Supercheap, just north of Phuket Town, is well worth a visit. Almost the size of a city block, it is a sprawling warehouse-like shop stacked high with every product you could possibly imagine and more. If there is any logic to it, it would be difficult to explain, but its seeming lack of logic is the very essence of its charm. Retail chaos under one roof is hard to come by in the west but here in Thailand it is very much alive and kicking.
Entirely burnt-down in the evening of October 16th 2013, this mythical place has been rebuilt, this time with fireproof solid and modern materials, and reopened in June 2014. The new Supercheap has nevertheless retained a great part of its soul yet offers a cleaner and more comfortable shopping experience.
The remains of the original entrance (the only solid part of the original building) have been kept and can be seen on the side of the new imposing Supercheap building. Covering approximately 12,000sqm, the new building looks exactly like a standard supermarket – Big C, Tesco Lotus, and the likes – view from outside; the only difference is its rather impressive height.
Backpacks and large bags are not allowed inside the mall so customers have to leave them at the entrance where an employee gives them a ticket to take it back later. Inside, the size of the supermarket is even more impressive; the ceiling is about 15m above your head and the backside of the hangar is 120m away! Built upon a metallic structure painted in white with corrugated galvanised iron roof, Supercheap is like a labyrinth; its aisles, delimited by orange painted metallic shelves and the cement flooring give a neat and clean impression (compared to what it used to be).
Supercheap’s floor-plan is on display next to the front door to help customers to find what they are looking for through the alleyways (please see the English version of the plan besides). The most remarkable improvement in the reconstructed supermarket (apart from its cleanliness) is that some departments – electronics, pharmacy, liquors and wines, frozen goods – are set in air conditioned stores accessible through fully automated doors: welcome to the 21st Century!
Basically you could find almost anything at Supercheap: clothing, packed and fresh food, car and motorcycle accessories, furniture, aquarium fish, tools, Buddhist accessories, cosmetics, construction materials, clocks, fishing rods, mobile phones, cigarettes, coffee percolators, you name it. Even though Supercheap mostly sells wholesale, you can still buy individual products at the cheapest prices on the island (many restaurants and bars come here to do their shopping). Half the fun of visiting Supercheap is trying to understand the sequence of it. It really doesn’t make sense but it’s one of the most unusual Phuket experiences.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 22:00
- Location: Thepkasattri Road, Phuket Town, on the road heading north out to Phuket airport
- Remarks: Supercheap has satellite branches all over Phuket. Look for the purple supermarkets piled high with bargain goods - mostly foodstuff
- Tel: +66 (0)76 216 791