In addition to a few extra pounds from all the delicious Thai food, visitors have several ways to bring a bit of Bangkok and it’s culture home. If seeing the Buddhist way of life as you wandered though the temples left you in awe, a Buddha statue or amulet can help to give you that zen-like inspiration at home. Or, you can choose to follow the footsteps of American entrepreneur Jim Thompson and bring back a few yards of the ornate fabrics or famous Thai silk for throw pillows or a new addition to your wardrobe. Fall in love with a fabric early in your trip and take it to one of the many tailoring shops around town. Almost all of them will be able to make finished goods, like pillow covers or duvets, within one to three days. Tourists shouldn’t shy away from bigger items, either. Home décor finds, such as lamps and furniture, can be shipped internationally from most stores and markets.
Just outside the gates of Wat Ratchanatdaram, you’ll find an impressive amulet market where you can shop for charms designed to bring you good luck and fortune. Normally small (making for a carry-on friendly souvenirs) and sold for a wide range of prices, the amulets are often worn as jewelry.
Unlike most malls in Bangkok that cater to high-end shoppers seeking luxury fashions, this four-story shopping center on the river is dedicated to selling antiques and hosting auctions. Start shopping on the first floor (the ground floor is primarily dedicated to knickknacks) and expect to barter for each purchase.
The Buddha is one of the most popular souvenirs from Thailand, as it represents a large part of the Thai culture. To find your own statue, wander down Maha Rat Road (adjacent to the busy Tha Chang Pier), where you will find street vendors peddling tiny sculptures in many colors and sizes.
The Phahurat neighborhood is Bangkok’s Little India, where you’ll find rows upon rows of tiny stalls filled with bolts of fabric and ready-to-wear pieces like Indian saris. Stay on the street and you’ll miss out on the troves of shops buried in the back in the slightly claustrophobic alleyways.
Once you fall in love with the Thai flavors, a trip to RST Spices Shop at the Chatuchak Weekend Market will be high on your list. The store offers a large variety of spices and the staff is very knowledgeable of the product. They also have a small online presence, so you can reorder your favorites from home.