Okay, let’s get one thing straight: Thailand might be a Buddhist country for the most part, but that doesn’t mean Christmas isn’t big around the Southeast Asian Kingdom! From Bangkok to Phuket, locals and ex-pats rejoice in the jolly treats of the holiday season, with many of the capital’s malls being decked in festive lights and ornaments.
If you’ve chosen to vacation here in early winter (smart move, if you’ve been missing the sun) and you want to bestow your beloved ones with some very special gifts upon returning home for Christmas, you’re spoiled for choice on where to shop!
Artbox Market, Bangkok
Head down to Bangkok’s Chuvit Garden from around 4pm to experience the capital’s quirkiest night market – quite the feat, seeing Bangkok is practically the homeland of cool outdoor markets and walking streets. At Artbox, things are slightly different: it’s a place you’d expect to find in Berlin or London’s East End, except it comes with a tropical flair. Wander around the market’s countless metal shipping containers that have been turned into mini stores where local craftsmen and designers sell everything from cool home decor to stylish fashion and jewellery! Unlike other places, there are no tacky tourist items here, making Artbox a true gem!
Hill tribe markets, Northern Thailand
Another great option if you want to swap mass-produced tourist ware for authentic presents full of meaning are the many local markets in Thailand’s mountainous north. Whether you head straight up to Pai, or you visit a village around Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai on a day trip, Thailand’s hill tribe communities produce utterly unique items we’d love finding under the Christmas tree! Shop for woven textiles, traditional Thai costumes, original silver jewellery or intricately carved soaps – whatever you end up buying, know that you’re supporting the locals and helping them sustain their traditional craftsmanship. It’s a win for everyone!
Queen Sirikit’s Museum of Textiles, Bangkok
Okay, we’ll admit it: most of the time, gift shops aren’t exactly great and in fact, their so-called gifts can be far from personal. But Queen Siriki’s Museum of Textiles isn’t like most other museums! The souvenirs on sale here are such high quality; they’re actually fit for a Queen. Think high-quality cord flower earrings with tassels, traditional Thai parasols, beautifully printed coffee table books and porcelain vases. It’s easy to buy a whole collection of products here, as many items feature similar prints and are meant to be combined. Got someone special in your life, who deserves a whole bunch of presents? This is where you want to be shopping!
Your hotel spa
Want to pick up some Christmas presents, but having a hard time leaving behind the comfort of your hotel? Well, you might not have to: many hotel spas in Thailand make their very own, bespoke toiletries and fragrances, ranging from body lotions and massage oils to face masks and more! There are, of course, products for the home, as well – scented candles, room sprays and essential oils to name but a few. Best of all, a lot of these will be made from local and natural ingredients, such as lemongrass and Thai basil, making them extra special and completely unique. What’s not to love?