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Things to buy in Bangkok

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Smarty, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. Smarty

    Smarty New Member

    I am going to Bangkok in January for two weeks, and I am someone who loves buying things whenever on holiday. I have seen that every destination has its particular thing which has to be purchased, as long as it is in the budget I buy it.
    I would like to find out from those who know about Bangkok or have been there, what things to buy in Bangkok for myself as well as gifts for friends and family.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Smarty, welcome to the forum!



    Bangkok is Thailand's most popular tourist destination. It is in fact, one of the most visited cities in the world, with over 15 million tourists visiting the city in a year. Most tourists are from Western countries taking advantage of the lower currency rates in the country. Over the past few years though, even tourists from neighbouring Asian countries have been increasing in Bangkok. Of course, as with any travel experience, shopping is a favourite activity of tourists in the city. It does help that there are various shopping hubs in Bangkok, ranging from street markets, to posh shopping malls. In this guide, we would highlight which are the best souvenirs one can take home from the City of Angels itself.

    Unique Things to Buy in Bangkok

    To remind you of your vacation in the city...

    1. Authentic Thai Silk - Thai Silk is a great souvenir to take home simply because an authentic one is made unlike any other. Authentic Thai Silk is made by hand by weavers so every product you get has its own unique design. The lustre and shine of the fabric are very distinct. One side of the fabric is usually plain while the other has design, which changes their colours when held up in light. Because of the rigorous process of silk making, the prices are also usually on the higher side, there's as much as 10% of a difference when it comes to Authentic Thai Silk and Artificial Thai Silk. Of course, the Jim Thompson House is Bangkok's most popular Thai Silk retailer. Jim Thompson was credited as the man who revived the dying silk industry in Thailand. Yet in contrast, the man didn't use Authentic Thai Silks during that era, but instead relied on imported silks and just designed them with Thai designs. There are various Jim Thompson Stores in Bangkok nowadays and they sell various souvenirs made from silk like scarves, bags, ties, jackets and even cushions. They are the most expensive kinds though so you need to shell out some money if you want to buy from any of these outlets. Other high end Authentic Thai Silk stores in Bangkok are Shinawatra Thai and Anita Silk. Go for the former for a wider variety of by-products of silks and for the latter for more traditional silk designs. For more affordable Authentic Thai Silks, then you have to venture into the Chatuchak Weekend Market and Amarin Plaza but you need to be more cautious and observant when buying from such areas.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Jim Thompson Stores, Shinawatra Thai, Anita Silk, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Amarin Plaza
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 800 THB to 1,000 THB and Above
    Authentic Thai Silk.jpg
    Authentic Thai Silk (Image from Jeff Leigh)

    2. Antiques - Now spotting authentic antiques can be quite nerve-wracking and takes lots of experience. There are two kinds of antiques, the ancient kinds that are truly from a different era and the modern replica ones that are created to mimic the ones from the different era. You can certainly find both kinds in many shops and markets around Bangkok but it takes a keen eye to know which are the ancient and authentic ones. But if you're someone whose into just decorative pieces, then you can head to River City Shopping Complex or Chatuchak Weekend Market. Some of the pieces here are authentic but many are just replica ones. If you would rather take home a truly authentic piece of antique, like Burmese furnitures or teak wood furnitures, you can head on to House of Chao or Paul's Antiques. For those who adore retro and vintage posters of movies, or maybe are even avid collectors of figures, places like Papaya Vintage and Rod Fai Market. Prices for antiques vary depending on the age of the item but you can still find even newer trinkets that would excite you in any of these places.
    • Best Places to Buy From - River City Shopping Complex, Chatuchak Weekend Market, House of Chao, Paul's Antiques, Papaya Vintage or Rod Fai Market
    • Average Cost (In THB) - Depends on the Item
    3. Jewelries - It can be very tempting to buy jewelries in Bangkok as the prices here are less as compared to Western regions. However, there are many scams circulating around the city too that you might end up risking your hard earned money for a fake. But if you do have a keen eye and knows how to spot a fake from an authentic gold or diamond, then you can get your money's worth here. Perhaps the most popular jewelry shopping area in Bangkok is Silom Road. You can find reputable shops like Jewelry Trade Centre and Lambert in this area. From precious stones, to gold-laden accessories and everything else, you're bound to find your fix for jewelries here. If you want more lavish options, Emporium and SJ International Jewelry are your best bets. And if you would rather spend your sweet time looking for more affordable gems, head on over to Chinatown and Wang Lang Market. For special occasions though, like proposals and weddings, you might need to think twice before buying gems from Bangkok as if there are any issues with your purchase, it can be hard to have them replaced once you're in your home country.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Silom Road (Jewelry Trade Centre and Lambert), Emporium, SJ International Jewelry, Chinatown and Wang Lang Market
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 1,300 THB/Gram of 22 Carat Gold
    Bangkok Jewelries.jpg
    Bangkok Jewelries (Image from Jenny)

