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Thailand is a haven for those who love to shop. In Bangkok and other big cities, you’re never too far away from a huge shopping centre or a cute boutique store. Much as Thais love foreign brands, there are also plenty of Thai brands that are just as loved by locals as they are by tourists who discover them – here’s a guide to some of the more well-known of them.
Now, if the logo of Krating Daeng seems familiar, that’s because you probably know it as Red Bull back home. To the surprise of many people, Red Bull is actually a Thai brand, developed here for factory workers and marketed in Europe with the help of an Austrian investor. Thailand’s version is sweeter and non-carbonated, and it’s common to see people picking them up in convenience stores when they need that extra jolt of energy – much like we do in the west.
Whilst one might associate Thailand with fresh fruit and fruit juices, cartons of juice are just as popular and much more convenient – and when it comes to fruit drinks, Malee reigns supreme in Thailand. With a history that started out in the fields in 1964, Malee has since grown to be a giant of a company, winning several awards on the way and expanding to sell its products in various Middle-Eastern and Southeast Asian countries. With many different flavours and special, low-calorie varieties, there’s little wonder that it’s grown to be so popular.
Much like Red Bull, Singha is a Thai brand that is popular the world over. Marketed as the original Thai beer, Singha is the most popular beer in Thailand and the Singha corporation also produces other popular Thai beers such as Leo, as well as soft drinks and food. Whether it’s from a bottle shop or in a Thai restaurant, Singha is enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and has been the beer of choice of the Thai people since 1933.
If Singha is the most popular Thai beer, then Chang isn’t far behind. The winner for Thailand at the World Beer Awards 2017, Chang is a favourite of both the Thai locals and the masses of travellers who come to the country every year. Chang also produces non-alcoholic beverages such as soda water, and have sponsored international sports teams, such as Everton football club, in the past. Fun fact – Chang means “elephant” in the Thai language.
Originally working as a Pizza Hut franchise company, they became a separate entity in 2001 and haven’t looked back since, becoming the number one pizza restaurant in Thailand. On any given night, you’re sure to see families coming together to enjoy Italian-American cuisine in a Pizza Company restaurant, and it’s a popular choice for birthdays and celebrations. It’s since expanded overseas too, with branches open in 10 other countries across Asia.
Whilst designer bags are as popular in Thailand as they are in any other country, Thai people also love to buy locally made products at companies such as NaRaYa. Established in 1989, NaRaYa has from strength to strength, with over 3000 employees nationwide working alongside 4000 rural makers to produce high quality bags, purses and accessories in a range of cute designs and materials. An inspiring success story, NaRaYa is well-loved appreciated around the country.
Starbucks may have plenty of stores around Thailand, but Black Canyon Coffee were the first company to try and bring specialty coffee to the Land of Smiles, and the Thai people haven’t forgotten their efforts. A wildly popular coffee company, Black Canyon offers a wide range of coffee and other beverages, as well as serving Thai and international food. The company is popular overseas too, with a number of franchises across Southeast Asia.
Disaya Sorakraikitikul studied fashion in the UK in 1995, and used her expertise to launch a label that’s not just well known in Thailand but is acclaimed around the world. Disaya clothing remains popular with Thai celebrities and well sought after by Thais, with boutiques in Bangkok showcasing the latest designs. It gained global recognition after a Disaya dress appeared on the cover of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album.
Greyhound is a clothing company that focuses on edgy, modern clothing for forward-thinking fashionistas. Originally founded by four friends in Bangkok, it’s since spread worldwide, with stores all over Southeast Asia and farther afield in countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Russia and Israel. They also have nine cafes and restaurants in Bangkok, which have become go-to destinations for the city’s young and trendy.
Oriental Princess is a long-established beauty and cosmetics company with more than 300 stores all over Thailand. From perfumes to make up, hair products to clutch bags, Oriental Princess has a wide range of products to suit people of all ages, and its affordable prices for high-quality products has seen it go from strength to strength, and there’s bound to be a store near you wherever you’re travelling in Thailand.
The first Thai food company to be publicly listed, S. Khonkaen is a giant of the Thai food industry. If you’ve ever been to Thailand, there’s a good chance that you’ve eaten something from this company, given that their products are stocked extensively in convenience stores and used by restaurants all over the country. It’s also established a production base in Poland, in order to meet European demand for Asian meat products. Despite its success and various awards, it still remains true to its roots, with its name reflecting the city when it all started.