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Everyone who visits Thailand wants to take home some special souvenirs from this unforgettable country. Bangkok offers a large selection of wonderful shops which sell beautiful gift items, from traditionally woven silk to Oriental antiques, authentic Buddha sculptures and elegant wood carvings.
One of the most popular souvenirs are the handmade and hand-painted puppets that are used in Thai puppet shows. These traditional puppets are delicately painted and dressed in refined clothing and accessories, all in miniature details. Watch a wonderful performance with these puppets at the Joe Louis Theatre in the Asiatique, Bangkok’s newest ‘night-market’ along the Chao Phraya River. Theatre visitors can also see how the puppets are painted.
The best souvenirs can be bought directly from the artisans. There are many dedicated artisans in and around Bangkok who create lovely handicrafts; look for silk weavers at Ban Krua Thai Silk, metalworkers at Monk’s Bowl Village, goldsmiths at Tang Toh Kang and bronze casters along the road to Wat Suwannaram. The best and most exclusive antique shops are located at the Oriental Plaza, next to the Oriental Hotel. Another favourite shopping destination is the Chatuchak Market, which mainly consists of antique stands.
To purchase the most beautiful hand-woven silk clothing, shawls, bags and accessories, visit one of the Jim Thompson shops in Bangkok. Jim Thompson, an American architect and designer who moved to Thailand after the Second World War, has played an important part in the development of the Thai silk industry. He adapted his silk prints for the Western market, significantly boosting the export of Thai silk. He also offered his employees the opportunity to work from home, allowing them to look after their children and run a household while they worked.
Learn more about his endeavours at the Jim Thompson House. The designer’s former home and art gallery is now a museum, composed of 6 traditional teak houses, a shop with beautiful silk collections, a charming restaurant and cosy wine bar. Jim Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant for his contribution to the Thai silk industry. His life history is one of the most popular post-war stories in Asia.
Thanon Rama I, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok