Shopping in Phuket
Herbal Health Products
Hideaway Spas in Phuket have developed their own range of herbal products that are used in all their own spas and in other top-class resorts in Asia.The products were based on centuries of tradition and experience by studying the herbs used by the Thai monks. They are available at the Hideaway Spas in Patong, Kata and Bang Tao. Call (66 76) 342-553 for further details.
Batik is a fabric art well known around Southeast Asia. From stunning complex patterns drawn on silk saris in India to complicated floral and decorative patterns seen in Indonesian batik, the custom of making art on fabric is as ancient as the cultures in the region. Unlike popular batiks from Indonesia, where wood blocks are used to create uniform patterns, local batiks are free-form: each represents an effort from the artist who draws a unique design and then paints the figures onto the cotton. Visit Batik Gallery, 9/10 Visit Road, tel: (66 76) 288-220 .
While Japan has traditionally been the Asian center for the cultured pearl industry, Phuket has, in the past couple decades, become the preferred site in Southeast Asia for pearl cultivation. Each year, hundreds of these precious items are sent around the world as a valuable export item as the quality and lustre are in high demand. Most of the larger jewelers, such as P & C Jewelry in Patong, carry an exclusive line of pearls, at a fraction of the price charged in Europe or even Japan. Careful buyers can choose from a wide range of colors and sizes.
Thai Style Antiques
Phuket has become an international showcase for rare religious images and unusual furniture from around Southeast Asia. The best collection of antiques and handicrafts can be found at Thai Style Antiques on the Airport Road. Tel. (66 76) 215- 980, 238- 960 or Email: email@example.com
Any visitor to Phuket will notice the numerous tailor shops on the island.But how does one choose which shop to have a special suit or dress designed or made? At Mr. Singh's Fashion Gallery in Patong, customers can select from an international selection of materials; from British cashmeres to Italian woolens to cool cottons to lustrous silks. The tailors are experts at helping a client choose a suit or dress design that is both comfortable and fashionable. A wide selection of catalogue books from the Italian fashion houses act as a guide for what to order.
Ever wanted a kite? Look no further than Thai Kite in Nanai Road, Patong. It is one of the few places in Thailand that can offer such a wide range of kites from a simple single-line "toy" kite to the four-line sports kites. Proprietor Peter will gladly help you decide which one is right for you and will even give you a few lessons. All kites are individually made from imported nylon with fibreglass tubing he can also make them from Thai fabrics with bamboo spas if required. Prices start from 540 Baht for a small single line kite. Tel: (66 76) 342-547
Thailand is a great place to buy gems and jewelry. The approximate price for most gems is set by international standards but certain stones such as sapphires and rubies are mined in Thailand. Jewelers from around the world send precious gems to be put into custom settings here as the quality of the workmanship and the price can not be equaled elsewhere.
Due to popular demand, Khun Thamanoon Punchun, Executive Chef at The Boathouse Wine and Grill, he has collected his favorite traditional Thai recipes into one book for his guests to take home and cook for themselves. The Boathouse Cookbook includes fragrant salads, spicy soups, curries, noodles and a sampling of desserts. Each recipe has easy-to-follow instructions with photos on how to prepare the cuisine that has made the Boathouse famous.
Ceramics of Phuket was started by two sisters who became fascinated with the magic of glaze and design. Their factory supplies many of the better hotels on the island with specialty custom ceramics for the dining room. Their ceramics capture the deep greens and blues of the surrounding marine environment. The studio is constantly expanding, creating new patterns of dining ware, custom tiles and most recently, ceramic murals of Thai cultural legends.
Handicraft (Blue Witch)
Blue Witch Handicrafts offers special lanterns made from saa or rice paper and a batik type process is used to create patterns and lively colors which fade into one another. Other interesting presents are the one-of-a-kind coffee mugs which are made in various animal forms and handicrafts from hilltribe weavers in the northern mountains.
The Banyan Tree Galleries at each of the Laguna Phuket resorts feature a world of beautiful items including ceramics made on Phuket, silk and cotton textiles from all regions of the country, the Banyan Tree product line of massage, aromatic oils and incense, and objets d'art as sandstone Khmer figures and elephants, in many sizes, made from either wood, stone or metal.
Though it prospered in early Bangkok, the silk industry went into a long decline starting in the latter part of the 19th century but a few years after World War II, an American named Jim Thompson revived the industry and made the silk known to international markets. In Phuket, Jim Thompson outlets may be found in; Canal Village, Laguna Phuket (66 76 270- 957) Le Meridien Phuket (66 76 340- 480) or Phuket Arcadia Hotel (66 76) 396- 038.