Whenever I return to Europe after a longer period in the Land of Smiles, I always take a selection of products with me. Let’s skip the ones that are to be expected and let me tell you about the more unlikely apparel, cosmetics and seasoning.
In the days of yesteryear, tourists loved to buy counterfeit name brand clothing in Thailand. Actually, some still do, but popularity seems to have diminished. A popular item in this context used to be the Lacoste polo shirt. Being one of my favorite brands since the range was freshened up, I love to have a look in their stores and to my surprise prices are about 25% to 30% lower compared to Europe. Top tip: buy the polo’s at department stores rather than standalone locations, as they tend to have frequent promotions with considerable promotions. Do be careful though, some department stores sell the Crocodile brand which uses an almost identical logo, but it’s a different brand. For last minute shoppers: there is a Lacoste store at Suvarnabhumi airport (after check-in) that offers frequent promotions as well.
Converse sneakers are a real bargain too, especially the classic Chuck Taylors All-Stars in plain colors. Children’s sizes are being phased out, and only available at the Converse store in Siam Discovery.
My Adidas ZNE traveller hoodie was about EUR 40 cheaper, compared with Belgian stores. I will have a closer look at Adidas prices, on the next visit.
My absolute favorite product to put in my suitcase is Gilette Lemon-Lime shaving cream. I know, it’s hardly a Thai product but I absolutely love the fresh scent that’s not available in the West.
- a few cans of Axe Apollo deodorant: cheap & cheerful, scented above its product class and great for pre-gym use
- 1.2 liter jugs of Pantene shampoo (only available at Makro supermarket): I hate to fiddle around with small cans and these include a practical pump
- big boxes of Colgate tooth paste … they are practically giving them away and my luggage allocation is ample anyway
3. Food and seasoning
As I absolutely love Thai food, seasoning to recreate my favorite dishes is always on my final shopping list. Big C and Tesco Lotus have entire isles with seasoning that ranges from spices to add flavor to almost instant meals.
Ajinomoto (Japanaese for ‘essence of taste’) Ros Dee ( Thai for ‘good taste’) seasoning powders are available in beef, chicken and porc varieties and improve the taste of your dishes, but are to be used very conservatively. Yes, this is basically the heavily-debated flavor enhancer Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG has a bad reputation, but that may be unjustified.
When you regularly don’t have the time to cook elaborately on weekdays, but still like to eat with a lot of variety and fresh ingredients … several Thai products have got you covered. Many brands offer packets of seasoning that have a simple recipe on the back. You throw some meat and veggies in a pot, add the content et voilà … tasty Thai dish. My favorite brands are Lobo, Smart Eat and Knorr (the same brand we have in the West, but pronounced Ka-Nor).
Finally, anyone returning from Thailand with a box of Custard Euro Cakes is my friend 🙂 They are lovely with a cup of coffee.