The shopping hotspot is a world class shopping and entertainment destination Jungceylon in Patong. This massive shopping center caters to every whim with a plethora of clothing and accessory shops including international name brands. There are also sports and scuba diving gear shops, traditional Thai arts and crafts, travel and luggage stores, IT and electronics, health and beauty, and book and entertainment shops.
Perhaps even more enthralling are the number of eateries at Jungceylon. Beyond the delights of familiar names like Starbucks, Burger King and the Cream & Fudge Factory – are classic restaurants like Alibaba, Fuji, Sino Café and even an Irish Pub.
If you are still looking to keep cool inside a shopping mall, or prefer something closer to Phuket City – there’s Central Festival with its many floors of goodies and the SFX Cinema showing the newest releases in English and Thai. Ocean Shopping Mall in Patong and Robinson Department Store in Phuket City are other shopping centers where you can escape the heat.
Thai handicrafts and souvenirs can be purchased at the OTOP outlets on the Bypass road and in the shopping centers. Alternatively, there is a good selection along the night bazaar street stalls at Patong beach. Also in among the stalls are good traditional souvenirs like caps, t-shirts, handbags and postcards. Don’t forget to bargain! Tailor shops are found throughout this area – and incredible suits and dresses can be made to fit you within hours.
Famous all around the world, Thai silk is beautiful and of the highest quality. There are plenty of silk shops in and around the tourist areas like Patong and Kata. Cheap silk and imitations are also available – just make sure you know what you’re getting. They are very pretty still and some are even machine washable.
Those looking to sample the traditional local cuisine will want to head into Phuket City where there is an abundance of little local eateries and restaurants. Don’t be afraid to sample some food from stalls by the roadsides either – just look for the ‘Clean Food, Good Taste’ signs that show they have been inspected or make sure you only eat food served piping hot. If you want to take a locally produced snack back home – then stop by the cashew outlet in Chalong.
The downtown historical district known is not just home to old Sino-Portuguese buildings but also houses an assortment of eclectic art galleries and tiny boutiques. This area is the best for original artwork but if you want copies then search the galleries in Patong for bargains. Rawai and Nai Harn beaches are also home to many local artists with their own galleries.
The most charming areas of Old Phuket are around Thalang, Dibuk, Phang Nga, Yaowarat and Krabi roads. On the weekends, a market is held along Phang Nga road and carries a good choice of local foods, clothes, shoes and handicrafts.
Jewellery is also a great buy in Phuket but you should stick to reputable shops to ensure quality of gems; rubies especially are of good value. Thai gold is 24k and very yellow and soft. Called ‘baht gold’, it is unique to Thailand – and is a great souvenir of your visit with the fine selection of original designs. If you’re looking for baht gold specifically, go to Phuket City for great deals in the gold shops – which are easily spotted for their red walls and the display cases filled with gold. DD Jewel Design in Phuket City is highly recommended for custom jewellery and offers distinctive styles appealing to Western tastes.
Furniture, décor and art purchases can be shipped back to your home country from the big shops dealing in antiques and other high-end products. So, if you take a liking to a large piece of furniture, don’t worry about not being able to get it back home – the shop will be able to make all arrangements for you. Bang Tao and Surin beaches are the best places to look for furniture – try Canal Village and Surin Plaza among others. Another must-see for antiques is Soul of Asia in Phuket City.