    4. House Ornaments - House ornaments are great souvenirs for the women in your family. As we all know, women like decorating their homes with ornaments like lightings, curtains, table linens and more. Fortunately, such items don't come at such high costs especially around areas like the Chatuchak Weekend Market and JJ Plaza Mall. From these places, you can find unique home ornaments that would truly be appreciated by your loved ones. There's also Narai Phand in Lumpini where you can find extensive house decors ranging from ceramics, bronze and brass items. Mahboonkrong Centre, also known as MBK Centre, is another good option if you're okay with commonly designed housewares. As a bonus, MBK Centre is air conditioned so perfect for those shopping sprees at the middle of the summer season. Prices for home ornaments vary but you can find small trinkets priced for as low 500 THB.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Chatuchak Weekend Market, JJ Plaza Mall, Narai Phand and Mahboonkrong Centre
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 500 THB and Above
    5. Amulets - Last on this section is the auspicious Thai Buddhist amulets that you would find at every nook or corner of the city, perhaps even spotting them in most locals around you. These amulets are supposed to remind the Buddhist of the path that Buddha had to take to attain enlightenment. Usually, Buddhist temples are the main creators of such amulets as only cleansed monks can bless them. Though you can also find replicas of such amulets in many markets. The variety of amulets is extensive nowadays though, as there are types intended for fertility, for love, for protection, for attracting money, for avoiding bad spirits and many more. Some Buddhists also believe that buying an amulet blessed by a powerful monk is considered as lucky. As such, it's not unusual to find amulets bearing a relic from a popular monk, like a hair or a piece of bone even. You can buy such amulets in temples or even in markets like Tha Prachan or the Amulet Market in Banglamphu.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Buddhist Temples, Tha Prachan or Banglamphu Amulet Market
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 500 THB and Above
    For the innate foodie in you...

    6. Instant Pad Thai - The ultimate favourite dish of many Thais and even foreigners is none other than the Pad Thai. This stir-fried rice noodle dish, with its mixture of soft noodles, eggs, tofus, shrimps and peanuts have caught the heart of many foodies. Not to mention the surprising but delectable mix of sourness, due to the tamarind sauce, sweetness, due to the palm sugar, saltiness, due to the fish sauce, and spiciness, due to the chilli powder. You can find this dish in many street food stalls and restaurants but it's also not missing in many supermarkets and convenience stores in Bangkok. Yup, you can take home this yummy goodness, just put it in hot water and mix for that 'Take me back to Bangkok experience.' The most popular brand for Instant Pad Thai is Mama though you're bound to find other brands in huge supermarkets as well.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 6 THB and Above
    7. Instant Tom Yum Noodles - Tom Yum Noodles, with its distinct sour and spicy flavours, also hold a special place in the hearts of the Thai. The soup has a mixture of various ingredients like lemongrass, shrimps, lime, fish sauce and chilli powder. Sometimes, the shrimp can be substituted for other meats such as pork or beef. Again, the most notorious brand for Instant Tom Yum Noodles is none other than Mama. In fact, a restaurant named Jeh O Chula in Bangkok became popular because of their way of cooking this delicious instant brand of Tom Yum Noodles. Another brand worth trying out is Wai Wai, especially their original version of the Tom Yum Noodles. For as little 7 THB per pack, you can enjoy the hearty goodness of Tom Yum Noodles, with a waiting time of just about 5 minutes only.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores or Supermarkets
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 7 THB
    Mama Instant Tom Yum Noodles.jpg
    Mama Instant Tom Yum Noodles (Image from Share with Me)

