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MANATHAI Koh Samui

Koh Samui’s Top 8 Shopping Destinations

Besides being a beautiful island full of things to do and activities for day and night, did you know that Koh Samui is somewhat of a shopping destination too? If not, let us help you discover the best places this island has to offer for shopaholics. Although you can find great shops, big and small, all over, the main shopping areas are Lamai, Nathon and Chaweng. Lamai has an excellent range of independent boutiques; Nathon offers the best deals, and Chaweng provides the most choice. If you’re after genuine and quality goods, you should head to a mall, where fixed prices prevail. If you’re after more dubious (e.g., fake) and cheap‘n’ cheerful items like clothing, electronics and bags, you should head to a local market, where bargaining is all the go. To satisfy all your shopping needs and to make sure you have enough presents and souvenirs to take home, make sure you check out as many of the following stores and markets as you can.

1. LAMAI NIGHT PLAZA

In the centre of town, Lamai Night Bazaar might be full of the usual array of pirated goods, but that’s not to say it’s not a fun or wise place to get your shopping fix. In fact, if you stroll up and down the aisles you’ll quickly discover that there are plenty of stands selling a range of local goods at reasonable prices. If you’re in the market for a locally made fan, batik sarong, papier-mâché lamps, bed linen, wooden elephant, slogan T-shirts, Buddha images, plus the usual array of fake watches, knives, bags and electronics, this is the place to come! Not as noisy as Chaweng’s version, this one also comes with a food centre, café and pub. If you’re in the area, this is a great place to come in the evening after 17:00 for sunset shopping.

2. FISHERMAN’S VILLAGE WALKING STREET

This is probably the most popular weekly market on Koh Samui and attracts a huge number of tourists and locals alike. Every Friday from 17:00 to 23:00 it utterly transforms the sleepy town of Bophut; with Beach Road and its adjoining narrow streets becoming awash with a diverse range of wares and people. Expect to find much the same array of goods as every other market in Thailand, namely Beer Chang T-shirts, ethnic souvenirs, leather handbags, Ray-Ban sunglasses, handmade jewellery, knock-off watches, local clothing brands and all manner of electrical goods. As with all market shopping in Thailand, keep your quality expectations level, a smile on your face and enjoy the atmosphere. When you’re done shopping, take advantage of the wide array of food and drink stalls available, allowing you to enjoy famous Thai treats at reasonable prices.

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3. ELEPHANT WALK

This is a small night market which opens primarily in the evening from around 17:00 till late in Fisherman’s Village. If you’re in the mood for a fun shopping experience and you’re particularly in need of souvenirs, then Bophut is a good choice. The walk itself is not a long way, stretching only 30m in from Bophut Beach Road. This little shopping complex contains a lovely central courtyard and a herd of adorable elephant statues, hence the name. The shopping itself is laid out around the edge of a yard. It’s quite an eclectic mix of local sellers; expect to find unique clothing, spa products, souvenirs and, of course, the usual array of Thai-branded tourist items. Prices are not what you would find on a real local market, but still decent enough for such an impressive selection. On the way out, consider stopping by the restaurant right at the back called Krua Malakor, it specialises in Isaan-style Thai cuisine and has a relaxed, funky atmosphere.

4. CENTRAL FESTIVAL SHOPPING MALL

With three storeys, 90,000sqm and 200+ shops, bars, restaurants and recreational activities, this is the most complete and largest lifestyle shopping complex in Samui. Residing on Chaweng Beach Road, on the eastern side of the island, just south of the airport, this modern and trendy complex is more than a shopping Mecca, it boasts original architectural features likes an atrium, gardens and kid’s playground. You will need to allow enough time to explore, as there are several key areas, namely: Bird Cage, Chaweng Port, Beach Town Market and Fisherman Village. ‘Bird Cage’ is the fashion zone of the compound; located in the central part of the shopping mall and decorated in a vibrant Sino-Portuguese style. ‘Chaweng Port’ is the main entrance and features restaurants and bars. ‘Beach Town Market’ has a partially outdoor food court on the ground floor and Pirates of the Mario Land, a gaming arcade on the second floor. And lastly, ‘Fisherman Village’ area hosts Central Department Store, with your choice of branded clothing and accessories.

