Many people are charmed by Thai amulets, which are said to bring love, success, happiness and promises of good fortune. No one can give you with a definite answer if any of the “promises” of the good luck charms of Thailand are effective or not but it is possible to know which ones are authentic and which ones are not. Because of the demand for Thai good luck charms, the number of vendors has increased but not all of them sell genuine amulets.
When you buy Thai amulets, make sure you view them up close and not just through a glass screen, or worse, in pictures. It would be helpful if you can a Thai friend to guide you around some of best places that actually sell the real Thai amulets. Take note that amulets are usually made from various materials like gold, copper, wood, bronze, silver, etc and all these can be replicated easily.
If you are out on your own and you are not an expert on judging authenticity, then judge based on the expertise of the seller. If the seller seems knowledgeable and isn’t pushing you too hard to buy, it’s probably safe to do so.
Good luck charms from Thailand are an authentic craft of the Thais so look for vendors who are locals and residents of Thailand. If you do online shopping and the Thai amulets are not sent from Thailand, then that could prove to be a sketchy deal; do a background check of the vendor or ask him/her personally. How much does the seller know about the amulets? Does he/she know the history, the significance, the tradition and the process of making the Thai good luck charms? What does the seller claim about the Thai amulets?
Buddhist amulets are not sold for the sake of fooling others into false claims. Genuine vendors sell for various reasons but they should not sell them to con people. The prices of genuine Thai good luck charms are not cheap, and genuine vendors would never make exaggerated promises of magical powers or any “abilities” of the amulets.
Look beyond the business talk of the seller. Some are manipulated into buying the good luck charms from Thailand because the sellers played with their emotions. Are you being promised happiness, good fortune, success, etc?
Sellers with good intentions would not sell you emotion but would sell you the significance and the meaning of Thai amulets in relation to the Thai culture. Thai amulets are not magical artifacts; they are beautiful creations that symbolize the Thai tradition.
Sukhothai is a beautiful a city in Thailand. It houses the ruins of the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom that was established around 1238 and lasted until around 1438. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage historical park. The remains of the ancient civilization exist today in the form of ancient temples and ruins, Sukhothai antiques, Sukhothai plates, Sukhothai bowls and Sukhothai jars.
Thailand has a long history of ceramic art. Various locations have remnants of early pottery, porcelain and other art works of the Thais. There are many classifications of Thai ceramics but among the identified groups, the Sukhothai ceramics stand out as one of the most important.
They were created during the Sukhothai kingdom period in the area where this once-prosperous kingdom was centered (north, central Thailand). Archaeologists, experts and collectors originally classified ceramics from that period to be known simply as “Sukhothai antiques, Sukhothai jars, Sukhothai plates and Sukhothai bowls. Eventually though, further distinction of the artifacts was developed.
Most Sukhothai antiques, such as the Sukhothai plates and Sukhothai bowls, are found scattered in two areas of the Sukhothai kingdom. The kiln sites are primary locations of ancient jars, antiques and other artifacts. The kilns are located around the northern wall of the ancient city, and also in Sri Satchanalai. Now, these two areas are archaeological sites and museums and exhibitions are frequently held in the area.
The production of sukhothai antiques, sukhothai plates, sukhothai bowls and sukhothai jars is estimated to have begun around the thirteenth century AD, alongside the fall and subsequent decline of the Khmer empire. By 15th century, China, the leading ceramics producer, faced a crisis that led to Sukhothai ceramics being given an advantage in export markets.
Eventually, Sukhothai wares reached their neighbors as far away as the Philippines, Indonesia, China and many other destinations in Southeast Asia. Exported by sea, many unsuccessful voyages saw the ancient Chinese and Asian trading vessels containing collections of Sukhothai wares sink to the bottom of the ocean. Some of these have been recovered from the ocean many centuries after, and they still remain in excellent condition.
By the 16th century, the production and export of Sukhothai antiques, Sukhothai plates, Sukhothai bowls and Sukhothai jars was discontinued because of continuous wars between the Kingdom of Ayutthaya and the Burmese Kingdom. Another significant historical event was the revival of Chinese wares, ceramics and porcelain which were once again exported to the world markets.
Today, the best quality and most beautiful samples of Sukhothai ceramics are handled by private collectors. These are highly valuable nowadays and much sought after by collectors worldwide. Their value lies in their unique beauty, the expertise in the handicraft and their history dating back some 700 years to the Ancient Sukhothai Kingdom.
When you think of Bangkok, you automatically think “shopping!” because it is the destination to buy all kinds of things such as Khmer antiques, Thai antiques, handicrafts, clothes, artworks, jewelry, etc.
