As the largest island in Thailand, many who come to Phuket are stunned by both its island charms and big city feel, and it’s only natural to fantasise about living in such a paradise. Whilst that’s out of the question for most people, a souvenir is a great way to at least remember this paradise — and here are the best places to buy them.
Not only are night markets great for getting an authentic taste of life in Thailand, they’re also often very cheap, and that’s certainly the case here. Known locally as the Naka market, it is famous for its food as well as tonnes of tables and stalls selling trinkets, mementos and souvenirs to take home. From fashionable tops to picturesque postcards, there are plenty of things to buy here that’ll see you get what you want without breaking the bank.
Phuket’s party capital isn’t just the best place for a beer on the island, it’s home to some serious bargains, too. Along the beach road and just off it are a number of shops itching to peddle their wares to you, and if you’re any good at haggling you might be able to get them for a knockdown price. Yet, many of the things for sale will be knock-offs; but at just a fraction of the price of the real stuff, who’s complaining?
Whilst they might be blue, green and pink on the outside, the colourful buildings of Phuket’s Old Town often have gold on the inside. A mixture of quaint cafes and shops, the cosy streets of the Old Town have a large number of souvenir shops selling more than you could possibly want – from the Ban Boran shops selling vintage antiques and clothes to the more conventional souvenir shops. Whilst things here may be more expensive than at the night markets, they tend to be better in quality and besides, it’s worth it just to come to this beautiful part of town.
Certainly the trendiest and most bo-ho of all the markets in Phuket, Chillva Market is a top spot for both a cool vibe and cool souvenirs. Geared towards a younger crowd, there’s a large number of fashionable clothing stalls here, as well as a plethora of handmade jewellery and beauty products to peruse. And the prices with leave you with more than enough money to sample the culinary delights of the market once you’re done shopping. Perfect for a couple of cute buys for your besties back home.
Phuket’s Central Festival shopping centre is a shopper’s paradise on the island, but you’d be wrong in thinking that all it had to offer was high-street names and brands. Whilst it does have the likes of H&M and Zara, dotted around the walkways are a number of stalls selling traditional Thai handicrafts and goods, from wooden animal figures to locally-made clothes. Although they may be a little pricey given their location, you can count on them being of good quality and should serve as authentic reminders of your travels here – and they make for great gifts, too.
Back in Phuket Old Town now, and centered along Thalang Road on Sunday evenings, is the Talaad Yai, or “big market” as it translates to in English. As well as local cuisine, there are ever-growing numbers of locals turning up to sell their handicrafts, which range from dolls and toys to clothes and accessories. In a beautiful location with a chill and relaxed vibe, it’s a great place to shop and one of the best places to pick up souvenirs on the island.
Another large shopping paradise in a similar vein to Central Festival, Jungceylon again blends a mixture of well-known international brands with lesser-known local traders, making it a top place to shop for souvenirs on any budget. It has a specialist area devoted to Thai crafts and arts, however, where shoppers can purchase high-quality, locally made goods for prices that are fair for all concerned. Once finished, you’re conveniently located in Patong and ready to begin your night.