The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Thailand

If you’re wondering what souvenirs to buy in Thailand, look no further than our fantastically comprehensive guide, created with the help of fellow bloggers and Thailand travellers. It’s full of lovely things to seek out!

Who doesn’t love bringing home a souvenir (or two) from their travels, to remind you of a wonderful trip and give you pleasure for years to come? I was tempted by so many things throughout our three week holiday in Thailand but in the end, I chose just a few of the following items to bring home.

Souvenirs to Buy in Thailand

Backpacker Bracelets

Backpacker bracelet - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Everyone who’s backpacked around Thailand has seen them and has probably bought a couple of them – the famous “backpacker bracelets”, which are all across Southeast Asia!

You see these bracelets on every street and in every shop in Thailand, and they make a cheap and very nice souvenir of your Thailand trip. I remember exactly how I bought mine from a local woman in a rural village north of Chiang Mai.

In recent years, it became a big trend for every traveller to put an increasing number of bracelets around the wrist, with each bracelet reflecting a different country or memory. After my 2 months in Southeast Asia in 2014, I had at least 10 bracelets myself, but removed all but one of them when I got home – the one I bought in Thailand. The knot was too tight to take it off and I didn’t want to cut it, so I decided to keep it as a memory of my first big solo backpacking trip in Asia. And I still wear it today, 4 years later! Let’s see if I will ever take it off!

Patrick Muntzinger blogs at German Backpacker.

Benjarong Ceramics

Benjarong Ceramics - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

One sensational souvenir that you can get back from Thailand is Benjarong, a traditional form of Thai porcelain. The word ‘Benjarong’ simply means 5 colors. Entire designing and coloring is done on plain bone china, which is usually white porcelain. If you are a traditional handicraft fan you will surely love seeing and learning the process of making them. Skilled craftsmen and women draw patterns or themes which are then filled with colors, 2 or more. After that they add liquid gold to the designs. The final finish is given by firing the painted product. This ensures the paint lasts a whole life time. The colors look much more bright and definite compared to the dull effect with just the original paints. Best part is the final finish is resistant to scratching and fading. However they advise you not to put in dishwasher or microwave.

This Thai art originated in 19th century. Benjarong village is at a distance of 40kms from Bangkok. Should you wish to see the art take form from scratch it is just an hours’ drive from Bangkok. The village has plenty of home stays and workshop facilities. Tourists can try a hand at them and create their own designer pieces. Price can range from as low as 80 baht to many 1000s of baht depending on the size, intricacy of the designs, and amount of gold used.

Indrani Ghose blogs at I Share These.

Blessed Souvenirs

Buddhist Monk Blessed Sai Sin Sacred Threads - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

During almost every monk ceremony, like holy days, there will be lengths of string connected with bowls and vessels of water, while the monks are in prayer. Afterwards the blessed water will normally be poured into the roots of plants and trees, to give prosperity and growth. This water is also found bottled to be bought at many temples and it can be later used to bless objects, as well as people, during various ceremonies.

The string is more common, known as “sai sin” – sacred thread, which the monks will cut into smaller pieces to tie as bracelets to people’s wrists, in a ceremony of good fortune.

However monks can more or less bless anything, from water and pieces of string, to new homes and cars. One of the more revered blessed items is pendants and amulets, which have become big business in Thailand, where prices generally depend on who, when and where the pieces were blessed. Many of these blessed items can be bought (open to donation) at most temples.

I was once gifted a fancy bead bracelet by a monk at a temple along the old Khmer Highway of rural Isaan (Wat Khao Anghkan). I was all chuffed at the time and played with it, only the thread snapped and the beads scattered all over the temple floor. Apparently this is very bad luck!

Allan Wilson blogs at Live Less Ordinary. Find him on Instagram.

Buddha Statues

You will find wooden, stone and jade carvings, plus various metalwork statues of Buddha (or Buddha’s head) all over Thailand, sold for display in temples and homes as an item of worship.

Most commonly, Buddha is represented in the tall, slim style of this is Gautama Buddha – the Indian spirital leader and founder of Buddhism, but you’ll also find the bald, portly style of Maitreya, the future reincarnation of Buddha.

Buddha also appears in items of jewellery, particularly the small amulets and pendants that are blessed by temple monks and worn for good fortune and health.

