Buying antiques in Bangkok is not easy. Unless you know what you're looking for, you could end up with shoddy works or even convincing copies. Although Bangkok has quite a few antiques shops, there are a good deal less originals about than there used to be. This is partly due to the fact that the government is a whole lot more rigorous in its curbs on the trade in works which may have been stolen from ancient temples. Another factor is that there are so many replicas around that it's no longer necessary to pay top dollar for a decorative centrepiece to your home.
Thailand is in fact, one of the principal outlets for antiques from all over Southeast Asia. Some shops resemble museums, jumbled with tapestries, statues, cabinets, bells, puppets, ceramics, baskets, lacquerware, and temple artifacts.
Antique bargains are rare. Chiang Mai is cheaper than Bangkok. Visit shops on Tha Phae and Loi Khro Roads in Chiang Mai and Charoen Krung Road, River city, Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. There are antiques auctions at River City on the first Saturday of each month. The excellent copies available are cheaper.
Recomended shops in Chiang Mai are Amaravadee Antiques and Borisoothi Antiques, in Bangkok the Fine Art and NeOld.
If you want to take antiques or Buddha images out of Thailand you will require export permit from the Fine Arts Department via the National Museum. It take at least one week to obtain the permit.
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