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What to Buy in Thailand 10 Unique Souvenirs and Gifts

What to Buy in Thailand: 10 Unique Souvenirs and Gifts

As someone who travels quite a lot, I understand the importance of bringing back souvenirs. It’s a wonderful way to preserve memories of the place I’ve just visited and share my experiences with friends and loved ones.

Although, whenever I take my friends to Thai markets for souvenir shopping, they’re always amazed by the incredible range of items! So, with so many options–and limited luggage space–they’re always faced with a question: What should they buy?

For souvenirs and gifts that are uniquely Thai, one of the most popular options is Thai silk. It’s suited for many people given its variety in colour, pattern, style, and use.

Another well-appreciated souvenir from Thailand are traditional handicrafts, such as wood carvings and sculptures, spices, and food. Most of these are convenient to pack since they are compact and safe to export.

But the list doesn’t end there! Choosing which souvenirs to buy so you can commemorate your Thailand trip is a personal choice. So, in this guide, we’ll highlight 10 of the unique Thai souvenirs and gifts to help you out!

Let’s dive in and explore the vibrant world of Thai souvenir shopping!

1. Thai Silk

Thai Silk
Image source: iStock
Best gift forPeople who enjoy bespoke and oriental home decors, scarves, and fashion
Price range600 THB – 6,000 THB
Where to buyBangkok Airport
Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat)
Jim Thompson outlets
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Thai silk makes a perfect gift for someone special. Its elegant and luxurious feel, combined with vibrant colours and intricate patterns, make it a great choice for any occasion. 

Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or any other special event, a Thai silk scarf, dress, or suit is a thoughtful and unique gift that will be treasured for years to come.

Thai silk is not just famous for its high quality, but it is also rich in history and culture. The production of Thai silk dates back over 700 years, and it’s a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Notably, it is made from the cocoons of the Thai silkworm, which is unique to Thailand and is known for producing some of the finest and most durable silk in the world. 

— From Insider

The fabric has a distinctive sheen and texture that is different from other types of silk, making it a favourite among fashion designers and textile enthusiasts.

It is commonly used to create a wide variety of products, ranging from traditional Thai clothing to high-end fashion items and home decor. 

You’ll also find Thai silk in high-end fashion items like scarves, ties, and handbags. And if you’re into home decor, you might want to consider Thai silk curtains, pillow covers, or even a tablecloth. 

With its vibrant colours and natural sheen, it’s no wonder that Thai silk is a go-to for creating eye-catching and unique pieces! 

Local Tip: Fake Thai silk is quite common. Here are some tips on how to watch out for fake ones:

1. Look for the “Thai Silk” label: Genuine Thai silk will usually have a label that indicates it is authentic.

2. Check the price: Authentic Thai silk is a high-quality fabric, and it is generally more expensive than synthetic or imitation silk.

3. Check the texture: Thai silk has a unique texture that is smooth to the touch, but also has a slightly coarse feel due to the natural fibres. Synthetic silk may feel smoother and more uniform.

4. Check the colour: Authentic Thai silk is known for its vibrant and rich colours, but these should not bleed or fade easily. If the colours appear dull or easily fade, it may be a fake.

5. Check the weave: Thai silk is handwoven on traditional looms, which means that the weave will be slightly irregular and have small variations. Machine-made imitations may have a more uniform weave.

6. Burn test: For this one, definitely don’t do this in the store! Once you’ve purchased Thai silk and you want to check its authenticity, you can take a small piece of the fabric and burn it.

Authentic Thai silk will have a distinctive smell and will produce a crisp ash, while synthetic fibres will smell like plastic and produce a black smoke.

2. Home Decor

Home Decor
Image source: Wallpaper Flare

Bringing home decor items from Thailand can be a great way to add a touch of Thai culture and elegance to any living space. Traditional Thai home decor is known for its intricate craftsmanship and use of natural materials, such as wood.

These items can be a great gift for anyone who loves interior design and enjoys adding a touch of exotic elegance to their home.

Additionally, Thai home decor items can be a great way to support local artisans and small businesses in Thailand. 