    8. Royal Chitralada Milk Candy - Through the vision of His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to help the local farmers of Thailand, the Royal Chitralada Project was inaugurated. By this project, the less fortunate farmers of the country could have some form of income aside from agriculture. Excess milk was taken from the cows of the locals and a processing centre was built in order to preserve the milk. The Royal Chitralada Milk Candy is not just delicious, it also serves its purpose of helping in the local living of the Thais. You can choose from two delicious flavours, chocolate or original, both are mildly sweet and oh so creamy. For a nominal price of 25 THB per pack, you're helping for a good cause and indulging yourself in a unique snack only found in Thailand.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 25 THB/Pack
    9. Tao Kae Noi Crispy Seaweed - There's an interesting story behind Bangkok's most popular seaweed snack, Tao Kae Noi. This is a newly established food business, just founded in 2003 by a young man, aged 23 years. This man is none other than Aitthipat Kulapongvanich, one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the city. From playing online games to selling fried chestnuts and then finally, opening this brand of flavoured seaweed snacks, he had taken over Thailand and the world by storm. As of now, Tao Kae Noi is sold not only in Bangkok nor Thailand, but even in countries around Asia like Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia. Story has it, Aitthipat Kulapongvanich once sold seaweeds from China in wholesale and that's when the idea of selling it by packets occurred to him. The rest, as they say, is history as it's inevitable to find these delicious and savoury snacks in convenience stores around Bangkok. It has even expanded into various flavours like hot and spicy, tom yum goong, wasabi, seafood and chicken. Still, nothing beats the original salty and savoury taste of the snack.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 39 THB/Pack
    Tao Kae Noi Seaweed.jpg
    Tao Kae Noi Seaweed (Image from Pixiedw)

    10. Dried Durian Snack - Durian in itself is very healthy, comprised of about 65% water content and filled with vitamins B and C, as well as thiamin. There is one big downside to eating it though, it has this very pungent small that can linger for hours, if not days. Well, it won't be much of an issue if you're just bringing it home and you're staying in Bangkok. But what if you are staying in a posh hotel, which restricts the bringing of durian in it? Does that mean that you cannot relish the delicious flavour and numerous health benefits of this fruit? Fret not, Dried Durian Snack to the rescue! Most convenience stores in Bangkok sell this delicious fried snack. Brands such as Durian Monthong Chips, Blue Elephant and more are available in such place. But if you want an affordable and authentic option, head on over to the Thai Fruit Shop in Mahboonkrong Centre.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores and Thai Fruit Shop (Mahboonkrong Centre)
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 200 THB to 500 THB
    Functional items to take home...

    11. Tiger Balm - Originally, Tiger Balm was created by a Chinese man named Aw Chu Kin but he died before perfecting the formula. His two sons, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, finished what their father started and it ended up being a huge success. Because even today, 100 years since its inception, Tiger Balm has become a popular topical muscle and pain reliever. There are different variants of the ointment that can be used for specific pains experience by the individual. The Tiger Balm White is the original one, usually used for headache relief, mosquito bites and stuffy nose. The Tiger Balm Red is popular amongst athletes as it aims to reduce muscle pains. And the Tiger Balm Liniment, which is just a liquid form of the latter. Aside from these products, the company has also come up with patches, lotions, plasters and aerosols. Tiger Balm is the preferred ointment of many locals for reducing the pains caused by various muscle conditions or even headaches. You can usually find Tiger Balm in huge supermarkets and small convenience stores such as 7/11 and Watsons.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 200 THB and Above
    Tiger Balm Thailand.jpg
    Tiger Balm (Image from Carden in China)

