While most popular for its beaches and vivacious nightlife, Phuket is also a premium shopping destination. The island is home to a variety of large scale shopping malls and plazas. It really is no secret that in Phuket you can shop until you drop. This is especially true if you are looking for small gifts and souvenir-type items to take back to family, friends, colleagues or perhaps add to your personal travel collection.
There are loads of kitschy items available, and to be honest, Phuket t-shirts are a dime a dozen. Have you had enough of the tiresome items you have seen everywhere? Does the grating sound of the wooden singing frogs peddled by street vendors make you cringe? Consider doing some sustainable shopping while in Phuket and purchase a one-of-a-kind gift to take home as a memory of your time in Thailand. Not only will you pick up a unique gift, you will also support the local artisan community.
Phuket is heavy in artistic talent. There is a wide variety of eclectic art
galleries and home studios dotted across the island. Visiting these galleries is well worth putting on your travel agenda. While some of the artists focus on large scale canvas backdrops to showcase their works, others create delightful smaller scale paintings, sculptures and mass media pieces that make exceptional souvenirs.
In Rawai, there is a collection of studios and home galleries on a small plot of land. Lovingly referred to as the Art Village, the creative artists that live here are painters, sculptors, puppet designers and jewelry makers. If creative, artsy gifts are what you are seeking, best to come and spend a day taking in the sights and sounds of the village. There are a few artists doing recycle art here, and the amazing creations formed from driftwood make really unique souvenirs.
Wandering the streets of Phuket Town gives an opportunity to rummage around the shops. While some of the shops sell copycat items, if you have a shrewd eye and are willing to look hard enough you will be rewarded with some outstanding items to purchase. A number of shops in town specialise in Thai silver. Although the silver is mostly from the northern regions, it is still a nice gift to take home. If you are looking for Thai silk, there are a few boutiques in town that sell some very fashionable scarves for women and neckties for men.
If you are really looking for a tropical memento, pick up some handmade soaps and lotions as well as local favourite, coconut oil. Although certainly not unique, coconut oil is a crowd pleaser and worth taking a bottle or two back as a reminder of your tropical holiday. Local Phuket pineapple products are also available in the form of lip balm and organic face and neck creams.
Local creatives in Phuket have something to offer those who are fans of snail mail and actually using the postal service to send a good, old-fashioned update. Original postcards are available across the island. Hand-painted with great attention to detail, the postcards depict the island’s main viewpoints and favourite spots. A unique touch is to send the postcard from Thailand so that the recipient can enjoy the Kingdom’s stamps as well.
Phuket’s photographers also have a lot to offer the postcard trade. A number of photographers sell postcard prints of their photographs as well as magnets that resemble Polaroid pictures. Usually clumped together in bundles and sold at cheap prices, these postcards and magnets are colourful and charming. They add a real personal touch and are a thoughtful gift for anyone.
For those who are fans of textiles and looking for something special to take home, try a southern Thai batik. Effectively a large square of fabric used as a sarong, Thai batik is covered in bright colors and intricate designs. The artwork is often stamp blocked or painted one-by-one and tend to depict scenes from daily life or intricate flower patterns. Thai batik are beautiful as well as functional. They can be used as beach cover ups, table runners, skirts and so much more. Southern Thai batiks are a fun, yet functional, gift to bring back from Thailand.
Phuket is great for souvenirs and there are plenty of shopping opportunities to take advantage of. For those looking for creative and unique gifts to offer up friends, family and colleagues after their travels, head for the art galleries and the lesser known shops located all around the island. Chances are you will feast your eyes upon many one-of-a-kind souvenirs that not only make great gifts, but will also add a small piece of Thailand to your home.
Enjoy the shopping while in Phuket, and make sure to leave the ‘ever so popular’ gifts behind and seek out a true tropical memento that is creative and memorable.
Local shops feature an array of interesting fashion choices at affordable prices. Take home a nice dress as a reminder of your Thailand travels.