- Chatuchak Weekend Market (Bangkok): This never-ending labyrinthine warren of stalls sells everything from commercial art to imitation designer-label gear. Whole sections are devoted to pets (including the selling of live reptiles), and there's a huge swath reserved for home-furnishing stalls. Get there early to ensure you can escape before the heat becomes oppressive. This is a great place to see Thailand's rising designer scene.
- Siam Paragon (Bangkok): Hailed as the trendiest retail experience around, nothing in Asia quite beats Siam Paragon for its ostentatious glitz, designer brands, plush cinemas, and endless eateries -- and I haven't even mentioned the vast underground oceanarium, Siam Ocean World. It outshines the city's other malls (Emporium, Gaysorn, and Erawan), though CentralWorld, just along the road, is newer and bigger still. There's easy access via Siam BTS.
- Thong Lor (Bangkok): Head up to Sukhumvit Soi 55 for the latest in designer chic, upscale spas and cafes, and superb home-furnishing stores. Big boutiques, such as J Avenue -- selling clothes and designer decor -- as well as the delicious Greyhound Café attract Thailand's yuppies on weekends.
- Pak Klong Talad (Bangkok): This old riverside flower market is open 24/7, and though its narrow lanes are sometimes hard to get down, it showcases the best of Thailand's botanical offerings. Go late at night, when the blossoms are fresh; or, if your home country's Customs regulations allow, pop in before heading home and purchase bouquets of orchids, perfumed ginger flowers, Strelitzia, or unscented roses, all for just a few dollars.
- JungCeylon (Phuket): This shopping magnet draws the hordes away from the older, tout-riddled beach strips. Swanky and bright (and air-conditioned), it's got not just fast-food diners and coffee shops, but also young brand fashion and sports stores, plus a whole basement crammed with some great Thai handicraft stalls.
- Nimmanhaemin Road (Chiang Mai): This long stretch of road, starting at Amari Rincome Hotel, is now chock-full of designer boutiques, bespoke tailors, and chic art galleries. Here you can check out some of the nation's best traditional and new-age handicrafts, jewelry, lacquer, ceramics, wood, art, candles, and luxury items. I particularly like the funky furniture at Wit's Collection.
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.