    12. Siang Pure Oil - Yet another handy item you can take home is the Siang Pure Oil. This is touted as the Miracle Oil as it aims to cure various pains from stomachaches, to headaches, to muscle aches, to dizziness and even mosquito bites. The Siang Pure Oil contains a combination of menthol, peppermint, camphor, clove, cinnamon and methyl salicylate. So after a long day of touring Bangkok and you feel your muscles aching, simply dab a few drops of this oil and voila, problem solved! The aromatic smell of the oil can surely lull you into a relaxing sleep. You can find the Siang Pure Oil in most convenience stores and pharmacies around Bangkok as well.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores and Pharmacies
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 25 THB/Bottle
    13. Pim Saen Nam Balm Oil Roll On - This is another oil-based product that aims to relieve the individual from headaches. It is in the form of a roll-on bottle so you can easily rub the product unto your temples without having the need to put it in your fingers. With base ingredients like eucalyptus, pim saen, menthol and camphor, it can surely lift your spirits up. It also claims to have the powers to heal stuffy noses, giving the individual some relief as well. This product can be bought from any convenience store around Bangkok. When bought online, the product costs as much as 105 THB. But when bought in Bangkok, prices are usually around 30 THB per bottle.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Convenience Stores
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 30 THB
    14. Takabb Anti-Cough Pill - The Takabb Anti-Cough Pill is an herbal product used to relieve someone off the symptoms of persistent or chronic cough. The ingredients are lotus root, bitter apricot seed, liquorice root, fragrant solomonseal rhizome, peppermint oil and many more. It is a safer alternative than taking in other OTC drugs. In fact, many individuals have noted of the positive alleviating effects of the tablet. You can also find it in various flavours such as herbal, mint or lemongrass. It has a long shelf-life of around three to four years too so you can stock up on it without any worries. You won't need to swallow the tablet, simply let it dissolve in your tongue and it will work its magic. And contrary to popular belief, it isn't made from centipedes, as the picture on the cover seems to make so otherwise.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Pharmacies
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 22 THB/Pack of 3
    15. Muay Thai Shorts - Maybe you're an avid fan of Muay Thai or you simply want to find appropriate gifts to bring back home to your buddies, then why not buy a few functional Muay Thai shorts pieces? You can even have it customised with their names, favourite colours and the likes. For customised pieces, you can try Top King Shop in Lumpini or Action Zone, close to National Stadium. For normal designed ones, you can go to various street markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market or Pratunam Market. Basically, you can find the normal designed ones everywhere, from street stores to shopping malls. Prices also vary depending on whether you're buying a customised piece or not.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Top King Shop, Action Zone, Chatuchak Weekend Market or Pratunam Market
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 400 THB to 1,500 THB
    Muay Thai Shorts.jpg
    Muay Thai Shorts (Image from Khunkurt)

    Unique things found only in Bangkok...

    16. Edible Bird's Nest - The Chinese have a knack for herbal products that come from animals. Edible bird's nests fit in such a category, which are basically nests made by some bird species from their saliva. Their saliva solidifies and this is what the Chinese consider as an aphrodisiac. Edible bird's nests are made into soups that you can readily eat from various Chinese restaurants. But you can also purchase it in its raw and uncooked form, from various herbal shops in Yaowarat and also in Chinatown. Make sure you clean the uncooked bird's nest thoroughly as it won't be cleaned prior to your purchasing. In its own, bird's nest soup is quite thick and tasty, even without the use of any preservatives or additives. Plus, it has a myriad of other health benefits like skin enhancement, tissue repair, immunity booster and digestion improvement.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Yaowarat or Chinatown
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 3,500 to 4,500 THB/Kilo
    17. Thai Soap Ornaments - A soap so pretty it's almost a sin to use it to wash your hands. Those who have younger female relatives would surely appreciate this gift. You can find Thai soap ornaments in pretty much any market of Bangkok. They range from design to colours so you can choose as many as you'd like. They smell quite divine too even without putting them on water. You're also supporting local entrepreneurship when buying such soaps because chances are, a lesser fortunate local could have done the carvings by hand. It showcases the artistry of the locals and as a bonus, your flower won't wilt on the way home. You can cherish it forever, that is if you won't be too tempted to use it for washing!
    • Best Places to Buy From - Chatuchak Weekend Market
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 100 THB and Above
    Thai Soap Ornaments.jpg
    Thai Soap Ornaments (Image from Misty Isaan)