Although icons of Buddha are very popular souvenirs, be aware that it’s illegal to export any items in the form of Buddha from Thailand without a license issued by the Fine Arts Department. In practice, I’ve rarely heard of people being stopped or fined, but it’s your choice to take the risk.

Note that there are additional restrictions on exporting antiques.

Me, here at Kavey Eats. Find me on Instagram.

Chalong Bay Rum

Chalong bay rum - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Thailand is the fourth largest producer of sugar cane in the world and in Phuket, this sugar cane is used to produce rum. The local Distillery, Chalong Bay Rum, buys the sugar cane and produces its sugar before distilling it to make the rum.

As their rum is made from sugar and not molasses (like most of the large brands) it has a unique taste which makes it a perfect partner for tropical drinks like pina colada or mojito.

The distillery organises tours every day in the afternoon where you can learn about the production process and taste the rums. Buying some of their half or full bottles of infused rums with traditional Thai ingredients like lemongrass, sweet Thai basil or lime is a nice souvenir. You can also get a cocktail recipe book to go along with the spirit.

Mar Pages blogs at One In A Lifetime Journey.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Image courtesy of Moho01 (Pixabay)

Extracted from the fleshy ‘meat’ of coconuts, coconut oil is an edible oil that is used for both cooking and beauty treatments. It’s high fat content makes it slow to oxidise, and it lasts many months, if not years, without spoiling.

These days, it’s often touted as a healthy diet alternative to animal and dairy fats, but it does have high levels of saturated fat, so should still be eaten in moderation. Usually solid at room temperature, it quickly melts at body temperature which makes it a popular moisturiser and hair conditioner, and it can also be used as bath oil and massage oil.

Thailand produces a lot of coconut oil and you can find it everywhere, from cheap outdoor markets to high-end (and high-priced) boutique shops. Quality and purity varies hugely depending on the method used to extract the coconut oil, so do try and seek out pure coconut oil, especially if you plan to ingest it.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut Palm Sugar - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Coconut Palm Sugar - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

During our tour of Tha Kha Floating Market in Bangkok, we took a boat trip to a nearby cottage-industry coconut palm sugar producer, and learned the process from collection of sap through its reduction via boiling, and pouring the thickened syrup into shallow dishes to cool. This creates solid-block coconut palm sugar which is usually grated for use.

It’s a fantastic ingredient to bring home, and actually Pete enjoyed nibbling at lumps of it moulded into little flower-shaped blocks but do be careful to buy 100% pure coconut sugar. Big brands sometimes cut it with cheaper sugars to bulk out and reduce the price of their products.

Your best bet is to buy it in local markets within an area where its produced, for best prices on pure product.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Coconut Shell Decorated Bowls

Coconut bowls - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

These coconut shell bowls can be found at many of the markets in Thailand, including on the famous Khao San Road. We first caught sight of them at the Sunday Market in Chiang Mai and found that the best deal on them was about 150 baht. We managed to match this on our last day in Thailand but we had to buy two to get them for 300 baht.

There is much more choice in Chiang Mai, but you will still have a few designs to pick from in Bangkok. I actually was offered a seat to browse them as I did the last of my shopping with a broken foot! Make sure there are no chips in the smooth varnish, and stick to using them as ornaments or bowls for odds and ends to prevent heat from ruining the design.

Tasha Haley blogs at Meldrums on the Move.

Coffee & Tea

Doi Pha Mee Coffee - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Tea stall in Thai food market - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

I wrote in my post on our visit to the Akha hill tribe community of Doi Pha Mee about the deliberate move away from growing opium to growing coffee and fruits instead, thanks to support and encouragement from the late King Rama IX. Many hill tribes in Northern Thailand made the same change switch of crop, creating a successful coffee industry within the region. You can find Thai beans and ground coffee in shops throughout Thailand.

Tea is also an established crop in Thailand, not just different types of tea tea (Camellia sinensis) but herbal and floral infusions including chamomile, butterfly pea flowers (which tint food and liquid a vivid purple-blue colour), chrysanthemum, hibiscus and rose flowers. An inexpensive purchase at a food market, you can buy tea leaves and dried flowers in fairly small amounts if you prefer, and prices are very reasonable.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Croaking Frogs

Croaking frog - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Image courtesy of Tasha Haley at Meldrums on the Move.

Perched on a plastic chair, sipping a cold Chang as you watch the craze of Th Khao San (Khao San Road) stroll by, your ears prick up to the sound of… what is that?… a frog!?

