silk rugs in Chiang mai or Bankok

Jan 19th, 2005, 07:49 AM
  #1  
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silk rugs in Chiang mai or Bankok

Does anyone have experience in buying silk rugs in Chiang Mai or Bankok? Can you recommend a reputable place with good prices?Is haggling part of the buying process?
Martinan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2005, 01:39 AM
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I donít think that Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Thailand in general is a great place to buy rugs, it is not part of their handicrafts, and I donít believe they have much of an industry, certainly not compared to places like China and India. I canít think of a shop which sells rugs, but you generally can find good quality merchandise in the River City Shopping Complex on the river next to the Sheraton Royal Orchid. It is mostly antique furniture and art, but you may find rug shops.

Also get a copy of "Nancy Chandler's Guide to Bangkok", an invaluable shopping map and guide. You can it buy it on the web from her website (Nancychandler.net), or may find it in your bookstore or at Amazon.com. I will take a look at mine tonight, it is a few years old, however, and it is always better to have a current version as things change all the time there. She also has a guide to Chiang Mai.

Do A LOT of comparison shopping at home before you go. You need to see and feel rugs to get an idea of quality for price, and the mix of silk, cotton or wool which you like best. In a pinch, a web search will give you general price ideas for size, but it is hard to get an idea of quality. The bottom line is that you also need to make sure you know your prices at home, as this is the only way to ensure you are getting a bargain.

Bargain very hard especially on big-ticket rugs. Many Americans are not comfortable bargaining, but just dive in. Go at least 60% below their offering price, lower if you want. Tell them a price they ask is a number that is unlucky for you, make an offer with an 9 (as 9 is an auspicious number in Thai Buddhism). Make a game of it, do not become angry, but also be firm. Be prepared to walk away, you can always come back, or the merchant may follow you out of the shop and agree to your price. The first and last sale of the day are generally considered lucky (more so in Chinese cultures than Thailand) so shop early or late. If you are carrying the rug with you, bargain based on paying cash; if you are shipping, bargain based on a credit card. A Visa or MasterCard is preferred to an Amex, as Amex charges the merchant a higher fee. If the rug is 9 by 12 or less, they can actually fold it into a square (albeit a heavy one) and wrap it, and you can check it with your luggage. (Check the weight restrictions on your airline; you may have to pay excess baggage, but this should be cheaper than shipping..) Shipping is rather expensive, and may cost as much or more than the rug. If you ship, have the store arrange it and insure it and always pay by credit card. Arranging commercial shipping yourself is generally more expensive and definitely more time consuming.

Donít forget that you may have to pay customs duty on the rug when you bring it in or have it shipped to your home. You should look into this before you leave as well, as you will want to add this to the overall price of the rug.


Cicerone is offline  
Jan 20th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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Thanks you Cicerone for all the information. Will definitely do my homework on the rugs. This is our first time in Thailand. When we land in the airport, where is the best place to change some dollars or should we just use the cash machine and get local currency from there? Thanks.
Martinan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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Cash machines will give you the best exchange rates. There are ATMs at the airport, as well as all over the city.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 20th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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PS as it's your first time in Thailand, I'd recommend that you shop for things that are Thai. You'll get a better deal.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 20th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Thanks Kathie! For the cash machines, do you have to match a particular system like you do here in the US? or are all machines compatible?Thanks!
Martinan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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Lots of the machines take both cirrus and plus systems, just check the signs on the ATMs. I've never had problems finding a cash machine that worked for my card in Thailand. (Actually, I find it harder in Europe!)
Kathie is online now  
Jan 20th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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you will find most cash machines to be compatible and all were in english as i remember or english as an option...there are a number of them just before you go outside to the taxi stand on the left....most of my cards use cirrus and you often find the cirrus sticker on the machines along with visa and m/c stickers and many others....if it doesn't work move on to another one...usually there is no service charge...check with your bank to see what they charge for a withdrawal in thailand...it can be up to $10....my credit unions are free...my main bank charges $1.50....so if you have a hefty fee you should make larger less frequent withdrawals...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 12:19 AM
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I took at look at my Nancy Chandler map and shopping reference guide, and there we no reccos on rugs. It is the 2002 edition, maybe the 2004/05 edition has listings. A book she recommends and which others on this board have recommended is called Pleasures and Treasures of Thailand by Ron and Caryl Krannich, It may have recoos for rugs. You can buy it through a link on her site. I also took a look at the site myself having not used it is some time, it is full of helpful info, it might be worth a look before your trip.
Cicerone is offline  
Jan 21st, 2005, 05:32 AM
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Thanks Kathie, I checked with my bank and they have a $5 fee for overseas withdrawals so indeed i have to make the least transactions possible.
Cicerone, thank you for checking your guide for me how very kind of you. thanks for your help!I'm very excited for this trip and can't wait to get there!
Martinan is offline  

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