Shopping in Thailand
Thailand is a shopper’s paradise but when you live in Thailand your shopping needs are a little different than when you are a tourist, and the crowds and packed markets can get a little tedious. Here are a few must visit shopping destinations when settling in and our tips on how to get the most of your visit.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
The world’s largest market is commonly known among the natives as JJ (jay jay). With more than 15,000 retailers in 27 sections, occupying a 27 acre space, what makes Chatuchak busy every weekend is not only the fun of bargaining prices but an incredible variety of merchandise it has to offer, from clothing and vintage decor to Thai crafts, furniture, gardening materials, food and even pet supplies.
While there are 27 sections, these are not clearly designated to carry particular types of goods, so finding what you’re looking for will require some walking around. Make sure you pick up one of the free maps that are available and also choose landmarks such as the MRT or particular stores to help you navigate. While there are no days when this market is not crowded, living in Thailand means you can cover the market via a few trips and avoid taking on too much in one day. The Chathuchak market is the ideal place to find the little finishing touches that will make your new house or apartment your own.
Wualai Walking Street (Saturday Market):
While the Sunday Market in Chiang Mai is definitely more popular, we highly recommend the Saturday market for the simple reason that you have most of the same vendors and half the crowd!
Wualai Rd is the old silver-making district of Chiang Mai and you’ll still see a few traditional silver workshops around, as well as lacquer wares, unique handicraft, Thai local food, and traditional performances. Also unlike the Sunday market the Saturday market stays open much later and even has a little night/food market set up around the Soi 3 section. Apart from finding some good deals, spending some time at the Wualai Walking Street Market is also a great way to acclimatize yourself to Thai culture.
Street markets are great experiences but let’s be honest sometimes you need the familiarity and convenience of a mall – in this instance the MBK Centre is the place to go. This shopping mall is big, and by big we mean huge. It is quickly becoming one of Bangkok’s top attractions. You can buy everything you need here: mobile phones, accessories, shoes, clothes, food, etc and it has a great mix of international brands and local stores.
It does tend to get crowded though, and there is no way around this, but the sheer convenience of being able to get all your shopping needs satisfied under one roof trumps the crowds any day.
We would recommend a few trips to find your favorite stores and get to know the layout so future visits become easier.
Yes, you will be pleased to know that Thailand has Home Depot. Although not as large as the ones you find in the US, they do carry a wide range that will cater to most if not all your home improvement requirements, with the added convenience of home delivery AND you can also have the staff fit up any furniture for you for a small additional fee.
While the above barely skims the surface of the multitude of shopping opportunities available in Thailand, it’s a pretty good place to start, and of course, more updates will follow this one.