Hello, the last post was all about visas & paperwork. This is about doing things nobody else does, or they miss the guts of these places. Shopping is one way…
Today I’ll focus on 2 areas. 1. largest public market area in town. Sure, everybody knows about Wororod Market. But did you know the best deals on make-up are upstairs (you have to walk up the escalator. It hasn’t worked in years.) These are normal Thai brands like Cute Press at 1/4 the price you’ll pay in a tourist shop. Make up base, eyebrow pencils, mascara, powder, shampoo, henna, all that stuff. The sales people have limited English but they know their products and it’s FUN. You may bargain, politely but firmly. Read labels etc.
There are good seamstresses (tailors) near the cosmetics area, too. They usually speak no English but they know their jobs. As in all other Asian countries, take a garment you want them to reproduce (sew a new one). Tool English: ‘Key Met?’ (How many meters of fabric do I need to buy for you to make this dress/shorts/shirt/etc.) I don’t know the Thai words for ‘wide?’ But I hold up my hands in about a 45 inch width and say that word. That usually is fine.
Point out any special features you want, like pockets. Be flexible; if the tailor doesn’t want to make a side pocket or two for you consider a patch pocket or two in the front. Or be very nice/firm/polite/offer a bonus of 50 bhat or 100. Make sure they understand the neckline etc. or they might miss it. Etc. They’ll take measurements. There is also a tailor downstairs in the inside front area near the floral shops. (This is the flower place…trucks of flowers…) The pretty Thai bags (glasses case size, passport size, purse size, USB size, change purses, you name it) are toward the back of the market building in the food court with English spoken (sort of). Very good prices. You can try out the bag to see if your glasses etc. fit These bags, by the way, are made by indigenous folks. The rarest tribal ones have disappeared. Take advantage of this experience!
Be bold and poke around this huge place. Bargain, too. The fruit sales people… well, I buy my fruit elsewhere because they’re huffy. Scream at me for selecting what I want. You might be OK with them & they won’t holler at you.
On both sides of the market itself are streets lined with ever cheaper places, some with better quality goods. Clothes, plastics, indigenous handicrafts. There are fabric places where you can buy the material for your tailor, a Chinese medicinal herbal shop (only one in town). He also does consultations.
Another large market, the biggest in town for fresh fruit and vegetables (and they do not yell)is down the road that the American Embassy is on, before you get to Wororod Market. By the way: the local name for Wororot/Wororod market is ‘Kad Loo ong.’ Be brave and use that name. 3 syllables.
O2. A mall, but an old one with pokey little shops scattered around. Kad SooCHIANG MAI. DON’T BE NORMAL un Cow (4 syllables), or Central Mall on Hoe Ee Gow Road (Huey Kaew Road). It’s better to say Kad Soo un Cow(Kad Suan Kaew) because there are now Central Department stores all over Thailand. A red truck is 20-30 bhat per person.
So the 3rd fl shops: much cheaper than the shiny boring shops downstairs and the goods are fine. Phones (not a lot of English spoken but a little), gadgets, clothes, piercing shops, make up (might have moved), packs, bags, imported sweaters and socks. You can bargain here too. There are pokey shops to the right of Central Dept. store, too, with jackets at 150 B and glasses stores (spectacles). I have used all those places & still do. As they say in Nepal, ‘cheapest and best.’
There is another sporting goods store, but not sure its prices or stock are what you want. Sleeping bags are sometimes cheaper. I go to the sporting goods shop in Central Dept. store on the 2nd floor. I get yoga mats at Watson’s, entrance level.
A good glasses shop that still does repairs (for me too) is on the 2nd/3rd floor just outside Central Dept. store, inside the mall. Very small little stall, very good. Bargain and don’t hurry them.
Just a fast little reminder to get off the grid life lays out for us now. I hope this helps you have fun and stay free.
Send me an emailfor a personal reply or leave a comment.on the site. firstname.lastname@example.org. My well-traveled and steamy romance writer pal, Julie Bates, is Julie-Bates.com. She also has good info.
Cheers! Mary Ann Davis