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5. MAENAM WALKING STREET

If you find yourself in this more laid-back northern part of the island after 17:00 on a Thursday evening, this lively and family-friendly market is well worth a visit. Although Mae Nam’s walking street is only a couple of hundred metres long, they do their absolute best to pack it full of interesting stalls, snack vendors and colourful characters. On your stroll down the main thoroughfare, you’ll find snack sellers, lots of denim and T-shirts, every colour Ray-Ban sunglass in existence, quaint handicrafts, original guitar accessories and even mobile cocktail bars selling THB 50 drinks! Continue all the way to the end and be rewarded with a very photogenic Chinese temple. On some nights you will also have the bonus of live music, played by an assortment of talented Thai teens and local expatriates.

6. THE WHARF

A cross between a marketplace and shopping mall, this 5,000sqm open-air complex with 120 no-name shops in a mix of historical architectural styles, houses an impressive selection of quality products, dining and entertainment spots and beauty services. You first need to make your way to Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village and then head to the very western end, where you’ll find The Wharf wedged between the Koh Samui Ring Road and Beach Road. The plaza-like area has a selection of restaurants along the beachfront and inside can be found a myriad of small boutique outlets, generally specialising in clothing and souvenirs. Having no brand attached to them means the prices are reasonable (and the quality is not bad). Otherwise, this place ticks other boxes too, with a food court serving Thai and Western dishes, a currency exchange store, a diving centre and play area for children. The plaza is compact enough that it doesn’t take too long to walk around and see everything on offer between 11:00 – 23:00 daily.

7. CHAWENG WALKING STREET

This place is best visited during the late afternoon on weekdays. This is the kind of local market where you can, and should, haggle in a light-hearted way to get the best deal possible on sunglasses, watches, T-shirts, beach dresses, lamps, jeans, polo shirts, flip-flops, bags, souvenirs, cosmetics and more. There is also a profusion of food stands selling savouries, sweets and smoothies. Just don’t go overboard and if the seller says there is a fixed price, just accept it or move on. Another great feature of this market is that more often than not there is live music too. Sellers here are generally in good humour, and that makes for a nice change from the intense touting on Chaweng’s main shopping street. Overall, the atmosphere here is one of fun.

8. MR. SAMUI GALLERY & ART CAFÉ LAMAI

Mr Samui Gallery and Art Café is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of treasures, crammed full of silver, gold, gems, trinkets, ornaments, knick-knacks and more. For those of you who like jewellery, there are bracelets, anklets, necklaces, rings and earrings galore in every type of metal and precious stone possible. If the thousands of pieces in the display cases don’t tickly your fancy, no problem, simply have your design created. As the name would suggest, besides being a shopping paradise, this place also houses an art gallery and coffee shop serving up an array of local food and drink (they have a pretty decent Happy Hour by the way). Housed on the east side of the island on South Lamai Main Street and open daily from 09:00 to 23:30, this place is well worth seeing out for the curiosity factor alone.

If we have properly enticed you to explore the world of excellent shopping available on Koh Samui, lets us further tempt you with two great packages to make your Samui trip the absolute best it can be. Firstly, our Girls Getaway Package has been specifically designed with women in mind; it includes a shopping afternoon at CentralFestival with a pedicure at Royal Spa and afternoon tea at Starbucks. Not to mention private airport transfers and daily breakfast. To find out more, click here. Otherwise, simply take up our Hot Deal with Breakfast Promotion and stay on in paradise a little longer on us. Perfect for families and groups of friends or even those who live in Thailand or nearby and need a quick long-weekend break.