Very few people come to Bangkok or Thailand without buying some form of copied, fake or pirated goods in Bangkok, whether it is in the form of a movie, watch, item of clothing sun glasses or pirated software / music.
While it seems great to have these items, the truth of the matter is, they only look good on the outside but what you get on the inside and the quality of the products becomes all too evident once you get them home or after you've used them for a few days.
Fake & Counterfeit watches
Fakes watches in Thailand are a very common purchase and look very nice in the brochures that the vendors show you but from our experience, the watches rarely work for very long and the metal slowly erodes and turns green around the winder. Buying a fake watch in Bangkok might seem like a great idea so you can walk around with a fake Rolex watch or Tag Heur but all you are paying for is a very cheap watch with a brand name on the face. The money you actually pay these days for a counterfeit or fake watch could buy you a good quality, original, lesser branded watch.
Pirated movies are also high on the list of visitors to Bangkok and Thailand. It's very appealing to think you can grab the latest movie for a few dollars and with the offer of "buy five get one free" it seems like an even better deal but buying the latest movies will just get you a very poor and almost unwatchable movie which has been recorded on a hand held video camera. Counterfeit movies have extremely poor audio and any subtitles have been typed by someone without the faintest idea about the language they are using.
Any movie that has not yet been released, is still showing in the theatres or is less than three months old is not worth buying. It will not provide any viewing pleasure and won't be worth keeping. Any movie that is old enough to have been copied from an original DVD will be of decent quality but then again, you can probably pick up the original for a few dollars more.
Fake Designer Sunglasses
Sunglasses are primarily designed to provide us with protection against UV rays which can be harmful to our eyes. Good quality sunglasses have good quality lenses and will block nearly 100% of harmful rays. Fake sunglasses bought in Bangkok or Thailand DO NOT protect your eyes from these harmful rays and they even make wearing them more harmful to your eyes. Why ? because without sunglasses you naturally squint to reduce the amount of light that gets into your eyes. With fake sunglasses, the sun is dimmed, you can open your eyes more and this means more harmful rays reach your eyes. Counterfeit sunglasses could damage your eyes, so why pay for cheap, poorly made replicas which can be a health hazard ?
This is all down to quality. If you really must have a Lacoste badge on your polo shirt, then it's easy to find in Bangkok and Thailand. Cheap t-shirts, shirts, underwear and jeans bearing the name of some top fashion brand can easily be found. These copied brands serve a purpose but they lack quality and colours soon fade, labels peel off and the stitching comes loose. Men's shirts have thin cardboard in the collars and cuffs and a wash soon shows the poor quality.
With sales in the department stores you can pay a few dollars more and get legitimate brands of good quality.
Fake and Pirated Music CDs
The Internet hasn't help curb the copying of music but Bangkok still sells pirated music CDs but they cater more to the compilation CDs of Buddha Bar, Cafe Del Mar and Now That's What I Call Music.... Older music is not easy to find and so it's mainly the most recent and popular music. If you have a "strange" taste in music you probably won't find it unless you go to Kao San Road. When you receive your pirated copy of the CD you want, it will probably come on a CD with no writing or art work, will not have a case and will have a poorly copied sleeve which means you probably can't read the song list. With most people now listening to music on an iPod or MP3 player, you'll probably have to wait until you get back home before you can play it and find that it either doesn't work at all or contains songs downloaded from the Internet and have some annoying screech half way through your favourite track.
Pirated software used to be so easy. Just copy the original software, and install it on another computer. Then installation keys were introduced and things became a little harder for a day or two until someone cracked the key and it was back to normal, but these days, even though you can still get pirated software in Bangkok and Thailand, things are a little different.
For a start, the installation keys and the method of authenticating the installation are more complicated and a lot of the time, the crack or key that worked yesterday, won't work today. If you do get the software installed the chances are you won't get any updates or you've installed a 30 day trial version which stops working after that 30 day period. Anti-virus programmes do this a lot and it's now not easy to find an anti-virus programme that installs completely. If they do install, they won't update which makes them very inefficient and almost useless or they show you that you have a virus but you can't remove the virus unless you buy the full version ( which is fair enough ).
So, before buying the latest operating system or graphics programme, remember that it will most likely not work fully. Something will be missing and in the case of an operating system such as XP, Vista etc, you won't be able to download any patches or service packs and this also includes some other add ons. This also goes for Office software, database software and so on.