Thailand has many commercial complexes, malls and night bazaars where tourists can go for shopping. The most popular items one can shop for are Thai silk, leather goods, silver, gold and gem stones, etc. Furniture, handicrafts, antiques and electronic goods can also be bought. Cities like Bangkok and Phuket have maximum shops, malls and bazaars.
Some of the popular shopping destinations in the country are Anr, Asia Book, Emjaroen Gallery, Flynow, Greyhound - Paragon and Kai Boutique located in Bangkok. Additionally, one can shop at Kloset - Siam Paragon moo, Playhound – Paragon, Senada and Sretsis - Emporium for antiques and collectibles.
The Siam Paragon Shopping Mall is one of the biggest malls in the South Sathon Road of Bangkok. Other malls in the capital are MBK (Mah Boon Krong), Central World Plaza (formerly World Trade Centre), Emporium and Seacon Square.
Thailand is also famous for its night markets, amongst which the largest is the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai. This open air market offers all kinds of accessories and handicrafts that are hard to find in malls.
Another popular shopping destination in Bangkok is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, locally known as the Jatujak Market, which is one of the biggest weekend markets in the world. Spread over 35 acres, this market offers clothes, accessories, handicrafts and antiques. Thai street food is served at the various stalls in and around the market.
The shopping itinerary often includes places like the Jatujak Market, Khaosan Road, Bobae Market, Patpong Night Market, Suan Lum Night Bazaar and the Pratunam Market. Tourists also frequent floating markets like the Damnoen Saduak, Taling Chan, Tha Kha and Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market.
Outside Bangkok, one can visit the Tha Sadet Market in Nong Khai and the Morning Market in Mae Hong Son. Tourists can also shop for souvenirs in the Government run duty free shops and the hotel gift shops.
On every purchase, a VAT of 7% is charged from tourists for both goods and services, which can claimed for refund within 60 days from the date of purchase. However, there are certain goods like firearms, explosives, gemstones and other prohibited items, for which VAT cannot be claimed. The minimum amount required for claiming VAT refund is 7,393.53 INR (including VAT).
For claiming VAT refund, goods need to be purchased from stores which display the ‘Vat Refund for Tourists’ sign. On presenting the passport at the time of purchase, vendors provide tourists with a VAT Refund Application form, which needs to be filled and attached to the original tax invoice. Before departure, the form needs to be submitted at the Customs office.
Cash refund is available only for goods not exceeding 44,361.16 INR. However, if the refund amount exceeds 44,361.16 INR, refund is available via draft or credit card account. A fee of 147.87 INR is charged for cash, draft as well as credit card refunds. An additional draft issuing fee or money transfer fee is also charged in case of draft and credit card refund.