This post was updated on April 20, 2019. I’ve added a couple more recommended Bangkok silk shops.
I’m asked where to find and buy Thai silk in Bangkok more than any other question about this legendary fabric.
Interested in Thai silk? Read my posts: “Thai Silk: A Buyer’s Guide” and “Thai Sericulture: Making Thai Silk“. Just published: A Compendium of Thai Silk Shops on Instagram
Over the decades, I have come and gone from this confusing megalopolis countless times, but I rarely purchased Thai silk fabric there. That’s because I buy almost all my silk where it’s woven, either Esaan (Northeastern Thailand) or Lamphun Province.
But I understand that many of you cannot travel to the rural villages that produce Thai silk. Many of you are travelling to Thailand for the first time and will spend a few days seeing the sights in Bangkok and then head south to the dazzling beaches of Phuket, Krabi or Samui.
You need a silk shop in Bangkok that you can trust for authenticity and a fair price.
So recently I posed the question to my wife’s niece who has lived in Bangkok for 30 years, “where’s the best place to buy good quality Thai silk in Bangkok at a fair price?”
And I must add that my wife’s niece is not a debutante with fabrics, especially Thai fabrics. She started her own apparel company in Bangkok 25 years ago making school uniforms and has been quite successful. She knows Bangkok and its fabric shops and loves Thai silk.
I described to my wife’s niece in detail exactly what I was looking for. Silk shops that I could recommend to my blog readers who may be looking to buy the fabric for the first time. I wanted to recommend a Bangkok silk source where they could not only purchase with confidence that they were buying authentic Thai silk at a reasonable price, but where they could also learn and develop their own expertise about the fabric.
We drove to mid-town Bangkok and struck gold. While I’m sure there are many fine silk shops scattered across Bangkok, I enthusiastically recommend the following:
The Silk Zone
2nd Floor, Old Siam Plaza
Parurad Rd., Wang Burapha Phirom
Pra Nakhon, Bangkok
The Silk Zone is actually a couple dozen independent silk shops located on the 2nd floor of the Old Siam Plaza. It’s the largest concentration of silk shops in a single location that I’m aware of in Bangkok.
But my recommendation is based on more than just the quantity of silk shops in near proximity to each other. Every silk shop at the Silk Zone offers a modern selection of quality brocades, mudmees, dupioni, and plain weave Thai silk fabrics. I inspected their inventories closely and all shops offered authentic Thai silk at market rates.
I spent the afternoon talking to different silk shop owners and they all happily allowed me to closely inspect their inventory. This includes spreading out the fabric, touching it, and comparing bolts. This is exactly how I shop for silk in the rural villages of Esaan.
Here’s a few specific recommendations of silk shops at The Silk Zone:
- Tim Thai Silk: Room S-206. Phone: +66 (0)84658 8887 or +66 (0)2623 9898. A small but very good silk shop. The owner used to be a sericulturist for Jim Thompson in Korat.
- The Queen of Thai Silk: Room 203-4. Owner: Vannipa Ponata. Phone: 02-2212244. Very good quality silks, and also some cotton fabrics. The owner specializes in Praewa Silk from Kalasin.
- Chalong Thai Silk: Room S-208. Phone: (Cell) 061-51788867/Store: 092-7142952. A great silk shop for plain weave silk. Every color of the rainbow. A decent selection of mudmee.
- Mai Tho Goen: Room S-214. Phone: 091-029-1193/081-492-9877. Very high-end brocades. Top quality silk fabric and a very friendly owner who loves to show her wares and talk silk.
More Bangkok Silk Shops
If you read my blog, I’m very choosy about who I buy my Thai silk from. Given my high standards for authenticity and quality, I’m also recommending the following Bangkok silk shops:
Kham Koon Silk Shop
Floor G, Room G224
Chatuchak District, Bangkok
Open everyday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
This is one of the finest silk shops in all Bangkok. Kham Koon specializes in Praewa silk which is known as the Queen of Thai silks. (I wrote an entire blog post on Praewa silk that you can find here.)
Quality comes with a price so I highly recommend you shop their IG page (link above) which will detail their inventory and prices.
Any hotel concierge or cabby will know where J.J. Mall is located. This mall is located next to the famous Chatuchak market, so you can easily turn your “silk safari” into a great day of shopping!
