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real shopping: the best of BKK, REP & LPB

real shopping: the best of BKK, REP & LPB

Apr 1st, 2005, 03:38 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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real shopping: the best of BKK, REP & LPB

with the opportunity to visit the three places above, what is the best of each? I am interested in handcrafts, wood and pottery and not necessarily gems, jewelery or clothes. In other words, if I could make one "major" purchase in each country, what have you brouhgt back that you truly cherish? Teal table in Thailand; Cambodian weavings; what from Laos? (I'd like to keep finding the same thi ngs in every market but have an idea of what to look for...) thanks, everyone. Leaving tomorrow. couldn't have done it without you, Bob, Kathie, Gloria, JamesA, Carol. your postings and advice have invaluable and you should see the files of printputs I have with me. Jan
Janak626 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 03:39 AM
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my typing is like JamesA's: TEAK table. and I'd like NOT to keep finding the saem things in every market, but learn from you what the "best of" them is.thanks
Janak626 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Gee, you would have thought I posted this. We are going to those same 3 places next February. I look forward to the responses to this post. BTW, I just picked up a great book recommended by BoRHKKMK) called "Treasures and Pleasures of Thailand" - give it a look.
Craig is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Laos -- weaving
Cambodia -- I was there in the early 90s so they weren't selling or making much of anything so I can't really answer.
Thailand -- there is so much! They do make furniture but much of the designs may not work for you. They have wonderful pottery including celadon-- in Chaing Mai. Really unique pieces and incredible prices. There are some gorgeous shops near the Rincome Hotel as well as the factories. You should check out the Pleasures and Treasures Book for some stores. I also posted some that I particularly liked when I returned in January. You will find an incredible amount of wood crafts in thailand as well and absolutely gorgeous tableware (Sop Moie in Chiang Mai which is right near Baan Orapin has magnificent stuff).

Believe me you will have NO problem finding wonderful things in Thailand. Have an absolutely fabulous trip. I'm looking forward to hearing all of your experiences and reports and, of course, can't wait to hear how Baan Orapin is.

When do you return?
glorialf is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 05:18 AM
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On other thing, Jan. When you are looking for your "major" item in Thailand, you will find much better quality outside of the markets in my experience. Yes you pay a bit more but often the design and workmanship is much better. In Chiang Mai, go to the factories or the incredible stores near the Rincome Hotel or near Baan Orapin. In Bangkok, you will find some very high quality items near your hotel in River City or at Oriental Place.

I have bought a lot of things at the various Thai markets that are wonderful and that I love but I have bought extraordinary items that are real works or art in some of the stores and factories.
glorialf is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Laos: weavings. There is a silk weaving village just outside LP that has a weavers co-op. You buy directly from the weavers, and the workmanship is higher than what you'll see in the markets in LP. Don't confuse this village with the Lao-Lao village across the river from the Pak Ou caves - the quality there is poor and the prices high (we met some people on a group tour who were taken to that village and told it was the "famous weaving village). There is a very pricey store in town (called something like Optik) that pays weavers to weave non-traditional designs or traditional-type designs in colors that appeal more to westerners. If you like that sort of thing, the weavings are lovely but more than 5x the price of the very high quality traditional weavings. Look for double-sided weavings, as that is an indicator of quality.

In Cambodia, I bought a few weavings, but they weren't as interesting as those in Laos. I actually found some Khmer silk ikat in VN, but couldn't find it in Siem Reap. The Artisans d'Angkor have some lovely stone carvings.

In Bangkok, I also shop for crafts. Over the years I've brought home many wonderful things. While you are in the north, you'll see nicely made porcelain dolls dressed in tribal costumes. I've been buying these for years for nieces. There are old wall hangings with embriodery and metal sequins that are wonderful. I purchased a few paintings over the years. Once I found a shop in River City that had an old book of paintings that had been damaged and taken apart. I purchased one leaf from that book and had it framed - it's one of those treasures. I have old teak Thai marionettes in old silk brocade clothing, an old Burmese puppet of a woman who has human hair pigtails. Look, be open to optons, if you're lucky you'll find something wonderful that none of us has mentioned!
Kathie is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 07:23 AM
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The wall hangings with embroidery and metal sequins are called kalaga. They are actually from Burma (something I did not know when I first bought them in 1985). They are very unique. However, the ones made today for tourists are awful quality and garish compared to the old ones so you need to really look -- usually in antique places-- to find the special ones. You'll see the difference immediately.

You'll find wonderful items on the antique floors of River City.
glorialf is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 08:02 AM
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In Thailand, I bought my Celadon serving pieces and some silk items including silk pillow covers. I am using these things everyday and everytime I see them, it brings back such wonderful memories.

I did most of my shopping in Chiang Mai. They have better prices than Bankok and the items are not as common.

In Bankok, they have shops beside the Gallery restaurant. Although I had done silk shopping in Chiang Mai, I couldn't resist buying more from Villa Cini. If you have time, drop by their store, they have beautiful things.

Like Gloria suggested, I did most of my shopping outside of the night market. I was flying back to Manila and was only allowed 20 Kilos. So I chose to buy quality instead of quanitity and I'm glad that I did!!!

Good luck with your shopping and enjoy your trip!

Martinan is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 09:44 AM
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i think you may just miss it but the following sales are upcoming:

jim thompson warehouse sale on april 24 at the BIDEC convention center...check with the JT store for details

thai craft association sale at the ambassador hotel, 3rd floor, tower building from 10-1...be there at 9:30....april 23


our favorite items from thailand: gold and semi precious jewerly; custom made clothing; silk items especially from jim thompson (main store on suriwaongse (sp), outlets on same street (fabric only) and on soi 93, sukhumvit rd (best one)....cotton items, smocked clothing for children from the fatima shop or january shop (river city shopping plaza, 2nd floor)

odds and ends....handicrafts...

cambodia....we bought silk and other woven items

laos....we will be looking for silk and woven items...let us know exactly where you found the best LP shopping so we can go there...get names and addresses and post on fodors, please...

we find generally that we have done better shopping in established shops than we have done in market places...most of the clothes in market places only would fit twiggy, not the western frame...much of the market stuff looks all the same and is "mass produced" for the tourist market...that is not all of it, but most of it...

we also find little in the large shopping centers of bkk....they cater mostly to the thai taste which is not the same as western taste....not 100% however...sizes are all wrong for clothing...

much of the mall shopping is no bargain and costs the same as usa upscale shops or more....

there are bargain knock-offs however...i have bought polo shirts with famous brand names, but they generally are far inferior...they only cost $3 instead of $80 so you have to judge for yourself...

often you are told things are silk or cotton 100%, but frequently that is a lie...beware...

wool generally in thailand is inferior to western wool...oftne it says england on it but that is not true either...

having said all of this it is fun to shop and very cheap generally....
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 06:03 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 72
Siem Reap - A piece of silk from the Angkor Silk Farm outside the town - same traditional design the girl was making on the loom when we visited. It hangs in our family room and reminds me of the country girls working there.

Bangkok - a framed silver necklace from a northern tribe bought in one of the antique shops near the river. Had an argument with my husband that day (as you do)and he went back to buy it for my birthday present. Bought it home as onboard luggage and it created quite a stir when viewed through Xray at airport. Also a couple of Celadon pieces bought from the outlet, a silk jacket tailor made and an "antique" pewter urn with lid from Chatachuk market.

Suan Lum night market has many things I would have loved to have brought home, especially arty crafty type things not seen elsewhere.
RhondaZ is offline  
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