A small elderly lady, dressed in colourful hill-tribe dress beams a wide toothless grin in your direction. She’s holding a small frog carved from acacia wood and stroking its back with a stick. You smile sweetly, shake your head to decline and order another Chang.

Although omnipresent around the tourist markets of Thailand, these wooden frogs originated in Northern Thailand, near Chang Mai. They were once believed to be bring fortune and a successful rainy season in agricultural communities. They are a unique souvenir to take home as a percussion instrument for any friends or family with young kids. Or simply purchase one to sit on your mantelpiece as a reminder of that awesome trip to Thailand.

Jenny Lynn blogs at TraveLynn Family. Find her on Instagram.

Elephant Pants (Trousers)

Elephant pants - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

If there’s one thing you must absolutely bring home as a souvenir from Thailand, it’s a pair of pants (trousers). It’s a cliché, but there’s a reason Thai pants are very popular. We bought ours when we were island hopping in the south of Thailand, in Koh Lipe.

The most common pants you’ll see are elephant pants. They are ubiquitous and a clothing staple of backpackers visiting Southeast Asia. Elephant pants have beautiful bohemian designs and are representative of Thailand itself – the elephant is the national symbol in Thailand. Moreover, they’re very comfortable, airy and can easily be paired with various tops.

A bit more general are the harem pants. You can find elephant pants with harem design also. Other prints include tribal patterns, mandala or peacock. Harem pants can be found in different fabrics (from pure cotton to a rougher material) and are available in cropped or full ankle-length versions.

Lastly, there are fisherman pants, which are wide-sized pants designed to fit all. Fisherman pants are loved for their wide use and versatility.

Thai pants can be found in various parts of Thailand, most commonly in markets in tourist areas. Prices start at 500 baht above, depending on design and quality.

Katherine Cortes blogs at Tara Lets Anywhere. Find her on Instagram.

Elephant-Shaped Souvenirs

Ceramic elephant dishes - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Thai bronze elephant - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Elephant keyrings - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand
Images courtesy of Strecosa (Pixabay), Mizianitka (Pixabay) & Thomas Mathys (tripgourmets.com)

Elephants are the national animal of Thailand, and as such, you’ll find their likeness in temple architecture, furniture, paintings and decor across the country.

They also play a huge role in souvenirs. It’s not just trousers, scarves and bags on which you’ll find elephants (woven into the design of the fabric itself). From jade and wooden carvings to bronze moulds, from pottery sculptures to ceramic dishes, from keyrings to colourful soft toys, from hanging ornaments to jewellery, the elephant is a ubiquitous motif and a lovely reminder of these beautiful animals and their place in Thai culture and tradition.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Fabric Souvenirs

Fabric coin purses - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Fabric slippers - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

One of the most ubiquitous items to buy in Thailand are the range of souvenirs made from beautiful and colourful woven fabrics in traditional designs.

Whilst scarves, trousers, tops and hats are among the most popular items, the range is as large as the prices are a bargain and you can find everything from rucksacks, satchels, handbags and coin purses to slippers, shoes, and childrens’ toys.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Floating Boat Models

Floating boat - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Anyone who has been to Thailand will tell you that it’s a paradise for shoppers. I specifically love shopping for souvenirs in the various street markets, night markets and floating markets. The colorful shops keep drawing me in to shop more and more.

While we have quite a collection of souvenirs from our three trips to Thailand, my favorite remains the one that I picked up from our first trip there. We were visiting the floating market in Pattaya and were fascinated by waterfront art galleries and souvenir shops. We took a ride through the river in a longtail boat like the locals and thoroughly enjoyed the local cuisine. To remember our first floating market experience, we got a small souvenir – a beautiful boat with a fruit seller and her fruits. We bought it for 70 Baht and enjoyed bargaining on the price from 100 Baht. While you will find souvenirs in galleries and super markets in Thailand, we always buy them from local shops.

Pujarini Mitra blogs at My Soul Travels. Find her on instagram.

Folded Fabric Ladies Tops

Folded fabric top - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Folded fabric top - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

You may wonder why I’m listing these out separately when we’ve already listed fabric souvenirs above, as well as elephant trousers. It’s because they’re one of my favourite items, and I have several in my wardrobe!

Made from a huge rectangle of fabric, usually with bold and colourful prints, these tops are the simplest construction imaginable – a large hemmed rectangle of fabric is folded in half, a neck hole is cut out and hemmed, and the sleeves are made simply by sewing up the sides but not quite to the top.

