If you’re looking for the best place to buy Thai handicrafts in Bangkok, you can’t beat Narai Phand. Narai Phand is an enormous Thai handicrafts center, the largest in Bangkok, which sells every Thai handicraft imaginable and many you’ve never heard of. It has been open for almost 75 years and is run jointly by independent handicraft sellers and the Thai Ministry of Industry. Shopping at Narai Phand is wonderful but, with so many things on offer, it’s hard to choose what to buy.
Celadon – Thailand is famous for a style of pottery named Celadon. Known for its light green or blue color, Celadon pottery is one of two styles – either traditional Thai, lovely and delicate, or a more modern design concentrating on large heavy pottery mugs, enormous platters and many pieces featuring Thai elephants. Celadon is an inexpensive pottery, especially considering every piece is handmade. The best place to buy it is at the Celadon warehouse in Chiang Mai as it’s half the price of at Narai Phand. But, failing that, Narai Phand is a close second simply as it has one of the largest displays of Celadon in Bangkok.
Lacquerware – Another handicraft famous in Thailand is lacquerware. Primarily boxes, photograph frames, trays, drinks mats and little ornaments handpainted and then lacquered, lacquerware comes from northern Thailand. The traditional and most authentic Thai lacquerware can be pricey as it entails putting seven layers of lacquer on a wood item, with one week needed to allow drying between each layer. With each piece taking upwards of two months to complete, you’re paying for the incredible workmanship.
Narai Phand has a lovely collection of lacquerware. Specifically look at the trays made of hand-painted mango wood and small accessory boxes.
Ceramic – Narai Phand has a huge selection of ceramics, particularly in the traditional blue and white stoneware that’s been popular in Thailand for centuries. Check out the teapots made in the shape of an elephant
and complete with little cups to serve the tea in. The little seasoning sets are lovely too – four tiny blue and white pots made to hold the sugar, chilis, fish sauce and vinegar, used in many Thai dishes. Many ceramics also come in complete dinnerware sets, which Narai Phand will be more than happy to arrange to ship home for you.
Thai Silk – Of course, Thailand is world-famous for its silk as it’s known as the best in the world. Narai Phand has a gorgeous selection of handmade and hand-painted Thai silks in vibrant colors and gorgeous designs. You can buy silk cloth to use to have something custom tailored, or you can purchase ready-made silk shirts, skirts, blouses, dresses, shawls, scarfs and bags.
Bamboo and Woven Grass Items – Woven bags made from bamboo, grass and vines are common in Thailand and are simply stunning. One bag can take over a week to make then, lined in Thai silk, it’s often lacquered on the outside to make sure it keeps its sheen and color. Narai Phand has a stunning selection of Thai woven bags with sizes from large day bags to extremely small and delicate evening bags. With prices in the hundreds of dollars, they are not cheap but as a once-in-a-lifetime purchase these one-of-a-kind bags are a must have.
Narai Phand is a handicraft lovers paradise. Located in downtown Bangkok, it is currently located on the ground floor of President Tower, close to the famous Erewan Shrine and next to Gaysorn Plaza. Don’t forget too, anything you buy at Narai Phand can be shipped directly to you in your home country. Just ask about their shipping service when you pay.
Photo – Thai wood carving – copyright Nongsaao, Creative Commons License