Northern Thailand is famous for handicrafts - there are many beautiful products to choose from. Perhaps the most famous are the hand made thai umbrellas. They come in all different sizes. Also - hand made paper products, wood carvings and wooden games, thai silk items and ceramics. You don't have to look far in Chiang Mai to find things like this - Sunday Walking Street market, the night bazzar building and the handicraft villages around Chiang Mai will all have plenty to choose from.
Burma has a lot of knock off items (purses and the like).
Burma and northern Thailand have a lot of beaded jewelry. It is usually less expensive in Burma.
All three areas also have wood carvings, especially, as you might imagine, of elephants and buddhas.
Laos has a particular kind of scarf with a "Laotian" weave that I really like. When I have tried to find them in Thailand it has been more difficult and more expensive. When I've asked vendors in Thailand why the higher price they usually say "because it comes from Laos." LOL.
Thanks. Does that mean that there is not much differences between Mae Sai's market and Chiang Mai's Sunday market?
There is probably a difference in size and perhaps price.
I have been to Mae Sai often but never to an evening market. The Chiang Mai Sunday market is really large and in my opinion it does tend to have more unique handicraft items than the night market in Chiang Mai. The same in Chiang Rai, the Saturday walking market has more unique handicraft items than the night market.
I have found handicraft items in Chiang Mai to be less expensive than Chiang Mai; Chiang Rai to be a bit less expensive for handicraft items than Chiang Mai; and Mai Sai a bit less expensive than Chiang Rai. We have friends in Chiang Rai who will go up to Mae Sai to buy items for that purpose.
However, keep in mind that the price difference is not drastic and all are probably much less expensive than if you bought the item in Australia.
Silk products are beautiful and easy to transport home esp as gifts. The umbrellas are lovely and they will ship them home for you But consider what you have need of and a place for. Silver merchants in Chiang Mai also have lovely stuff. They make stuff on premises. Mae Sai is the cheapest esp if u cross into Myamar markets. The jewelly is often "kon bloom" which means fake. But sometimes the stones are real but set not set in real gold. U get what u pay for. The stamps don't gaurantee authenticity. However I have got the genuine thing at the small shops and even if u know your stuff u can get them from vendors.
Pot luck! There are the knock off watches, bags etc.
But you may want to concentrate on taking home special memories. Like a visit to one of the orphanages where you could meet the kids, take them some stuff or consider sponsoring one of them.
These are really great ideas! I feel like I am making a list a mile long of souvenirs I will want to buy :)
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