This leaves flaps of fabric to both sides, which drape and add interest. Sometimes a simple drawstring is added below the neck-line, to allow the shirt to be cinched in, but I like mine without.

You’ll find these throughout the markets of Thailand, priced at around 100 to 150 baht each, occasionally less. As usual, bargain a little on the price, especially if you want more than one.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Fruit and Flower Shaped Soaps

Fruit and flower soaps - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

During my visit to Bangkok, Pattaya and Rayong what remained a constant at most gift shops were the quirky fruit and flower-shaped soaps. The only thing which changed about them was the price. Sold for anything between 30 baht in Bangkok to 120 baht a piece at the airport, they are a must buy souvenir when in Thailand and thanks to the bright colors they are hard to miss.

The soaps are handmade, organic, herbal and perfumed. Some are shaped like fruits (like mango, watermelon and grapes), and some are shaped like flowers (such as frangipani and roses). Good places to shop for these soaps are Asiatique in Bangkok and any of the street shops in Pattaya. Bargaining is advised. You can also order them online but it’s much more expensive.

Abhinav Singh blogs at A Soul Window.

Hill Tribe Hats

Lisu tribe traditional hat - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand
While I was visiting the Northern Hill tribes of Thailand, I was struck by how colorful all their souvenirs are but couldn’t really find anything appropriate to buy that I would really keep. Except for their really colorful and playful hats with vivid stripes of colors and bells adorning some of them. These caps make a fun and wearable souvenir.

The Lisu tribe I visited in the region is located in a variety of villages and you’ll find a few storefronts of stands where you can find all the handicrafts that they make for supplementary income from the tourist crowds visiting. Many of these Lisu tribes came from areas located further north in Cambodia and China, eventually migrating to these hill areas of Thailand with the local government allowing most of these tribes to live in these association of loose villages. Many maintain an agricultural lifestyle or work in local business to sustain a livelihood in the region.

Noel Morata blogs at Travel Photo Discovery.

Akha Hill Tribe weaving demonstration - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Akha hill tribe traditional headwear - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Pete and I spent a couple of days with the Akha hill tribe community of Doi Pha Mee. One of the activities we enjoyed was learning about their local handicrafts, including a demonstration of weaving. The community also had their handmade items on sale, including the traditional hats they had us try on.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Pottery

Cooking pots in Ayutthaya Market - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

I love pottery and am always drawn to it whenever I travel. In Thailand, you can find a wide range of pottery souvenirs, from the ornate and more formal styles (such as the Benjarong above) to plain and practical kitchenware.

The teeny tiny teapot decorated in a dragon design (which fits easily in the palm of my hand) was ridiculously cheap, from a narrow alleyway market in Bangkok’s Chinatown. It’s too small to be anything other than decorative, and was in a jumbled box of similar teapots in both terracotta and black clays, with all kinds of different designs.

My friend Diana bought the large mortar and pestle on one of her many trips to Thailand several years ago, carrying the heavy object back to Bangkok by hand, and all the way home. It’s perfect for making som tam (green papaya salad), and I’m thrilled that she passed it on to my following our recent visit.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Rice

Rice - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Rice - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

If you’re a keen cook, bringing home local ingredients is always on your shopping list, as it is on ours!

As it is across South East Asia, rice is a very significant crop in Thailand, and represents a large part of the Thai economy and workforce. In fact, it has the fifth-highest area of land under rice cultivation in the world – nearly ten million hectares – and is the second largest rice exporter after India.

There are many different varieties of rice grown and eaten in Thailand including the staple Thai Jasmine rice. You will also find different types of long grain and sticky (glutinous) rice; various red, brown and black varieties and even a recently-developed purple rice called riceberry.

Buying in a local food market is your best bet for the lowest prices.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Sak Yant Tattoo

Sak Yant Tattoo - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

My Sak Yant tattoo remains one of the most incredible and meaningful souvenirs I’ve ever bought, not just in Thailand but anywhere.

A Sak Yant tattoo is a blessing from a Thai monk. The crazy part is you show up at the temple and without any discussion or planning, he just gives you the tattoo he feels you need. I went in with no idea what I’d come out with.

It was my first of 5 tattoos, 2 of which are sak yants. I love them!

Kristin Addis blogs at By My Travel Muse.

