Some argue that Phuket Island might not be quite the shopping destination of some other places in Thailand, such as Bangkok, and that the prices might not be quite the lowest
But there are more than enough shopping opportunities and destinations on Phuket Island to keep want-to-be shoppers busy and happy and also well fed as almost all shopping destinations are surrounded by large numbers of food stalls and restaurants. The prices are right, too.
Most opportunities consist of what are usually referred to as "typical tourist goods" and souvenirs such as T-shirts, beachware, hats and other clothing items, towels, CD's, low quality electronic equipment, toys, various plastic items and so forth.
There items are frequently sold at the numerous street stalls, bazaars and small shops located near beaches throughout the island.
There are also many tailor shops located everywhere. The island has, however, a surprising number of high end boutique and fashion stores carrying both imported and high quality locally made items. There are also many stores and shops on Phuket Island that focus on genuine arts and crafts, high level art, artistic reproduction, and jewellery and gold. In addition, the island has several large internationally recognized department stores and some high quality, modern shopping malls.
Shoppers should be aware, though, that counterfeiting and the sales of items with false and misleading labels is common in Thailand, especially at or by street stalls and street vendors. The Thailand Tourism Authority warns all considering buying gold and jewellery items to be very careful.
Shoppers should also be cautioned that somewhat complex Thai laws concerning the removal of antiquities from the country exist. Those considering buying real antiques should get some expert advice before buying them to make sure that the items can be legally taken out of the country.
Shoppers should be aware that bargaining is acceptable and expected in many shopping situations on Phuket Island. Many shops and stores, however, operate on the fixed price system and will not bargain, but it does not hurt to ask!
Phuket town, located on the east coast of the island, is one of the two top shopping destinations on the island, both in terms of quantity and quality. It has a nice mix of higher end and "tourist" oriented shopping.
Also, since it is a relavtively large residential community, it is easy to find "useful" or "practical" merchandise there - for example gardening supplies and home repair and decoration items - that is not always available on other parts of the island.
Much of the shopping in Phuket town centers around the Central Festival Mall at the intersection of Witchitsongkram Road and Chalermprakiat Road (Bypass Road). It is anchored by the Central Department Store - a very high end shopper destination - and includes 250 shops, most of which sell "higher end" clothing and fashion items, many of them imported.
Also on Chalermprakiat Road, nearby the Festival Mall, are the Big C and Tesco Lotus supercenters. These stores, which also have supermarkets, sell a wide variety of popular and necessary consumer items at reasonable prices.
The Index Living Mall, which specializes in original Thai made furniture, handicrafts and antiques, is located on Chalermprakiat Road near Big C.
Higher end, art, antique and specialty shopping is centered around Yaowarat, Dibuk, Thalang, Phang Nga, Rassada and the other roads which are together called "Old Phuket". Nearby Old Town, on Tilak-U-Thit 1 Road, are two quality, upper end department stores, Robinson and Ocean.
Of course the standard range of tourist items are available in Phuket town. Many of these items can be found in the several open air or semi-open air markets that operate there. Among these markets are The Phuket Town Weekend Market on Wai-Rat-Hong-Yuk Road (open Saturdays and Sundays), the Chatuchak Market on Phang Nga Road (open Saturdays and Sundays), and the Expo Market on Tilok Uthit 2 Road near Thavorn Grand Hotel. There are several open air markets specialize in fresh food.
Street market in Phuket town