Small things from Thailand to take home. For the places to buy see Shopping in Bangkok.

Lufah

A good body scrub can be had with a lufah, a natural sponge made of the dried fruit of the luffa plant. This natural product is not only an original but also a very affordable gift to take back home and easily available on local street markets.

Takraw Ball (Rattan Ball)

Used for the traditional Thai game takraw, a kind of football played with a volleyball net. The players are only allowed to touch the ball with head, feet and body, not the hands. Played anytime, anyplace, anywhere in Thailand.

A Photo of You in Traditional Thai Costume

Have your picture taken in traditional Thai clothes and jewellery in old-style setting. I had a whole series taken when I came to Thailand and it's fun. Most shopping malls have at least one shop where they provide this service. Costs vary depending on whether they apply make-up too, do your hair and give you just one photo (they will take several, from which you can choose) or a whole series.

Seasonal Decorations, Cards and Calendars

If you get to Thailand near the end of the (western) year (Thai new year is in April) you will find Thai calendars, diaries, Christmas and new year cards all over the place. They depict traditional Thai images, the Thai royal family and examples of Thai handicraft. Some Christmas decorations, especially lights and garlands are very bright and tacky and a treat for the eye.

Soap Flowers

Real flower garlands of course won't survive the trip back home, but traditional jasmine garlands made of soap are also a popular buy for Thai people. They smell good and keep their smell a long time, unlike their fresh counterparts that die within a day. Also available are little plastic boxes with a soap flower in various types and colours.

Tiger Balm etc.

Here an example of an ointment to be used in case of muscle pains etc. A traditional Asian product (originally Chinese) that is used all over the world. Whether it really works or not I am not sure, but it does feel good when applied on painful areas, for example the day after a workout in the gym. Different brands and nice packaging available.

Music, Movies and Software

The legal versions are still quite a lot cheaper than for example in Europe. Audio CD's go for half the price you would have to pay over there so it can be a big saver to buy them here as a present or for yourself. Some people go for the illegal versions, which are easily available but of course not recommended.

Fish Mobile

Chinese-Thai custom is hanging a fish mobile over the new-borns crib for good luck. They're usually made of palm leaves. The plain ones are just that, a natural light brown. They also come in wildly painted patterns, where red with gold seems to be a favourite combination. I have made quite a few friends happy with this gift for their new-born. Of course you can also just buy it for yourself, it is a great decoration item too.

Local alcoholic drinks

Make your friends at home happy with local beer or wine. Bia Singh (Singha beer) and Bia Chaang (Chaang beer) are the most popular ones and I think you have found already that they taste well. Quite special is the local wine, which is called Chateau the Loey. It comes from the north of Thailand, and although not a great taste it will make a good present.

Gold Leaf and other Temple Decorations

Sold in and near temples, gold leaf is normally used to stick on holy Buddha images. They also make for an interesting gift. Little leafs of real gold are wrapped in a piece of paper, sometimes with an official stamp on it. Many other temple decorations like (hand-carved) candles, gold and silver umbrellas and little dolls for spirit houses are widely available and cheap. Treat them with respect.

Thai Sweets

Thailand has an enormous variation of sweets, sometimes in the most horrible colours. I myself don't fancy most of them, but most of them look really delicious and would make a great gift. My personal favourite is Khanom Babin, made with coconut and almonds. Buy it in a bakery, the taste is considerably better than on the streets and you can usually keep it longer.