Same Same But Different T-Shirts

T shirt Same Same But Different - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand T shirt Same Same But Different - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

In Thailand you will frequently hear the expression “Same Same”. It’s commonly said by vendors, when trying to sell you something, from souvenirs to tours. What they mean is that something is similar, not exactly the same as what you asked for but very close. It is quite funny hearing Thai people use the expression and they do it constantly. The origin of this expression has to do with the fact that the Thai for “similar” is “khlai khlai gan”. The word khlai is repeated to emphasise it. In English, they replicate the expression by repeating the word “same”.

The expression is now so widely used that it’s becmoe a recurring joke between locals and travelers. Tha Thai even make souvenirs with the expression, sometimes adding “but different” on the other side. You will find plenty of clothes with the expression, particularly t-shirts. These T-shirts are a souvenir with cultural meaning and also a nice reminder of the good times spent in Thailand.

Cláudia Pereira blogs at Travel Drafts.

Silk & Woollen Scarves

Scarves - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Whether or not all the beautiful scarves labelled as silk and pashmina are actually made of these two materials, I’m not sure, but for around 100 bahts each, they are a great value buy regardless, and a wonderful fashion accessory to remind you of your visit.

The range of colours and patterns is immense, ranging from elephants and birds to flowers and peacock feathers, through hundreds of traditional Thai design motifs, as well as plainer options. There should be something to suit every taste. It’s worth shopping different stalls before you buy – although most seem to have lots of similar items in stock, some vendors have a few unusual designs in their mix.

Although available in most tourist markets, I found the most choice in Northern Thailand, particularly in the markets of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. As always, bargain a little on price, especially if you want buy more than one from the same seller.

If you’re keen to buy real Thai silk, visit the Jim Thompson shops in Bangkok; they are pricy but sell very high quality silk and a great range of silk products.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Silver, Pearls and Precious Stones

Thai silverware is well known for its intricate detail, and is made into jewellery, tableware, ornaments and decoration. Look for the .925 stamp which means the item is made of 92.5% silver. The Northern Thailand hill tribe communities are particularly well-known for their beautiful silverwork.

Pearls and precious stones are also popular, and often available at a great price compared to shops in Europe and North America. You can have jewellery made to order to your own designs, ready for collection in a few days. Buy from a reputable shop to be sure you’re getting the real deal.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Snacks

Snacks - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Dried fruit and shrimps - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand
Crackling - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Insect snacks bamboo worms - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Dried fruit is a very popular type of snack in Thailand, and can be found in every market and supermarket, as well as smaller convenience stores, and of course, it’s dried for preservation so will last anywhere from a few weeks to several months after purchase. The range is amazing, from durian, mango, lychee, pineapple, pomelo peel, mangosteen, papaya and rambutan to bananas, coconut and grapes, there’s plenty of choice.

Nuts are also popular, especially the macadamia nut, one of the newer crops introduced to Northern hill tribe farmers during the last century. Peanuts and cashew are also big crops.

While you’re at the stalls that sell dried food products, you may want to pick up some dried mushrooms and dried shrimps too – mainly for use in cooking rather than to eat as snacks, but great for keen cooks to bring home.

More unusual, and perhaps a bit of a novelty gift, are dried insects such as silkworms, again these are easy to find in local food markets.

I also love the large range of what I think of as ‘crackling’ – deep fried animal rind and other fatty parts that puff up into light, crunchy snacks. These are best consumed fairly quickly though, as the high fat content means they can go rancid quickly, as well as soft and soggy.

I’m also a sucker for local crisps and sweets (potato chips and candies), especially flavours that I can’t find at home.

Make sure you’re aware of the restrictions on food imports before travelling home or to any other country with your food purchases.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Thai Spices & Curry Pastes

Thai Spices - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

You’ll smell the intriguing mixture of spices as soon as your arrive in Thailand – delightful aromas from street food vendors, market restaurants, and if you’re lucky enough to sit at a local person’s table.

Thai spices are definitely something you’ll want to bring back home as a souvenir for friends or yourself to re-create these delicious flavors in your own kitchen. They pack easily and won’t take up much valuable suitcase weight.

Unique Thai spices include galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, Thai chili, Thai holy basil, as well as green and black peppercorns. Quality in Thai spices can vary greatly, so look for freshly packaged spices and don’t be afraid to take a sniff. Fresh spices will have a nice aroma, while stale spices may have no smell at all.

