Thailand is the promised land for shopaholics! Everything between heaven and earth is for sale – the range is enormous and the prices are low. The department stores have always displayed fixed prices, a custom which is becoming the norm. However, at markets and in smaller shops, you may have to negotiate a price that both parties are happy with. Start at about half the initial offer and remember that the seller won´t make a deal that doesn´t make at least a little profit...
Things to buy
Silk, tailor made clothes, gems, gold, silver, pearls, tin articles, wood carvings, batik, bags, eye glasses and lenses.
Along the road to Phuket Town are the three big department stores Tesco Lotus, Big C, and Central Festival. I Phuket Town are the shopping malls Robinson and Ocean Plaza. In Patong you will find the shopping mall Jungceylon. Most shops accept the most common credit cards, but it is always wise to carry cash as a backup.
Tailors Back home, it is almost impossible to have a suit or dress made. It is expensive and there are not that many tailors left. In Thailand, it is the opposite. There is a tailor at every corner, and the prices are low. Tailor made clothes can be had at the same price as that of readymade clothes at home, if not cheaper. There are many good tailors on Phuket, but there are also many that are not so good, using low quality material and doing shoddy work. Even if the garment may look good to begin with, it may well be a different story after a few turns in the washing machine. We want you to be satisfied and find an honest and skilled tailor. This is why we recommend that you contact the reception or the guides on this. A good advice is to visit the tailor in good time, to make sure you can try the clothes and make any alterations that may be necessary.
Learn to haggle
It may seem difficult and uncomfortable to begin with, but try anyway. If they want say, 600 baht, for a charming hand carved wooden dragon, try suggesting 300, and see what happens. Do not start haggling unless you are seriously interested. And don’t conclude if you think it is too expensive. Do not take anything personally. If you can´t get it the way you want, finish negotiations, smile, and leave. There will be other opportunities. Avoid haggling in restaurants and on articles with a price tag.
There are several local markets to choose from on Phuket, with everything from clothes to household appliances to fresh vegetables, fruit and other edibles.
Phuket Town: The largest market on Phuket, a night market (weekend market). Saturdays and Sundays 5-9 pm. There is also a food market by the local bus station in Phuket Town, every day from 4 am, closing late morning.
Patong: Traditional market, to be found ever where in Patong. Every day 5-11 pm.
Karon Beach: Local market with food and clothes, by Karon Temple. Tuesdays and Saturdays 3-7 pm. Local market with clothes and shoes by the beach walk in Karon Beach. Every day 10 am- 9 pm.
Kata: Local food market. Mondays and Thursdays 3-7 pm.
Kamala: Local market with food and clothes. Wednesdays and Saturdays 3-7 pm. Local market with food and clothes beside Sunwing Kamala Beach Mondays and Fridays 3-7 pm.
Bangtao Beach: Local market with food and clothes by Lotus, in Bangtao Beach, Mondays and Thursdays 3-7 pm.
Shopping in Kamala
There are a number of shops and street stalls selling cheap beach- and sportswear, along with souvenirs. Most of the shops are to be found close to the beach, with crafts, silk scarves, sarongs and toys. Most of them open around 10 am and stay open until late in the evening. The bare necessities of life are sold in a number of smaller supermarkets and a pharmacy. Most of the local shops and supermarkets are ranged along the main road in Kamala. There is also a small Internet café and some tailors. If you are into some serious shopping, you had better go to Patong.