The serious shopper looking for quality goods will be happy to know that there are many options on the island. We’re not talking here about Prada, Gucci or Dior. We are talking about high-quality Asian arts and products.
The range is huge: from clothing, jewelry and accessories to home decorations, fine furniture and handicrafts. Some are antiques and some are reproductions, while many others are made to classy new designs.
Most are produced in Thailand, though beautiful products from nearby Asian countries such as Burma, Indonesia, China, Laos and India can also be found.
These products are not necessarily cheap but they are gorgeous and many of the designs are unique. Shops that stock these high-end products range from dark, quiet shop-houses in Phuket City to large modern shops all over the island.
The demand for such top quality products is a fairly recent phenomenon, sparked by soaring numbers of five-star hotels and luxury homes. Entrepreneurs and dealers in all kinds of fine goods have stepped into the breach, giving Phuket, in a very short time, a reputation as one of a finest shopping centres in Asia. Here, Phuket.com visits a few of the top shops.
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Aubergine is an interesting little shop in Phuket City, further along Phang Nga Road, at No 115, near the clock tower. It is run by the same team as Island Paradise but the products are very different.
Here you can find hand-made Asian ethnic products from China, India, Thailand and as far as Afghanistan.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 to 20:00, Monday to Friday
- Location: On Phang Nga Road near the clock tower in Phuket Town
- Tel: +66 76 258 336
Ban Boran Textiles
Ban Boran Textiles, which opened more than 10 years ago, offers ready-to-wear clothing made from silk and cotton, and a variety of textile wall hangings, table cloths and bags. Co-owner Wandee Keawtawee, who has extensive knowledge of Thai textiles, is usually there to assist customers.
The products are mostly designed and made by villagers in the north and northeast of Thailand, but the shop also has items created by Ishii Katsuaki, a self-trained Japanese designer. One other product line that deserves a mention is the silver jewelry made by hilltribe people in the north of Thailand.
- Opening Hours: 10:30 to 18:30
- Address: 51 Yaowarat Road, Phuket City
- Tel: +66 76 258 249
Fine 9 Design & Collection
On the ground floor at Surin Plaza (close to Surin Beach) Fine 9 has original art and paintings, fine handicrafts and collectibles from Thailand, along with home decorating products and a small amount of jewellery and accessories. Malisa Darbhatisha, the owner, is usually there to help customers out. “We moved from Bangkok to Phuket in 2001. I find living and doing business in Phuket is more relaxing and less competitive than in Bangkok,” she said.
The outlet at Surin Plaza which is open daily from 9.30 to 18.00 has limited space, so Khun Malisa pointed us to a larger standalone shop called Fine Living Arcade on the left hand side of Srisoonthorn Road, between the Heroines’ Monument and Cherng Talay, which has a bigger range. “We sell products from various places. We have furniture from top designers such as Suwan Kongkhunthian and Udom Udomsrianan, who are famous for using natural materials such as woven lipao vine, water hyacinth, liana and rattan. We also have an interior design service,” Khun Malisa added.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 to 20:00
- Location: Surin Plaza (Silk Shopping Center)
- Tel: +66 (0) 81 337 7682
There are few places in Phuket that have good Chinese antiques and “vintage” artifacts, which makes Fine Oriental a must-stop for lovers of Chinoiserie.
It stocks a good range of antique and reproduction Chinese furniture, as well as pieces from Tibet and Mongolia.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 to 19:00
- Address: 51/20 Chaofa West Road
- Tel: +66 76 521 552
Ginger & Lola Boutiques
Both of these shops are on the ground floor of Surin Plaza. Ginger offers original-design women’s clothing, textiles, colorful jewelry and fabulous designer accessories such as scarves, bags, and shoes.
It also has home decorative items such as cushions and tableware. Danish owner Hans Christensen, who owns a stylish boutique with the same name in Chiang Mai, is the main force behind the success of Ginger. Lola is a sister shop next door selling light cotton dresses with an Indian tropical beach theme: gorgeous colors and styles.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 to 19:00
- Location: Surin Plaza (Silk Shopping Center)
- Tel: +66 (0) 76 271 617
Intentio opened in 2007, occupying a 500-sqm showroom at the Royal Phuket Marina, just north of Phuket City. It has an extensive range of contemporary Asian-inspired home decor, including lighting fixtures, furniture and accessories. All products are selected from top designers and artists in Asia.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00
- Location: Royal Phuket Marina, near Phuket Town
- Tel: +66 (0) 76 360 860
Designer Lek Rattanachinkorn opened this boutique in November 2007, gathering outstanding products from a dozen other top Thai designers, as well as a large variety of decorative goods for the home. Brands available at Island Paradise include Rococo, Century22, Seneda, Classic Model and Only Sugar.
