One thing I love in every country is visiting markets, vegetable markets or flea markets it honestly doesn’t matter. You’ve already read about a couple of markets such as the Plainpalais foodmarket in Geneva, flea-markets in New York or Amsterdam and more. While traveling to a certain country, the most precious souvenirs and reminders will most likely be picked up at these little markets or local stores. Here you will find small entrepeneurs that sell unique pieces with good quality for a decent price. The trick to finding the perfect market souvenir is that you want something that not every tourist is wearing and that it doesn’t break after wearing it once (if we’re talking accessories or clothing). In this article I wanted to share a few pointers on how to find the perfect Thai market souvenir.
My personal favorite souvenir is a piece of jewelry but bags, shoes, shirts can also be original and good reminders of your trip. While I was traveling through Thailand I was overwelmed by the thousand of tourist focused stores selling the exact same dusty touristy things. Think cheap copied t-shirts, inexpensive Thai memorabilia and things like funny hats or glowing sticks. It is this kind of stores that make me think twice about the tourist industry (but more about that here). Do your best to look beyond these store and go hunting for the geniune and orginal pieces. Be on the look-out for the sellers that are selling something authentic, making their own products or are collecting several small local brands (like Nuchi shop on the island of Koh Tao).
My best tip for finding these unique little pieces is to try and find the second (or third or fourth) biggest markets. These are the markets where you will find more locals than tourists. You will have local craftsmen selling their products who will know what type of materials they are made of and how best to take care of your new treasure. Ask them these questions, in this way you will know what you’re buying.
Of course material things are not the only treasures on Thai markets, the food really is a must. Don’t be frightened to try new things. On these markets the food is often very fresh and it’s just the best streetfood. In Thailand you’re quite safe when it comes to food and chances that you’ll get sick are quite small. But be carefull anyway, avoid uncooked products and fish and meat that have been on display for a while. Just have a look at the stall and when it looks clean go for it. I ordered salads, BBQ’d and deepfried fish, mango and papaya salads, several smoothies (always made sure that they were fleshly made) and everywhere I went I went for coconut water. Look for fresh coconuts that are on plenty of ice, you don’t want lukewarm coconut water. But just have fun and don’t be afraid.
If you’re just as excited as I am about going to Asia again, here are a couple of markets that I visited while I was there:
– Saturday Walking Street, Chiang Mai: It’s a little bit out of the city centre but don’t let that stop you. I bought some great jewelry here and enjoyed a LOT of the food.
– Chatuchack Weekend Market, Bangkok: You have some amazing small beauty brands and designers that you can find here. For smaller brands in the Bangkok area, this is the place to be.
– Nuchi Shop, Koh Tao this isn’t a market but it is my favorite little store in Thailand so far. Find out which brands she has here.
Photos by me