Thai Crafts in Bangkok
With sklls that are passed down for generations, the art of Thai crafts has long been a reflection of Thai people's creativity and ingenuity. The intricate detail and meticulous methods is a display of inventiveness, and the elaborate designs proof of perseverance. Moreover, the abundance of natural materials such as wicker, palm leaves, rattan and coconuts make it possible for Thais to produce beautiful and inexpensive handicrafts.
Although it is less likely to find a full-blown craft village in Bangkok nowadays, as decades of rapid urbanisation have taken its toll on the city's traditional living spaces, Bangkok remains the centre for crafts trade. From street-side vendors all the way to luxury shopping malls, you will find all kinds arts and crafts, sourced from all corners of the country.
Thai Craft Shops in Bangkok
Baan Baht (Monk's Alm Bowl Village)
This is last existing artisans village in Bangkok that still hammers out – by hand – the brass bowl that Buddhist monks carry with them during the morning alms round. The Baan Bat community has been producing these bowls since the late 18th Century, today less than five households still make a living selling their craft.
- Location: Soi Baan Baht (south of the Golden Mount, corner of Bumrungmuang and Boriphat Roads)
Bangkok Doll Factory and Museum
The Bangkok Doll Factory and Museum houses an interesting collection of Thai and foreign dolls made by the local factory, making it fun for Thai culture enthusiasts and children alike. Both modern and antique items are on display, and you can see for yourself the ancient practice of doll making that has been passed down over the decades. There's also a shop where you can purchase your favourite doll.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 17:00 (Monday - Saturday)
- Location: 85 Soi Ratchataphan, Ratchataphan Road, Pratunam
Once only popular among wholesalers and traders, Chatuchak Weekend Market has reached a landmark status as a must-visit place for tourists. Its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise will bring any seasoned shoppers to their knees – this is where you can literally shop ‘till you drop’.
The 35-acre (68-rai) area of Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market stalls. On a typical weekend, more than 200,000 visitors come here to sift through the goods on offer. Veteran shoppers would agree that just about everything is on sale here, although not all at the best bargain rates. But if you have one weekend in Bangkok, squeeze in a day trip to Chatuchak Weekend Market and you will not be disappointed. Read More...
- MRT: Chatuchak
- BTS: Mo Chit
- Tour Available: Chatuchak Market In Bangkok
Initiated by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Chitralada shops feature traditional Thai handicrafts made by local people under the Chitralada Support Foundation.
- Location: Outlets can be found on ground floor of the Decorations Pavilion in the Grand Palace, at Oriental Plaza shopping centre, and in the compound of Vimanmek Mansion.
Doi Tung Shop
This well-established brand is better known for its coffee than its fascinating lineup of handmade crafts – actually the cornerstone of the brand. Instead of pure function, Doi Tung crafts sport contemporary designs that feel resolutely Thai yet blend in with western-style homes, whether home accessories, hand-woven carpets, ceramics, mulberry paper stationery, or apparel. Most major shopping malls, such as Siam Paragon, The Emporium and Siam Discovery Center, carry Doi Tung products.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
- Location: Siam Discovery Center, 4th Floor
- BTS: Siam
Koh Kret Pottery
This man-made island just north of Bangkok is home to ethnic Mon people, who are renowned for their exceptional pottery skills. But unlike northern Thailand's celadon ware or stoneware, Koh Kret's earthernware pottery has simple forms and a rather down-to-earth appeal, which goes very well as a decorative piece in the outdoor areas of your home, especially in the garden.
On Koh Kret, you can watch the craftsmen at work or try make your own pottery at one of the many artist studios around the island. The best way to explore Koh Kret, though, is to go on a cycling tour. You'll find yourself in another world - and it'll be difficult to imagine the city is just 20 minutes away by boat.
- Location: Nonthaburi, north of Bangkok
- How to get there: Take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Nonthaburi (Pier N30)
The multi-storey MBK is probably Bangkok's most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals. Eight floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electric appliances, cameras, stationery and DVDs. MBK (launched in 1986) is a beehive of activity, especially on weekends, when half of Bangkok converges to shop for bargains. It's not as up-market or stylish as neighbouring Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and the glitzy Siam Paragon, but it offers a mind-boggling range of goods spread over 89,000 square metres and is considerably less expensive. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Location: Pathumwan Intersection, diagonally opposite Siam Discovery Centre
- BTS: National Stadium
- Tel: +66 (0)2 620 9000
One of Bangkok's least-known rooftops is actually a great one, offering some of the best panoramas in town of the Chao Phraya River. Located on the fifth floor of the well-known Rivercity shopping complex, the rooftop is both a large Thai barbecue restaurant and the cozy venue of the 'Balco Bar. Not only the views are amazing, but the Thai barbecue itself is a fun and unusual experience for travellers wanting to discover a favourite Thai weekend dinner spot! Read More...
- Opening Hours: Bar B Q, open 11:00-23:00, Balco Bar, open 18:30-midnight, closed Mondays
- Location: Charoen Krung Soi 30 (next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel)
- Tel: +66 (0) 2237 0077-8
- How to get there: Get on the BTS to Saphan Taksin Station. There's a free shuttle boat service to Rivercity available at Sathorn Pier everyday from 10:00 to 20:00
Travel back to a time when the grandeur of traditional Thai houses hadn't been replaced with modern skyscrapers right in the heart of Silom, one of the city's most important business districts. Set among lush tropical greenery, Silom Village captures the spirit of old Bangkok through a compound of 17 well-preserved Thai antique houses dating back to the glorious era of King Rama V.
The complex features a hotel (Silom Village Inn), and a shopping arcade where an impressive collection of fine antiques, handicrafts, lacquer-finished products, jewellery, Thai silk, and furniture can be found. Besides the shopping arcade, you can also enjoy authentic Thai and international cuisine at the Silom Village Restaurant, complete with a Thai classical dance show.
- Opening Hours: 10:30 - 23:30
- Location: 286/1 Silom, Bang Rak
- Tel: +66 (0)2 235 8760-1