Some people go
to Thailand for the temples. Some go for the gardens and canals.
All this paled after we discovered
THAILAND -- A SHOPPER'S PARADISE
Simply put, Thailand is like Hong Kong of
the 1960s. It is a place where good
workmanship can be startlingly cheap, where
you can still find an incredible bargain
and where, also, you can be royally ripped
off. It is a shopper's paradise but
it is also no place for the timid or easily
Shopping here is multilevel, meaning really,
really cheap (as in market trinkets), moderately
priced (as in hand made clothing) or breathtakingly
expensive (as in good gold jewelry).
The favorites here are handicrafts, silk,
gems, jewelry, and carving. As for
where to go ... that depends on what you
a floating vendor at Damnoen Saduak
You can't beat any town's
street market for bargains on handicrafts.
Silver bracelets, carved bone necklaces,
exquisite metal pins, you name it. But
look carefully at the quality. Oddly,
sometimes the workmanship far exceeds the
quality of the material. You can find
intricate "silver" jewelry that
is actually silver plated. But, frankly,
who cares? In this case, it's the beautiful
patterns of the metal that count.
Top on the list of handicraft spots is Bangkok's
Chatuchak (Weekend) market. This is
truly, as one guidebook put it, the Disneyland
of markets. More than 8,000 vendor
stalls serve nearly a quarter million shoppers
on Saturday and Sunday.
The stalls run in rows and tend to be grouped
in specialized sections ... jewelry here,
pottery there, carvings here, household goods
there and clothing, flowers, antiques and
food all in their own separate areas.
You name it, you can probably find it here.
On one Saturday morning, our busload
of 20 visitors descended and after three
hours, each person came back with huge bags
of goodies. There was not a single
Among the purchases: handmade note
paper for $1 a packet, exquisitely carved
bone necklaces for $3, silk scarves for $4,
silk dresses for $4, metal temple dancers
for $6 (they were $20 at the airport) and
an endless pile of hand carved kitchenware,
T-shirts, wood statues, hill tribe bracelets,
lacquerware and much, much more.
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