Shopping in Bangkok
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Each year more and more tourists are drawn to the Thai capital for its relatively cheap silk, gems, and tailor-made clothes. But there are a slew of other goods worth discovering: quality silverware, furniture, fine porcelain, and handmade leather goods—all at prices that put Western shops to shame. Plus, already low prices can often be haggled down even further (haggling is mainly reserved for markets, but shopkeepers will let you know if they're willing to discount, especially if you started walking away). A word to the wise: to avoid getting scammed when shopping for bigger-ticket items (namely jewelry), be sure to patronize reputable dealers only. Don't be fooled by a tuk-tuk driver offering to take you to a shop. This is a popular con perpetrated by shop owners, who in turn pay drivers a commission to lure in unsuspecting tourists.
The city's most popular shopping areas are Silom Road and Surawong Road, where you can find quality silk; Sukhumvit Road, which is rich in leather goods; Yaowarat Road in Chinatown, where gold trinkets abound; and along Oriental Lane and Charoen Krung (New Road), where there are many antiques shops. The shops around Siam Square and at the World Trade Center attract both Thais and foreigners. Peninsula Plaza, across from the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok in the embassy district, has very upscale shops. If you're knowledgeable about fabric, you can find bargains at the textile merchants who compete along Pahuraht Road in Chinatown and Pratunam Road off Phetchaburi Road. You can even take the raw material to a tailor and have something made.
You can reclaim the 10% V.A.T. (Value-Added Tax) at the airport if you have a receipt. Ask shopkeepers about the V.A.T. refund—you must fill out the proper forms at the time of purchase.
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