Question: I am travelling to Bangkok and Phuket next month with my husband and two children. We will have four nights in Bangkok (staying in Chinatown) and nine nights in Phuket. Can you please tell me the best places to shop? My husband is interested in electrical items and my daughter and I are looking for clothing, perhaps jewellery and touristy stuff. Are we best off doing most of our shopping in Bangkok or is the price and variety just as good in Phuket?
- P. Saxby, Rutherford.
Answer: I would recommend doing most of your shopping in Bangkok, which tends to have more choice and better prices than regional areas.
If you are in Bangkok on a weekend, go to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is absolutely huge and has clothes, accessories and souvenirs galore. Go for the experience if nothing else.
The best place to buy clothes is probably Pratunam Market, which is a wholesale market with very cheap items.
For mall-style shopping, you can't go wrong with MBK, which has everything from clothes to gadgets. These shopping spots are all a short taxi ride from Chinatown or you can jump on the Skytrain.
The other good place for electronics is Pantip Plaza, which is gadget heaven - but beware of pirated goods. In markets, prepare to bargain - offer about half of the asking price and go from there.
When shopping in malls, ask the shop assistant for a VAT refund application.
You need to spend at least 2000Bt (about $88) a store and 5000Bt in total to claim a VAT refund when you leave the country.
- Jane E. Fraser
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