Preserve Your Backpacking Memories with The 10 Best Thai Souvenirs
With thousands to choose from, we’ve compiled our list of the top 10 best Thai souvenirs to bring home with you after your backpacking adventures. After an awesome trip you’re going to want to take home some awesome souvenirs to help you remember the trip. There are so many amazing things on offer though, it can be difficult to narrow your choices down to just a few!
Whether you’re navigating the countless markets in Phuket (or any other Thai city), at the mall or just walking down the street – Thai souvenirs are absolutely everywhere. To help you out we’ve put together our recommendations for the top 10 best Thai souvenirs for yourself, your friends and your family:
There’s a wealth of hand-woven products on offer across the country, and these make great, lightweight souvenirs to take home. Some artisans specialize in particular types of woven products like baskets or stools, while others focus on bags and textiles. Either way you’ll be supporting the local economy and treating yourself to something sturdy, hardwearing and beautiful.
Prices start from a few dollars up to a few hundred, depending on the size of the piece and the quality of the work. Head to Chatuchak or Chinatown in Bangkok for some great examples.
Muay Thai Shorts
These are a fun present for people at home because they make you look like a ninja, and who doesn’t want to look like a ninja?! The quality isn’t great if you buy from a market stall but this is more of a cheap and cheerful gift rather being an heirloom to be handed down, and the prices reflect this with a pair of shorts starting from $5.
You can pick Muay Thai shorts up just about anywhere, but the night markets often have a good selection so they’re a good place to start. Another option (although more expensive) is to grab a pair at one of the Muay Thai arenas in Chiang Mai. Why Chiang Mai, you ask? That’s where many pros train!
Thai Silver Jewelry
The range of silver jewelry on offer in Thailand is exceptional, and you can choose to spend a little or a lot to get the piece you want. If you’re buying in a shop then you’re probably getting 92.5% silver (look out for the .925 stamp to be sure), but if you venture into the hill tribe villages then you can pick up something that’s 99% pure. Yes, it costs more, but if you buy direct from the villages then the money goes straight back into the community.
If you want hill tribe jewelry but you don’t have time to visit in person then look online to find official resellers who will pass the profits back to the people who deserve it.
You might struggle to get a pad thai on the plane but you can definitely sneak a taste of Thailand home nonetheless! Dried fruits like mango and guava, unusual snacks like seaweed or pork strips and bags of the notorious durian are available pretty much everywhere.
Our only advice is to check your country’s immigration laws to avoid inadvertently importing something on the restricted list, and potentially getting a fine or worse.
No self-respecting tourist could leave Thailand without a couple of pieces of Thai silk. At the top end of the market you could pay upwards of $150 for a pure silk shawl or dress, but if you’re after an investment then this is still way cheaper than you’d pay in the west.
If you’d rather go for something a little less pricey then look out for pashminas and shawls at Chatuchak market, where cotton/silk mix items start from $10.
Thai Beauty Products
With so many amazing spas and retreats across the country, it’s no surprise that Thai beauty products are readily available as good souvenirs. The top spas will sell gift packs which you can pick up for just a few dollars, and if you’re lucky enough to spend a bit of time exploring the countryside then you may be able to find some handmade products in some of the local villages.
These are souvenirs that punch above their weight as they look and feel special, but don’t break the bank. Particularly recommended if you’ve got a big family and you’re going home for Christmas!
Hand Carved Soaps
You’ll find these across the country for next to nothing, but they’re pretty much the perfect souvenir! Costing only a dollar or two, these soaps are intricately carved into the shape of lotus flowers complete with colorful petals and a beautiful rose scent.
The best bit? They come in carved wooden presentation boxes so they’re easy to pack and transport without causing damage. Stock up on a few and you’ll be able to haggle your way to an awesome deal.
If you’ve had a massage in Thailand then coconut oil is a great souvenir, as the smell alone can transport you back to those long, lazy days in the sunshine. Coconut oil is great for your skin and hair and a bottle of oil makes a great gift for anyone at home who’s into their health and fitness.
When you consider the usefulness of coconut oil alongside the magic qualities of coconut water, you’d be forgiven for trying to pack a whole palm tree into your rucksack!
A whole genre in their own right, Thai spices are a great gift because they’re exotic, lightweight and cheap. Head to supermarkets for bargain basement packets of curry pastes, chili powder, turmeric, tamarind to name a few, or if you want something packaged a little nicer then look for high-end health food shops.
Perfect for helping you remember your holiday while you whip up a massaman at home!
Our final pick for the best Thai souvenirs is clothing. The ubiquitous ‘elephant pants’ so loved by travelers up and down Thailand can be incredibly comfortable pyjama bottoms when you’re back at home, and the range of funky fabrics and designs found in Bangkok or at the beaches is a great way to take a vibrant piece of Thailand away with you.
Bamboo tattoos aren’t just a fad – they’re a growing trend! Popularized by Angelina Jolie in mainstream media, but dating back thousands of years, getting traditional Thai tattoos is something you can be proud to experience (and show off)!
The Best Thai Souvenirs are the Ones You Don’t Hunt Down
These are just a few ideas of some of the great Thai souvenirs that you can take home with you. Take a wander round the markets and stalls near you to see what’s on offer, and always remember to haggle. The first price is never the final price in Thailand!