Enhancing your wardrobe is practically an obligatory facet of vacationing in Thailand. Whether they are looking for inexpensive travel clothes or a well-tailored ensemble, shoppers find it in Thailand for a fraction of the price they would pay at home.
Bangkok is rich with expansive markets where you’ll find endless styles and varieties of clothing sold side-by-side with an overwhelming accompaniment of mismatched souvenirs, trinkets and jewellery. Shopping for clothing in Bangkok is a sport unto itself, and all the competition means low prices and big crowds.
Sampeng Lane in Chinatown is a hectic market notorious for elbow-to-elbow shoppers and inexpensive clothing. You’ll find great bargains at the Chatuchak Weekend Market and Pratunam Market as well. The boutique shops and department stores on Sukhumvit and Silom Roads cater to more serious spenders with a greater interest in designer fashions. Then there are numerous malls in the Siam Square area which are full of department stores selling good quality brands and cheaper prices.
In Chiang Mai, Airport Plaza and Kad Suan Kaew shopping centres have boutique shops and department stores that deal in a variety of clothing styles and fashions. You’ll find more aggressive vendors targeting tourists on the Night Bazaar, but make sure to inspect the quality before you buy. To a lesser degree, the same clothing is also sold at the Sunday Night Market.
Phuket, Samui and Pattaya all cater well to tourists with big wallets. Pattaya has easily accessible malls in the tourist areas, while Patong in Phuket and Chaweng in Samui have the greatest concentration of boutiques and clothes shops. There are also many tailors clustered in tourist areas. In addition, each of the busy tourist centres across Thailand supports a bustling trade in night market vendors, selling knock off brands, and cheap travel clothing.
Thai silk has developed a world-wide reputation for its quality and comfort. You’ll find silk for sale by the yard and a wide array of silk garments in both local and international styles. The rough, hand-made weave of Thai silks allows for easier dyeing resulting in brighter, fuller colours than shoppers expect in a silk garment.
Tailored suits and formal wear have become a popular shopping attraction. All major Thai cities have shops in the main tourist districts with tailors sitting outside doing their best to lure visitors in for a fitting. Fantastic deals are easy to come by, and the styles are usually meticulously copied from designer catalogues with impressive results produced within 24 hours.
It’s worthwhile to ask around before deciding on a tailor, and be shrewd as you sift through the ‘express’ deals with overnight results. Any serious tailor would rather call you in for an intermediate fitting or two to make sure the final suit or dress is right. Most tailors are open to working with fabric that you’ve purchased elsewhere and brought in with you.
Keep in mind that the tailor with absolutely rock-bottom prices and the fastest turnaround is almost certainly using an inferior grade of fabric and probably isn’t giving your clothes the attention they deserve. Suits purchased at Thai shops like this don’t last.
Traditional Thai clothing is another great souvenir, and many visitors find that a pair of fisherman’s pants makes for comfortable travelling clothes. Sarongs are popular, especially near the beaches, and hilltribe fashions present another tier of souvenir. Bright coloured, often flashy, hand-made fabrics punctuate these traditional garments. Then there is the traditional dress suits of Thailand which look very impressive even if you might turn a few heads wearing them back in your own country.
In short, Thailand is a major garment producer and as such churns out lots of items, from well known brands to cheap local T-shirts. The Thais like to dress respectably and this supports a large industry of fashions.