If you love shopping then you are going to love Phuket, a place that can only be described as a shopaholic’s paradise. The island offers bustling open air markets, noisy and vibrant night markets, food markets, local shops and world class western style shopping centers as well as up-market specialist shops. When you add to that list the traditional handicrafts, fabulously priced houseware goods, antiques and jewelry there is a good chance that a bigger suitcase will also be on your shopping list.
The Ocean Plaza Patong is a must visit shopping destination for those who love to shop until they drop. It is one of two shopping malls along the Patong beach Road. Historically this was something of a haberdashery store, but today it sells just about everything imaginable. The plaza has two levels of shopping and offers affordable brand name goods including women’s wear, menswear, children’s clothing, accessories, leather goods, home interiors, stationary, cosmetics and gifts. The store also sells OTOP (One Tambon One Product) goods that are based on Thai culture and tradition using local recourses. The store also has a games zone for children and plenty of Asian restaurants.
The Central Festival in Phuket is fully air conditioned and can be found just outside Phuket Town. This shopping mall is known as the shopping hub of the island with more than 120 outlets selling just about everything there is to sell, anything you can’t find here is probably not worth having. It is very easy to spend an entire day at the Central Festival so make sure you leave plenty of time if you are serious about shopping. As well as the shops this mall has a cinema where you can catch the latest movies and a wide range of international restaurants. The underground parking is free of charge, if you don’t have wheels that there are plenty of taxis to be found at the main entrance.
If you are looking for bargains then head to the Premium Outlet Phuket where as well as Thai brands you can get great deals on Guy, Laroche, Hush Puppies, Nike, Adidas, Pierre Cardin, Warner Bross, Lacoste and Van Heusens, up to 70% off deals can be found here.
The Phuket Weekend Market can be found just outside Phuket Old Town on the Chao Fa West Road, not far from Central Festival. This fascinating market sells all kinds of secondhand goods, pirated items, curios and animals as well as some great local foods. This may not be the kind of place that you would go to actually buy anything but it is really worth a look just for the curiosity value.
Downtown, the Jungceylon Shopping Complex has changed the face of shopping in Patong. The two main stores here are Big C supermarket and a gleaming Robinsons, an upper end department store. There are over two hundred other shops here to enjoy that sell shoes, DVD’s, cosmetics, sunglasses, brand name clothes, mobile phones, electrical goods and so the list goes on. There is also plenty in the way of entertainment here with a five room cinema and a 16 lane bowling alley so this is certainly the place to head to on the odd wet day.
Shopping in Karon and Kata is a lot more laid back that Patong but just as much fun. Here you will find many plazas, boutiques, bazaars and fresh markets. These are both family friendly shopping destinations with ultra hospitable storekeepers.
Phuket old town is worth a look for shopping. It has some great secondhand book shops, off the wall items like coconut shredders, garden accessories, wedding dresses and hardware stores. This is also the place to find textiles, Japanese, Burmese, Chinese and Thai artifacts and antique shops.
And finally the Talad Kasnet Night Market has to be worth a mention. This market is right behind Robinsons in Phuket Town and is where you can find the best Thai, Chinese and Muslim foods and a myriad of vendors selling stir fry, spicy salad, noodle soup and wok prepared dishes. The sights, sounds and smells draw many hungry shoppers here.