Friday, March 7, 2014

Where to shop in Phuket?

Phuket is not a shopping destination. When the first shopping mall opened in Phuket not long time ago, locals asked “Where is it all leading to?” Nowadays, with Phuket more developed, malls are ubiquitous but happily have not smothered the Thai traditional market life on the island. Thai people like to ‘group’ their shops so that if you are looking for a particular item there will be several shops selling on the same street.

If you are planning to go to Phuket, you may also want to check our where to stay in Phuket post.

Central Festival Phuket
Located just outside the western perimeter of Phuket Town, Central Festival Phuket with its 120,000sqm is a state-of-the-art shopping mall with hundreds of outlets, a multi-screen SFX cinema, franchise restaurants and of course the eponymous Central Department Stall. If you take the time to compare prices here with western ones you’ll see that there are bargains to be had in name-brand goods plus you can claim 7% VAT back at the airport if you request for and fill out the correct papers.

Jungceylon in Patong has more than 300 shops in it and uses 200,000 sqm of space. At its core is the two-storey Carrefour with household, food and fashion items. Carrefour also features many massage and beauty centres with reasonable prices as well as a Robinson’s department store with a good range of beauty and scented products as well as a colourful children’s section. Jungceylon often features fashion shows and has daily fountain displays.

Weekend Market (Talad Tairod) 
‘Talad Tairod’ translates as ‘car boot sale’ but nowadays this busy market has moved on from cars lined up selling dodgy goods. Thai markets are as much a social event as a commercial one so be prepared for lots of smiles and bartering. For sale are jeans, T-shirts, custom jewelry, artificial flowers, DVDs, sports shoes and a lot of secondhand goods. And of course a Thai market would not be complete without lots of delicious snacks.

Talad Tairod
Talad Tairod
Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson was an American businessman who, in the 1950s and 60s helped revitalise the Thai silk industry. He mysteriously disappeared from Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967 but his business momentum has carried on and nowadays the name Jim Thompson is synonymous with high-quality silk items as diverse as shirts to bed sheets to toys. There are currently six Jim Thompson outlets in Phuket: Canal Village Laguna, Katathani Beach Resort, Central Festival Phuket, Le Meridien Phuket, Turtle Village (Mai Khao Beach) and at Phuket Airport.

Phuket Indy Market
The Indy Phuket Market is on a small lane off Dibuk Road, just next to the well-known Lemongrass Restaurant, down what locals call Limelight Avenue. Items for sale here include handcrafted fashion jewelry, flowers, and customised towels as well as key rings and figurines. It’s all very creative and is undeniably a lot of fun, with live music and a laid back feel to it.

Phuket Old Town Handicraft Shops
Phuket’s Old Town is not only a picturesque and fascinating place to explore; it also features atmospheric handicraft stores as well as textile shops where bargains are to be had. Locally made handicrafts alongside Tibetan items are found along these streets and along Phang Nga and Yaowarat roads several artists have set up studios that sell classic as well as more modern-themed works.

Banzaan Market
Many visitors will enjoy exploring Banzaan Market in Patong, a modern-looking Thai fresh market on Nanai Road, right behind the megamall Jungceylon. Basically, you can get anything that one would expect from a local market here but in a much more pleasant environment. Prices are reasonable. The large building was designed by Chinese and Western architects and it features contemporary décor and style.

Premium Outlet Phuket
The shops at Premium Outlet Phuket on the Bypass Road deal in guaranteed brand-name clothing and sports accessories at bargain prices. Apart from Thai brands, other articles on sale include Lacoste, Guy Laroche, Hush Puppies, Warner Bros, Pierre Cardin, Van Heusen, Levi’s, Lee, Nautica, Adidas and Nike and feature discounts of up to 70%. It’s an attractive, open-plan designed shop kept at a constant cool temperature.

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