Apr 27 2011
Bangkok is crawling with markets and malls so it shouldn’t be as hard as it is to find quality souvenirs in this town. Of course, there is always Chatuchak weekend market, but sometimes relentless sweat and a maze of stalls can be frustrating when looking for the perfect gift. During a pre-Christmas panic I stumbled upon three different areas in the shopping heart of the city where finding the quintessential silk scarf or Buddha statue is not only possible but quite nearly guaranteed. While these spots may be pricier than their street market counterparts they are surefire bets when shopping for traditional, and high-quality, Thai souvenirs.
Thai Craft Market at Amarin Plaza
The most affordable of the three locations is the Thai Craft Market at Amarin Plaza. Located on the third floor of the mall, this craft market has dozens of stalls filled with trinkets and tchotchkes dominated by silks, colourful beads and woven bags. The souvenirs here are excellent bang for the buck with purse prices starting at around 250 baht and a whole range of cheaper gifts that can be bought in bulk, like cute magnets, woven change wallets and wooden bookmarks.
Amarin Plaza is just off of the BTS station at Chit Lom. It is open daily.
Exotique Thai at Siam Paragon
On the fourth floor of Siam Paragon mall is a section devoted to Thai gifts and handicrafts. With a beautiful selection of fabrics, tablecloths and ties, the prices here are steeper than at Amarin Plaza but the wares are more eclectic and higher quality. Before a trip back to the US I loaded up on silk scarves, for 200 baht a piece, to bring as gifts. Additionally, there are some unique pieces of jewellery and delicate bags. Gold and silver necklaces with Thai letters sell for around 1,200 baht while beautiful make-up pouches, which I bought many of to bring home for friends, range from 200 to 1,000 baht.
Siam Paragon is open daily from 10:00 until 22:00 and is located directly off the BTS stop Siam.
Narai Phand Thai Craft Village at President Tower
For some of the priciest souvenirs but also the most traditional and best quality, Narai Phand has an elaborate selection. While you might not be in the market for a 100,000 baht hand-painted urn there are plenty of affordable gifts to be found at Narai Phand. Beautiful silk skirts are sold for 1,000 baht and are the type of well-made piece that will last forever. I had quite a time choosing between all the beautiful colours. Lovely pillowcases and silk scarves are sold here as well. There is also an immense selection of pottery and porcelain with prices starting at around 500 baht. Narai Phand is probably not the place to buy something for everyone, but is a good spot to buy that one special thing for Mum.
Narai Phand is open daily from 10:00 until 20:00, and is located right off the BTS at Chit Lom across the street from Amarin Plaza. It is a bit hard to find, but is tucked behind the Intercontinental Hotel next door to Gaysorn Mall.
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