Thai Silk Long one of Thailand’s most famous products, silk weaving is still one of the major crafts in many rural areas. The variety of materials available in Phuket is wide and varies both in design, from the traditional to modern to plain colors, and quality; 2-ply is thin and light, 3-ply or more becomes heavier and more expensive. Tailors, jewelry and souvenir shops in all areas carry silk. Many shops will tailor modern dresses or shorts from silk at a fraction of the price you would pay back home.
Ceramics The two major centers for ceramic production are the well-known Chiang Mai, and Ratburi west of Bangkok. They produce an amazing range of wares from very traditional Thai and even Chinese tableware and decorative items to modern home decor items, the biggest of which you’ll need a ruck to move. Some of these more modern items are creative and interesting. There is a fair range spread around the island, but you’ll have to drive and hunt to find it all.
Woodcarving Most of this comes from the craft centers of Chiang Mai and again Thai skills show through in a great variety of items that can be both novel nd creative or entirely traditional. Buddha images are one of the standards, but you can find figurines of all kinds and many other offbeat items for home decoration. Thailand makes some great teak furniture, Though only a little is available in Phuket.
Instant Antiques This sounds like a contradiction, but this is now a thriving new industry in Thailand that arose in response to the overwhelming demand for beautiful old things and the short supply. Originally, cunning entrepreneurs crafted and carefully ‘aged’ wood, bronze and stone artworks to sell off as genuine antiques. But they produced such beautiful things that demand grew, and the industry came out into the open. Today whole villages of killed workers produce beautiful objects of art that appear ancient, but which are sold cheaply as ‘reproductions’. This makes ‘antiques’ available to everyone and takes the pressure off the genuinely old things. Best of all, virtually no-one can tell the difference between the real thing and the reproduction that you place in your home.
Custom Tailoring This is definitely bargain country in Phuket. Tailors can import their wares easily to Phuket and their overhead costs are low. Skills range from excellent to barely adequate, so look carefully and you can go home with both quality and real savings. It is important to start with a tailor early in your visit because at least two visits will be required, and those who are a little more finicky should plan on three visits to get things just right. Allow two or three days between each visit. The Guide Phuket recommends: Mister Singh’s Fashion Gallery, Patong Beach, www. fashiongallery.com.
Central Festival Phuket – Phuket Town With over 120,000 square eters bursting with prime shopping opportunities and world-class products it is easy to see why this consummate one-stop shopping and entertainment complex is so popular amongst Phuket residents and visitors. With a large selection f shops, restaurants, coffee shops, plus a supermarket and cinemas you can enjoy the largest, most complete shopping and entertainment complex in southern Thailand.
Jungceylon – Patong Beach Located centrally in Patong each is the newest addition to the growing trend of shopping malls in Phuket. ‘Jungceylon‘ was the old name for Phuket when it was still a prosperous port town and rading in the region was at its peak. This shopping mall retains a lot of the old history of Phuket in its architecture and style and is a joy to visit for this alone. The choice of goods is world-class, comprising well over 300 shops with ample car parking space, restaurants, bars, cinema and bowling alley along with everything else you could possibly need for a busy day shopping.
Weekend Market – Phuket Town The Jatujak (or JJ) weekend market in Bangkok is world famous but few people realize that there is an equally good alternative here in Phuket, albeit on a smaller scale. Situated opposite the NakaTemple (which is also worth a visit) outside of Phuket Town, just 5 minutes from Central Festival on the Chao Fa West Road lies Phuket’s equivalent to Bangkok’s JJ Market. Here you will find all manner of things for sale from seemingly useless second-hand household junk and cute little trinkets to garden ornaments, clothing and ideal presents for all your friends and family. There is also an abundance of food and drink stalls to keep the energy levels up whilst you wander round. The market starts in the afternoon and oes on until the evening time when it can get really very lively.