You’ll find aromatic Thai spices at most local markets in Bangkok and the floating markets around Thailand. Prices are very reasonable – packs of single spices are less than 30 baht, and combination packages of Thai spices can be found for less than 300 baht. Choose commercially packaged vacuum sealed bags and be sure to check your country’s customs regulations on ‘food stuffs’ so cano avoid any problems at customs when you return home. In Thai, “aroi mak” – very delicious!

Lisa Chavis blogs at The Travel Pharmacist.

Thai curry pastes - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Also look out for fragrant Thai curry pastes. Fresh ones are available at food markets across the country but look for pastes sold in vacuum sealed bags or pots for longer shelf life – these are mostly found in supermarkets, souvenir shops and airport shops.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

Woven Wickerware

Woven sticky rice container - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand Woven ware - The best souvenirs to buy in Thailand

Plant materials such as bamboo, reeds, grasses and vines have long been dried and woven into a wide range of items such as sleeping mats, floor mats and table mats; baskets, dishes and containers and cookware; hats and bags; even furniture.

Many of these items are still used a lot in everyday Thai life, and as such, you’ll find stalls selling all kinds of wickerware products in pretty much every market you visit. Many products are a little fragile, so larger pieces may be hard to transport without damage, but the prices are very low as a result of the need for regular replacement.

Smaller items can be packed more easily and I’m still kicking myself for not having bought some of the small lidded pots that are used by many restaurants to serve sticky rice, keeping it warm at the table during your meal.

Me, here at Kavey Eats.

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Best Souvenirs to buy in Thailand

A Three Week Itinerary For Touring Thailand

We visited Thailand for a wonderful independent holiday, which we organised and booked ourselves. Check out my comprehensive three week Thailand itinerary, including tips on sightseeing, hotels, food and transport.

 

With many thanks to all my contributors for helping me to compile this guide to the best souvenirs to buy in Thailand. All images provided by authors of the relevant sections, unless credited otherwise. 

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
79 Comments to "The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Thailand"

  1. kaveyeats

    Thank you so much for sending him, I must admit writing the post really made me wish I’d bought a few more souvenirs!!

    Reply
  2. Joan North

    Great list and good advice te what you can take into other countries -lots of restrictions into Australia and NZ food , bamboo, grass items included . Declare always !

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Didn’t know about the restrictions on bamboo items, though grass makes sense given possibility of seeds. I think it’s always worth reading up on rules about what can and cannot be exported from the country you visit, and of course, what is permitted to be imported into your own country when you go back home.

    Reply
  3. Valdas

    A great article about what souvenirs you can buy in Thailand. Really lots of ideas from what to choose.

    Reply
  4. Caren Waxler

    Great list — but in the section on pearls and precious stones, the info is pretty sketchy. You say “Buy from a reputable shop to be sure you’re getting the real deal.” — why not list a few?? It doesn’t help to give that advice with no examples. Yes, people can ask at their hotel, but then have to wonder if the staff are just recommending places that give them kickbacks.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    As I didn’t buy any myself, I decided against recommending specific shops, but in a good hotel, I’d like to think staff would give reliable suggestions. I have friends who have purchased precious stones and had them made into jewellery in some of the shops in Bangkok, then had them evaluated professionally once home and confirmed that they got what they were sold, and that they were very good value.

    Reply
  5. Kay

    These are all amazing options! I AM SUUUUUCH a sucker for snacks, so that is usually my go to for souvenirs! I like buying the snacks I love for friends back home! I also really like the coconut bowls!

    Reply
  6. Amy Dodd

    Such a great list! I didn’t even realize there were so many options. I did love the markets there and all the options

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Definitely a few suggestions from my fellow bloggers that I failed to notice myself!

    Reply
  7. Nafisa Habib

    I’m confused which of them should I really take with me during my tour. All are so much alluring, hehehe..Cool souvenir ideas!

    Reply
  8. eli

    This is a nice comprehensive list of things to buy in Thailand! I love how much stuff there is at all of the various markets

    Reply
  9. Punita Malhotra

    My choice would be a Benjarong. It would be fascinating to watch one being made in a workshop. 80 baht to 1000s of baht, you say…wow! I’m sure I can find one to fit into my budget.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes, will definitely include a visit to a producer on my next visit too!

