It’s true that you can basically find anything you could ever want in Bangkok. I studied abroad in Thailand for 5 months and the only thing we all craved and could not find was decent Mexican Food. My friends are in Japan now and came across the same problem — I sent them a package with chips, salsa, taco shells, and taco seasoning. They loved it. Just a thought — I’m from California so going that long without some quality Mexican food was more of a challenge than it would be for others.
Hmmm, I would only recommend the sort of “usual” stuff you might put in a car package. Since they are going where it is hot and sunny you could put in suncreen or sunglasses. Depending on where they are in Bangkok you could give them travel size toilet paper (found in the travel toiletries section at WalMart) or travel Kleenex. Pictures are always great! Since I am from the northwest I love the smell of evergreens and I was given an evergreen scented candle once to remind me of home. Anything else along those lines would work. Gag gifts or things that will remind them of inside jokes are sure to make them smile. Crossword puzzle books are good for the plane ride. Going off the Mexican food, you could include recipes from home too. Another tip, if you are mailing this package size should not be a big concern to your friends, but if you plan on giving it to them before they leave remember they will have to pack it all with them and I am sure they will be tight on space and will not want to find room for an evergreen scented candle. Just speaking from experience.
I lived in Bangkok for two years. You can buy just about anything there. I guess the question is what are your friends like? And what do they love that is strictly from your area of the world? If they are larger than Thai sized and they are women, then undergarments would be good. The bras in Thailand are made for small women. Same goes for shoes. Even at the major department stores it is harder to find larger sizes.
Special brands and local favorites are always something to send with them. When we are living far away from ‘home’ we crave those things that remind us of life as we knew it. Do you have a hot spot that has t-shirts with their logo on it? Football, baseball teams etc. Even a menu from a favorite restaurant -just to make them jealous! One of my good friends gave me a homemade recipe of Chai that I could brew up whenever I wanted the comfort of remembering the good times we shared over a cup of tea. Be creative. Think local.
Don’t get electronics. For two reasons. The current is different there, and they are so cheap in Thailand it isn’t worth it.
Also be careful with DVDs…. There are different regions of DVDs and some of them don’t work in certain players overseas. Even in laptops you can have problems switching regions. If they are taking laptops from your country then you are safe with buying a few favorites at home but -keep in mind the bootleg DVD market is SO HUGE in Thailand and Malaysia, movies are less than half the price they are in the west. Since they are moving there and not traveling, it won’t take them long to find out that most of the big malls not aimed at the tourists have wonderful DVD stores. Best mall for getting everything at good local prices in my opinion is Seacon Square. It is off the beaten tourist track but it sounds like your friends might be teachers based on the time of the year they are leaving, so it is close to most of the international schools. Lotus and Carrfour are like Target and Wallmart and they carry everything from furniture and food, to makeup.
Honestly I can’t think of a thing I wanted in BKK that I couldn’t find. A few of my friends craved Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It took a few months, but They finally did hunt it down.
many thanks for the advice all! i’m mostly leaning little items that my friends might need to either a) entertain themselves on the plane ride or b) get them started while they’re getting settled in bangkok.
I couldn’t live without hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes when I was in SE Asia.
And I made many friends w/ Emergency C and hydration powder/small packets like Gatorade. People from the Western world don’t realize how hot it can get there!
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