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Ten ideas for shopping in Bangkok to bring back an original souvenir: from local designer clothes, spices, cookbooks, trendy accessories renowned throughout Asia and fashion details that you can’t find elsewhere.
When you arrive in Bangkok, you feel like buying everything. Then stall after stall, you only realise that the cheap souvenirs being sold are ‘Made in China’ items or Indonesian textiles. In the shopping malls, designer brand boutiques offer collections that are simultaneously available worldwide. So, what does one buy to take home something truly unique? You just need to know what to choose and find local designers, such as Asian brands not yet known in the West and grocery stores with quality customer service and fine products (that include labels in English!).
Here are top 10 ideas, like a genuine crocodile handbag and minimal stationery to buy as a gift or to treat yourself.
To be truly “exCOOLsive”, search for a streetwear brand made in Thailand. Matter Makers is the right label, exclusive and at the same time cool, thanks to the creative direction of Romrujee Pansin. Without collections, seasons or following the rigid principles of the fashion system, for a piece that never goes out of fashion.
Basil, bergamot and lemongrass spices are ubiquitous in Thai cuisine, but it would be impossible to keep them fresh until you get home. If you want to pack fragrances from Bangkok, you can buy Galangal and Ginger powder, dried pepper and tamarind paste. For strong flavour lovers, get some dried pork to garnish rice and vegetables.
S’uvimol is the only brand of crocodile bags and accessories in Thailand, founded by the pioneers of the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo. No illegal hunting, but international design and skin obtained with respect for the environment.
The Mandarin Oriental has several stores in the city where you can buy tea, pastries and mooncakes signed by the prestigious hotel chain, which opened its first hotel here in 1879. An institution, to take away and organise a British-French-Thai high tea.
What are you going to write on the next page in the book of your life? Next Page is Poketo stationery line, which has as its motto “Art for Everyday”. Organizers, planners and notebooks can be bought to organize your desk and your life. Next Page can only be found in Los Angeles, Tokyo and now Bangkok.
Colourful fur handles, smiling bags, bold colour combinations: Rosa K is the South Korean brand specializing in luxury bags and matching accessories which has become popular in Asia due to its iconic and irreverent design – like the Pookey Smile line.
Rather than buying a tourist T-shirt, witness your stay in the city with a fashionable souvenir (which you could really wear). The Siwilai Club merchandise is casual and linear, white and blue.
Jim Thompson made the Thai silk famous worldwide; When you are in Bangkok, you cannot miss an original piece. A colourful sarong or shawl with a ‘Made in Thailand’ label won’t go unnoticed.
Five-inch heels? Only for special occasions. Now sportswear is so popular both for business and social occasions. You can wear a pair of sneakers, but only in limited editions or showing off the latest style. Seek is a multi-brand store in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand – the perfect spot for finding real gems, like a pair of zebra print Adidas inspired by Japanese textiles.
The history of Thai cuisine, pad-Thai recipes and papaya salads, soups and coconut milk cakes. Why? Because Thai cuisine is trendy, light and fresh, simple for everyday and amazing to entertain friends.