Top 15 Thailand Souvenirs: Must Buys and Where to Shop
The Land of Smiles is a shoppers paradise. There’s street markets, weekend markets, floating markets, and the world-famous chatuchak weekend market. Fact is, Thailand produces an impressive selection of products, foods, textiles, ornaments and other remarkable items you won’t find elsewhere. The markets, shops, and malls are full of goodies. Go ahead, bring home a memento of your visit to Thailand, but don’t forget to purchase gifts for your family and friends!
Looking to take a piece of Thailand home with you, but need ideas or suggestions? Here’s our list of the best souvenirs to purchase in Thailand:
Thai Sauces and Spices
Thailand is famous for its food, which is known for its spices, sauces, and herbs. Sauces and Spices are a must buy if you’d like to continue eating authentic Thai and enjoy unique flavors at home. Purchase a few packets of spices or perhaps a hot peppery sauce (if you’re feeling brave)! Sauces and Spices make great souvenirs and are available nearly everywhere. There’s a great selection commercially packaged sauces and spices in the duty-free shops at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).
Be sure to follow all customs regulations with “food stuffs” including proper declaration. For Thai Sauces and Spices, it’s best to purchase commercially packaged products to avoid problems at customs when you return home.
Elephants as Souvenirs
No, we’re not encouraging you to take a living, breathing pachyderm home. However, the elephant is a symbol of Thailand and makes a great souvenir or gift. Celebrate your visit by purchasing anything with an elephant on it. We like chocolate elephants, but there’s everything from ornaments, paintings, wood carvings, or even a colorful bag sporting the image of an elephant. When departing either of Bangkok’s international airports, look for elephant chocolates in the duty-free shops. The elephant shaped, chocolate covered macadamia nuts at Duty Free are a must buy and a great way to spend leftover Thai Baht.
Thailand is famous for is silk, which for many is a must-buy when visiting. From colorful scarves to bags and bolts of fabric, Thailand offers a wide variety of silks. There are many reputable places to purchase genuine Thai silk, one of which is the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok. If you’re looking for a souvenir suggestion, this is a great bet!
Thai Spa Products
A trip to the Land of Smiles is not complete without a spa treatment or massage. Consider buying spa products to take home. You’ll find a selection of coconut oils, scented candles and indigenous plant oils for purchase. You may also buy beautifully carved soaps, body scrubs, foot soaks, reed diffusers and herbal compresses as souvenirs to take home. Thai Spa products make great gifts for friends, co-workers, and family.
Handmade Thai Jewelry
Looking for gorgeous jewelry to buy for yourself as a souvenir or as a gift for your significant other? Thailand is a great place to find unique jewelry. Chiang Mai is well-known for its exquisite silver shops. Choose from an extensive selection including rings, necklaces and bracelets, as well as gleaming cups and plates. Just be careful where you purchase jewelry, especially items of significant value.
Ceramics and Pottery
Thailand is well known for ceramics, with the country’s artisans producing several types. Two of the most famous are Bencharong porcelain and Sangkhalok stoneware. The Chiang Mai province is also home to many celadon factories if you’re in the area. You’ll find ceramic and pottery products across the Kingdom at plazas, department stores, or in special ceramic and pottery shops.
Wooden Furniture and Carvings
Ornate wooden furnishings and carvings, many made of teak, are available in Thailand. If you pass by Chiang Mai, it’s known as the furniture capital of the country! There are plenty of shops to visit and all of them will assist with international shipping.
Thai Food, Snacks and Sweet Treats as Souvenirs and Gifts
You’ll have discovered many of Thailand’s mouthwatering sweets and unique treats by the time you leave. There’s all kinds of goodies you can buy, but be aware of customs laws including the need to declare. Whether it’s coconut candies, sweet bites made from mashed mung beans, curry pastes, or rambutan jam, there is an enticing variety of unique Thai goodies on offer. Candies are inexpensive make perfect souvenirs for friends and colleagues. Remember the elephant shaped, chocolate covered macadamias from above? The chocolates come in other shapes such as the traditional Thai Tuk-Tuk.
For those who desire to bring the taste of Durian home, dried and vacuum sealed Durian fruit are available at airport duty-free shops. Whether it’s a sweet or a treat, we’ll leave that up to you, but it’s unique. Dried Durian also makes for an interesting gift for friends back home.
TIP: Typically commercially packaged sweets and treats are the safest way to go with customs laws. Remember to declare “food stuffs” when returning home or anywhere you must clear customs such as a stopover or transit point. Nations including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States have strict customs & agricultural laws regarding food importation. Remember, you’ll never fool a Beagle when it comes to food – declare!
Antiques enthusiasts are spoiled when it comes to choice in Thailand. There’s many beautiful objects to admire and examine, including pottery, silverware and wood carvings. Be sure to buy from a reputable shop and not from a stall on the street, or you may find yourself with an unfortunate fake.
All kinds of wickerwork products can be bought in Thailand. Products range from furnishings and hats to coasters and even picture frames. Thai wickerwork products are made using different local plants, such as bamboo, bulrush and rattan. However, one of the most popular utilizes a southern fern-vine called Yan Lipao which is made into beautiful woven handbags. Purchase wickerwork in shopping plazas and department stores in major cities.
High-quality, well-made leather-work is available across the country. This includes plazas, department stores and specialty leather shops. Many items are available at reasonable prices and should be no surprise Thailand is a big exporter of its exquisitely made leather products.
Western alcohol is expensive in Thailand due to the high taxes. However, locally produced drink is cheap and can be just as tasty. Why not purchase Sang Som Whiskey or perhaps some Singha or Chang beer? In Koh Samui there’s locally produced Magic Alambic Rum. The rum is available in a number of flavors and is sold in some hotel gift shops as well as at the distillery.
NOTE: Current aviation security prohibits liquids over 100ml through the security checkpoint. Pack alcohol carefully as it must travel as checked luggage.
Here’s yet another idea: Even if you’ve never taken a Muay-Thai boxing class, nothing is stopping you from buying these colorful shorts to remind you of Thailand.
Tuk-tuk Ornaments Make Great Thai Souvenirs
Another famous Thai symbol is the Tuk-Tuk. Consider taking home a miniature as a great way to evoke memories of your own tuk-tuk travels in the country.
These colorful patterned pieces of fabric are made of cotton or silk. They’ve been part of the Thai wardrobe since ancient times and are very versatile. They also make great souvenirs to take home!
Now that you have our list of Thailand souvenirs, go shopping! There’s so many remarkable items you can purchase in Thailand and you’ll just have to choose when it comes to finding the perfect memento of your trip or that ideal gift for a loved one back home!