Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thailand: Buying Guide -- Local Items

Thailand has a plethora of beautiful items you may want to take back home. From pearl from the Andaman Sea to handicrafts of all sorts, there are so many things to choose from! I really like buying the local items, as I call them, because I feel like I am supporting the people, and thus the country.

Some great items that I have found along the way include:

Pearls - You can find them everywhere, be it a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, or whatever you want. I purchased freshwater pearl in both natural color and black pearls and was very happy with the quality and price. I got the necklace and bracelet set for around $10 from a street vendor.

I also purchased a black pearl necklace and bracelet set, with the pearls being of slightly larger diameter for $12 from a vendor on Chaweng Beach. The vendor was so happy that it was the first sale of the day that he gave my boyfriend a bracelet made of shells and stones. I also purchased a pearl necklace that had three dangling pearls for only $3. These make great gifts to take back to family and only take up a small amount of space in your bag.

Black pearl set from Chaweng

Jewelry - Besides pearls, you can pick up a lot of different styles of very unique shell and stone jewelry. I bought some cute colored shell earrings for my friends for only $2 a pair. There is alot a lot of sterling silver jewelry to choose from.

Pearl bracelet from Pi Pi Island

Fisherman pants - Fisherman pants are one of the items that many tourists buy while in Thailand. These pants are hard to resist and the are the quintessential lounge pants. They generally have material on the sides that is tied in the front at the waist. Some are also draw string. These are comfy and great for a day at the beach or trekking through the islands.

Wearing fisherman pants while exploring Samui

Silk - You can't go to Thailand without buying silk. There are various silk items from scarves, to shirts, to bedspreads and pillow cases. I really wish I would have bought one of the bedspreads. I believe they were only around $25. I have been trying to find one in the States, but they go from $125-$200 here. So I think I will just wait until the next time I am in Thailand.

Thinking of getting a custom suit or dress made? See my previous article on Phuket... and beware!

Examining silk for custom dress

Handy crafts - The Thai people are very handy with the things their country offers them. They can craft so many beautiful and unusual items from bamboo! There are various decorative items, such as votive holders and bowls. They also carve Buddhist designs into wood and then brush a bit of gold paint on the top. They are really beautiful and I wish I would have bought one to hang on my wall! If you are looking to decorate you home, Thailand offers so many options at a very affordable price!

Wooden pose carving from Samui

Wooden elephant carving from Bangkok


Ming the Merciless said...

The reason the pearl seller was so happy with you being the first customer was because he/she believed in a superstition that the first sale of the day will predict how the rest of the day will look. If you had walked away without buying anything, he would have a bad day.

Ashley said...

Very interesting, Ming. Thanks for your input :) Hope we made our jewelry man have a good day of sales!

bluemountainmama said...

those are all great finds! i'm not usually a pearl fan, but i LOVE that bracelet! i like the grays...

so neat that you get to travel like this! since i am new here, i'm not sure the reason for the travel... work or fun?

backpakker said...

Now I know what to buy have bought some great stuff ..been to Thailand a couple of times ..but never really bought much..though my hubby bought me some blue turquoise pendant and earrings when he went

AJEYA RAO said...

Loved the handicrafts. Are they too expensive?

Ashley said...

Hi Ajeya Rao.
The handicrafts are not very expensive at all. They generally sell for $5-10. They get cheaper the more you buy.
It makes decorating your home very inexpensive :)

Momo :) said...

Wow, these all look very neat!

Momo xoxo

Frasier said...

Those superstitions are the same in India too!
My brother bought me the same jewelry when he went,its so cheap.I love the roadside stuff shopping too..its my favorite

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Real estate Philippines said...

Nice post you’ve shared. I like all of these handicrafts, they look gorgeous. Thank you and keep sharing.

Charles A