Out of all the other top Asian tourist destinations, Bangkok comes out number one for shopping thanks to its wide selection of malls, boutiques, markets and stalls. Plus, the people are friendly and welcoming to foreigners! The vendors love to bargain with buyers and this makes the experience more exciting. You can get bargain prices for quality goods in Bangkok.
Shoppers who visit Bangkok will find a wealth of goods to buy. Some of these shoppers look for antiques, particularly Khmer antiques. There are many stores and places to buy all kinds of antiques that come from all over Asia in Bangkok. There are also authentic Thai antiques. Though these items are hot selling items in the market, there is an export ban on particular pieces like religious relics.
For instance, the Buddha statues, images and other artifacts are often banned from export. If you want to buy Khmer antiques and bring it to another country, you need to go to a legitimate antique store and acquire an export license. That way, you can pass through customs without hassle. Reputable dealers will tell you about the needed documents and restrictions.
Here are some places you can check out if you want to go shopping for Khmer antiques and other antiques as well:
Chan’s Antique House – This is one of the oldest antique stores in Phuket. They have been in business ever since antiques began to be established in the Thai market. This store is often frequented by serious buyers of Khmer antique, Thai antiques and other antiques from Laos, Burma, etc. It has good reputation and is still standing after more than fifteen years of success in the antique business. The items are of quality craftsmanship and skill. There are many collections of antiques made of bronze, wood, stone and marble at this shop.
The Fine Orient – This antique store specializes in vintage items, collector’s items and Oriental antiques. There are key pieces mostly from China but there are also Khmer antiques, Thai antiques and the like.
In Bangkok, you will find many other stores to buy antiques. If you go to legitimate and
reputable dealers, they will tell you which ones are authentic and which ones are reproductions of Khmer antiques, Thai antiques and other antiques being sold.
Benjarong is a special type of porcelain originating from Thailand. It is basically painted porcelain and it has a combination of at least three to eight colors. “Benjarong” means “five colors”. This is one of the rarest and most authentic Thai ceramics that are highly sought after today. The traditional ones are now valued antiques! The designs are quite intricate.
Normally, one will see geometric designs and floral designs that are often, repetitive on a Benjarong. The Benjarong design is then named after the color that was used as background. For instance, Thai ceramics (Benjarong type) that has a dark blue background is called “Phum Kao Bin”.
The production of these porcelain antiques is a most thorough and intense process. First, the enamel colors are painted on the porcelain. The background is first set and followed by the combination of other colors to create a unique, Thai design. These Thai ceramics are then glazed over to create a distinctive “swelling effect” on the surface.
The process of production of these porcelain antiques requires intensive labor. Each of these colors is applied intricately. Every piece is fired by kiln once the color has been applied. The method of firing up the Thai ceramics makes the vibrancy of the colors. The effect is a beautiful finishing that marks authentic Thai artistry. Gold is also a popular material used to paint porcelain.
Benjarong is among the most vibrant and decorative Thai ceramics made of porcelain.
Porcelain starts out as white in color and then it is heated in high intensity. After that, the geometric patterns, floral designs and other intricacies are painted on the porcelain.
The Thais handle it carefully and immediately place the piece into the fire once the paint has been applied. Traditionally, only five bright colors are used when making the beautiful Thai ceramics: Benjarong.
Nowadays, Thais still produce this type of handicraft but the colors range from three to eight. Modern designs are the ones that usually have the gold trimming. “Benjarong” is a general term that can be applied to handicrafts; they are ceramic by nature and include cups, vases, plates and other kinds of tableware.
Collectors and those who are interested in buying Thai ceramics usually look for the Benjarong antiques and coffee sets, old tea sets, bowl sets and urns. There are many places in Bangkok where you can find antiques like these in Chatuchak Market, Narayanaphand and the Buran Benjarong Factory.
The Ancient City – also known as the world’s largest outdoor museum – is the best place to pay a visit to get an summary of the Thai way of life and the historical past of Thailand in a day. Within the park there are over 100 constructions of Thailand’s prominent monuments plus architectural sights. Several of the buildings are life-sized replications of present or past sites, while some are scaled down versions.
The replications were created with the help of professionals of the National Museum to guarantee historical exactness. Remarkable works include the original Grand Palace of Ayutthaya (sacked and burned down in the Burmese invasion around 1767), Phimai Sanctuary in Nakhon Ratchasima, and Wat Khao Phra Viharn on the Cambodian border.