By purchasing handmade home decor items, you can not only bring a piece of Thai culture into your home but also support the local economy and help preserve traditional Thai craftsmanship.

1. Elephant-Themed Items

Elephant-Themed Items
Image source: Flickr
Best gift forPeople who loves elephants or passionate about wildlife conservation
Price rangeApproximately 100 THB
Where to buyLocal Night Markets
Easy-to-carry levelEasy ●●○○○

Elephants are a symbol of Thailand, and you’ll find all sorts of items featuring the majestic animals. From wooden carvings to decorative pillows, there’s no shortage of options.

An elephant-themed item would be a great gift for someone who loves elephants or is passionate about wildlife conservation.

It could also be a meaningful gift for someone who has travelled to Thailand and has fond memories of interacting with elephants. 

A few ideas for elephant-themed gifts could include elephant-shaped jewellery, a hand-carved elephant figurine, or an elephant-print scarf or bag. 

Local tip: When shopping for elephant-themed souvenirs in Thailand, it’s important to look for items that are made ethically and sustainably. 

Unfortunately, some shops may sell items that are made using elephant exploitation, such as ivory or items made from elephant skin. 

To ensure that you are buying ethically-made products, look for items made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, paper, or cloth.

2. Wooden Carvings

Wooden Carvings
Image source: iStock
Best gift for-Collectors
-Individuals who appreciate art and distinctive home decor items
Price range100 THB – 1,500 THB
Where to buyLocal Night Markets
Carving village in Maeta District
Stalls along Sukhumvit
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Wooden carvings make for an excellent Thai souvenir as they showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage and traditional craftsmanship. 

From intricately carved figurines to beautifully crafted furniture, Thailand is known for producing some of the finest wooden carvings in the world.

When choosing wooden carvings as a Thai souvenir, look for pieces that feature traditional Thai designs and motifs, such as elephants, lotus flowers, or mythical creatures like the Garuda. 

These carvings often have intricate details and are made with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Wooden carvings are an excellent gift for individuals who appreciate art and distinctive home decor items. 

They are perfect for those who have a keen eye for detail and admire the intricate craftsmanship of handmade pieces. 

Furthermore, wooden carvings can be a considerate gift for collectors who enjoy acquiring items from various cultures, as they often showcase traditional designs and motifs.

Local tip: Look for carvings made from sustainable woods such as teak, rosewood, or mango wood. These woods are durable and have a beautiful grain pattern that enhances the carving’s beauty.

3. Thai Spices

Thai Spices
Image source: iStock
Best gift for-People who enjoy bold and spicy flavours or those who love to cook 
Price range10 THB – 300 THB
Where to buyGourmet Market
Spice StoryLittle India (Phahurat)
Chatuchak Market
Makro Chaengwattana
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Thailand is known for its delicious cuisine, and you can bring home some of that flavour with a selection of Thai spices. 

Thai spice blends can make a great gift for anyone who loves to cook or enjoys trying new flavours. They can also be great souvenirs to bring back from a trip to Thailand. 

If you’re looking for a specific persona, someone who enjoys bold and spicy flavours would particularly appreciate Thai spice blends. 

Lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves are just a few of the ingredients you can pick up.

Did you know? Thai spices are not only delicious, but they also have medicinal properties? Many of the herbs and spices used in Thai cuisine have been traditionally used in Thai medicine to treat various ailments and promote good health.

For example, lemongrass is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat digestive problems and fever. 

Turmeric is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is used to treat skin conditions, joint pain, and digestive issues.

4. Handmade Soaps and Spa Products

Handmade Soaps and Spa Products
Image source: Thai Artist Collective
Best gift for-Individuals who love pampering and organic products
Price range40 THB – 1,000 THB
Where to buyLocal Night Markets
Soap Opera Bangkok
Bath&Bloom Flagship Store at Central World
JJ Mall
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Thailand is home to many high-quality spa products, including handmade soaps, lotions, and essential oils. 

Handmade soaps and spa products are excellent choices for individuals who enjoy self-care and relaxation. 

