Phuket Shopping Guide

Guide to shops and shopping on Phuket and in Thailand

Shopping

Phuket Shops And Shopping Tips

Here you will find an in-depth guide to Phuket’s shopping. From Phuket boutique shops and shopping centers to the vibrant night markets and your daily mini market needs.

Bottom line is that Phuket island is a shopaholic’s paradise! The island has a great variety of shopping, from bustling open-air village food markets, noisy night markets, street stalls and local shops to western-style department stores and up-market specialist boutique shops. Prices naturally vary, going from amazing bargains to credit card-melting designer labels.

With traditional handicrafts, beautifully-designed clothing, jewellery, art, furniture, antiques, house wares and much more to choose from, the only thing you’ll regret about shopping in Phuket is that you didn’t bring a bigger suitcase! And you can buy a new one, while you’re here, too.

Gifts for family, friends and colleagues, something to hang on the wall or put on the mantelpiece to remind you of warmer times, something nice and skimpy to wear around the pool on those occasional warm days back home, Phuket has it all.

Phuket Mini Markets – Back to basics

Family Mart

The Second largest convenience store chain on Phuket, Thailand is the Japanese Export Family Mart Convenience Stores. Although it only has roughly a tenth of the number of stores on Phuket than the huge 7-11, you can see some family mart convenience stores in and around the Phuket Area and they seem to be more numerous then 7-11 stores. They have virtually the same products on sale on their 24 hour convenience stores with 7-11 and with almost the same prices but the only difference is that they have different local convenience food offering than in 7-11. You can buy all your essential necessities for travel here like bottled water, soaps, shampoo, snacks, junk food, local burgers or sandwiches, local drinks, prepaid mobile phone reload cards and more.

7-11

Phuket has a large number of 24 hour convenience stores and the number on brand here is the 7-11 brand of which Thailand has the third largest number of 7-11 convenience stores around the world and a lot of them are in Phuket Area,

There are practically a 7-11 store in every four blocks in Patong providing 24 hour convenience but a warning! not all store attendants speak English so be prepared to point what you want if you are ordering the 7-11 own products like snacks or coffee or teas on the dispensers!

The franchise in Thailand is the CP ALL Public Company Limited, which in turn grants franchises to operators. There were 6,300 stores 7-Elevens in Thailand in 2011, half of which are in Bangkok, making Thailand have the 3rd largest number of stores after Japan (13,000) and the United States (6,500). CP All plans to increase the number of stores to 6,800 in 2012 and more than 7,000 by 2013.

The Local Mini Mart

Both the above are large, big business stores but besides these places you will find the locally run mini marts scattered around selling the basics such as cigarettes, soft drink, milk, coffee / tea, water and every day basic needs. These pore owners can not normally compete with the bulk buyer establishments like the Family Mart, 7-11 and Makro etc but their prices are not much different, so PLEASE keep these little family run places in mind and help them out while you are here.
Phuket Shopping Centers

Bangtao & Surin Beach Shopping Centres

Tesco Lotus Express at Cherng Talay

Though Tesco Lotus in Bangtao is a lot smaller than the one in Phuket Town it carries a good selection of just about everything, especially convenience food, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and a wine selection. Other retails include Top Charoen Optical, Sengho Bookstore, a drug store and a DVD shop.

Opening Hours: Daily from 06:00-22:00
Location: Cherng Talay, towards the sea

Chalong Bay & Rawai Beach Shopping Centres

Phuket HomePro Village

Phuket HomePro Village consists of a big home improvement and many other retail shops and banks including Toys R Us, Express, Boots Pharmacy, Top Charoen Optical, a camera and IT shop, furniture & handicraft stores, sportswear, an aquarium shop, swimming pool shop, nail spa shop, dry cleaning and ATM machines.

The venue has been getting more traffic with the opening of a high-end supermarket- the Villa Market. It seems their customer-based consists largely of foreigners as all signs are in English. The place is well stocked with a good and quality wine choice, alcoholic beverages, foreign magazines, DVD’s, CD’s, fresh and organic food and fruit, imported snacks, chocolate, biscuits, vinegar, olive oil, spices, seasoning, sauce, candies, baby food, diapers, cereals, pet food, kitchenware, nuts, raisins, baking ingredients and much more, with many items unavailable elsewhere. The luxury of shopping in this supermarket is that the place is quiet with no unpleasant noise unlike most ear-busting supermarkets and shops on the island.

