In comparison with Bangkok or most cities in Thailand, Samui was not a competitive alternative before, when it came to shopping. Prices were higher and the range of shops and goods were rather insufficient. Today this is changing! There are hundreds of shopping bargains found in Samui at almost every corner of the island. The main shopping sites are in Chaweng, Lamai and Nathon but there are shops worth visiting elsewhere on Samui. Nathon beach usually has the cheapest deals, Chaweng beach the most choice and Lamai beach a nice range of quirky little stores. Keep your eyes open wherever you are on Samui, all over the island are great and unexpected shopping opportunities.
Chaweng is a little more pricey than Nathon town but the choice here is vast. Up and down both sides of the beach road are hundreds of stalls selling watches, DVDs, CDs, clothes, shoes, sunglasses – you name it they sell it in Chaweng! The standard of the copies in Chaweng tends to be pretty good but be prepared to bargain quite hard with the vendors. There are also name brand stores selling international brands at a fraction of the western price. The best way to shop in Chaweng is just start walking and see what grabs you!
Lamai beach is a much smaller shopping zone than Chaweng so it doesn’t have quite as much choice but theres still plenty to keep you occupied. The prices in Lamai tend to be quite a lot cheaper than Chaweng and there is less of the hard sell! Lamai also has some really funky shops selling individual and unusual items, great for the perfect present.
Bophut beach is a great place to buy beautiful furniture and the Fisherman’s village has some nice souvenir shops. The best way to shop in Bophut is to park up and have a good stroll around especially in the small streets of the Fisherman’s village.
Maenam is more of a residential area than a shopping hub but in amongst the cafes and restaurants there are some great shops, mainly selling teak and asian style furniture. The furniture stores are generally well established which is great if you need advice on shipping your purchase home. Many shops offer an international shipping service at reasonable prices.
Nathon town is Samui’s administrative center and where the locals head to do some serious shopping at low prices. The two main roads in Nathon are filled with shops and stalls selling silk goods, shoes and excellent copies. Although Chaweng has more choice, you can still find most things in Nathon. There are several excellent souvenir shops in Nathon as well for something quirky to take back home!
A bargaining tip: Smile when you say “That seems a little expensive!” Thai merchants do not respond well to aggressive, loud, or insistent tactics. You may consider yourself a good negotiator, but remember that in the Land of Smiles, the friendlier and calmer you remain, the better deal you are likely to get.
Ko Samui Local Product
Besides coconuts, Koh Samui is also famed for its silk, handicrafts and precious gems and these can easily bought at great prices from reputable shops and companies.There is also lacquerware, silverware, nilonware, pewterware, wood-carvings, brassware, gold and tailor-made suits.
There are plenty of shops behind Chaweng Beach where visitors can buy beachwear, and tailors will measure them and make up a suit or dress while they are relaxing on the beach. For those looking for souvenirs, there are so many options, ranging from colourful carved soaps to chopsticks and coasters made from local coconut wood. There are also several art shops selling reproductions of famous works of art at very reasonable prices.
Thai traditional handicrafts and souvenirs like Thai silk, souvenir, antique, lacquer ware, paintings and more can be found along with other jewelry, gold, silver shops, Buddha idols, antiques and souvenirs. Several 7-Eleven and Family Mart (Japanese chain) and local owned convenience stores are found all over Chaweng too. Big department stores such Makro, Tesco Lotus, Big C offer a big range of products for all your needs at reasonable prices.