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Shopping in Thailand
Shopping in General
Thailand is a shopper's paradise and many visitors to Bangkok in particular end up spending much of their time in the countless markets and malls. Particularly good buys are clothing, both cheap locally produced street wear and fancy Thai silk, and all sorts of handicrafts. Electronics and computer gear are also widely available, but prices are higher than in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
A Thai specialty are the night markets found in almost every town, the largest and best-known of which include Suan Lum Night Bazaar in Bangkok and the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai. Here a variety of vendors from designers to handicraft sellers have stalls selling goods which cannot normally be found in malls and day markets. Most night markets also have large open air food courts attached.
You can also find marvelously tacky modern clothing accessories. Witness pink sandals with clear plastic platform heels filled with fake flowers. Night markets along the main roads and Bangkok's Mahboonkrong (MBK) Mall, near the Siam Skytrain stop, are particularly good sources.
Haggling is the norm and Thais will try to charge you as much as they think you can afford to pay. It's not uncommon to buy something, walk outside, and find somebody who bought the same item for half or one third what you paid (or even less). Try to figure out the item's rough value first — government-run fixed price shops and even hotel gift shops are a good starting point — and you'll find that prices drop drastically when the seller realizes you have some idea of what it costs.
Cheap Asian copies of big name brand hardware are commonplace, and it can be a good way to pick up functional machines for a low price. Though they may lack the full range of features and build quality (and warranty) of their real brand counterparts, they make up for it in price. These items can be found in high street shops, supermarkets, and specialist market areas in the major cities (such as MBK in Bangkok). DVD players (genuine brand or imitation) sold in Thailand are usually region free.
To meet the demands of the Thai market, software is very reasonably priced. Official versions are surprisingly cheap, probably to compete with widespread piracy sales at around 100-150 baht/disc. Most recent PC games can be found for around 500-1000 baht, a good deal cheaper than they are in the West. Be careful when buying these legit copies, as they may not work on your computer when you get home, due to regional restrictions, in this case you may be better off getting a pirate copy to start with.
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