If the word ‘souvenir’ brings to mind one of those small novelty gifts you receive when someone in the family, or one of your friends, gets back from their holidays then quite rightly so. However souvenirs are not always just miniature donkeys wearing sombreros from Spain or T shirts emblazoned with the slogan ‘Went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’… Although usually connected with holiday gift shop merchandise, the word ‘souvenir’ is actually a French word meaning remembrance or memory. Souvenirs are also referred to as keepsakes or mementos and can be any item that somebody keeps for the memories it brings back. Many people like to take a little something home with them as a reminder of their travels, something to show for where they have been, something they can use to look back and reminisce about the fantastic experience they had during their holiday. Not to mention, displaying such a memento around the home can be a great conversation starter when you have guests. After all, buying souvenirs is part and parcel of the fun holiday experience. There are some of us who just can’t resist walking into a gift shop and coming out with something. This can happen a lot especially if you are on holiday with children! Nonetheless, souvenirs are not always linked with destinations though. Many people collect commemorative memorabilia of special events such as Royal Family weddings and merchandise to show support for their favourite popular football or basket ball teams, or even entertainment merchandise which features their favourite movies. Anyways, be sure to leave plenty of room in your suitcase before making your way to Bangkok. You will surely need the extra space when you realize how many unique, remarkable souvenirs there are that you simply have to have, and incredibly low prices are an added bonus. Here is a list of unique souvenirs for you to shop when in Thailand:
Thai silk products
Anything made of authentic Thai silk is special because of the hand weaving process in its production. Caterpillars that produce the natural protein fiber are also specially fed on a strict diet of mulberry leaves. The result is the soft and delicate cloth that can be made into a scarf, a tie, a pillow cover, a cushion cover, a bag or a wallet. Any woman on the receiving end of this souvenir would be delighted with the beauty of the gift. A silk tie or shirt also has the power to bring a smile to a man’s face. These souvenirs can be folded and fit easily in your luggage. You can find this shimmering, soft silk at almost any market or mall in Bangkok, and do not expect to pay much more than ฿200 (about $6) for this beautiful piece of cloth.
Soap and spa products
Do not let the shape fool you: Thailand has some of the best smelling soap and spa products around. From coconut lotions so smooth you will never want to stop applying, to fruit-shaped bar soap, you will want to stock up on these easy-to-pack souvenirs. If scented candles are standard gifts, then soap carvings can be the best replacement. They come in different shapes, sizes and styles from a structured blooming lotus to a dainty blue flower with a ladybug on it. Their fragrance is all the more exotic for a souvenir from Thailand. After coming back from a long overseas journey you might want to soothe your mind and body with essential oils and scented candles. Thailand is known for spices, temples and relaxing massages at quiet places. The essential oils, scented candles and bubble baths that follow would sure be missed after you leave Thailand. Thailand is a great source for such spa products and bringing home some for yourself as well as family and friends is a wonderful idea. Herbal massage packs, carved soaps, foot soaks, and body scrubs are also among the top favorites.
If you want to bring the taste of Thai home, then you must grab some Thai spices before your flight. These come dried and in vacuum-sealed packs so you don’t need to worry about their strong aromas while traveling on a vehicle. Crushed Chili, coriander seeds, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, prickly ash and long pepper are some commonly used spices available anywhere in the street market. Chili pastes and hot sauces are also bottled in air-tight containers. Just check your country’s customs regulations to avoid problems.
Thai handmade bags
A quick exploration of Bangkok’s popular markets will introduce yourself to a myriad of Thai handicrafts. These beautiful products are works of art in themselves and are painstakingly handcrafted by local artisans.Prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bags Bangkok has for sale around the city. From backpacks to clutches, you will not leave disappointed. You can also find great deals on designer bags, however, be wary that not all of them may be authentic, especially with such a low price tag. From the size of the tiny coin pouches to multiple flap shoulder bags, Thailand is versatile in both form and texture of bags. They are weaved to not disappoint your obsession with bags (and if you don’t have one, then they are likely to give you one).
Bangkok is a foodie’s haven, but what happens when it is time to go home and leave all of the delicious snacks and spices behind? Never fear, because the curries you loved and the spices you devoured can all be taken home with you, if you look hard enough. Dried fruit is also a popular souvenir option … and it is delicious. Durian chips aren’t the only portable snacks that you must carry home and introduce to your friends. Dried squid, seaweed snack, pork floss, crispy pork sticks, and exotic-flavoured potato chips are as exotic as Thai fish curry. Go ahead and get baggage full of these never enough snacks that you can refrigerate and maximise their scrumptious consumption. Certified foodies will love the durian chips and other exotic snacks. Buying for children? Get some coconut candy!
Jewelry as gifts is always a hit. In Bangkok, you can buy high quality silver jewelry at good prices. If you are afraid of buying clothes that won’t fit your friends, or shoes that might be a little too tight, then Thai trinkets are to solve your problem. Key chains, elephant-designed items, accessories and coin pouches are something each one of us can squeeze into use in our everyday lives. They form not only a good souvenir, but also an exotic collection of goodies. Be aware that some vendors sell replicas of hill tribe silver products. If you want to help the tribes, you can shop online through their official sites. This guarantees the authenticity of the products and the financial rewards the tribes will have.
Muay Thai shorts
Muay Thai gears have recently become a favorite souvenir item among tourists. You can give these inexpensive, comfortable-to-wear shorts to your husband, son, or a male friend who is a big Muay Thai fan. These wearable souvenirs are practically available anywhere in Bangkok, from air-conditioned malls to open-air markets. Thai culture is not entirely explored or experienced if not for Muay Thai – the combat of Thailand. They have popularised the expanse of Muay Thai shorts that you have the option of wearing if visiting this martial art combat competition. They are comfortable and enhance the Thai culture with its bright colour combination thus posing as a cultural souvenir from Thailand. To complete the experience, you can even visit a Muay Thai camp and watch fights or be trained by professionals!