Department stores and a number of shops in Bangkok have fixed prices, but at most of others bargaining is acceptable and expected; some department stores will even offer a discount on expensive items like jewellery and fine furniture. No fixed rules can be given on the process depending as it does on the bargainer’s skill and the shopkeeper’s mood, but the final price may be reduced as much as 30% to that first quoted. An important point to keep in mind is that Thais admire good manners and a sense of humour and tend to be put off by a loss of temper. Providing you have the time, a good general rule is to make a survey of several shops selling the sort of items you want before coming to a final decision.
Jewellery and gemstones from Thailand are also a favourite item for many visitors to the kingdom. Their beauty, quality craftmanship and reasonable price have earned Thai precious and semi-precious stones a worldwide reputation. Yet occasionally, there have been visitors who complained about the action of few unethical jewellers who persuaded them to purchase jewellery at an unreasonable price.
Through the cooperation of the Thai Gem and Jewellery Traders Association (TGJTA) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Jewel Fest Club has been established, bringing about 100 leading jewellery manufacturers and wholesalers. The club’s aim to offer quality products at reasonable prices with a money-back guarantee if buyers are not completely satisfied with their purchases.
When you purchase an item of jewellery from a store that is clearly identified as a member of the Jewel Fest Club, your purchase will be duly recorded, and a certificate detailing your purchase will be issued. Not only does this certificate of authenticity clearly state the nature and price of your purchase, it also guarantees your refund should you wish to return the purchase. Contact The Jewel Fest Club at Tel: 0 2630 1390-7, Fax: 0 2630 1398-9, or visit website : www.jewelfest.com
Thanks to the ever-increasing number of tourists coming to Thailand, most shops are experienced at shipping abroad and will attend to all the documents such as insurance, customs and necessary permits. The Central Post Office also offers a parcel-wrapping service for those who want to make small shipments themselves. For larger items or bulk shipments, there are several Bangkok companies who specialise in such matters.
Visitors entering the Kingdom on tourist visas are entitled to refunds of the 7% value-added tax (VAT) paid on goods purchased at shops and department stores displaying “VAT Refund for Tourists” signs. The refund may be claimed if the claimed amounts in all P.P.10's have been totaled 5,000 baht or over. Tourist is eligible to receive P.P.10 form when the total purchase of 2,000 baht or over is made from the same store on the same date. Before checking in at the international airport (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Phuket, Utapao), tourist must show your purchases, completed P.P.10 form and tax invoices to the Customs Officer for inspection. Certain luxury goods must be shown to an excise official. Refunds may be in bank draft form or credited to a credit card. For more information, please contact the VAT Refund for Tourists Office, Tel: 0 2272 9388, 0 2272 8195-8 or www.rd.go.th/vrt/engindex.html
At the store
1. Shop at stores displaying "VAT Refund for Tourists" sign.
2. Spend at least 2,000 baht per store per day.
3. Present your passport and ask for a P.P.10 form (VAT Refund Application Form) immediately on the purchase date.
4. The total value of purchases (per person) as combined from all P.P.10's shall be at least 5,000 baht before you are eligible to claim a VAT refund.
At the airport
5. Let the Custom Officers check the purchased goods before you check in and have them sign all P.P.10's on the departure date.
6. Bring all P.P.10's and original tax invoices to claim your VAT refund at the VAT Refund Office after the Immigration Checkpoint.
7. Jewelry, gold ornaments, watches, glasses and pens, of which the value is 10,000 baht or over, shall be re-inspected at the VAT Refund Office again.
8. The purchased goods are required to be taken out of the country within 60 days since the purchase date through the International Airports.
Shopping in Bangkok is not limited to one or two major streets, but offers many areas throughout the city affording ample choice and easy access. The following is just a selection of some of the principal shopping districts.