These items are particularly suitable for those who prefer natural and organic products and take pleasure in indulging in a luxurious bath. 

Moreover, they make a thoughtful gift for some people with sensitive skin who prefer gentle and soothing products.

Local tip: Look for products that are made from natural ingredients and are free from harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances. 

Many Thai spas and beauty brands use traditional recipes and methods to create their products, which can be gentler on the skin and more environmentally friendly.

5. Traditional Thai Clothing

Traditional Thai Clothing
Image source: Wallpaper Flare
Best gift for-Collectors
-Perfect for those who appreciate the beauty and elegance of traditional garments
Price rangeApproximately 1,500 THB
Where to buyJJ Mall
Local Markets
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Traditional Thai clothing is a great souvenir to bring back from Thailand, as it represents the country’s rich cultural heritage and unique fashion style. 

Thai traditional clothing, or “Chut Thai,” comes in a wide variety of styles, colours, and patterns, making it easy to find something that suits your taste.

This is also a gift that offers a unique cultural experience and is perfect for those who appreciate the beauty and elegance of traditional garments. 

Giving this as a gift can be particularly thoughtful for people who love to travel or attend cultural events, as it allows them to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of Thailand. 

Moreover, traditional Thai clothing is an excellent addition to any wardrobe, offering a touch of sophistication and elegance to special occasions.

Local tip: Keep in mind that traditional Thai clothing can be quite formal and may not be suitable for everyday wear. However, it can make a beautiful and unique addition to your wardrobe or as a display piece in your home.

6. Handmade Bags

Handmade Bags

Image source: iStock

Best gift for-People who love fashion and appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of handmade items
Price rangeApproximately 199 THB
Where to buyJJ Mall
Local Markets
Bangkok Chinatown
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Handmade bags are often made from high-quality materials such as cotton, silk, or leather. They come in a variety of styles, from traditional shoulder bags and clutches to modern tote bags and backpacks. 

These bags are perfect for anyone who loves fashion and appreciates the artistry and craftsmanship of handmade items. They are perfect for those who appreciate the craftsmanship of handmade items and prefer eco-friendly products. 

Local tip: One of the best places to find handmade bags in Thailand is at local markets and artisan shops. These places often have a wide variety of unique and authentic bags that are made by local artisans.

7. Thai Foods

Thai food is a great way to bring a taste of Thailand back home with you. Thai cuisine is known for its bold flavours, fresh ingredients, and unique blend of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavours. 

There are a wide variety of Thai foods that make great souvenirs, from pre-packaged snacks and sauces to ingredients for home cooking.

1. Thai Snacks

Thai Snacks
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Best gift for-Foodies, especially those who enjoy trying new flavours
Price rangeApproximately 50 THB
Where to buyLocal Markets
Bangkok Chinatown
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Some popular Thai snacks include crispy and savoury fried shrimp chips, spicy and tangy Tom Yum flavoured potato chips, rice crackers, coconut chips, and sweet and chewy mango sticky rice snacks. 

There are also many types of preserved fruits and nuts that are popular among tourists, such as tamarind, jackfruit, and cashew nuts.

These make great gifts for foodies or anyone who loves to try new and exotic flavours.

With a wide variety of sweet and savoury options, there is something for everyone’s taste buds!

Local tip:  Make sure to check the expiration date of the snacks before buying them. This is especially important if you plan to bring them home as a souvenir, as expired snacks may not be safe to consume.

Also, look for flavours that are not commonly found in your home country, such as spicy or sweet and salty combinations.

2. Edible Insects

Edible Insects
Image source: iStock
Best gift for-Foodies
-People who enjoy trying exotic foods
Price rangeApproximately 20 THB
Where to buyLocal Markets
Bangkok Chinatown
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and silkworms have been part of Thai cuisine for centuries and are considered a delicacy by many locals. 

They are often seasoned with spices and herbs and can be enjoyed as a crunchy snack or as a protein-rich addition to a meal.

Edible insects can be a great gift for someone who enjoys trying new and exotic foods or for someone who is interested in sustainable and alternative food sources. 

These are highly sustainable food sources compared to traditional livestock, as they require significantly less water, land, and feed to produce.

When purchasing edible insects as a souvenir, it’s important to ensure that they are sourced from a reputable supplier and are safe for consumption. 

Many markets and food stalls in Thailand sell edible insects, but it’s best to do some research and choose a vendor with a good reputation. 

You can also purchase packed edible insects at grocery stores and some local night markets.

Did you know? Edible insects are a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in fat and calories, making them a healthy snack option.

3. Thai Tea

Thai Tea
Image source: iStock
Best gift for-Tea lovers
-Individuals who enjoy trying unique beverages or those who are interested in health and wellness
Price rangeApproximately 100 THB
Where to buyLocal Markets
Bangkok Chinatown
Convenience stores
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Thai tea is a delicious and refreshing drink, and it’s also available in loose-leaf form so you can enjoy it at home. You can find a variety of flavours, including traditional Thai tea and Thai milk tea.

Known for its sweet, creamy flavour and bright orange colour, Thai tea is a popular beverage throughout the country.

This tea is made from a blend of tea leaves, spices, and condensed milk, which gives it its distinct flavour and creamy texture. It can be enjoyed hot or iced and is often served in restaurants and street stalls throughout Thailand.

It can be purchased in pre-packaged tea bags or loose-leaf form, making it easy to bring home and share with friends and family.

Thai tea can be a great gift for a tea lover or someone who enjoys trying new and unique beverages. It is perfect for those who appreciate the flavours and aromas of herbal teas and are interested in exploring different cultural traditions.

It can also be a thoughtful gift for someone who is interested in health and wellness, as it is known for its antioxidant properties and potential health benefits.

Local tip: Thai tea is available in both loose leaf and tea bag forms. Loose leaf tea can be more flavorful, but tea bags are more convenient for travel.

8. Amulets

Image source: iStock
Best gift for-People who have interest in spirituality and religious practices
Price rangeApproximately 50 THB (depending on the type, rarity, and authenticity of the amulet)
Where to buyLocal Markets
Bangkok Chinatown
Buddhist Temples
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Thai amulets are small religious objects that are commonly worn or carried by individuals in Thailand for protection and good luck. They are typically made of metal or clay and feature various images of Buddha or other religious figures.

These amulets can be meaningful and unique souvenirs for those who have an interest in spirituality and religious practices. 

They are believed to have protective powers and bring good fortune to the wearer, making them a popular item among Thai locals and tourists alike.

Additionally, Thai amulets come in various styles and designs, making it easy to find one that fits the recipient’s taste. 

They can be a great way to bring a piece of Thai culture and spirituality back home with you and serve as a constant reminder of your travels in Thailand.

Did you know? Amulets are usually blessed by monks or spiritual leaders before they are sold, and some people believe that the amulet’s power depends on the blessing.

9. Silverware

Image source: Pxfuel
Best gift for-People who have interest and appreciate elegance and sophistication in dining table
Price rangeApproximately 500 THB (depending on the item’s size, design, and complexity)
Where to buyLocal Markets
Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Baan Tawai Handicraft Village in Chiang Mai
Phuket Old Town
Silom Road in Bangkok
Easy-to-carry levelChallenging  ●●●○○

Thai silverware is known for its intricate designs and high-quality craftsmanship. Many Thai silverware items are handmade using traditional techniques passed down through generations.

Thai silverware comes in a variety of styles, including traditional bowls, trays, and utensils, as well as modern silverware sets with contemporary designs.

Silverware can make a great gift for someone who appreciates elegant and timeless pieces for their home. They are perfect for those who enjoy entertaining guests and want to add a touch of sophistication to their dining table. 

Did you know? Some Thai silverware are traditionally made using a technique called repoussé? This involves hammering and shaping the silver from the reverse side to create intricate designs and patterns on the front. 

10. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
Image source: Wallpaper Flare
Best gift for-Good for anyone
Price rangeApproximately 150 THB – 250 THB (depending on brand)
Where to buyLocal Markets
Health food stores
Easy-to-carry levelVery Easy ●○○○○

Thai coconut oil is known for its purity and is often made using traditional, natural extraction methods that preserve the oil’s beneficial properties. 

Additionally, coconut oil is a versatile and beneficial product that can be used for cooking, beauty, and health purposes, making it a practical and thoughtful gift for a wide range of people. 

Local Tip: Not all coconut oils are made the same! Here are some tips on buying good-quality coconut oil in Thailand:

Look for cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil: This type of coconut oil is considered the highest quality and retains the most nutrients. Look for brands that use a cold-pressing method to extract the oil, which helps preserve its natural properties.

Buy from reputable brands: It’s important to buy from brands that are known for producing high-quality coconut oil. Some popular brands in Thailand include Thaivco, Namo, and Thai Pure.

Check the ingredients: Make sure to read the label to ensure that the coconut oil is 100% pure and does not contain any additives or preservatives.

Consider the packaging: Look for coconut oil that comes in a dark glass bottle or a metal container. This will help protect the oil from sunlight and heat, which can cause it to degrade over time.

Compare prices: Prices for coconut oil can vary widely depending on the brand and quality. Do some research and compare prices before making a purchase to ensure that you’re getting a fair deal.

What Not to Buy as Souvenirs from Thailand 

What Not to Buy as Souvenirs from Thailand
Image source: iStock

Thailand has so many interesting offerings that it may be tempting to just get anything that you like as a souvenir. However, there are certain restrictions to keep in mind.

There are several items that are prohibited from being exported from Thailand due to various reasons, such as cultural significance, environmental protection, public health, and national security. 

1. Antiques

Thai antiques, artefacts, and cultural items over 100 years old are protected by law and cannot be taken out of the country without proper documentation from the Fine Arts Department.

2. Wild Flora and Fauna

All forms of wild flora and fauna, including live animals, parts of animals, and products made from animals, such as ivory and rhino horns, are prohibited from being exported from Thailand without a permit from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Wild Flora and Fauna
Image source: Pxfuel

3. Drugs 

The export of any form of drugs, including prescription medication and illegal drugs, is strictly prohibited. The prohibition on drug exports from Thailand serves to protect the country’s reputation and maintain its international relationships.

4. Cultural Artefacts

Cultural artefacts such as historical documents, manuscripts, and artwork are prohibited from being exported from Thailand without proper documentation and permission from the appropriate government agencies.

To prevent the illegal exportation of cultural artefacts, the Thai government has implemented strict laws and regulations, such as the Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art, and National Museums Act. 

5. Hazardous Materials 

Hazardous Materials
Image source: iStock

Hazardous materials such as chemicals, radioactive materials, and explosives are strictly prohibited from being exported from Thailand.

The exportation of hazardous materials is strictly regulated under Thai law to prevent environmental pollution, health risks, and industrial accidents. 

Moreover, the Thai government has implemented various laws and regulations, including the Hazardous Substances Act, to ensure the safe handling, transportation, and disposal of hazardous materials.

6. Counterfeit Goods 

The export of counterfeit goods, such as fake designer handbags, watches, and electronics, is prohibited from Thailand as they infringe on intellectual property rights and harm legitimate businesses. 

The exportation of counterfeit goods from Thailand is strictly regulated under Thai Intellectual Property Law to prevent the production, distribution, and sale of counterfeit goods.

7. Thai Currency

The export of currency is subject to certain regulations in Thailand. Individuals are allowed to export up to 50,000 THB per person or 100,000 THB per family.

However, if Thai currency is being exported to Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, or Vietnam, the amount cannot exceed 500,000 THB. 

On the other hand, there is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that can be exported, but any sum exceeding the equivalent of 20,000 USD must be declared at customs.

NOTE: It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be additional items that are prohibited from being exported from Thailand. It’s always best to check with the relevant authorities or consult with a professional exporter to ensure compliance with Thai export regulations.
Thai Currency
Image source: Freepik

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