Having lots of architectural designs coupled with great arts and craftsmanship, structural layout along with surroundings which integrate harmoniously, The Ancient City brings about a sort of ambiance that causes people to understand as well as appreciate the continuity of history, beliefs, cultures and practices of the Thai people from the ancient past up to now.
Information: Mueang Boran is situated in Samut Parakan – an hour’s drive outside Bangkok. Admission is 100 Baht for adults 50 Baht for kids, in addition 50 Baht if you drive your own vehicle. You can also find bicycles and golf carts for rent there.
Getting there: Because it is quite far outside Bangkok a taxi or your own vehicle is recommended. Although it costs more than public transport, the benefits of saving time as well as the added comfort fully over-shadow the cost. If you want to take a bus take the 511 out of the Southern Bus terminal at Paknam to the end of the line. Take the 36 mini-bus from here to the entrance of the Ancient City.
KM 33 (old) Sukhumvit Road
78/1 Democracy Monument
Tel. 0-2224-1057, 0-226-1936-7
Built in 1908, OP Place is really a historic showpiece in itself with added classic style like its Neoclassic architecture and the manually operated lift. The complex has several storeys of art galleries and stores offering superb antiques of all shapes and forms.
Enthusiasts of unique crafts and other collectibles will likely be amazed because of the large collection of Asian handicrafts, antiques, carpets, jewelry, fabrics, artwork, and Thai silk.
Situated next to The Oriental Hotel, OP Place also has a third floor that is a floor dedicated to The Ashwood Gallery which is an attractively arranged gallery of antique arts, crafts as well as furniture. It’s very well laid out and is essential for antique enthusiasts or just people who want to own an item of some excellent Asian heritage.
The OP Place Asian Heritage Centre has been very well designed and oozes the feeling that everything must be expensive which is normally the case. There’s car parking but there aren’t a large number of spaces available. On the other hand, it is possible to park in the Oriental Hotel’s car park which costs 40 Baht an hour.
Like with all antique shopping you have to know what you’re doing. Having said that, there are many very nice items on display and if you like Oriental furniture and items of art, OP Place will surely not dissapoint you.
If you keep walking around this area you’ll find an array of jewelry stores as well as shops dedicated to foreign trade. There are some good deals on offer if you look hard enough. A branch of Chitralada shop, a project initiated by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, can also be found here.
Opening Hours: 10:30 – 18:30
Location: 30/1 Soi Charoen Krung 38 (behind the Oriental Hotel)
BTS: Saphan Taksin
Tel: +66 (0)2 266 0186
The antique shopping mall opened in l984 and was the very first riverside shopping complex of this type in Bangkok. With more than 47,000 sqm of space along with a approximately 200 retail stores spread over 4 floors, the mall offers a wide array of shopping possibilities.
The main objective of the River City mall is on Thai national articles like antiques and art. There are standard retail shops here as well. The mall furthermore hosts numerous displays, functions, festivals and auctions all through the year.
Monthly auctions are held at the auditorium on the 4th floor the 1st Saturday of every month arranged by the Riverside Auction House Ltd.
The 1st and 2nd floors of the River City Shopping Complex have a multitude of silk shops, tailors, jewellers, art galleries, leather stores, gift shops and boutiques.
On the 3rd and 4th floors there are over a hundred art and antique stores having rare antiques like Buddha images, big blue and white vases, gold and silver ornaments, ceramics, porcelain, Thai benjarong items, art deco clocks and sculptures, elaborate wood designs and carvings and other fine art from all around South East Asia, China and even Europe. There are also quite a few independent art and antique shops on the premises.
An array of amenities and services assure River City’s shoppers as well as visitors their highest possible comfort and shopping enjoyment; a good amount of car parking spaces for in excess of five hundred cars, tourist information, 24-hour security, a walkway linking the Complex with the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel to name a few.
A free of charge taxi boat service transports people between River City and Sathorn Pier. Direct boat services also link the River City Shopping Complex with the Oriental Hotel, the Shangri-la, the Peninsula, the Millennium Hilton as well as the Royal River Hotel.
The River City’s Boat Tour Centre set up in 1990 offers services of river and canal tours, dinner cruises along with a luxury cruise to Ayutthaya leaving from its very own pier.
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
Location: 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Charoen Krung 30 (next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel)
Tel: +66 (0)2 237 0077-8
How to get there: Take the Sky Train to Saphan Taksin Station. There’s a free shuttle boat service to the River City available at Sathorn Pier everyday from 10:00 to 20:00.
