Phuket is a shopaholic’s paradise! The island has a great variety of shopping, from bustling open-air village food markets, noisy night markets, street stalls and local shops to western style department stores and upmarket specialist shops. With traditional handicrafts, beautifully designed clothing, jewellery, antiques, housewares and much more to choose from, the only thing you’ll regret about shopping in Phuket is that you didn’t bring a bigger suitcase!

Shopping Malls

Visitors to the kingdom often arrive with empty suitcases and leave with full ones. Clothes, cameras, jewelry, watches, DVD’s, computer games, sports equipment, silk, handbags, gold, gems, and even furniture are some of the items snapped up by hungry foreign shoppers and taken or shipped home. Thai authorities encourage this by refunding VAT at the airport (if shoppers have correctly done their paperwork at the point of purchase) and by giving out ‘foreign discounts’ and even without these benefits and the many discounts offered by department stores on name brands, starting prices are much lower than in the West.

Everyone knows that fake goods, although against the law, are more than available here. Sure you can get a shiny new ‘Rolex’ for a few bucks but just don’t try swimming while wearing it. And after a few hot washes and spins maybe the alligator will look a little more than faded on your ‘Lacoste’ polo shirt but what about the real McCoy? How does a bottle of Calvin Klein stand up price-wise against the same product in the West? The answer is very well indeed. Department stores in Phuket are superbly stocked when it comes to foreign goods and most have ‘Summer’ and ‘Winter’ sales that offer up to 30% off the original price, leaving the foreign shopper in a win-win situation. Here are a few pointers for mall shopping in Phuket.

Jungceylon

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 Carrefour – a French-based supermarket.

The 200-plus other stores in this shopping heaven sell brand-name clothes, spectacles, sunglasses, colognes and perfumes, shoes, DVD-CD-VCD’s, computer games, electrical goods, pewter, gold and silver, sportswear and goods amongst myriad other items.

Read more: Jungceylon Shopping Mall in Patong – Phuket Shopping Complex http://www.phuket.com/shopping/jungceylon.htm#ixzz1I3hYrHAL

Robinson

Robinson’s downstairs majors in perfumes, cosmetics, watches and timepieces. The brand names featured here are Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Clinique, H20+, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Revlon and Paul Smith. The watches are mostly Japanese and are of middle-range quality.

Upstairs, Robinson features women’s shoes and accessories, and probably the biggest selection of women’s underwear in Thailand – certainly the largest in Phuket. Further through is a very attractive child’s clothing section which, predictably enough leads to the toy department. To one side here you will find an interesting collection of pewter goods; vases, cups, cigarette lighter covers and souvenir plaques as well as salt and pepper shakers, all at reasonable prices.

You’ll also find a household appliance department here as well as a sensibly priced men’s shoe section – this appears to be a bargain area in Thailand and Robinson features shoes with labels such as Pierre Cardin, Lacoste, Matino, and Polo.

Carrefour

Security guards stand between Robinson and Carrefour upstairs floors and they heat-seal your purchases in a new plastic bag as you enter the French supermarket.

The upstairs section of Carrefour is a neon-lit affair featuring sports accessories, TV’s, digital cameras and computer accessories. Downstairs features a large food supermarket, a stand of magazines and DVD’s (395 baht) and rows of household goods.

The chic liquor store has Johnny Walker Black Label for 1,119 baht and Chivas Regal for 998 baht (down from 999 baht!). Local spirits, however, cost a fraction of that.

Shopping Arcade

Downstairs at Jungceylon you can buy everything from a Kashmir-made rug to a facial massage. It’s all cheerfully lit and open spaced and is designed to handle an estimated 45,000 shoppers daily – though this figure seems a little optimistic, given that Patong’s official population is 14,700 (and swells to up to 60,000 in high season). Still, it’s good to have enough elbow room while shopping..

There are some great bargains to be had here but you have to dig a little. And big doesn’t necessarily mean best: One large optician outlet was offering Ray-Ban Aviators for 7,000 baht whereas a smaller competitor was sold out of them – because they’d disregarded the factory ‘recommended’ price of 5,400 baht and offered exactly the same model of Aviators at 3,000 baht. One facial massage parlour was asking 2,500 baht for an 80-minute treatment whereas across the way, an hour’s facial massage was 360 baht. Caveat emptor indeed…

Music, Phones and Electronics
An interesting DVD/CD/VCD and cassette factory outlet stands opposite Carrefour’s ground floor entrance featuring mostly B movies, although Lord of the Rings # 3 was on sale for 149 baht which has got to be unbeatable value. A word of warning though; the ‘Best of’ CD’s are imitations.

The VCD’s are in Thai – even though they have English language covers and who buys cassettes nowadays? Still, it’s worth a look through the mountains of discs and DVD boxes for that special B feature you’ve always wanted but were unwilling to shell out for.

Sport Shops
Near the main entrance there are two large sports shops almost next to each other: SuperSports and Sport World and so you’re going to come out a winner simply by comparing prices in both.

Both are on the left-hand side as you enter Jungceylon and of course Carrefour has a sports section. Also present in the complex is a Surfer’s shop with all the necessary accessories.

Facts-wise, Jungceylon has:
Seven banks
Five eyewear outlets
Forty clothing and accessory outlets
Ten fast food and beverage outlets
One food court
Two furniture outlets
Ten health and beauty outlets
One pet store
Two electronics and IT stores
Seventeen restaurants
One Thai arts and crafts centre consisting of 70 shops and 35 kiosks
One tailor’s shop
Two travel and luggage outlets

Did you know?
In Thailand the law states that alcohol can only be sold in shops from 11:00 till 14:00 and from 17:00 until midnight. This applies to all stores so do not expect to nip out to the 7-Eleven or Tesco and buy a few beers mid-afternoon. Of course, you may order alcohol in bars and restaurants anytime and – strangely enough – you can buy in bulk (a case of wine or whisky) at anytime of day but if you enjoy An afternoon holiday tipple it’s best to stock up first.