Opening Hours: HomePro 09:00 – 21:00, Villa Market 08:00 – 22:00
Location: Chaofa West Road just before reaching the Chalong Circle

Tesco Lotus @ Park Rawai

Tesco Lotus @ Park Rawai is located about a kilometre south of Chalong Circle towards Rawai Beach. It is roughly1,000sqm in area and offers everything that shoppers would want in the friendly-size supermarket. The retail sections features a good number of tenants and a few restaurants so in effect you have a mini shopping mall without the noise and crowds.

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00, for tenants the hours may vary depending on each one
Location: About one km from the Chalong Circle toward Rawai

Mai Khao Beach Shopping Centres

Turtle Village

Located just a short walk from Anantara Resort and JW Marriott Phuket, this uniquely designed ‘village’ has two levels and covers over 3,000sqm of retail space. Here, you can find gifts, Thai souvenirs, clothing selections and dining. Tenants include Jim Thompson silk shop, Triumph lingerie and swimwear, Soul of Asia, Kashmir Gallery and Turtle Mart.

Opening Hours: Daily from10:00 – 21:00
Location: Just a short walk from Anantara Resort and JW Marriott Phuket

Patong Beach Shopping Centres

Jungceylon Shopping Complex

Jungceylon is a monster of a shopping centre. It contains just about everything that shoppers could conceivably need and is a must-do if you’re a bargain hunter. Situated on Rat-U-Thit Rd. diagonally opposite the eastern end of Soi Bangla, you simply can’t miss it. The two main stores in the complex are Robinson and BigC.

The almost 200 other stores in this shopping heaven sell brand-name clothes, spectacles, sunglasses, colognes and perfumes, shoes, DVD-CD-VCD’s, computer games, electrical goods, pewter, gold and silver, and sportswear amongst myriad other items. Read More…

Opening Hours: May – Oct daily from 11:00 – 22:00 and Nov – Apr daily from 11:00 – 23:00 Carrefour Hypermarket daily from 10:00 – 22:00, SF Cinema City daily from 11:00 – 01:00, SF Strike Bowl daily from 12:00 – 01:00
Location: On Rat-U-Thit Road not far from Soi Bangla

Ocean Bangla Shopping Plaza

Patong has Two Ocean department stores. Perhaps the most singular aspect of these shops is that they are in the form of a department store but really have the content of a bazaar. Three-storey Ocean on Bangla Road is a riot of colours and products ranging from costume jewelry to funny hats to name-brand shirts and trousers. The ground or ‘first’ floor is crammed with clothing and is surrounded by boutiques selling just about anything that tickles your fancy from camera tripods to iPods.

Prices are ‘negotiable’ here so bargain hard to get the asking price down as it will be set at an unrealistic level. There are some attractive pewter and china Thai handicrafts and those looking for a new high-powered rifle scope or night binoculars shouldn’t be disappointed. Upstairs you will find name-brand clothes in stalls that appear to be built on top of each other as well as a small toy section. On the ‘third’ floor there is a large sports outlet and a bowling alley as well as a dimly lit snack and beer bar. In the basement there is a supermarket with reasonable (for Patong) prices. Read More…

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:30 – 23:30
Location: Central Bangla Road

Ocean Plaza Patong Beach

The other Ocean – on the southern part of Patong’s Beach Road – is a similar setup with slightly different goods for sale. Here on the ground floor there are name brands such as Nautica and Lee, Ecco and Cerutti, handmade carpets, costume jewelry, video games, nieloware, pewter, and mobile phone accessories. Go up one floor and you’ll be surrounded by name-brand underwear, swimwear, DVD’s and VCD’s (mostly in Thai), binoculars, air guns, wireless computer mice, and calculators. The next floor is home to a sports section which is, in turn, next to tourist souvenirs such as jade Buddhas and other jade accessories which stand next to a music display featuring cheap guitars and strings as well as suitcases, pens, colouring books and wallets. If there’s method to all this madness then it escapes most Western minds but it certainly puts a lot of fun into shopping in Patong.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 22:00
Location: On the southern part of Patong’s Beach Road, past Holiday Inn

Phuket Town Shopping Centres

Big C

Just 300 metres north of Central on the Bypass Rd is another shopping mall called Big C. The western-facing outside car park (there is also underground parking here) is the site of quite a few clothes stalls and several stalls selling car accessories as well as decorative household goods.

Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 – 23:00
Location: on Bypass Road

Central Festival Phuket

Central Festival Phuket is an air conditioned, fully equipped three-storey shopping mall lying just outside of Phuket Town. If you are coming from Patong, Central lies on your left, before the main crossroads as you enter Phuket.

Central has free underground parking in case you have wheels but if you arrive by tuk tuk or bus it’s simple to alight outside and use the main entrance. Many satellite shops make up the sum of Central but the logical place to start bargain hunting is Central Department Store itself. Read More…

Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00 – 22:00
Location: On Bypass Road (aka Chalermprakiat Rd)

HomeWorks Phuket

This is a massive two-floor mall devoted to household improvement and furniture products. Check out HomeWorks Phuket on the second floor. It offers a complete range of home and office furniture as well as outdoors accessories. Next to it is Power Buy electronics and IT. Other tenants include Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Se-Ed Bookstore, Mister Donut, KFC, computer shop, a barbecue accessory shop, Thai & Chinese painting outlet, an aromatic oil shop among others.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 22:00
Location: Opposite Central Festival Phuket on the Bypass Road
Type : Household accessories & furniture

Index Living Mall

Another 300 metres further north is the Index Living Mall, a place that majors in chic household goods. Here, there are home theatre systems, artwork, bedding, kitchenware and even a few clothes outlets but the main part of the mall deals in high quality items such as pans, rugs and the like. And in case you get the munchies while shopping there’s a rather incongruous food outlet right by the cashiers.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 21:00
Location: Opposite Big C on the Bypass Road
Type : Household & Furniture

Premium Outlet Phuket

The outlets at Premium Outlook 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 Puppy, 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 to a constant cool temperature.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 21:00
Location: On the Bypass Road (aka Chalearmprakiet Ror 9 Road)

SB Design Square

A big store featuring more than 10,000 furniture pieces from bedroom accessories to living room, office, kitchen and kid’s room extras. The store has about 100 model show ‘rooms’ plus home items including carpets, lamps, vases, photo frames and much more. Customers can discuss with the shop’s interior designers to gather ideas and also try their 3D computer service program.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 21:00
Location: Opposite Big C on the Bypass Road
Type : Household & Furniture

Tesco Lotus @Park Chaofa

It is the first community mall concept opened in August 2008 by international company Tesco Lotus, Tesco Lotus @Park Chaofa is located south of Phuket Town opposite the Phuket Villa 3 Housing Estate on Chaofa East Road. The biggest challenge is in operating of community malls is researching and understanding the needs and requirements of consumers living in their catchment areas, at which Tesco seems to do well. The mall has a good-size supermarket; several banks, Sengho Bookstore, S&P Bakery, Chester Grill, Black Canyon Thai Restaurant, a gold shop, and a camera and IT shop.

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00, for tenants the opening hours vary
Location: Opposite the Phuket Villa 3 Housing Estate on Chaofa East Road

Tesco Lotus

Further up the road on the right-hand side at the next intersection stands Tesco Lotus. This mall was the first major modern shopping centre in Phuket and it has goods of a higher quality than Big C – indeed many visitors come from Patong buy Tesco’s colourful beach shirts and shorts while the store also has a decent liquor/wine outlet. It’s basically a supermarket with a decent toys department and a pretty good electronics section. Tesco Lotus mall also features perennials such as McDonald’s, Boots, a good electronics shop, lots of fast food and more ATM machines than you can shake a credit card at.

Upstairs in the food court the amount of decibels hurled at shoppers trying to lunch is almost unbelievable. Even Patong’s Rock City can’t beat the music coming out of the upstairs CD/DVD outlet, the ‘Entertainment Center’ with at least five games at full blast, no less that two different large flat-screen movies going at the same time, a ‘Guitar Hero’ game by the escalator and on top of all this cacophony the store girl makes tinny tannoy announcements. Perhaps the one redeeming feature here is the ‘ball room’ – a fun activity for small children. Don’t forget those earplugs.

Opening Hours: Daily from 09:00 – 23:00
Location: On Bypass Road
Type : Supermarket

Phuket Bargaining and Shopping Tips

Bargaining On Phuket

Most department stores and large retail outlets have fixed prices, so bargaining is not applicable. At markets, small stalls, shops or street vendors, bargaining is the norm. Expect to pay from 10-40% less than the original asking price – depending on your bargaining skills and the will of the vendor.

Bargain with a smile and you will be rewarded. Many Thais work long hours, so they appreciate a smile and good humor – you’ll get better bargains.

