The hot and humid walk gave us a taste of the real Bangkok as opposed to the sanitized streets near our hotel. There were many sights, sounds and smells – from street vendors hawking fruit and flowers, to tiny street side restaurants with just a few plastic chairs and tables alongside a large wok and one person cooking everything to order – smoky meat on the grill or stir-fried spicy noodles. After several stops to ask for directions, we ended up twisting and turning through the tiny backstreets then started to see many boutiques lined up one after another on the busy main road.
We started to stop and look in several boutiques and ended up purchasing quite a few things. Worth a look are the exotic leather goods made of stingray, python, crocodile, alligator and ostrich from a tiny place with the not-so-original name of Thailand Shoes Shop (great for ballet flats, loafers and flat sandals) and it’s sister store further up the road for bags and wallets called Phoenix Shop. We couldn’t walk out without ordering a couple of sandals each in alligator and python.
For flatware and one-of-a-kind hammered metal objects (vases, pitchers, trays, buckets), we stopped at Maison des Arts where I went back a few days later to buy a whole set of horn-handled flatware for a very reasonable price. There were also beautiful sculptural pieces – large curved bowls and huge wine and champagne buckets. A few doors up was a tiny store with an attractive window display of linen clothing and small accessories – From Siam with Love. Next up was a large storefront with displays of tailor-made dresses at World Group (Chanel style wool boucle jackets and dresses plus men’s suits and shirts), where I also returned a few days later to order a shirt dress for myself and several bespoke shirts for A which were delivered to our hotel in less than 24 hours.
Finally turning into Soi Charoenkrung 40, which dead ends into the river, many more shops lined the road and we made several stops. There are two that are worth more than a quick look – Lin Oriental Gems where we found fantastic sterling silver designs copied from Hermes and Tiffany and Thai Home Industries which is housed in an old wooden Thai house stocked from floor to ceiling with an interesting mess of antique baskets (not for sale) and all sorts of interesting finds made in Thailand – horn napkin rings, Thai painted ceramic teapots with brass handles, brass and metal bowls, brass and metal flatware and a selection of multi-colored Thai cotton pajamas.
- Thailand Shop – shoes and sandals and Phoenix Shop – bags and small leather goods
- #1370 Charoenkrung road (Telephone: +66 2 233 6254)
- Maison des Arts – flatware and hammered metal objects
- #1334 Charoenkrung road (Telephone: +66 2 233 6297)
- From Siam with Love – simple but stylish linen clothing and accessories
- #1328 Charoenkrung road (Telephone: +66 2 235 4513)
- World Group – bespoke clothing for men and women
- #1302 Chareonkrung road (Telephone: +66 2 235 2828)
- Lin Oriental Gems – sterling silver jewelry and small silver objects
- #14/7 Oriental Avenue (Soi Charoenkrung 40) (Telephone: +66 2 233 0904)
- Thai Home Industries – baskets, ceramics, metal objects, flatware, cutlery, pajamas
- 35 Oriental Avenue (Telephone: +66 2 234 1736)
- The Oriental
- 48 Oriental Avenue (Telephone:+66 2 659 9000)