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  • Antiques (Thailand): Before you head out on vacation, visit some Asian galleries in your home country and take a look at the prices of the items you like. Once you're here, you'll be amazed at how little these things really cost. Most places will be glad to pack and ship purchases for you, and you'll still come out ahead.

  • Tailored Silk Suits (Thailand; also Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam): For a fraction of what you'd pay at home, you can have a lined silk (or wool) suit tailored in a day or less, including a fitting or two. Bring pictures of your favorite designer outfits for a clever copy, and pick up an empty suitcase or two for the trip home.

  • Hand-Woven Textiles (Laos): The Laos hand-weave textured fabrics piece by piece on primitive wooden looms. Such painstaking work costs more than a few dollars, but, ranging from sophisticated silk to gaily colored ethnic prints, the designs are pure art and uniquely Laotian.

  • Silver or Lacquer Handicrafts (Vietnam): The workmanship is tops and the prices low throughout Vietnam, particularly for lacquerware. Bargain hard and make sure that the silver is genuine.

  • Silver Filigree Jewelry (Malaysia): Silver is worked into detailed filigree jewelry designs to make brooches, necklaces, bracelets, and other fine jewelry.

  • Pewter (Malaysia): Malaysia is the home of Selangor Pewter, one of the largest pewter manufacturers in the world. Its many showrooms have all sorts of items to choose from.

  • Fabric & Woodcarvings (Bali): Even with the "rich man's tax" for tourists in Bali, just about anything you buy on the island is a bargain compared with the same stuff back home. Commissioned fabric and woodcarvings are a particularly good deal.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.