Maneerat Thai Silk
Maneerat Thai Silk
Bon Marche Shopping Center-Room B101-136
Nontaburi District, Bangkok
Maneerat Thai Silk has excellent mudmee silks from Chonobot, Thailand-where the finest mudmee silks are woven in The Kingdom. You’ll also be able to find here brocaded silk, plain weave and dupioni. You can shop with confidence that the Thai silk is authentic and fairly priced. Before going, please do peruse their Instagram page (link above) for prices.
Bon Marche Shopping Center is located in Central Bangkok and any cabby should know how to get there.
Tips for Avoiding Ripoffs!
Let me just mention a few important facts about buying Thai silk fabric:
- Thai silk is not sold at night bazzars, tourist markets, or “walking streets”. Ninety-nine percent of alleged Thai silk at these locations are polyester ripoffs. At best you’ll find something called “noi silk” or “raw silk” (a misnomer) which is the cheapest, lowest quality silk in The Kingdom and shouldn’t even be confused with real Thai silk.
- The Golden Rule-know your silk vendor. You may be a novice at buying Thai silk, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a wise purchase. The best way to protect yourself from buying a counterfeit or paying way too much is to know your seller. Only buy from vendors who appear legitimate (Example: A vendor that has a dedicated silk shop and a large inventory of silk fabric is probably legit.) Never buy from a guy at a night market whose total inventory is on a card table or spread on the ground. Yikes!
- The Price Test. Thai silk is an expensive fabric. There are no bargains with Thai silk, only fair deals. Prices can easily range from $100 (US) for a 1.5 meter bolt of mudmee silk all the way to $3,000 for a bolt of the finest brocaded silk. You can’t buy a bolt of Thai silk for $10-$20. (That wouldn’t even pay for the silk yarns needed to weave it.) That’s why it’s never sold at tourist markets. (If you went to a tourist market and bought a “Rolex” for $50, do you think its authentic?”) The price test is nothing more than using common sense.
- Authentic Thai silk is rarely bargained for, and even then the price reduction is usually less than 5%. If a “silk” vendor first offers a bolt at $100 (US), but when he sees you heading for the door, lowers his price to $75, run, don’t walk out the door. If you buy from this type of vendor, you’re going to get ripped off and end up with a pile of polyester.
For more info about Thai silk and other Thai fabrics, please peruse “The Thai Fabric Chronicles”. And remember, Thai silk is a gateway to an old-style Thailand that’s quickly disappearing. In the world of Thai silk, the journey is always as rewarding as the destination.
The Thai Fabric Chronicles
- A Compendium of Thai Silk Sellers on Instagram
- Thai Traditional Fabrics: 3,000 Years in 15 Minutes
- An Intro to Thai Fabrics
- Thai Fabrics Part 2: Handwoven Textiles
- Thai Silk: A Buyer’s Guide
- Thai Fabrics Part 4: Hill Tribe Wares
- Thai Fabrics Part 5: Mudmee
- A Fabric Safari to Mae Chaem
- Jim Thompson (The Original Thai Silk King)
- A Silk Safari to Ban Ta-Sa-Wang
- A Cotton Safari to Pasang
- Thai Sericulture: Making Silk
- Thai Pillows: An Information Resource.
- Fakes Tests for Fake Thai Silk
- Thai Fisherman Pants: An Owner’s Manual
Really enjoyed reading all your information, but have another question. I’d like to purchase a silk wall hanging from Thailand or Laos but would need to purchase it online from a shop that will ship to the US. Do you have any suggestions? My fairly exhaustive search so far has not been fruitful. Thanks!
Hi, thanks for this very useful and informative blog. Just a detail the Instagram account listed for Maneerat Thai Silk is not the Instagram of this shop (they don’t have one actually). But this is the account of Silklovers which is located in the next alley at position C103. The owner is very friendly and happy to present and talk about her fabrics.
Thanks for letting me know.
Greetings, my name is Karl Breheim. I’m looking to purchase silk to make into a bullet proof shirt/vest. I read about police in Thailand doing this. I think 16 or more layers are required. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you.
Thanks for the question. It’s the first time I’ve ever been asked about silk bulletproof vests. I don’t know much other than silk has a greater strength than steel. In other words, a filament of silk is stronger than an equally sized filament of steel. And silk stretches while steel doesn’t.
