Roadside t-shirt stalls...
What to buy: 2 years back when i first bought t-shirts on the streets on Hat Yai, i was pretty sceptical as i never trusted any goods not purchased from proper departmental stores but i did anyway. 2 years now, the first thing i think of about Hat Yai is shopping on the streets. The t-shirt i bought 2 years ago is still in very good shape and the colors hardly faded after i think almost 40 washes. A lot of tourist have noted bad things about shopping clothes at the street of Hat Yai, i completely disagree. Its a matter of whether you really know what you are buying..
What to pay: Do not pay more than 150 bath for the t-shirts in the picture. You might be able to go lower if you have the patience to negotiate.
Fake clothes, shoes, luggage, sunglasses, CDs, DVDs, software and of course watches. Is nothing real in Thailand? Even some of the 'women' are not quite what they seem.
As a first-time visitor to Thailand in 1987 I was taken in by all of this, as are most first-time visitors. I bought a fake Rolex watch which looked OK and had a self-winding mechanism. It kept fairly good time for a while but then started to go very wrong before giving up the ghost all together a few months later. Of course, it was not waterproof either so useless on the beach or when diving. As is always the case in life, you pays your money and you takes your choice.
Besides fake designer clothes there are the usual fake sunglasses. I understand that these can be quite dangerous as they do not block UV rays properly. They are tinted so trick your eyes into thinking they are protected from the sun and thus your pupils dilate. This allows more UV in so it is actually more dangerous than wearing no sunglasses at all. Obviously the best solution is to buy an original pair of reputable brand sunglasses.
This is the first time I've seen fake Teva sandals in Thailand although it doesn't surprise me at all as the industrious Thais produce all manner of fake brand name products. What I do find surprising is why people buy fake items. My Tevas cost around 100 USD. I bought them because the manufacturing and component quality is excellent, meaning they will last for ages and it is very unlikely that a strap will break or they will fall apart leaving me stranded without a shoe in a remote place. They are also very comfortable, especially the ones with the gel soles. Mine have a special antibacterial ingredient so they don't stink to high heaven after a day's walking around in the tropics. The sole is specially designed to give good grip so I am less likely to slip and break a limb while clambering over wet rocks. In summary, I buy Teva products for their functional qualities. Fake items, of course, have none of these qualities. It says a lot, I think, about people who are more concerned about image over substance.
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