One of the most common questions we’re asked is what we do with the things we purchase while traveling. In truth we don’t buy very much, but here’s to if we did, these are the things we’d buy and where…
At home like on the road, I’m frequently a shopper, rarely a buyer. I spend much of my time looking, considering and pricing, but rarely actually buying. Before I buy I want to make sure I’m getting exactly what I want at a great price. This makes travel shopping especially suited for my style of browsing, feeling and pricing. I can wander markets and eye ball my options, have vendors shout out prices, but I’m not convinced to buy anything I don’t absolutely want or need. Having to carry the purchases on my back further incentivizes me not to purchase anything unnecessary, but here are a few things I’ll go back to get later.
Just a glimpse at some of the art for sale at the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok
Furniture, art and home accessories at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. Second only to electronics in things I purchase, but number one in my heart, are home products. Furniture and home stores are one of my favorite places to visit, anywhere in the world, and Chatuchak stands out for offering modern design composed of classic components. The art, home accessories and furnishings are stunning, I could do up several houses from this market alone. Given it’s location in central Bangkok, which is connected to much of the world, this market will be seeing me soon.
Given my shopping tastes it’d be easy to imagine me lounging nude on modern furniture using the newest technologies, I realize I do need to clothe myself. If I have to clothe myself, I’d much prefer all my clothes be tailored for me. For this it’s hard to beat Vietnam or Hong Kong, where skilled hands, low labor prices, and fine fabrics align to create the Mecca of tailoring. There is one thing to have a sharp suit, it’s another thing to have a sharp fitting suit. For me nothing beats a good fit, and if you want a sleek style then tailoring is the way to go. The prices in Vietnam are hard to beat, but for the prim-and-proper style I prefer what I found in Hong Kong. They’ll be seeing me for a fitting soon…
These three places stand out among everywhere we’ve been (30 countries) probably because there just isn’t much I’ve thought about purchasing. Treating “Traveler’s Fever” with a dose of reality those “really beautiful” local items probably wouldn’t fit in with how I’d decorate. While they look perfect in their natural setting of a tourist-trap table, I just don’t cross many things that I’d like to introduce to my “real life”.
I have noticed on this trip that I’m a saver, not a spender. When I do spend money I often opt for experiences instead of things, hence this trip not a closet full of brand name clothes. However, with the holidays approaching and everyone getting together their wish lists I can’t help but reminisce on a few places where I would have been happy to spend a few dollars if I didn’t have to carry my purchases on my back.
How would you choose just one pair of shoes when they’re made just for you?
I don’t typically collect shoes, unless you count my stash of running shoes, however I would return to Vietnam in a heartbeat to get a pair of custom shoes made for me. Having clothes made for you is cool, but you can get a new suit tailored for you anywhere. When is the last time you saw custom-made shoes? Probably never, that’s why I have to get to Vietnam and have a pair, or three, made for me ASAP.
While I’m accessorizing, why not go to one of the jewelry capitals of the world? Hong Kong, offers some of the most exquisite gold and platinum jewelry I’ve seen on this trip. The gorgeous jewels and gems on display in the windows of Nathan Road are nothing short of stunning. For bling Hong Kong is the place, I love the traditional pieces incorporating jade as well as the modern pieces and all those diamonds- thinkCHUA better start saving.
My final shopping stop would be Japan for all my kitchen needs. The home of some of the best knives in the world and the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever seen. The hand painted plates and one-of-a-kind tea sets sold in Kyoto among other places make me want to ditch our wedding dishes and buy a whole new set.
Of course if I were doing a world shopping tour I wouldn’t mind stopping in Ubud, Indonesia for some retail therapy as well as China to get in on their emerging art scene or do some shopping in the boutique stores of Shanghai’s French Concession.
Where are your favorite shopping destinations and why?