VAT Refund

Visitors entering the Kingdom on tourist visas are entitled to refunds of the 7% value added tax (VAT) paid on goods purchased at shops, department stores and other retail outlets displaying “VAT Refund for Tourists” signs, where tax refund application forms are available. Before leaving the country, visitors must present a completed VAT refund form, plus passport information and receipts, to a customs officer. Certain luxury goods must be shown to an excise official. Refunds may be in bank draft form or credited to a credit card. Call the VAT Refunds for Tourists Office (02 272 9388) for more information.

Beware of Touts On Phuket

The Tourism Authority of Thailand warns against touting taxi drivers and tour guides who offer to take you shopping and receive commissions for bringing tourists to various places to shop. Often the experience is a waste of your valuable shopping time.

Also, beware of people approaching or calling you with offers of free trips or other prizes — it’s usually a timeshare sales representative trying to book you into a sales presentation, which you’ll have to do if you agree to join its tour. Again, it could be a waste of your time.
Export Restrictions

Be aware that it is forbidden to take images of Buddha, deities, and some antique artifacts from the country without first obtaining approval from the Fine Arts Department in Bangkok.

Phuket Gems and Jewellery Advisory

There are occasional complaints from visitors about unethical jewellers who persuaded them to buy jewellery at an unreasonable price. There are also cases where gems purchased have turned out to be fakes. While such scams are largely carried out in Bangkok, there have been complaints about jewel purchases in Phuket.

To combat this problem, the Thai Gem and Jewellery Traders Association and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have formed a “Jewel Fest Club”. The club aims to offer quality products at reasonable prices with a money-back guarantee if buyers are not completely satisfied. Some of the larger Phuket jewellers are in this program, so look for the Jewel Fest emblem while browsing the shop.

The TAT offers these tips for your protection:

Be wary of any encounter that ends up requiring your presence in a gem shop. Most probably it is a scam.
Buying gems or jewellery to resell at double or triple the purchase prices is an impossible proposition under any circumstances. Buy jewellery only for personal satisfaction for your own use or for loved ones.

Make price comparisons in various shops before deciding to buy. Never be in a hurry.

Never mail sapphires or other precious stones. Carry valuable items with you.

Do not believe special (jewellery) sales of any kind. Reputable dealers hardly ever offer sales and never send touts to lure tourists to their stores.

There are no promotions, shows or special sales on jewelry authorized by the government or any official agencies at any time of the year.

The government does not own, operate, subsidize, or authorize any jewellery stores.

As far as you can, take time to verify all claims. Words, promises, personal guarantees, unchecked documents, unauthorized verbal or written statements, casual references, encounters and the like do not constitute verification. Remember, you are your own best protection.

Thai embassies, consulates or any delegations abroad are neither bound nor responsible for refunding goods that are bought in Thailand.

Phuket Packing and Shipping Services

Many of the larger shops are experienced at shipping abroad and will attend to all the documents such as insurance, customs and necessary permits. Parcel-wrapping service is available at the main post office in Phuket City (Montri Rd) and at post service outlets such as PostNet in Tesco-Lotus. For larger items or bulk shipments, check with courier services such as DHL (076 258 500/2) or TNT Express (076 220 799 or 076 216 396).

Studying

If you are planning to live and bring your family to Phuket, Thailand or you are a student wishing to study on Phuket then below are some direct links to more International Phuket education schools and Universities.. More details

Schools

Phuket and Thailand offers expats and people who wish to study or live in Thailand many options of primary / higher education schools, kinder-gardens, classes or courses and Universities to choose from, and with new Thai immigration policies regarding education visas in place, visitors to Thailand desiring to learn Thai or to live / work in Thailand may obtain long term visas and better options. More details

Visa's

Phuket and Thailand visa guide. Thailand tourist, retirement, work permit and study visa requirements are subject to change at any time. Tourists, students, expats etc should call the consulate for up to date information. If you/your family are simply coming to Phuket for a holiday then most nationalities can obtain visa-free entry, valid for 30 days, on arrival at an International Airport; you’ll need a current passport and a return ticket and that’s it. More details

Airport

Phuket and Thailand visa guide. Thailand tourist, retirement, work permit and study visa requirements are subject to change at any time. Tourists, students, expats etc should call the consulate for up to date information. If you/your family are simply coming to Phuket for a holiday then most nationalities can obtain visa-free entry, valid for 30 days, on arrival at an International Airport; you’ll need a current passport and a return ticket and that’s it. More details

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