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All Thailand Experiences
Learning how to Shop in Thailand

Shopping in Thailand can be fun or a nightmare. There are a few things to remember before spending your hard-earned cash. Here are a few guidelines and recommendations to make your shopping experience enjoyable, purchasing high quality products at great prices.
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Shopping is one of the great pleasures here in Chiangmai. We have the famous night bazaar, Baan Tawai wood carving village, Bosang Sa paper and umbrella village and Sankampang with its many handicraft factories.

When friends visit, they always ask - what should I purchase and where? Here are some guidelines that I give them that may help you.

The night bazaar has some excellent bargains but be careful. The night bazaar is great for t-shirts, fake designer clothes and watches but not handicrafts. Lacquerware and wood products purchased here will split and crack after a year or so. It is not real lacquerware but only painted with a couple coats of sprayed-on lacquer paint. Wood products are not treated correctly unless you are from a hot and humid climate like Thailand.

This is also a big problem when purchasing wood products from Baan Tawai. These products are made for Thailand and should be purchased by those living here only. The problem is the wood should be dried outside in the weather for two years then heat treated in an oven. This way if you take the wood home to a cooler and drier climate or keep it an air-conditioned home it won’t crack or split. The wood products at Baan Tawai and the night bazaar are not treated properly.

For wood and lacquerware, go to the factories in Sankhampang. I recommend Sudaluck for wood products and Lai Thai for lacquerware. Here the wood is treated properly and the lacquerware is treated with real gum lacquer with seven coats. Every coat is dried and polished.

We have all heard about the gem scams Thailand is famous for. Make purchases of jewelry and gems from a reputable dealer or shop such as Princess Jewelry or Gems Gallery. The prices are a lot cheaper than western countries and the quality excellent. Remember, if the price seems too cheap to believe, then don’t believe the gems or jewelry are real.

Silk is another great bargain here in Chiangmai and much cheaper than, say, Jim Thompson’s in Bangkok. Here again be careful, if you don’t know much about silk then make purchases from a reputable shop such as Jollie Femme. Most of the silk at the night bazaar is partially polyester or made by machine in Chinese factories. Real Thai silk is handmade so the weave is very tight and will stay together after many years of wear and hand washing. Much longer than Chinese machine made silk.

Tailor made suits and clothes are also perfectly made here if you go to the right tailor. Be careful of these one coat, two pants, tie and shirt deals for $99 USD. The material is very low quality and one sleeve may be longer than the other. The biggest complaint is the pockets are way too shallow. Niramit Tailors in Chiangmai is probably one of the best in Thailand.

I hope this will help you avoid problems when it comes to shopping in Thailand, enjoy.

While the Night Bazaar has its flashing neon signs advertising the western food chains and merchandise, crowded narrow walkways crammed with hawkers and tourists, the Weekend Bazaars offer a more relaxing experience. Large wide avenues are blocked off from vehicle traffic at 4pm until 11pm. Talented craft persons and northern Thai fresh food vendors politely sell they wares along the sidewalks and on colorful temple grounds. Rajdumnern Road seams to have one temple after another. The temple grounds are where almost all the food stalls are set up. Here they have tables and chairs where you can sit and have everything from french fries to papaya salad, soups, and grilled Thai dishes. Lots of different foods and desserts you probably have never seen before are available. Soft Thai music is usually played on the temple sound system to add to the eating experience.

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