Thailand, it’s pretty easy to get lost in its many shopping malls, street side bazaar and even bargain sois. The number of shopping places are simply dizzying as do their offerings. Here are a few tips to help you make your shopping less stressful and more pleasant. First, keep your shopping close to your hotel so you avoid being caught in a traffic jam. And go only to shops located in clusters so you don’t have to go too far.

Before going, keep a pen handy to mark the places you want to visit. If you have a particular item in mind, it’s best to ask around first where you can get it. The concierge at your hotel and staff at some tourist information booths will usually know where you can get a good deal. If it costs less in a certain area, but you risk getting stuck for hours in traffic, re-evaluate if it’s worth the time and trouble. Rule of thumb in “saving” on shopping: If it costs a significant amount of time and money just to get there, it may actually be costing you more. Unless you’re a long-staying tourist, time, of course, is of the essence. Though, most shops are open until 9 p.m., or much later, you may think there plenty of time to browse, haggle, and and compare, but you’ll be surprised how fast time flies when you’re trying to find that “perfect bargain”.p5

Try to spend no more than ten minutes comparing and haggling for each item. Do remember also those small shops, even in large shopping centers, usually close on Sundays, while large department stores are open seven days a week. Markets offer great deals from jeans to souvenirs to great food. If you’re shopping in markets, plan your itinerary with a map. Be advised that shopping in markets is fantastic for bargains, but unlike air-conditioned malls, you could be dehydrated, and in extreme cases, suffer heat strokes. Keep a bottle of water handy, or relax and enjoy refreshments at restaurants or cafes in these markets. You’re not here to give a new meaning to “shop till you drop.” Haggling is the norm here and practically all shops will bargain, except the big department stores.

p6Some of the more tourist-oriented shop will display notices saying their prices are fixed, but even they are willing to bargain. Always bargain with a smile, play it like a game and you’ll be surprised with the results. Many Thais work long hours, but they always appreciate a smile and good humor. You’ll be amazed at how far a smile can take you when haggling in Thailand. If you can, shop around a little first to get a general idea of what the prices are. After the vendor gives you a quote, offer less than what you would expect to pay with (with a smile, of course) and see the reaction. Never, never, lose your temper or be nasty. As locals would say “Chai yen yen” – or keep it cool and you’ll be surprised at the result.



Thailand announces 14 Thai tourism favourites as voted by Chinese visitors


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced the 14 most popular tourist attractions and activities as well as medical and wellness services in Thailand among Chinese tourists, as a result of the much anticipated “2017 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists” campaign. H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, and H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, presided over the “2017 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists” ceremony at the Muang Thai GMM Live House, 8th Floor, CentralWorld. The winners of the 2017 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists are :

1. Luxury Hotel: Rayavadee Krabi
2. Boutique Hotel: Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort
3. City Hotel: Centara Grand at CentralWorld
4. Beach Hotel: Banyan Tree Samui
5. Airline: Thai Airways International
6. Show and Entertainment: Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives
7. Medical and Wellness Service: Samitivej Hospital
8. Restaurant: Baan Rim Pa Phuket
9. Spa: Let’s Relax Spa
10. Golf Course: Gassan Khuntan Golf and Resort
11. Shopping Centre: Emquartier
12. Tourism Activities/ Theme park: Vana Nava Hua Hin
13. Attraction: Pattaya Floating Market
14. Destination: Pattaya

The contest was a continuation of a project carried out successfully in 2015 and 2016 to enhance Thailand’s tourism profile and brand image via social media networks, which are frequented by millions of Chinese every day. It also helps support the many Thai tourism products and services seeking more exposure in the Chinese market. TAT organised the voting campaign in partnership with Tencent, which owns a number of Chinese online channels; such as, WeChat (570 million users per day), QZone (330 million users per day), QQMusic (70 million users per day) and Tencent News (27 million users per day). Chinese who have travelled to Thailand were invited to vote via the website between 26 May to 8 June, 2017, in 14 categories; such as, tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, medical and wellness services, spas, shopping centres, golf courses, etc. The voting attracted a total of 3.7 million votes, and the publicity given to this activity was estimated to reach an audience of 45 million. TAT launched the “People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists” project in 2015 as The Best of Thailand Awards Voted by Chinese Tourists, and renamed it to the current name in 2016. In its second year, the voting attracted over 3.2 million votes. During the first four months of this year, Thailand welcomed 12 million visitors, spending around 620 billion Baht, an increase of 4.71% from the same period last year. In this number, 7.5 million came from East Asia generating 308 billion Baht. China remained the leading source market at about 3.2 million arrivals, who generated 161 billion Baht in tourism revenue.

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