Where To Shop and What to Get From Thailand


 
I’ve visited Thailand before, 5 years ago. At that time I had gone to Bangkok, Pattaya and Samui. I hadn’t had enough of Samui, so I decided to go back this year. This year I just wanted a beach vacation where I could relax. 

All I did on this holiday was eat amazing Thai food, read and relax on the beach, and shop. 


Samui

The last time I went, I was in Samui for 3 or 4 days. The mistake I made was to book a sightseeing tour of Samui. I really didn’t have fun on the tour as you’re bound to the tour group and their timings, and the sights they take you to. It’s best to visit the places you want to see, in your own time and convenience.

Since this time I wanted to just relax on the beach, I chose a beautiful resort on Chaweng Beach. Chaweng is one of the most lively and happening areas in Samui. It has the most restaurants, markets and massage parlours, and Samui’s biggest mall, Central Festival. Staying in this area made sense because I had lots of places to pick from to eat, and the mall in walking distance.

Central Festival
Chaweng Lake is in walking distance to this area. It’s a big, serene lake with a walking path flanked with lots of greenery. There are benches everywhere so you can sit and take it all in. The weather was rainy, which added to the romance of it all. Cloudy skies made the entire experience even better.





The Hotel

The only thing is, the Chaweng Road area is extremely noisy as it’s a very commercial area. You need to choose a resort that’s quiet inside. That’s the second consideration, The first consideration for me, of course, is that the resort needs to have direct beach access. So I can just walk from my room to the beach.


Chaweng Regent ticked both these boxes. It was not just really quiet without any noise from the bustling street outside, but it was a green jungle paradise. It had trees and greenery everywhere inside. And the rooms have a garden view. So on the days when it was raining, I could just sit on my patio and read, surrounded by lush greenery.




The resort also has excellent beach access. The last resort I stayed at, Chaweng Garden, was still away from the beach. At Chaweng Regent, the property is directly on the beach. The sun loungers are situated very close to the water. And the resort’s swimming pool is right there as well. You could be in the pool with a beach view. The showers and toilets are right there, and the resort’s restaurant is right next to you as well, which means you can order food and drink and have it on your sun lounger. Bliss!


 

The Jellyfish Incident

My only gripe is that there aren’t enough warning signs on the beach that say there are deadly box jellyfish in the water and that everyone needs to wear a full bodysuit when swimming. Heck, the hotel management didn’t know that. Until I got stung by a deadly box jellyfish and told them. 

Long story short, I got stung on my thigh by a box jellyfish when I was in the water {close to the shore}, I was in intense pain. I went to the hospital and the Maritime Doctor {who was such a knowledgeable lady}, did a whole lot of tests on me to make sure the venom hadn’t spread to my cells and my blood. All the test results were healthy. Perks of being a fitness instructor and having a strong immune system. But yes, I could have died if the venom went to my heart. I’ll probably have the scars for life. 

I went back to the hotel and informed the hotel manager about this and as per the doctor’s advice, everyone should wear a full bodysuit when going into the water. He didn’t even know this. Or that there are deadly box jellyfish in the water. I really hope they put a sign at the beach saying this. 

P.S: Make sure you have travel insurance when you go on vacation. The hospital bill was huge but I got reimbursed by my travel insurance within a week of submitting my papers. {I use AXA Insurance.}

Shopping in Samui

Samui is famous for its night markets. You can get some great local stuff in these bazaars. I visited the Fisherman’s Village Night Market at Bophut. It was a huge, sprawling affair with thousands of stalls, selling everything from souvenirs to street food to accessories. There was live music and entertainment everywhere, adding to the festive vibe. 

Mini fridge magnets of Thai food
However, what’s sold here isn’t necessarily cheaper than outside. In fact, some things are more expensive because night markets get such a huge turnout from both tourists and locals alike. So you have to know what to buy from these markets. Here’s what I recommend-

Herbal Tea 
If you’re an herbal tea lover, don’t miss this. I love loose tea and I’m never able to find some of the stuff I want. I found lavender, jasmine flowers, jasmine pearls and butterfly pea flower. They have a huge variety of loose tea, and each packet is reasonably priced at 150 Thai Baht. I’m very glad I bought the tea from the first stall I found them at because I didn’t find the same kind of tea at any other stalls. You’ll find a lot of places selling green tea with jasmine, and other flavours, even at the airport, but not just the herbs and flowers. 

