Thailand is famous for its silk and various grades of quality and suppleness can be found from different silk-manufacturing regions, mostly in the north and northeast. There are many textile and fabric outlets on the island and one local specialty is batik. Many upscale resorts have onsite textile outlets and others are scattered around the island - mostly in Phuket Town.
Thai silk producers who are mainly based in the north and northeast of the country have a lot to be proud of as their silk product is pretty much well-known around the world. Thai silk is famous for its high quality, unique colours and patterns and it also plays a key role in sustaining the local economy.
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The Jim Thompson outlet in Central Festival is located next to Starbucks on the ground floor. It’s a spacious and well-lit air-conditioned shop with attractive window dressing and display arrangements. Exhibit cabinets are well spaced apart and the white tile floors add a further sense of room. Most shoppers head straight for the ‘new arrivals’ section to the right of the main entrance where you’ll find textile shopping bags, leather wallets, silk scarves (this branch has countless silk scarves) ornamental rough silk toy elephants and handkerchiefs.
You’ll not want for rich choices of bags, purses, and accessories for ladies here and it’s all very impressive. The men’s silk shirt section could be more adventurous but you’re sure to find good office wear here and the occasional festive-looking colourful shirt for partying and living is up. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:30 – 22:00
- Location: Ground floor Central Festival Phuket
- Tel: 076 249 615(6)
A great place to check out Thai silk is the rather aptly but not very imaginatively named Thai Silk Collection close by the famous Wat Chalong along Chao Fa West Road. This colourful stand-alone shop is a pleasure to wander around in as it seems that every nook and cranny has a surprise waiting for you.
To begin with, there’s a replica silk loom at the entrance with an information film loop showing the process of silk preparation. The adjacent silk-clad life-size mannequin is a little scary but moving along you’ll come across silk toiletry bags, elegant and colourful scarves plus a rather conservative-looking collection of men’s neckties (no Mickey Mouse or Daffy Duck here) meant more for the office than a party. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Chao Fa East Road, Chalong
Ban Boran Textiles
There are two Ban Boran shops downtown Phuket (‘Boran’ means ‘antique’ in Thai) – but they’re not related in any way except that both sell high-quality products. This shop along Yaowarat Road sells silk and cotton clothing from tribal sources both from Thailand and nearby countries. Ban Boran does not have bargain basement prices but quality is assured.
You’ll also find attractive sandals, bags, lacquerware boxes, lamps, tribal bracelets and pendants along with elegant wooden friesework. Silk shirts with colours guaranteed not to run are a good, if somewhat expensive buy. English is spoken here and although it’s a rather hot experience it’s definitely worth a visit to this landmark downtown Phuket Old Town shop.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 21:30
- Location: 51 Yaowarat Road
Chai Batik, located on Chao Fa Nok (east) Road is an amazing place. It may have an unassuming façade with a medium-sized car park and modest Thai-language signage outside but inside is a riot of creativity, astounding paintings and one of Phuket’s most iconic yet approachable artists, Chai Changsongsan.
The shirts are made from Thai cotton and are made to last so you’re guaranteed quality. You can buy off the peg here and also place a personal order and come to think of it, what could be a better souvenir of your stay in Phuket? Prices of shirts and sarongs are reasonable considering the skills involved. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:30 – 19:30 daily
- Location: 16/3 Chaofa Road East (by the Kwang Road intersection halfway between Phuket and Chalong)
- Tel: +66 (0)76 375 754
Right in the living and breathing heart of Phuket’s Old Town, Thalang Road has long been the place to shop for inexpensive Thai textiles in its many colourful shops. Here, you’ll find bolt after bolt of beautifully dyed cotton and rough silk at prices that will surprise you, they’re so cheap.
Shoppers looking for light curtain material or linings will find what they’re looking for here and many of the rolls can be cut to make homemade sarongs or saris. It’s the quintessential Phuket shopping experience because after you’ve finished you can stop in one of the roti shops for a snack and a relaxed cup of tea. Bargaining or bartering is accepted in these shops if you’re purchasing in quantity. Read More...