We love everything Thai. From the people to the food, visitors tend to get wrapped up in the Land of Smiles when visiting. For those of us who can’t call Thailand home forever, these Thai-oriented gifts are the next best thing. Just as a warning for those traveling to Thailand, it is illegal to transport any Buddha image unless you are Buddhist. Now, with that out of the way, here are the top 15 gifts for those people obsessed with all things Thai.
Some of the most elegant silver work is created in the north of Thailand, specifically Chiang Mai. It is said that many of the techniques used in northern Thailand for these pieces were adopted from Myanmar in the 13th century. Pieces of silverware, bowls and plates are decorated with a variety of different images.
Teak forests in the north of Thailand provide those who create beautiful woodcarvings an abundant source of material for their craft. Regardless of the ban on logging in the 1980s, there are still a large number of woodcarvings found throughout the country. This is a great gift for those who love all things Thailand, as it is very easy to find beautifully designed woodworks for affordable prices. Prices do vary depending on quality; however, browse any number of Thailand’s markets and you are sure to find cheap pieces of art. Many pieces depict several aspects of Thai culture, from carvings of the Buddha to wooden sculptures of elephants, a national symbol of Thailand.
Because of Thailand’s unique climate, it is home to some of the most extensive, mouthwatering fruits in the world. While visitors can not necessarily take things like durian, mangosteen, or lychee home with them, they can certainly purchase and pack up the next best thing: dried fruit. Some of the most delicious dried fruits include mango, pineapple, and papaya. These delicious packages can be found in markets and grocery stores throughout the country; however, there are also plenty of online platforms that sell this snack.
Jim Thompson, an American architect, revived the silk industry in Thailand after the country was losing business to other Asian countries, including China and Japan. The fabric’s popularity lived on even after Thompson’s suspicious disappearance in the mountains of Malaysia in 1967. While there are certainly a number of factories mass-producing silk, the production of Thai silk in the north of Thailand remains similar to that of when it was first created during the Khmer Empire.
Every backpacker who has sweated their way through the Land of Smiles has a pair of elephant pants to prove it. These comfortable, colorful, bohemian-style pants are a staple of tourism in the country. Visitors can find them in the most tourist-congested areas, including the infamous Khao San Road.
Traditional Thai clothing is colorful, unique, and can found at most markets throughout Thailand. Visitors to Thailand rarely come across Thai men and women in full, traditional Thai attire, as Western clothing and style has slowly become the norm in the Land of Smiles. Traditional Thai clothing is often worn for festivals and beauty pageants. It is usually made out of silk, and there are several ways people can wear this type of clothing. This style of clothing is layered, making it easy to select a few pieces to create the perfect ensemble.
Thailand’s coconut production is rather large, with coconut farms and plantations found across the country. In addition to drinking water straight from the coconut or devouring it in ice cream form, visitors to Thailand will also find a plethora of carved coconut items for sale. Thailand’s markets also have an abundance of fragrant coconut oils for sale that smell incredibly sweet and make users’ hair silky and soft.
Hill tribes living in the north of Thailand have long fascinated travelers. Many tourists trek through their villages just to get a glimpse of what life is like. It is important to note that many of these tribes live in poverty, and one of the best ways to support these tribes that have long intrigued visitors is by purchasing their unique creations. Be careful, however, as many market vendors will claim that particular items are handmade by someone living in a hill tribe, when in fact it was mass produced in a factory of sorts. From bags to beads to pendants, there are a number of authentic items handmade by a number of tribes.
Anyone who has ever been to Thailand and spent an afternoon on any one of its incredible beaches has likely been heckled by someone selling sarongs. This is one of the only items, however, that tourists are likely to buy while lounging. While many of sellers are turned down when approaching with a number of different souvenir items, sarongs remain a popular keepsake among those who visit the Land of Smiles.
Thailand is home to two famous ceramics: celadon pottery and Benjarong. Celadon’s greenish glaze has made it popular and sought-after, and the production of this type of ceramic dates back to the Sukhothai period. Benjarong is another popular, painted porcelain in Thailand. It is usually intricately detailed and very colorful, as it’s name literally translates to ‘five colors.’
Thailand is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Tourists often find themselves walking the length of these white, sandy expanses and finding some pretty incredible items along the way, including seashells. Seashells generally do not have to be declared at customs, as long as travelers are not bringing in a large number of them, and they are both cleaned and sanitized.
Drinking in Thailand is a relatively inexpensive ordeal in comparison to most countries. Large buckets of liquor in combination with a mixer are found throughout Thailand, from the rowdy Khao San Road to the most beautiful of beachside cities. Thai alcohol has become one of the most well-known souvenirs, and many logos found in these drinks can also be found on koozies, tank tops, magnets, and more. One liter of alcohol is usually allowed into a country duty-free, but be sure to check the rules and regulations of whatever country you are flying to before bringing alcohol into the country.
Stone images are found throughout Thailand. Most importantly, stonework is the makeup of many noteworthy Buddhist images. That being said, it is illegal to transport any Buddha image unless you are Buddhist, so you may want to find a different yet unique piece of stonework to take home with you for the holidays.
Anyone who has ever visited Thailand has fallen in love … with tiger balm, that is. This perfect blend of herbal remedies has provided comfort to travelers for a number of different ailments. From mosquito bites to muscle pain, tiger balm continues to relieve those who utilize this natural remedy.
Thai Cuisine Cookbook
Thai cooking classes have become a must-do attraction when visiting the Kingdom. There are an abundance of classes available for visitors to partake in, from those that focus specifically on fruit carving to those classes that only prepare vegetarian-friendly meals. Often, these classes provide students with Thai cookbooks after completing the course. For those Thai-obsessed people who do not have the opportunity to take one of these classes, a Thai cuisine cookbook is the next best thing.
By Kelly Iverson
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