Samui Wining & Dining
Just Looking, Thanks

Shopping on Samui offers as many options as you could possibly wish for.

 

Just Looking, ThanksShopping. Whether you’re the type who takes it seriously and will happily pound the pavements for hours to find shoes in the exact shade, or you have to be dragged to the shops to replace the jeans that’ve just fallen off you in rags, it’s pretty likely you’ll be doing some shopping on Samui. For serious shoppers, there’re plenty of bargains and quirky stuff to buy, whilst even reluctant types will find an unusual souvenir or a well-priced electrical item to take back home.

 

Most people who holiday on Samui buy clothes here at some point, with the usual advantage of clothes shopping that you’ll always find something to suit any budget. If you’re just looking for some casual or beach wear, the stalls along Chaweng Beach Road are probably the best bet, with loads of tie-dye dresses, slogan T-shirts, colourful flip-flops and baggy combat shorts all to be had for a good price without too much hassle. (As with everywhere in Thailand, try your hand at bargaining – just be friendly, keep a smile on your face and don’t be scared to walk away if the vendor won’t come down to what you think is a reasonable price.)

 

Chaweng is the most obvious spot for casual clothes shopping but you can get casual clothes anywhere, even in the more secluded places. You’re also likely to be able to get them a bit cheaper somewhere a bit more off the tourist track, like in Nathon or at one of the many ‘walking streets’ or night markets held most nights at various spots around the island. There’re also the Tesco Lotus and BigC shopping centres; especially good if you want something a bit more formal, such as a collared shirt or something basic like underwear or jeans. Sizes aren’t too much of a problem at these places and both offer good options for men’s casual and formal clothes as well as for electrical items like cameras, MP3 players, mobiles and accessories.

 

But, of course, if you want to spend a bit more money there’re plenty of places on Samui to buy some more upmarket clothing. If you have something particular in mind, go to one of the many tailors in any area – it’s worth checking online for reviews here as some of them are better than others. Or try a shop like Chandra, in two locations on the Chaweng Beach Road, which sources dresses and bikinis from all over Asia as well as selling their own designs, accessories and jewellery.

 

For food shopping on Samui, again you can find items anywhere and for any budget. If you’re craving food from home or maybe an imported wine or beer, BigC and Tesco Lotus will have most of what you need. If eating out, you can have a seven-course meal in a fine dining restaurant, or on the other end of the scale get a takeaway bag of curry from a street vendor for around 25 baht.

 

Probably the best way to experience the diversity and budget range of the food on Samui is to go to one of the aforementioned walking streets, where you can get a chicken kebab for 20 baht, a veal sausage ciabatta for around 120 baht, a tequila sunrise in a plastic cup for 50 baht, or a sit-down meal and leisurely drink in one of the many surrounding restaurants for whatever you want to pay.

 

The walking streets are amongst the best places to pick up bargain souvenirs, vintage clothes and bargain sparkly wedged flip-flops. You can also buy hair accessories, cosmetics and makeup at most of them, which is handy to remember if you don’t find what you’re looking for at the supermarkets or find most of the foundation for sale here too light. For top quality cosmetics and toiletries, there are several branches of Morya pharmacies around Samui where you can pick up items at fair prices.

 

Other popular shopping options on Samui are silk and jewellery, whether it’s a silk jacket or bedspread or a hand-made silver necklace or white gold wedding ring. There are plenty of outlets for this type of shopping. Like clothes and souvenirs, silk is available everywhere on Samui within a range of budgets.

 

For jewellery, you’ll be able to get bracelets, anklets, rings, earrings and necklaces in almost all metals and gems. Nature Art Gallery in Chaweng has thousands of pieces and if you don’t see something you like, you can get your piece made up from your own idea or design. There’s also the island’s most reputable jewellers, Classic Gems, which is opposite Centara Grand Beach Resort, also on Chaweng Beach Road.

 

And you don’t have to restrict yourself when shopping here to whatever you can fit in your suitcase. Mae Nam, especially, is an area where there are shops dealing in interiors and furniture, from silk wall hangings to custom-designed and hand-made tables, with Oriental Living leading the field and offering shipping to anywhere in the world.

 

Shopping on Samui is often something you have to keep your eyes open for, not just for bargains but for those tiny shops selling unique souvenirs or jewellery that are often tucked away off the main road. It’s worth factoring in a bit of time if you’re planning to go somewhere for the day, because it’s almost certain you’ll find yourself in one of the many unusual little shops here. Even if you’re normally one of the ones having to be dragged to the shops to buy new jeans.

 

Lisa Cunningham

 


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