Some best buys of Thailand
There are many things that attract lange numbers of people from all over the world to Thailand, making it a leading tourist centre in this part of the world.
Among the main attractions are its great varieties of valuable products that can be bought a favourable prices. To give you an idea of what are the really good buys in this country,
here is a brief description of some of them arranged in the alphabetical order.
Among the most sought-after items are: Sawankhalok pottery from the Sukhothai period, carvings and
sculptures, ornamental wood fragments once adorning palaces, puppets, marks, silver bowls and betel-nut containers. When the authenticity is in doubt, ask the dealer to guarantee the return of the item.
Cotton and Batik
Cotton and Batik are internationally well known because of their fine flexible texture and durability. They are often used for both clothing and household items like table linin, bedspreads,cushion covers and rugs.
Among them, the most attractive are those made by the hilltribes living in the North, with fine and delicate embroidery.
Ready-made garments are sold almost everywhere in Bangkok and other cities--at roadside stalls, in special garment sections always occupy the largest space.
Foreign visitors are among their frequent customers. Thai garments not only sell briskly on local markets, but have been the number one export commodity of Thailand in recent years. That is because of the low labour cost,
cheap raw materials, fashionable designs and fine workmanship.
Gems & Jewellery
Thailand has become a new leader in the world of gems and jewellery since the early '80s. This is possible because, first, rich mines of high-grade gemstones, notably rubies and sapphires, have been found in Kanchanaburi
and Chanthaburi provinces; secondly, Thailand has plenty of skillful craftsmen and expert designers; thirdly, the cost of labour and the overhead costs are comparatively low in this country; and
fourthly, Thailand imposes no import or export duty on raw or cut stones. That is why all kinds of precious stones are sent to Thailand for cutting.
Most of the large gold shops in Bangkok are located in Yaowarat Road. Some are more than half a century old. They are all thriving. They have many foreign customers, especially those from other countries in Southeast Asia. They prefer to buy
gold ornaments in Thailand because of the large choice, excellent workmanship and beautiful designs. Pure gold ornaments are also available in some jewellery shops.
With plentiful supplies of highquality raw materials and cheap manpower, Thailand is an ideal place to shop for leatherware of good workmanship at reasonable prices. Some of the products are exported to foreign countries to be reexported after foreign brands are stamped on them.
Mudmee (tied-dye) Silk
Mudmee is a kind of Thai silk produced in the Northeast of the Kingdom. It is so called because of its peculiar dyeing process, by which the silk threads are tied in the desired pattern before dyeing. It was introduced to the market
outside by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, as part of her rural development efforts. Today mudmee is popular among the Thais. Clothes made of mudmee silk are regularly worn by members of the Royal Family.
Sangkhalok stoneware made by optters from China 700 years ago was a distinctive product well known all over Southeast Asi. Later, the art died out and was revived in Chiang Mai only some three decades ago.
Now there are several factories making this peculiar kind of ceramics called celadon. Their products include vases, lampshades, dinner sets, tea sets and a variety of souvenir articles.
Introduced to the world market only after World War II, Thai silk is perhaps already too well known to need further recommendation. It is hand reeled, hand woven and hand printed and so has a natural unever look and a coarse texture which give it its uniqueness.
The two main production centres of Thai silk fabrics are Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
The making of silverware is a very ancient art in Thailand. Its use has enjoyed great popularity among the Thai people for centuries. Thai silverware, especially ornaments, is also in great demand on the world market with the United States, European countries and Australia as its main customers.
This is because Thai craftsmen have maintained the traditional fine workmnship of their ancestors and the quality of the products is under the strict control of the government which prescribes that the content of pure silver in silver products must not be less than 92.5 percent. The two main production
centres of silverware in Thailand are Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Wood Carving is an ancient art of the Thai people handed down from the Sukhothai period about 7 centuries ago. Today, most of the wood carving workshops are concentrated in the northern provinces, such as Lampang,
Phrae, Nan and, especially, Chiang Mai. The products may be divided into 4 categories: funiture, household utensils, decorative objects and articles used as souvenirs. Large quantities of small articles are exported to Europe, the U.S.A. and Japan.
There are several other kinds of handicrafts that are of artistic value, such as Thai dolls, lacquerware, nielloware, brassware, bronzeware, artificial flowers, etc.
All of the above you can conveniently obtain from large department stores, shopping plazas or in the shopoing areas in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya,
where you will find that there are just too many good things to buy and you may be at a loss how to make a choice.