A few years back when the first shopping mall opened in Phuket, locals asked “Where is it all leading to?” Nowadays, with Phuket more developed, malls are ubiquitous but happily have not smothered the Thai traditional market life on the island.
Thai people like to ‘group’ their shops so that if you are looking for a particular item there will be several shops selling on the same street.
1, Jungceylon Shopping Mall
Standing downtown, diagonally opposite Bangla Road, the Jungceylon Shopping Complex has radically changed the face of shopping in Patong. The two main stores in the complex are Robinson – a gleaming well-lit upper end department store, and Big C supermarket.
2, Phuket Weekend Market (Talad Tairod)
This busy market is as much a social event as a commercial one so be prepared for lots of smiles and bartering. For sale are jeans, T-shirts, custom jewelry, artificial flowers, DVDs, sports shoes and a lot of secondhand goods. And of course a Thai market would not be complete without lots of delicious snacks.
3, Central Festival Phuket
Central Festival Phuket is an air-conditioned, fully equipped 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.
4, Phuket Walking Street
Phuket Walking Street is the latest attraction featured in Phuket Old Town. Also-known-as Lardyai (talaad yai), which means ‘big market’ in southern Thai dialect, this weekly market started in October 2013 and is hosted on the beautifully renovated Thalang Road, right in the middle of the historical Sino-Portuguese district of Phuket Town.
5, Banzaan Market
Many visitors will enjoy exploring Banzaan Market in Patong, a modern-looking Thai fresh market on Nanai Road, right behind the megamall Jungceylon. Basically, you can get anything that one would expect from a local market here but in a much more pleasant environment. Prices are reasonable.
6, Phuket Old Town Handicraft Shops
Phuket’s Old Town is not only a picturesque and fascinating place to explore; it also features atmospheric handicraft stores as well as textile shops. Locally made handicrafts are found along these streets and along Phang Nga and Yaowarat roads several artists have set up studios that sell classic as well as more modern-themed works.
7, Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson was an American businessman who, in the 1950s and 60s helped revitalise the Thai silk industry. He mysteriously disappeared from Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967 but his business momentum has carried on and nowadays the name Jim Thompson is synonymous with high-quality silk items as diverse as shirts to bed sheets to toys.
8, Karon Bazaar
Karon Bazaar (Shopping Sale Karon Plaza) is a large, covered market-like shopping centre set in the central area of Karon Beach Road on Phuket Island’s west coast, some 350m south from Karon circle. Covering a 6,000sqm area, the bazaar features just about everything you’ll ever need (or not).
9, Banana Walk
Banana Walk is Patong’s newest shopping centre and is located just 100 metres south of Soi Bangla on the Beach Road, right next to Banana Disco. With over 4,000sqm of retail space, the mall is multilevel (three floors) and its overall design leans toward minimal and modernistic.
10, Premium Outlet Phuket
The shops at Premium Outlet Phuket on the Bypass Road 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 Puppies, Warner Bros, Pierre Cardin, Van Heusen, Levi’s, Lee, Nautica, Adidas and Nike and feature discounts of up to 70%.