No visit to Thailand would be complete without picking up a bagful of wonderful Thai handicrafts to take back as gifts or souvenirs. They are cheap, charming, and found in all tourist spots across Thailand. In Phuket, handicrafts can be found at all of the markets, both day and night, where there are usually endless choices of vendors selling everything from Thai silk to wooden toys, basketware, carvings, decor items and fake antiques. Of course, you really need to bargain, but even if you haven’t the energy the prices still seem good.
Most of the Thai handicrafts in Phuket come from Chiang Mai and other parts of Thailand where they are invariably cheaper, but if you’re in the mood for some leisurely shopping it can be fun to wander the beachfront along Patong, or selected areas in other beach centres. The variety and creativity is quite astonishing and it’s a testament to the Thai’s traditional skills for craftwork.
Thai handicrafts can also be found in shops all over the tourist areas and hotel gift shops, and although they are markedly more expensive, the quality is better. Some handicrafts in Phuket can be rubbish, or fall apart easily, so be careful of absolute bargains. The shops can arrange to have bulkier items shipped home for you.
If you do miss out, there are always further opportunities to stock up on last minute gifts in Bangkok, on Sukhumvit Road and along Khao San Road, as well as other resort areas, like Krabi. But, invariably, you’ll come across pavement vendors in Patong and other tourist hubs during your stay and find yourself picking up a few souvenirs among the huge array, since the prices are so attractive.
In Phuket, handicrafts include Buddhist art, porcelain, nielloware, lacquerware, ceramics, jewellery, tableware, teak items, home décor and wall hangings, basketware, soaps and essential oils, toys, saa paper products, rattan and wooden furniture, art, bamboo products, lamps, and more.