SHOPPING GUIDE

Best to Buy

A wealth of shopping opportunities awaits the visitor, and bargains abound throughout our country in traditional handicrafts, textiles, gems, jewellery and antiques, as well as more contemporary items.

Clothing : We're one of the world's leading manufacturers of ready-to-wear clothing. Fashion boutiques are found in every shopping mall, while cheaper clothing such as T-shirts and jeans are available at bargain prices from street vendors. Custom tailoring is also very affordable and tailors can produce or copy most styles in just a few days.

Silk : Probably the most famous of all our kingdom's handicrafts, silk is available in a range of colours, patterns and plys, and is sold by the yard, or as ready-made clothing and souvenir items. A unique style of Thai silk is Mat Mee, a tie-dye silk traditional to the North-east. The best known outlet for Thai silk is undoubtedly Jim Thompson's shop at the top of Surawong Road in Bangkok.

Cotton & Batik : Our Thai cottons have become increasingly popular and are a good deal. Particularly notable are the hilltribe cottons woven by the tribal people of the North, typically displaying bold designs and often lavish embroidery. Equally distinctive are original batiks crafted at several studios in Bangkok.

Pewterware : Pewter is fashioned with great skill by Thai craftsmen, and the smooth, silky finish of this attractive alloy is enhanced by delicate relief decoration. Pewterware items include plates, boxes, vases and pocket flasks.

Gems : Bangkok is the coloured gemstone capital of the world. Rubies and sapphires are indigenous stones, but virtually all coloured gems, as well as diamonds, are available. Shoppers should exercise caution and buy from reputable dealers only.

Antiques : Thai, Chinese, Burmese and Khmer antiques are excellent buys. There is an export ban on certain pieces, particularly Buddha images. Other pieces may require an export license, but any reputable dealer will be able to advise on restrictions and any necessary documentation.

Ceramics : Both traditional and contemporary styles of pottery are available throughout our kingdom. Best known are the distinctive sea-green celadons from the Sukothai area, and the central provinces' colourful Benjarong (five color) porcelain, which are unique to our country.

Nielloware : Practiced in the South for hundreds of years, nielloware is the craft of decorating gold and silver objects with delicate etched designs filled with a metal ware. Nielloware trays, boxes, vases and other items are some of our best buys.

Lacquerware : A specialty of Chiang-Mai and the north, this craft involves coating split bamboo or wood with lacquer, then adding intricate hand-painted designs typically gold-on-black lacquer or yellow and green on a red brown background. Look out for lacquerware bowls, boxes, trays and other items for decoration or for souvenirs.

Thai Orchids : We're famous for our huge variety of orchids and their magnificent colours and durable beauty make them a popular purchase. Specially packaged flowers, complete with water supply, are easily transported and can be conveniently purchased at Bangkok International Airport.

Furniture : Rattan and rosewood furniture items are available in many designs and styles and can also be made to order. Shops in Bangkok and Chiang Mai have a wide selection and can arrange shipment overseas.

Hilltribe Crafts : The tribal groups who live in the hills of the north make a variety of beautifully embroidered textiles and silver jewellery. Chiang Mai is the centre for such goods.

Best to Buy - Gems

Gemopolis - Thailand's latest Tourist Attraction and Jewellery Shopping Paradise.

Gemopolis is Thailand's largest diamonds , gems and jewellery center. It is fully integrated one - stop service and only Free Trade Zone for diamond , gems and jewelry manufacturing and exporting center. Gemopolis was established by a group of leading Thai diamond and jewel businessmen in 1990. It has been promoted and put on the tourist map as one of Thailand's latest tourist attractions and gems & jewellery shopping paradise by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Gemopolis is a mega gems city with beautiful , shady and well - maintained environment under the concept of jewels in the park. It occupies a land area of some 300 acres and is envisaged to include a manufacturing and exporting center of hundreds of jewel factories of various scales , an exhibition and trading center with a diamond bourse , a hotel and a shopping center , a museum and retail center and other related supporting business components. The center receives solid support from the government agencies including the Board of Investment , the Industrial Estate of Thailand and the Customs Department. This beautiful gems city located at km. 12, Bangna - Trad highway (off King Kaew Road) , some 30 kms. east of Bangkok. It can be reached by personal car by taking the first state of Bangna - Daokanong express way.