    18. Lacquerware - One of the most ancient art forms of Thailand is the art of lacquerware. Simply put, it's the process of painting an object, made from wood or bamboo, with lacquer and then carving various designs into it thereafter. Even during the ancient eras, the art of lacquerware was already practiced. To this date, it's hard to find authentic centuries old lacquerware that are from other dynasties. But you can usually find modern lacquerware, ranging from cabinets, trays, dolls and many more. The best market for bargaining for good quality lacquerware items is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. In here, you can find small boxes or cabinets with gorgeous lacquer and designs, all under 500 THB. For a more traditional design, you can try Narai Phand as well though prices here are usually fixed and you can't haggle unlike in street markets. You need to spend more than 1,000 THB here since the products are more on the upscale side.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Chatuchak Weekend Market or Narai Phand
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 500 THB to 1,000 THB/Above
    19. Thai Wood Crafts - For all crafts made of wood, you can head to the Soi Pracha Naruemit Centre, also known as Wood Soi. This is where huge markets get their wood craft products from so you're bound to enjoy the discounts when buying from here. It is also quite a spectacle to watch the artists at work, as they create lattice-like designs or small wooden handicrafts like statues and engravings. Even if the designs don't get your fancy, you can have them customise a design for you to take home in your country. Another place worth visiting is the Royal Thai Handicraft Centre, where you can also find intricate wood works. However, not all items are for sale here though you do get a good amount of products to choose from too. Prices vary depending on the type of souvenir you choose, but smaller ones would range around 300 THB to 600 THB per piece.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Soi Pracha Naruemit Centre or Royal Thai Handicraft Centre
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 300 THB to 600 THB
    20. BKK Original - Now this is surely one souvenir that women will appreciate, the BKK Original. The BKK Original is a line of various designs of women's bags. It was established in 1989 and its original location is in Asiatique in Bangkok. Now, the brand has expanded into other areas in the city like in Chatuchak, Don Mueang Airport and even the BKK Original Hotel. Their bag designs range from sling ones, to shoulder ones, to canvas totes and quirky backpacks. Their bags are quite gorgeous but won't be heavy in the pocket as you can find ones on the range of 200 THB to 500 THB. You can find every colour and design imaginable to suit the women in your life's tastes.
    • Best Places to Buy From - Asiatique, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Don Mueang Airport
    • Average Cost (In THB) - 200 THB to 500 THB and Above
    Asiatique BKK Original Store.jpg
    Asiatique BKK Original Store (Image from Shirmyn)


    With this handy guide, you can now brave the streets of Bangkok and find suitable take home gifts for your loved ones or friends. Why not buy a few souvenir items for yourself as well? As diverse and chaotic as the city of Bangkok is its shopping scene. You have a wide variety of choices, from handicrafts, to housewares, to snacks, to medicinal items and even to quirky items. Enjoy and have fun shopping in Bangkok!

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  3. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    My wife and I have been to Bangkok twice. And our usual hunt for shopping are clothes, footwear and accessories. For myself, I bought 2 leather belts and several pairs of socks aside from the polo shirts. Oh, the prices are so low that my wife was tempted to buy a lot of clothing items as homecoming gifts to friends and relatives. Mind you, their clothes are of high quality particularly the materials used. Bags for women are also nice and cheap too. If you love fruits then you will be in heaven because fruit stalls and ambulant vendors are all over the street selling durian, watermelon, young coconut, pineapple, tamarind, and so many other fruits that are all of high quality.