Visitors gravitate to the local markets and specialty stores to make the most of Phuket shopping. Look for fashion, jewellery, ceramics and textiles, including exquisite silks.
Doing the markets
The popular Phuket Town weekend market runs every Saturday and Sunday from afternoon until 10 pm. Certainly, it’s a more relaxed and a more authentic Thai experience than the tourist oriented markets around Patong. Apart from clothes, handicrafts, trinkets and the like, it also has plenty of great street food. Prices are also cheaper than the markets around Patong.
Phuket Walking Street on Sundays from 4 pm is also popular. It’s great for browsing for trinkets and lingering for snacks or dinner. In poor weather try the indoor Expo Market or Phuket Square in Phuket town. While the atmosphere isn’t as vibrant as their outdoor counterparts, there are plenty of great bargains.
Phuket shopping – specialty retailers
For shoes and other leather goods, try the fixed price stores Udomagg, Findig and Kata Leather Goods at Kata Beach. Also at Kata Beach, Parin Waris sells organic skincare and aromatherapy products. Harry’s Fashion House is a trusted custom tailor running up women’s fashion and menswear to measure.
Freedom Board Sports is a surf and watersports shop stocking everything the board enthusiast could want. It’s at Mu Ban Ban Sabai in Chalong.
The well known silk retailer, Jim Thompson, has several stores in Phuket. The fashion and decor items are renowned for their high quality, but expect prices to match.
Soul of Asia is a fine art gallery near Patong Beach, owned by a Dutch collector. The gallery specialises in Asian antiques and paintings, but also carries works by famous Western artists.
For something different, try Fe² for decor items and jewellery crafted from crystal, wood or silk. The store is at 49/33 Boat Avenue, Baan Don-Cherngthalay Rd, Choeng Thale.
For those still unsatisfied with the selection from local vendors, the island also has its share of air conditioned shopping malls and chain stores selling well known international brands.
Phuket shopping facts to consider
It’s worth checking the quality of goods you’re buying. Some tailors use substandard fabrics and cheap labour, so choose carefully. Some vendors also try to pass off synthetic fabrics as silk. Authentic silk is never cheap. Furthermore, it’s illegal to bring fake designer goods or pirated CDs etc. into Australia.
Avoid touts luring you into jewellery stores, or business propositions claiming you can make double or triple returns reselling jewellery or gems.
Otherwise, keep your sense of humour when bartering. If you don’t think the price is reasonable, politely decline and walk away. With some practice you’ll become familiar with the prices, and you’re bound to make some excellent buys you won’t get at home.