The interesting programme for tourist at Gemopolis include :
  • visiting the gigantic and beautiful environment diamond , gems and jewelry center which currently houses nearly 20 international and local factories including diamond polishing factory , gold & jewellery making factory , as well as gold refinery which mainly produce for export world - wide.
  • factory tourVisitor will be shown the whole process of diamond polishing , gold & jewellery making , gold refinery in the state - of - the art modern factories which belong to international company such as USA , Australia , France , Germany , Japan , Hong Kong , Singapore and leading Thai company like Beauty Gems Group , Thien Po Jewellery and General Diamond - the only one Thai company which appointed De Beers' sight dealer , etc. Moreover , tourist will also have a glimpse of how Thai diamond polishers and skillful craftsmen live and work , how their products of arts and crafts are produced.
  • gems & jewellery shopping Since Gemopolis is the first and only Free Trade Zone for diamond , gems and jewelry in the kingdom , tourist can enjoy duty free privilege in purchasing gems & jewellery so they will save at least 10% VAT. Moreover , they can view and shop a variety of high quality standard of diamonds , gems and jewellery which mainly produced for export at factory - price. So tourist can ensure that price of jewellery at Gemopolis is more competitive and cheaper than jewellery selling at other shops in Bangkok. In addition , Gemopolis also issues certificate of guarantee and buy - back guarantee for tourist as well.
  • a gems & jewellery exhibition The jewel pavilion will be the display of a collection of pure gold masterpieces crafted by Thai craftsmanship , a replica of the world's largest blue topaz namely "Siam Akara Manee" (Giant Gemstone of Siam) , the blue topaz weight 30,000 carat in rough form when it was discovered in Namibia. After polished , the stone has the distinction of having the largest number of facets - 950 with the symbolizing His Majesty being the Ninth King of the Chakri Dynasty , while 50 stands for the number of years which has passed since he accessed to the thorn , Jewel Award - Thailand's award wining jewellery creations , these jewellery pieces have previously obtained accolades in the prestigious Jewel Award Contest , a nationwide contest judging the aesthetic appeal and creation merit of about 50 concept in jewellery by Thai designer. The Jewel Award contest organized annually by Department of Export Promotion (DEP) and the Thai Gems & Jewellery Traders Association (TGJTA) to promote and encourage competition and self - improvement among Thai jewellery designers the demonstration of gemstone cutting by the only world's blind cutter.
  • Gemopolis is open every day from 10.00 am. - 4.30 p.m.
  • Factory tour programme is not available on Saturday and Sunday
  • Admission fee : US$ 5
  • For more information , please contact
    Public Relation Department
    I.G.S. Public Co.,Ltd.
    Gemopolis Industrial Estate
    47/31 Moo 4 Sukhapiban 2 Road ,
    Prawes , Bangkok 10260
    Tel. (662) 727 0022 Fax. (662) 727 0500

The Thai Gem and Jewel Traders Association (TGJTA)

The Thai Gem and Jewel Traders Association (TGJTA) in cooperation with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has established the Jewel Fest Club with the main aims to create an image and upgrade Thailand as a marketplace of quality gems at inexpensive prices, as well as to be a supporting activity of Amazing Thailand 1998-1999.

The Jewel Fest Club is a group of traders who sell gems and jewelry at reasonable prices to both Thais and foreigners. The objectives of the Jewel Fest Club are to promote the sale of gems and jewelry of international standards, and to create a positive image of Thailand's gem and jewelry industry. In the past, some visitors to Thailand were induced to purchase products of low quality with exaggerated prices. Such deceptive behaviour has ruined the reputation of Thailand and affected the entire Thai economy.

  • The Jewel Fest Club is a measure decided to handle the deception problem on gem purchases and to promote Thailand as a trade center of quality goods at inexpensive prices on the occasion of Amazing Thailand 1998-1999 . The traders who join the Club will be presented with a golden ring-shaped symbol with a red ruby on its top, with the initials of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association-- TGJTA-- staning inside the circle, with the wording 'Jewel Fest Club' underneath. To display this symbol at their outlets will help ensure visitors' decisions to purchase jewelry on sale since each product sold will have a satisfaction guarantee for its quality. The Club's members are pleased to accept returned products on the conditions that appear in a certificate issued for every purchase.
  • The Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) in its capacity as the administrator of the Jewel Fest Club is in charge of overseeing the Club's members to follow the Club's regulation in a strict manner ; examining and controlling the quality of products; and raising customers' confidence that the purchased products are refundable in the case that there is a complaint of unfair purchase with the Club's members.

Where to Buy

In Bangkok : Shopping in Bangkok is not limited to one or two major streets, and there are many areas throughout the city affording ample choice and easy access. Here's just a selection of some of the places to go shopping!

Silom-Mahesak-New Road : Many gems and jewellery stores are found here, also the River City Shopping Complex, known for its quality antique stores and regular auctions.

Ploenchit-Ratchadamri : Many department stores and shopping malls are here, including the World Trade Centre, with dozens of shops and restaurants, and the Siam Centre, which contains many fashionable boutiques. Opposite the World Trade Centre you will find the Narayaphand Pavilion, the official handicraft centre selling items from all parts of the country.

Pratunam-Phetchaburi : Pratunam Market, one of Bangkok's garment districts, is the place to go for low-priced clothing of all kinds.

Chatuchak Park Weekend Market :
A famous Bangkok landmark where you can buy just about everything from clothing to potted plants - a paradise for browsers and bargain hunters alike.

Silom-Surawong-Patpong : 
The commercial heart of Bangkok. houses dozens of specialist shops, 
boutiques and shopping plaza representing all the major buys. Street stalls also abound, most notably Patpong's famous night market.

Chitralada Shops
Outlets for Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's SUPPORT Foundation, which encourages the production of traditional Thai handicrafts. Chitralada shops can be found in Bangkok and other major travel destinations such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai.

Bang Lamphu : 
Close to the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bang Lamphu has a lively market where clothing is a popular buy.

Beyond Bangkok : The main city for shopping outside the capital is Chiang Mai, which ranks as one of the world's largest centres for handicrafts and cottage industries. The extensive range of local products includes cotton and silk, hilltribe clothing, Burmese tapestries, hand-painted umbrellas and lacquerware, and many such items can be found at its fascinating Night Bazaar. Pattaya also offers plentiful shopping for Thai goods while virtually all other cities and resorts provide ample opportunity for buying gifts and souvenirs, as well as local specialties.