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Thailand Goodies

Date

Monday, 01 February, 2010

Content In December 2009, Linh and I visited Thailand and Cambodia. Since we'd already visited six other countries in East Asia apart from Hong Kong and Macau, I'd already accumulated a pile of "stuff". My minimalist instinct has been kicking in recently (along with thoughts of my baggage quota for the flight back to the UK) and so I've *tried* not to buy too many physical items. But Thailand is Thailand and I thought I'd share a few of the things I bought. Nothing too bulky.

Thailand Shopping 1

I went to Bangkok armed with tips from stationary genius Patrick Ng on his Scription blog and was able find some excellent gear from Geo and check out other interesting shops such as Propaganda, the Q Concept Stores and the massive books, stationary and music store B2S.

Geo

The products shown on the Geo website piqued my curiosity more than the other stores in my advance net research and in the end, we were only able to track down a selection of Geo products in the Myth store (that stocks a number of stationary, clothes and accessories brands) in the Gaysorn Plaza. Whether due to the effort or the fact that we were running out of shopping time in Bangkok, I spent more than I usually would on first seeing some merchandise.

Thailand Shopping 2

Geo's stuff seems a little victorian in style using graphics sparking the Sherlock Holmes era, so I simply couldn't refuse to buy even a simple little postcard. The photo at the top of the post also shows a brown notebook covered with decorative type and graphics, illuminated-manuscript-style.The small brown folder to the bottom right is a fine leather passport holder.

The green and orange sheet at the top right is actually a commemorative Thai banknote I picked up in Chiangmai's Wualai Road Night Market, and the necklace on the left is made out of dried seeds and purchased at a Hill Tribes shop also in Chiangmai, neither of which are from Geo.

Bottom centre is a folded up 3-D card - shown expanded below, harbouring some jester/harlequin graphics.

Thailand Shopping 3

Amulets

Leaving the designer shops, the rest of the items here were bought in the markets (admittedly as we shopped like tourists). I became obsessed with the tiny, portable amulets that seemed popular with locals and came home with many.

Thailand Shopping 4

I also wanted a full size Spirit House, but my senses came back to me early enough to stick with a small, portable one.

Thailand Shopping 5

Intricately Cut Leather Artwork

Having a near obsession with leather (NOT tight, lunch box leather trousers), I found these pieces of hardened animal skin (which actually were still flexible enough to roll up) to be quite beautiful. The designs were cut into shape and the remaining leather work, painted and stained to reveal the figures.

Thailand Shopping 6

I think we bought these two at the legendary, super-sized Chatuchak Market. An essential piece of advice - if you take a fancy to these whilst in Bangkok and you're in the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, DO NOT BUY if you're quoted over a two hundred Thailand Baht. I first saw these sheets of leather artwork there, and the stall owner had a half-finished piece in front of him, together with tools to emphasise the authenticness of of these artworks. He stressed how each piece took him so much time that he couldn't possibly lower the price below 600 THB (£12). Elsewhere, we saw the same pieces (exactly the same) for 180 THB (£3.60).

Thailand Shopping 7

My guess is that there are teams of crafts people out there somewhere chipping away all day, and they sell the artworks in bulk, cheaply to the resellers in town. By the way, the Suan Lum Night Bazaar IS quite a nice place to visit, but double-check the prices before you buy or just window shop.

Leather Bags, Accessories and Traveler's Notebook Rejects

At Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, I picked up a small leather pouch and an alligator tail cuff for just under a couple of quid each. Whilst the oiled pouch is nothing to shout home about, the alligator tail cuff was super-cheap compared to a similar brown one I bought online once (from America) which was so insanely expensive, I've wiped the price from memory.

Thailand Shopping 8

Thailand Shopping 9

Over in Chiangmai, I bought a roughly-sewn together leather sling bag for 1000 THB (£20) from a guy dressed up like a Cherokee. His stall was in an indoor part of the Chang Klan Road Night Shopping area. Not exactly to be paired with a suit, I found this bag really interesting, a bit rough and ready, though I've yet to brave the streets with it. In the photo above, I even seem to be trying to hide it under the pouch and cuff.

Finally, the last bunch of items are the folders at the top right. I bought these from a leather specialist shop in Chiangmai as unfolded Traveler's Notebook covers (some had the brand stamp and all were punched with telltale elastic fastener holes). These were obviously rejects and most harboured unacceptable scuff marks or were of lower quality leather.

I've been using Midori Traveler's Notebooks as travel journals (more details in Travel Stationary Geek) and when bought as perfect stock items, there's no doubt that they're immaculate, but the difference in price is enormous. The full size Traveler's Notebook set (cover and one notebook) retails at around £25 in Hong Kong, whereas a pile of six covers, a large off-cut of leather and some leather string cost a grand total of 170 THB (£3.50).

At this leather shop, loose stock was sold by weight at around 400 THB per kilogram. In the photo above, I actually got some extra Traveler's Notebook elastic and "finished" the covers off.

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Comments

 

Hi! I'm totally interested in getting those Midori-like leather covers that you found in Chiang Mai. Would you care to share the name of the shop from which you bought them? I live in Chiang Mai myself. Picture of Vera

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

on 04/02/14 at 04:20 PM
Hi Vera,

Sorry for the late reply. I'm afraid I never made a note of the shop, but it looked like a fashion supply shop with lots of offcuts of leather and I seem to remember they had bits of other accessories, like beads.

They might come up via an online search or maybe if there's a local directory, but there's also a chance the shop is no longer there.
Picture of Mark Wu

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

on 04/05/14 at 11:29 PM
Hi Mark

Thanks for replying. I actually used your photo and went up and down that street and managed to find it earlier! The shop owners confirmed it was their shop from your photo although 5 years later, it looked slightly different.
Picture of Vera

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

on 05/05/14 at 03:18 AM
Hey Vera! I'm in CM now and would love to hit that store. Any directions or a name? I'm not a local so the more detail the better! Picture of Nicole Beck

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) in Thailand

on 25/05/14 at 04:43 PM
Hi Mark, thanks for sharing! I'm very interested in getting a Traveler's Notebook and your post was great help! So it is cheaper to get it in Bangkok rather in Hong Kong? And theres any price difference between bangkok and chiangmai?
Thanks!
Picture of Ashe

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

on 17/07/16 at 11:24 PM
Hi Ashe, thanks for your message. I'm afraid I don't know if it's cheaper in any of those three countries - mainly because I never saw the official TN in Thailand. However, I was there in 2009 so no doubt alot has changed since then.

You'll probably have to find the prices in all three places and compare...
Picture of Mark Wu

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

on 17/07/16 at 11:46 PM
Hi Mark, Thanks for replying so fast! Don't worry then, thank you anyway, your blog is great and it has been really helpful for my journey smile Best regards wink Picture of Ashe

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

on 17/07/16 at 11:48 PM

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