Phuket has some wonderful options when it comes to shopping. The arrival of modern department stores has only increased its appeal as a shopping destination. Not only is it possible to find products on the island that are not available elsewhere in the world, but it is also possible to purchase luxury items that would normally only be found in large cities. No matter what type of item people are looking for they are almost certain to find something of interest on the island. The only limit to the shopping experience in Phuket is the person’s budget.
Things to Buy in Phuket
Anyone who loves to shop will feel spoiled in Phuket because there is much to choose from. Some of the items that visitors might like include:
Traditional Thai Handicrafts
Handcrafts are those items that have been made by hand and are often highly decorative. One of the nice things about buying Thai handicrafts is that the money spent will help encourage these artisans to keep producing these traditional goods. It also means that the foreign visitor will be taking home something that is special and relatively unique. Some of the handicrafts worth buying include:
- Bamboo furniture
- Wicker storage containers
- Sisal hats
- Thai ceramics
- Wood carvings
- Thai incense
- Thai traditional stationary products such as paper
- Handmade toys
- Handicraft artificial flowers
Thai silk making has a deserved reputation for being one of the finest arts in the world. It is available in many patterns and colors and the quality is usually impeccable. Traditional Thai silk is woven by hand, and this means that it is not possible to replicate these items by industrial means – this is what makes these items so special. There is a great deal of designs and styles to choose from so it is best to look around before making any final purchases. It is not recommended that people buy their silk in the airport on their way home as it is usually cheaper in Phuket.
Beautiful Thai Art
If people are looking for something really special to take home with them they might want to consider some Thai art. These items do tend to be a bit on the expensive side but not unreasonably so – those who are interested in this type of item will usually agree that these items are worth the prices. Thai art includes painting, sculptures, and other decorative works.
One of the things that can put people off buying tailored clothing in Phuket is the hard sell tactics of shop owners. In places like Patong Beach these business people will literally try to drag people in off the streets. The reason for the pushy tactics is that there exists a great deal of competition between the many tailors on the island. This can actually work to the advantage of buyers because it gives them more bargaining power. It is possible to get a great deal on tailored clothing on the island and these items can then be shipped home. There are also more up market tailoring options on the island if people want something really special.
Electrical Goods at a Cheaper Price
It is possible to pick up electrical goods at a good price in Phuket. The island now has department stores that rival those found in major cities around the world. The main drawback with buying these types of items in Phuket is that if there is a problem after the person has returned home it will be difficult for them to get back to the shop. When it comes to expensive brand name items like the iPad it might be best to buy these at home because the savings in Thailand are not going to be that significant.
Food Items Worth Taking Home from Phuket
There are a number of food items that people might want to take back with them from Phuket including:
- Cashew nuts are significantly cheaper in Thailand than they are in other parts of the world.
- Thai sauces – although many western cities now have Thai stores that will sell these products.
- Palm sugar
- Thai chili and chili paste
- Chili dipping sauces
- Bplaa raa – fermented fish sauce
- Tamarind paste will be much cheaper to buy in Thailand
Where to Shop in Phuket
The best place to shop in Phuket will depend on what people are hoping to buy. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Handicrafts can be bought almost everywhere in Phuket but Ranong Rd in Phuket Town is well worth checking out.
- Thai silk is another product that is sold in many venues across the island – basically anywhere that tourists are known to congregate. It is sometimes possible to get good deals in the department stores, but the night markers are probably the best option if people know how to haggle.
- Thai art products can be purchased in galleries or in shops in the main department stores. Options include Fine 9 Design & Collection near Surin Beach, Nakalina in Phuket Town, Patong, or Cherng Talay, and Soul of Asia on Rassada Road in Phuket Town.
- Tailored clothing can be both in all the main tourist areas. It is impossible to miss these shops because there is usually somebody outside the premises trying to entice potential customers inside.
- Electrical goods can be found in the large department stores at Central Festival Phuket and Jungceylon Shopping Center in Patong.
Getting a Good Bargain in Phuket
If people are concerned with getting the best possible bargain they might like to:
- People are expected to haggle in a market situation, but even the department stores and smaller shops will usually be able to offer a discount on items if people ask – particularly expensive products.
- One of the main reasons why people fail to get a good bargain is that they have no idea about how much they should expect to pay. This is why it is important to do some research first of all and do some price comparisons.
- If people are unfamiliar with Thai money it makes sense that they should take their calculator with them.
- Sometimes it is worth paying a bit more for a product if it means more convenience or better service.
- When it comes to art it is almost impossible to put an objective price on these items. Each individual will need to decide how much this item is worth to them and are they willing to pay the amount asked for by the seller.