Thai Spices
My mother wanted Thai spices like kaffir lime, galanga and lemongrass. I found a stall selling all of these, packed in neat little packets, and again, ranging from 100 to 150 THB. They even had very small packs of 5 common Thai spices bundle packed together like saffron, lemongrass, kaffir lime, etc. 

Handmade Jewellery
You’ll find many stalls selling bracelets and anklets. I found one that had colourful beaded jewellery, handwoven with coir. These weren’t cheap, but worth it because they’re so unique. I purchased 3 pairs of earrings {I’m wearing a pair in this post} and a beautiful big beaded necklace.

Dehydrated fruit
There are a lot of stalls selling dehydrated fruit in small, sealed packs, for 100 to 150 THB. The best part is you can sample it before buying. I got a few packets of dried ginger and pineapple. Don’t go crazy though. I find that when you’re on holiday, you feel like buying lots of local foods to take back home. But you don’t really eat it when once you’re back. 



Also, the packed product may not be like the sample you tasted. I’ve had a bad experience buying tea from Bali where the sample and the packed teas were completely different. So don’t go buying several packs of the same foods. I like to get just one or two of what I like. If it’s really nice, it’s more motivation for you to visit again. :)

Other than the local goodies from the night markets, I bought clothes from Uniqlo in Samui. There’s no way I’m going to South East Asia and not going to a Uniqlo. Their clothes are of great quality for a good price. I especially love their innerwear and basics. 


Shopping in Bangkok

Shopping in Bangkok can really empty out your pockets. If it’s local stuff you want, I recommend Platinum Mall in Pratunam. Touting itself as Thailand’s largest fashion mall, it’s packed with over 2000 shops across 6 floors. There’s a LOT of women’s fashion and accessories. You really don’t want to get overwhelmed here or return home with too much stuff. It’s best to know what you really want, then go and get that. 


 
Here’s what I got, and what I recommend:

Silver Jewellery and Men’s Bracelets
You’re really spoiled for choice here when it comes to accessories. The jewellery shops compete with each other with bizarre and unique displays. I picked up a few pieces of silver-plated jewellery which were unique and not too expensive. They also have fun accessories made out of raffia, bamboo and other natural materials. It’s also a great place to get leather bracelets for the men in your life.



Sunglasses
There are a few shops that don’t sell fake brand sunglasses. Look for the ones made in Thailand, with UV protection. You’ll find a huge range of designs and shapes. I loved the shop called Black Gold on level 5. 

Makeup and Skincare
You can’t go to Thailand and not buy Thai skincare products! I got lots of sheet masks, body scrubs, and aloe creams. Also, high street brands like Maybelline and L’Oreal are priced properly here {they’re very expensive in Bahrain} and also have discounts on them. I picked up a few lippies and my favourite mascaras for super cheap.

Contact Lens
I’m just starting to explore the coloured contact lens trend, and I was so happy to find a brand called Duna in Thailand, that sold these for horribly cheap. Each monthly pair is priced at around 200 THB, and they have a variety of colours. They come with power too. I’ve been wearing them since I got them and I can vouch for them being comfortable and safe. Also, the lens solution is super cheap here as compared to Bahrain. For a constant lens wearer like me, that’s great. I wanted to buy a dozen!


That’s all the stuff I got from Thailand this time round. Maybe it seems like a lot because I’ve listed it out by category, but it wasn’t really. A few accessories, tea, dehydrated fruit, contact lenses, sunglasses, lippies, mascaras and some t-shirts and sweaters from Uniqlo. I definitely didn’t go overboard or regret getting anything, which is what you should aim for. 

Before I went to Thailand, I went to a Thai supermarket in Bahrain and had a look at what they sold. Most of the branded food items you get in Thailand were available. Which is why I didn’t bring any of those and stuck to the fresher local foodstuffs like tea, fruit and herbs.

If you really want to go to Thailand for shopping, I suggest you go around late November and December, when the new year sales have hit. Everything is on sale and at amazing prices. But obviously, it’s very crowded as well.

I hope this post has been helpful and you know exactly what Thai goodies you want to get when you travel to Thailand! 

Until next time

xoxo
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Shabana Feroze
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