Khun Lek also has an outlet at Chaweng Beach on Samui. Alternatively customers can shop for the same brands in many top department stories in Bangkok include Siam Center, Siam Paragon, Emporium and Kasorn Plaza.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 to 21:00, Monday to Saturday
- Location: 8 Phang Nga Road, next to Siam Indigo Restaurant, Phuket Town
- Tel: +66 76 256 418
The American owner of Lemongrass, Bobby Duchowny, definitely gets things right; since opening in 2007, the shop has been featured in both the New York Times and Time magazine.
It specializes in massage oils, soaps, body lotions, body scrubs, skin-calming powders, and much more.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 to 20:00
- Location: 10/2 Moo 1, Srisoonthorn Road (look for the lime-green shipping containers at the side of the road just to the east of Cherng Talay on the way to the Heroines Monument)
- Tel: +66 (0) 76 271 233
Nakalina is a newcomer to Phuket, having opened only in August 2008. Tanipol Chiewsanguan, Nakalina’s Managing Director, who is an engineer by profession, opened his first shop in Samui a few years ago, then saw potential for expansion of his business to Phuket. “We developed a few houses and apartments in Samui and realised that our buyers also needed advice on buying furniture.
That gave us the idea of opening Nakalina,” he told Phuket.Com. Stock includes both indoor and outdoor furniture, wall-art and home accessories from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. There is a variety of styles, but all are chosen for their suitability to the tropical lifestyle. Materials, chosen to complement nature and the surroundings, include rattan, water hyacinth, paper rope and teakwood.
- Location: 64/4 Moo 4 Chao Fa West Road, on the way from Phuket City to Chalong, not far from the Central Festival junction
- Tel: +66 (0) 76 248545
Radsada Handmade is a good place to stop for beautiful textiles. They also have cushions, bed covers, table runners and other home accessories.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 to 19:00, Monday to Saturday
- Address: 29 Rassada Road, Phuket City
- Tel: +66 76 355 439
Roseberry is a work of love by Dorinda Roseberry and Nikorn Banjerdlert. Part of the place is a spa with many reputable therapies. The other part is an outlet for the many spa products handmade by Dorinda and her professional team. She knows what she is doing; she was trained at The Sanctuary in London and worked in spas for more than 10 years. Dorinda has developed many healing massage oils and spa products using materials from around Asia.
- Address: 64/85 Moo 5, Kamala
- Tel: +66 (0)76 279 293
Sivalla has a vast collection of fine jewellery as well as antiques, particularly porcelain. It also has a superb collection of Buddha images, silver objects, precious textiles, original paintings and bronze sculptures.
- Opening Hours: Make appointment first
- Location: Mom Tri’s Royale Villa in Kata
- Tel: +66 (0) 81 273 2285
Soul of Asia
In Soul of Asia you can find works by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Picasso along with Chinese and Vietnamese artists. There are also Chinese rugs, Chinese ceramics, jewellery, paintings and furniture from around Asia.
Eric Smulders, the owner, converted an old Sino-Portuguese shophouse at 37-39 Rassada Road, Phuket City, (Tel: +66 (0) 76 211 122) to open his first Soul of Asia shop in 2003. He has since opened branches in Surin Plaza (Tel: +66 (0) 76 271 629), at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa (Tel: +66 (0) 76 396 433) and the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa (Tel: +66 (0) 76 338 000).
In the north of the island is The Gallery, which offers Chinese antiques and design furniture. Marc and Qing Quing de Champeaux bring to Phuket many years’ experience of working in China. They combine modern and old world for interiors and much more.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 to 18:30
- Location: Road 4031 (the old road to Phuket Airport)
- Tel: +66 (0) 89 866 2346
The Palace of Art
This place is an icon among antique dealers on the island. Much of its reputation comes from the owner, Shahe Donabedian, an interior designer with a background in architecture. He has amassed a huge collection of Thai, Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian fine art and décor.
People who visit the Palace of Art often remark that it is like walking into a top-class museum, with hundreds of art objects displayed in harmony, both outdoors and in. These include Buddha images and sculptures, hand-carved teak elephants, antique cabinets, and small gilt and stone ornaments. One display that should not be missed is the exhibit of large temple drums in the garden.
- Opening Hours: 08:30 to 18:00
- Location: l 103/3 Srisoonthorn Rd, between the Heroines’ Monument and Cherng Talay
- Tel: +66 76 27 3533