cotton "elephant pants" cost just a few dollars in Thailand.
The model costs extra.
many charms are some great shopping opportunities. Here are some items
we've found particularly worthwhile, either for personal use, or as
and gemstones: Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are mined
in Southeast Asia, and you can find good buys for both individual
gemstones, and for jewelry. However, there are lots of scams out
there. Shop only at a reputable establishment, not at the jewelry
shop your tuk-tuk driver suggests. (He gets a commission.) A good
hotel, or government tourism office, can make recommendations.
bathrobes: They're cheap, they're pretty, and they make
great gifts. Got an office full of co-workers who expect a souvenir?
This is the ticket.
thin cotton pants with decorative designs elephants are popular
can be found in Chiang Mai and other markets. They're great
for wearing around the house or pool, and are also suitable as gifts.
Made from cotton, silk, or bamboo, Thai placemats are an enjoyable,
and easy-to-pack, way to remember your Thai vacation.
greeting cards: From time to time, you'll spot handmade
greeting cards at various street markets. They are true handicrafts,
and styles vary enormously. If you see some that you like, get a
stack. They're less expensive, and far more interesting, than anything
you'll find at home, and they're easy to pack.
Beautiful hand-carved teak and rosewood furniture can be bought
in Chiang Mai and elsewhere in Thailand. This no longer falls into
the "easy to pack" category, but most stores will arrange
shipping, and even with that cost, it's still likely to be a good
value. If you're looking for distinctive new coffee table, bed,
or anything else, hold off on your purchase until you see what's
bamboo are woven and polished into plates, bowls, and other items,
then hand-painted in bright colors, commonly against a black background.
Whether made of silver, bronze, or pewter, this can be a good value.
You'll probably want to purchase it toward the end of your trip,
or arrange to have it shipped.
about certain items:
Statues of the Buddha are considered religious items,
and officially, an export license is required. In reality, the size
and age of the statue also come into play: The law is more often
applied to larger and older statues than to small, new, mass-produced
items made for tourists. If you do take a Buddha out of Thailand,
treat it with respect. Pack it in luggage amongst your shirts, not
with socks and underwear.
Thai law clearly
prohibits the export of antiquities without an export license, but
is less clear about what qualifies as an "antiquity".
If in doubt, apply for the license, or risk having the item confiscated
when you leave the country. A reputable dealer can help you with
the licensing process.
designer items: Counterfeits are common. Did you really
expect to get a Rolex watch for $25?
And don't even think
Yes, you can get some good deals on drugs in Thailand. (Or in the
USA, if you know where to look.) Thailand has strict anti-drug laws,
and purchasing drugs here can get you a long prison sentence, as
well as supporting an underground economy wreaks havoc in developing
countries. Beware, as well: Drug dealers have been known to make
a double profit, first on the sale of the drug, then by reporting
the buyer to the police.