Shopping here is inevitable no matter what gender you are. Throughout the country there are crafts, clothes, statues and assorted other things to buy, just CALLING your name. When people tell you to pack light because you will end up buying a suitcase to bring things home, there are SERIOUS! Most of the handicrafts you see in Bangkok are not unique. If you are going to Chiang Mai, wait and do most of your shopping there. It is cheaper. But by all means, if you see something you want, go right ahead. Everything is very inexpensive. Don't worry if you realize you've forgotten something at home. Flip-flops, lotion, T-shirts are always nearby. I did have trouble finding hair shampoo and conditioner as well as cosmetics, but it’s there if you need it.
The hardest part is those first few experiences you have at trying to bargain a price down. It is expected that you do so, but coming from a country where isn’t common can make you a little nervous. An easy way I found to start the process, but not offend anyone is to say, "You offer discount?" Most will say yes and state a lower price and then you drop lower and begin the back and forth until one of you agrees with the other. It's not so bad.
A lot of things take getting used to. I felt so horrible when I woke up the first day in Bangkok. I had eaten Thai food at 3am after the second leg of a 21 hr journey from Chicago to Thailand. Suggestion number 1: Bring at least 10 protein/meal-on the go bars with you, you can't find them in Bangkok. I wish I would have had them to ease into my first few days. The food is similar to Thai food in the states, but much more INTENSE. Not hot, per se, but spicy. I've decided that I HATE lemongrass now, and the coconut milk was so overwhelming. Just be prepared. There was a good number of Indian restaurants around, and of course various Western foods and McDonald's. So, don't be ashamed if you can't handle the local cuisine right away. There is Coke, but no Pepsi. Ruffles, but no Doritos. One night we did see a group of boys unloading blocks of ice from a truck by sliding them across the filthy pavement. I never did get ice in my drinks . . .
Another surprise . . . toilets. Most places (modern restaurants and hotels) had Western toilets, but other places, like small bars and stores, had a very confusing piece of porcelain offering its services. Remember these tips: 1) BYOTP 2) Don't put the toilet paper in the toilet -- it goes in a basket. I messed up a couple of times while trying to follow these rules.
Summary, Thailand is such a wonderful country. Bangkok is INTENSE. At first glance I didn’t know if I could handle it. But in retrospect it was getting through the adjustment period that made all the difference. When you return home, you will be very upset that people are not smiling and saying hello to you every time you catch their eye . . . or offering you a two hour foot rub for $3. Soak it all in while you can.