two blocks on the left is the outlet... it has a large distinctive brown JT sign outside... they can pack fabric into the smallest bundles you have ever seen....our living room is awash in JT fabrics from there... the doorman will call you a taxi when you leave... there is a small cafe on floor 4 or 5?? they also do tax rebate, but you have to have special forms, just ask for them...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 05:30 AM
  #11  
 
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It is more than a 2 block walk down soi 93 to JT. I'd say 4-5 long blocks, but it is there on the left. Take your water bottle, as it is a hot walk.
kmkrnn is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 06:07 AM
  #12  
 
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It's really easy to grab a taxi at the bottom of the stairs at On Nut BTS station. You don't have to walk down soi 93 in the heat.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 06:20 AM
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i agree....in fact we mostly take a taxi the whole way from where we are and don't bother with the skytrain...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 07:29 AM
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Carol, we too, take the skytrain to On Nut and then a taxi to JT. We always take a taxi all the way back to our hotel, because we almost always have bags and bags of thins we bought there!
Kathie is offline  
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