It’s amazing what people buy on impulse while on holiday. Items are snapped up in the heat of the moment only to get discarded or hastily passed on to neighbours, once home. That sequined T-shirt you paid 500 baht for looked so cool in Thailand so how come it looks so naff on you now? And just why on earth did a shocking-pink fake Lacoste polo shirt appeal so much a week ago yet you wouldn’t be seen dead in it down at the pub. It’s all a bit like bad sunburn: it felt good at the time but now you just wish it’d go away.
Still, some items are dependable and reflect quality and class. Thai silk, for example. This is a US$ 15-million-a-year export business and not to be taken lightly. A great place to check out Thai silk is the rather aptly but not very imaginatively named Thai Silk Collection close by the famous Wat Chalong.
This colourful stand-alone shop is a pleasure to wander around in as it seems that every nook and cranny has a surprise waiting for you. To begin with, there’s a replica silk loom at the entrance with an information film loop showing the process of silk preparation. The adjacent silk-clad life-size mannequin is a little scary but moving along you’ll come across silk toiletry bags, elegant and colourful scarves plus a rather conservative-looking collection of men’s neckties (no Mickey Mouse or Daffy Duck here) meant more for the office than a party.
In an enclave is a rack with Chinese-style padded jackets ideal for that long-planned North Korea trip retailing for a cool 6,900 baht right next to ladies’ beach party wear, blouses, nightdresses, pajamas, and some excellent quality men’s silk shirts. Of course, there are items aimed squarely at the mass market such as key rings, coin purses and the like but if you’re after attractive silk bed sheets, pillow covers and ultra-soft cushions look no further.
All along the far wall you can sift through the many bolts of silk that cost between 590-690 baht a yard, depending on the quality but right next to them things start to get a little surreal: Have you even heard of Thai silk skin conditioner? Me neither; and you’d have thought that Botox would be the last thing you could buy in a silk outlet but apparently not. There has to be method to this apparent madness but we’re in Thailand so anything goes…
Rounding off the collection is a counter selling handsome silk shopping bags and striking ladies’ purses and silk elephants, neck supports and nick-knacks. Thai Silk Collection has English-speaking staff, attractive parquet floors and a fiercely-cold air conditioner. At around 200sqm, the shop is not vast and you can ‘do the tour’ in a matter of minutes. It’s also good to know that you can use a credit card (minimum 500 baht) and that there’s plenty of parking space.
Thai Silk Collection
- Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Chao Fa East Road, Chalong
- Remarks: All prices mentioned in this page are of April 2013