Yes, the Thai police and universities have experimented with using silk for bulletproof vests for a couple of decades now. Here’s an old news article from the BBC that describes a layered vest: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/379338.stm And here’s a recent article about the use of silk cocoons to make bulletproof vests: https://www.nationthailand.com/national/30268649
Best of luck,
I am looking for Pauline Thai Silk where I believe I got a very nice
black Thai Silk shawl. I lost it on a trip to Florence and would like
to replace itk. It was very high quality. Kind of crisp and looked to be
a beautiful fabric
[…] https://mythailand.blog/2018/01/21/find-thai-silk-bangkok/ […]
Hello. We were gifted about 10 pcs of Thai silk with Authenticity certificate. But we want to sell them as they don’t suit our hot weather. Some are 2 yards and others are 4 yards. How much do you suggest we re-sell them for? I couldnt find a website for the store (Janya Fabric House). Much appreciated
Thanks for writing Aisha. The retail cost of a 2 or 4 yard bolt of Thai silk can vary from $75 (US) to $5,000 (US). A simple single color, plain weave Thai silk can sell for as little as $20 (US) per yard. So it’s impossible to give you price guidance without seeing the silk. If you can post a photo on FB, IG, Flikr, Twitter (any social media) and send me the link then I can comment on your silk. Also, check out my blog site for my Thai Silk Compendiums on Instagram. The Thai silk sellers on IG will often list the price in Thai baht. Hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you for your reply. Can you please share your email address so I can send you the photos directly?
Thanks for your patience. I just added the ability to attach photos to a comment. So please go ahead and just attach your photos to another comment and I’ll see it and can answer your question better. (I don’t give out my email for security purposes.)
Good day. Thank you. That is very kind of you to enable to attachments. Please find the image attached of 4 plain and 4 pattern fabrics.
One photo is attached and it’s difficult to see the fabrics. I can’t verify if it’s Thai silk. The middle fabric (yellowish) is clearly mudmee. Assuming it’s authentic Thai mudmee, a 2 yard bolt would sell for about $75-$100 (US). The fabrics just above the mudmee appear to be traditional plaid Thai silk woven in Esan (northeastern Thailand). Those bolts would sell for the same price as the mudmee. There’s a polka-dot fabric at the top left corner. I’ve never seen polka-dot Thai silk. I can’t give an opinion on the dark fabric that is handheld. It appears to have some texture. Does it shimmer when undulated? Are the sides (selvages) rough and uneven. (Those are attributes of Thai silk.) If it is Thai silk, it’s a plain weave and that silk sells for $10-$25/yard.
Read my tutorial on Thai silk and you’ll be able to verify if it’s authentic Thai silk.
The prices I mentioned are what you’d pay in a Thai silk shop in Thailand. I have no idea what you could sell these fabrics for online or outside of Thailand. Best of luck.
Hi, Can you recommend shops in Bangkok where One can buy silk scarfs etc. – not just fabrics? 🙂 thanks
Thanks for contacting me. Many of the shops at the Silk Zone in Old Siam Plaza (The place I recommend in this blog post.) will sell Thai silk scarves. The Silk Zone will sell more than just bolts of fabric. I recommend it because of the number of legitimate Thai silk shops in a small area.
Specifically I’d recommend “Queen of Thai Silk” shop at the Silk Zone. She specializes in Praewa silk and Praewa silk scarves are considered the finest scarves in Thailand.
And don’t forget Jim Thompson stores located throughout Bangkok. If I were buying a Thai silk scarf as a gift, I’d probably go to Jim Thompson. Best of luck!
In Thailand you also get cheap and good quality silk at Chatuchak plaza zone b soi4. Friendly shopkeeper with luxury silk products. Price is so reasonable.
Can you please write about where else you shop and give us some of your buying tips from ESsan etc
Chonobot! It’s a small town near Kon Gan that has maybe the best selection of silk shops in Esaan. Chonobot silk shops specialize in mudmee, but you can also find a very good selection of dupioni silks. Chonobot is small enough that is has one main road. Just walk down main street and you’ll see silk shops on either side. Shop as many stores as you have time for. Also be sure to ask the silk shop owners where you can see women weaving. They’ll know and direct you. I also shop in Baan Ta-Sa-Wan which is a silk weaving village near Surin. I specifically shop at the main cooperative at the silk weaving village. All silks at the cooperative are sold on a consignment basis and you’ll get fair prices for excellent Thai silk. If you’re in Baan Ta-Sa-Wan, you’re very close to Surin. Surin has many silk shops. Please refer to my blog post “A Compendium of Thai Silk Shops on Instagram” for the addresses of several very good quality silk shops in the Surin area. Best of luck.
Hello! Thanks for the great info. Do you know if these shops or any of the others will be open for selling silks, fusible (glue) fabrics, or trims during Songkran?
I’d be very surprised if the stores will be open during Songkran.