Shopping in Patong Beach and Other Beaches in Phuket

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About 10 Km from Phuket, on the west coast, is the second of the two major shopping destinations on Phuket Island and the major center of the island's nightlife.

Sometimes one feels that virtually everything and everywhere in Patong is related to shopping – except, of course the nightclubs and bars, which also seem to be everywhere.

Considering that Patong is a short stay tourist and party town, the shopping opportunities there are quite good.

Mall shopping in Patong Beach centers around the Jungceylon Shopping Complex on Rat-U-Thit Road opposite the eastern end of Bangla Road.

It is anchored by a Robinson Department Store and a Carrefour Supermarket and has more than 200 stores, including a Thai arts and crafts center containing 70 shops and 35 kiosks.

The goods sold here are similar to those sold at the Central Festival Mall in Phuket, but there are more stores focusing on lower end tourist items such as T-shirts.

Walking down Rat-U-Thit Road from the Jungceylon Center, one comes to a wide range of shopping opportunities including several art and leather shops, book stores, the Paradise Complex Bazaar (the "Night Market") and Sainamyen Plaza and Boon Som Plaza.

The Bazaar and plazas contain numerous small shops, many selling typical tourist items but others dealing in handicrafts and items such as jewellery and gold.

Another very important shopping destination in Patong Beach is Beach Road (Thaweewong Road). It is home to a rather strange variety of shops and stores including those dealing in the typical tourist items, arts and crafts, higher end art, artistic reproduction, jewellery and gold, optics, cigars, medications, and shoes.

Those particularly interested in Thai art or in having a painting or portrait made should head for Soi Post Office (Soi Kepsup III) and the Laimai Art Studio near the Laimai beachfront restaurant. It is the largest studio on Phuket Island. Another good studio, the King Studio, is located on Bangla Road near the Soi Patong Resort.

Also located on Beach Road are two Ocean Department Stores, one at the southern end and another at the intersection with Bangla Road. The latter has been described as giant bizaars - having an unusual mix of tourst and high end items side by side. The "southern" Ocean store is more traditional. At night, Beach Road – and connecting side streets - become a big night bazaar. The streets close down and the stalls, carts and street venders come out.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach is distinct community located south of Patong Beach. It is generally considered to be Phuket Island's second most popular tourist destination – its neighbor to the north (Patong) is first.

There are no department stores in Karon Beach.

Shopping opportunites center around shops, bazaars or plazas and involve popular tourist and beach items. The majority of these are located in and around "the traffic circle", which is in north Karon.

There, one can also find numerous tailors, pharmacies, minimarts stores so forth.

There are also many stores and shops located on Lung Poh Chuan Road in south Karon, including the very large Karon Plaza.

Lung Poh Chuan Road is also home to many bars and restaurants, and a colony of Thai artists selling orignial art. It is also possible to buy genuine arts, crafts, and handicrafts in and around Aroona Karon Plaza on Aroona Karon Road in the central area of Karon Beach. More tourist item shopping can be found at the Karon Bizaar, which is located on Beach Road between the Movenpick and Woraburi Phuket resorts.

Kata Beach

Kata Beach is a small beach located south of Karon Beach. It is marketed to high end vacationers so it has a larger number of higher end shopping opportunities than would be expected. There are numerous arts and craft stores, jewellery stores, high end clothing and fashion shops, and shoe and leather shops. Many items in these stores and shops are imported: many are made by local artisians. Even the items in the tourist merchandise oriented Kata Plaza Bazaar are said to be of very high quality.

Most of these higher end shops are found in southern Kata where Kata Road intersects with Khok Tanot Road. Of course, it is possible to find the usual selection of tourist oriented items in Kata also, especially where Kata Road and Thai Na Road intersect. It is said that Kata "suffers" from an extreme oversupply of tailors so that is something for shoppers to bear in mind.

Bang Tao Beach

Bang Tao Beach is a large beach on Phuket's northwest coast. Shopping at the beach itself is strictly routine. The nearest supermarket is in Patong, about 25 minutes away. But a rather extensive complex of high end shopping has developed at the Laguna Phuket resort located in the central area of the beach but away from the beach.

Many of the shops, such as the cluster found in "Canal Village" are located just inside the complex: others are just outside the main entrance. It is possible the best collections of Thai antiquities on the island are found in the galleries around the Laguna.

Other Beaches

Most other beaches on Phuket Island, such as Kamala Beach or Rawai Beach, can be considered tourist destinations but not shopping destinations.

This doesn't mean that one can't buy things at these beaches, though.

Almost all smaller beaches on the island have clusters of minimarts, shops and street stalls.

Tourist and beach items are always available, as are food and medical items.

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