Boutique shopping in Old Phuket Town

Pasathan stocks high quality Thai homeware

Pasathan stocks high quality Thai homeware

The old city quarter of Phuket Town is an atmospheric location with streets lined by colourful sino-colonial buildings fronted by shade-giving porches. Over the last couple of decades the old precinct has undergone something of a renaissance and the buildings have been restored to their former glory. As well as shrines, temples and private houses, the district now houses a diverse assortment of shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. 

Visitors going shopping in Phuket Old Town will discover there are plentiful stores selling Thai and Southeast Asian antiques, art and crafts; all manner of unique souvenirs, ornaments and household utensils; CDs and DVDs, marvellous Thai silk products, Chinese herbal medicines, and new and second-hand books. Boutiques here purvey both Asian and Western clothing.

Phuket Old Town is easily walked around, although mornings and late afternoons tend to be cooler. The two main thoroughfares of the district are Thalang Road and Dibuk Road. The two are linked by the narrow Soi Romanee lane, the town’s one-time red light district. Rassada Road, Phang Nga Road and Krabi Road adjoin the central part of town and contain a number of shops and boutiques.

A walk down Thalang Road reveals shops dedicated to the sale of Chinese herbal remedies, handicrafts, cloth and clothing.

Jamins Design (68 Thalang Road, Tel: 076 210112) is a must visit shop for the ladies. The proprietors offer top quality ladieswear at rock-bottom prices. The eclectic collections here have something for women of all ages and figure sizes. More on silk shopping.

People who believe that traditional medicine is more effective than contemporary will find the selection of herbs sold at Guan Choon Tong an attractive proposition. The shop has been a part of the town for eight decades and stocks treatments for a variety of ailments made from roots, dried leaves, tree bark and mummified insects.  

Colonial Influences (119 Thalang Road) is one of the finest purveyors of Thai and Asian arts and handicrafts on Phuket. Antiques, dolls, hardwood furniture, statues, paintings and ornate vases have been arranged in a boutique style environment where just browsing is a pleasure.

Thai lanterns make great souvenirs

Thai lanterns make great souvenirs

The Phuket branch of Bangkok-based Pasathan (Dibuk Road, Tel: 076 223307) is also sited here. The shop stocks an eclectic range of tastefully designed Oriental cabinets, shelves, tables, chairs, lampstands and vases, and some antiques. As well as selling to tourists the firm also furnishes hotels and restaurants on Phuket.

Oriental Origin (99 Dibuk Road) offers crafts and souvenirs from Thailand as well as those imported from Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and China. Articles on sale include wood products and dolls, vibrant paintings, embroidered handbags and other sundry souvenirs.

Radsada Souvenir Store (29 Ratsada Road) provides customers with an eclectic range of textile products, pewter and silver artefacts, masks, carvings and ornaments which have been handcrafted in the northern provinces of Thailand and Myanmar.

An interesting little alley leading off Ratsada Road is lined with stalls and shops selling tiny Buddha effigies and amulets. Phuket domestic visitors and those from other Asian countries make a beeline for this market. For non-Buddhists it offers a chance of picking up a lucky talisman and people watching. More on antiques.

Aubergine (115 Phang Nga Road, Tel: 076 258336) is a small shop close to the town’s landmark clocktower that sells a great choice of Asian handicrafts and artefacts imported from countries as far afield as Afghanistan.

The used book shop on Phang Nga Road is a spacious location to buy cheap reads or exchange ones already read. The store has a great selection of English language books as well as a more limited choice in some European languages. The shop gives patrons discounts when they buy more than one book.

Island Paradise (Phang Nga Road, Tel: 076 256418) offers a fine selection of home and dress accessories created by some of Thailand’s top designers. The shop may be a tad more expensive than other shops in the area, yet customers will have the satisfaction of knowing that their purchase cost a fraction of what it would have cost in Europe or the US.

There are some tailor’s shops in Phuket Old Town, albeit less than in the main resorts at Patong and Karon. Skilled dressmakers and tailors can usually create suits, jackets, shirts, blouses, trousers, skirts and dresses from materials such as cashmere, cotton, linen and Thai silk in less than 48 hours.     

On the southern edge of the Old Town, Phuket Square is a market packed with stalls selling a full range of household items, clothing, footwear, jewellery and other knick-knacks. Buyers should check clothing sizes as many of the items here have been designed for small Thai bodies. Bartering over prices is de rigueur. The market opens from 11:00 to 22:00 every day. More on Phuket markets.

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