    Reply
  10. Zoe

    Lovely post of the souvenirs! I went to university with some Thai students and loved the gifts they would bring and share with us. I would definitely go shopping for more if I was ever in Thailand myself!

    Reply
  11. Rachel Heller

    Nice list! I don’t bring home any souvenirs anymore that aren’t wearable or consumable. We just have so many things cluttering up our house! So if I buy anything at all, it’s something to wear or a bag of tea.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I know what you mean, and I do tend to buy more consumable items than anything else, but I can rarely resist one or two things that do indeed contribute to our clutter!!

    Reply
  12. Anna

    Wow! So many to choose from! I would love the elephant trousers, bracelets and tea I think. It must be hard to choose which to try and squeese in your suitcase!

    Reply
  13. Amelie

    I’m not much into buying trinkets when I travel, but coconut oil is always a must when visiting Thailand!!!! Especially the one from Koh Phangan 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I wish I could resist trinkets but some of them are just so beautiful! Coconut Oil definitely good consumable choice!

    Reply
  14. Line

    What a fun list! I like that a lot of the souvenirs are about giving people a spiritual shoulder clap. It’s not really the souvenir – it’s more about the thought – or blessing – put into the souvenir.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes, I really like that too, there’s a lot of cultural significance to many of the items.

    Reply
  15. Anete

    Ahh this is perfect. I’m in Thailand right now so this post is just in time 🙂 The Sak Yant Tattoo is on my list for sure!

    Reply
  16. Teresa

    This has to be by far the most thorough guide on the internet about souvenirs in Thailand! Thanks–bookmarking for a future trip!!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Well thank you, I hope so and that it’ll be useful to other travellers.

    Reply
  17. Kellyn

    Thanks for sharing. These are some incredible souvenirs that would have a lot of value along with being memorable and practical when you return home.

    Reply
  18. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    I have never considered Thai rum but I could see how that could be a thing with all the sugar cane they grow. I’ll have to put that one on our list. Hats off to anybody who gets a Sak Yank tattoo. Trusting a random monk to ink your body is a heck of a thing. I am glad that it worked out so well but I would have a hard time with that level of trust. Come to think of it, I might trust a random monk better than the usual tattoo parlor worker. I just might not have enough trust to get a tattoo in any circumstance.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I’m with you on trusting a stranger to pierce my skin with needles, but I’ve never had courage to get a tattoo from a reputable ink artist at home either so I’m probably the wrong demographic. I do love the cultural significance and beauty of the sak yank tattoos though! But like you, I’d more likely go for the rum!!

    Reply
  19. Martina

    The thai tattoo looks so beautiful! It seems I have to go back one day 🙂
    Thanks for the great recommendations.

    Reply
  20. Rhonda Albom

    What a fabulous gift list. My favourites are the coconuts – both the palm sugar and the coconut bowls. I love that tattoo comes with a blessing from a monk.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thanks, glad you like the list and found a few items you particularly liked!

    Reply
  21. David

    I’m visiting Thailand in November for the first time so this has come in really handy! I bought a little elephant when I visited India so I might have to buy another in Thailand. Great list, thanks

    Reply
  22. amit

    Guilty! – yup I was a backpacker in Thailand (quite a few years back now) that bought a backpacker bracelet haha – you have a very extensive list here but I have to admit I hated those croaking frogs haha

    Reply
  23. prabhu

    it seem you enjoyed your trip a lot, i was there in last friday and had taste street food which i love d it most. Thanks for sharing good trip experience.

    Reply
  24. Efthimis Kragaris

    What a detailed guide with so many souvenirs to choose from! I would go for anything made out of coconut, for the elephant pants (which indeed are a must) and for the peculiar Thai snacks that my friends would definitely appreciate!

    Reply
  25. Milijana

    I have come back home from Thailand with some Thai jasmine massage oil and body care products. When I think of Thailand, I think of the jasmine scent.
    But coconut oil and Thai snacks are always good idea as gifts from Thailand.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Jasmine wasn’t in flower during our visit but it’s a scent I utterly adore, so I appreciate your choice!

    Reply
  26. Natalie Allen

    That Chalong Bay Distillery for the rum would be my first choice! I love trying different spirits from around the world. I’ve been to Thailand 3 times and am flabbergasted by the number of people wearing the elephant pants. They are EVERYWHERE! I feel like it’s the unofficial uniform for tourists in Thailand? I can’t get a pair as a result: I’d feel to much like everyone else, I guess. Great post, reads like you’ve done your research!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yeah I hear you! I didn’t get any for the simple reason that they don’t cater for the size of my huge arse, but I did pick up lots of pretty tops!