Bangkok is the shopping Mecca for those on the prowl for great antique souvenirs. With excellent Bangkok souvenirs that speak of the good taste and cultural intricacies uniquely Thai, one would be hard put not to be overly extravagant when assaulted with the pomp and pageantry of Bangkok souvenir shopping. It is recommended though, that the shopper possess a certain maven-ish flair for telling authentic and genuine antiques from mere reproductions.
Buddhist art, specifically, is pervasively omnipresent, as it distinctively reflects the unique and one-of-a-kind quality of Thailand’s ancient periods. Any Buddhist figure obtained when Bangkok souvenir shopping must be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and approval issued by the Ministry of Culture, and should thusly be provided by the dealer. Be wary of unscrupulous dealers when it comes to antiques.
The Antique Lover’s Haven
Antique connoisseurs and collectors are well-advised to try Bangkok souvenir shopping at a sprawling premier place dedicated to such endeavors – the River City Shopping Complex over at 23 Yota Road, Sampantawong. With the third- and fourth-floor shops having the widest array of magnificent antiques and captivating collector’s items, it would be an unending dilemma to actually make a final choice and close a bargain. A rare global collection can be seen with a great selection of local Bangkok souvenirs interspersed with those from Cambodia, China, Europe, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Take your pick–if you can–from among rich collections of ceramics and porcelains, silver and gold trinkets and boxes, sculptured and wooden pieces, among other things. Be mesmerized further by a cluster of antique shops selling Bangkok souvenirs conveniently located on the ground floor. As an added attraction to those shoppers out for only the most genuine pieces regardless of their price, monthly auctions are held on every first Saturday of every month. Organized by the Riverside Auction House, this Bangkok souvenir shopping event promises to be a thrilling bidding experience for the seriously discriminating antique collector and connoisseur.
The Silom Galleria
With a breathtaking collection of artistic crafts and fine antique pieces, the Silom Galleria at 919/1 Silom Road, Bangrak in Bangkok could very well be the antique collector’s best bet for Bangkok souvenir shopping. Here, you can find jewelry and Bangkok souvenirs that showcase the superb skills of Thai jewelry crafting renowned throughout the world. Thailand’s largest collection of precious gemstones in intricate settings is easily procurable to the serious antique jewelry shopper. Aside from this, ancient arts and art products that elegantly display Thailand’s creative flair are also available. You couldn’t get anything or go anywhere better than this–the Silom Galleria.
Suan Pakkad Palace is located on Sri Ayutthaya Road not far from the Victory Monument in downtown Bangkok. Initially the house of Prince Chumbhotpong Paripatra and his spouse, they transformed it into a museum that opened in 1952.
Suan Pakkad means “Cabbage Patch”, in reference to when the area was nothing more than exactly that. These days, on the other hand, it’s a well cared for tropical garden with tranquil ponds encircling 8 traditional Thai houses, each of which is filled with fine arts, antiques in addition to oddities belonging to the Prince and Princess. The over 450 years old Lacquer Pavilion is considered the most impressive construction within the compound.
The first thing that greets visitors is a building which displays ancient Ban Chieng items dating back to the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. These rare pieces of decorated ceramics, bronze weaponry and equipment, shows a Southeast Asian civilisation that was equal to Egypt and Stonehenge when it comes to technological and cultural development.
The architectural centerpiece of Suan Pakkad Palace features 4 Thai teak wood houses situated between the front of the palace and garden. Each one was moved here from its original place in Chiang Mai and, like the majority of traditional Thai houses, are 2 storeys high (they are all interconnected by way of 2nd floor platforms, so you’re able to wander between buildings without needing to go up and down the stairs).
To sum up Suan Pakkad Palace is an excellent location to stop by to view numerous rare and diverse pieces as well as architectural designs.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:00
Location: 352-354 Sri Ayudhya Road. Pratunam (five minutes walk from Phaya Thai BTS station)
Contact: +66 (0)2 245 4934
One good reason to visit Bangkok: Thai handicrafts shopping. For generations, Thais have passed on the skills of making and producing superb quality, beautiful handicrafts using unique methods molded by Thai creativity and perseverance. The detail and the intricacy of the handicrafts are incomparable to anywhere else in the world. Thais have successfully preserved their culture, their tradition and their proud history in the handicrafts that they produce. The beauty and the quality of these crafts are sought after by many tourists in Bangkok.
Nowadays, Bangkok is a vision of urbanization, typical of the world today. However, the skilled handicrafts of Thais are not lost nor are they forgotten. Thai handicrafts shopping remains one of the top reasons to visit Bangkok. The street vendors, markets and luxury malls are scattered with these amazing handicrafts. Here is a short guide of places to go handicrafts shopping: