Phuket Shopping Guide
Phuket has shopping oportunities to satisfy all but the most fanatical shopaholic. In addition to the roadside stalls and markets there are plenty of shopping centres and department stores, as well as a good selection of boutiques and specialty shops around the island. Fine examples of traditional handicrafts, textiles, gems, jewellery and antiques, as well as clothing and everyday items are also easily purchased.
For a complete list of all the shops in Phuket take a look at our Phuket business directory.
What to Buy in Phuket
Many items which you might expect to be cheap in Thailand can actually be fairly expensive due to high import duties on luxury items. However, there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Clothing, art and handicrafts are excellent buys and Phuket is well stocked with items that will surprise and delight shoppers from all over.
Tourists shopping in designated establishments are eligible for a VAT refund. See VAT Refunds for more info.
Prices are fixed in department stores and larger shops, but at most other places bargaining is expected, especially at markets and shops where the prices are not displayed. Roadside stalls will often quote double the price, and sometimes even more, which the seller will accept. So start low, maybe at a third and aim for half.
Some small shops that have prices marked can also be cajoled into giving a “special discount”. Don’t expect to able to bargain down too much though. If the prices are already displayed, this should mean that they are fair. Nevertheless, its quite rare to find a merchant who won’t budge at all.
Generally, shopping in Thailand is easy and fun. But remember to shop smart, go around and compare prices and obtain a receipt for expensive items. Be wary of touts, tour guides, taxi/tuk tuk drivers or friendly strangers who offer to take you shopping. In nearly all cases they will receive a commision, which of course is added to the price you pay.
For a complete list of all the shops in Phuket, take a look at our business directory shopping section.
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