    Reply
  27. Carrie

    So many great options! We are planning a trip to Thailand for early next year, so your article is particularly timely for me. You had me with bracelet and rum! I’ll be looking for a croaking frog for the grandchildren as well.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Glad it’s good timing and might give you some ideas for your upcoming trip!

    Reply
  28. Danila Caputo

    Coconut oil and Chalong Bay rum are great ideas! Here in Italy it’s so difficult to find coconut products, as they arrive here already very refined, with more chemicals than anything! So I’d love to try the sugar, oil and heck even the coconut shell bolws look so pretty! I’m sure everyone at home would love them!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    We can buy pure coconut oil from health food shops but of course, it’s cheaper in Thailand!

    Reply
  29. Indrani

    Wow you have prepared an incredible list, such foresight with the theme of this post.
    So glad to find a mention here. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  30. Claire

    I usually travel for long periods backpacking, so don’t have much space for souvenirs. I do always buy bracelets though, I still have an anklet on from over a year ago! I do love to try local food and drink though too, so perhaps not as a souvenir but to try while I’m there I’d defintely get some of that rum, and the paste for curries!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes that’s the thing with longer durations, you can’t buy souvenirs everywhere or you’d have no space for clothes, plus too much to bring home!

    Reply
  31. Mansoureh

    Such a great list. I didn’t know Thailand is the fourth largest producer of sugar cane in the world! I love shopping when I travel and especially shopping in a cheap country like Thailand.

    Reply
  32. Laura

    That is a great list. I still have the coconut bowls I picked up in Thailand on my coffee table and of course my tattoo!

    Reply
  33. Janna

    I went to Thailand last year and had no idea there were so much souvenirs to get. Thanks for all these suggestions! I only purchased the elephant pants and some homemade lanterns for friends back home.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thanks Janna, I loved the lanterns and paper umbrellas too. I almost included them but at one point I had to stop expanding the list and get it published! 😉

    Reply
  34. Heather

    This article totally brought me back to my time in Thailand. I got some Thai porcelain while I was there, an Elephant holding the Thai flag to use for a Christmas ornament and a few of the other things on the list. What I wish I had gotten was a decorated coconut bowl! They are beautiful! The tattoo is very interesting to me. I didn’t know about those. I have 5 myself and so it piques my interest, but not sure I could let someone come up spur of the moment with what’s going on my body for the rest of my life!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I would be too nervous for the tattoo but wish I’d picked up a few more items from this list myself on our trip earlier this year!!

    Reply
  35. Mirela

    I haven’t been to Thailand, but I did get some souvenirs. One of them was an elephant-shaped keychain, ofc. But the other, which I really love, is a carved bunny. I love getting souvenirs that don’t necessarily have smth to do with where the person has been, but rather a sign that they actually thought of me while they were gone.

    Reply
  36. Priya

    I so love this detailed post! 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be referring to this list whenever we plan a trip to Thailand next. Never knew there was so much to pick up from that beautiful country. 🙂

    Reply
  37. Aisha

    I love this post! I’m TERRIBLE at souvenir shopping so a guide like this for every destination would be awesome! I do think I’d have a hard time NOT buying all of these gorgeous items in Thailand though – they’re all so beautiful!

    Reply
  38. Jenia

    This is one extensive list. We were extremely disappointed in souvenir options when we visited Thailand back in 2014 (possibly because our previous trip was to South Africa with all its amazing locally-made stuff). It seemed that most things were a) not unique to Thailand and b) not made in Thailand. Bought a couple of pairs of non-elephant pants though 🙂 Still wearing one of them!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Since Thailand shares a cultural and historical background with several of the neighbouring countries, it’s not surprising to me that many of the items are similar to those in other countries, but even then, the styling is usually a bit different… I have lots of tops, and a few bits of jewellery.

    Reply
  39. Casey

    I didn’t bring back any of these souvenirs from Thailand except the elephant pants! But the floating market model is so cute! I want one!

    Reply
  40. neha

    I love to pick a little souvenir from where ever I visit. Thailand seems to have so many of them. I would love to pick some miniature buddhas, some silk scarves and some others which would be convenient to carry. Thanks for the beautiful list!

    Reply

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