Thai, Chinese, Burmese and Khmer antiques are excellent buys. Statues, fabrics, woodcarvings and furniture are just some of the items available. Excellent reproductions of antiques can also be found. There is an export ban on certain pieces, particularly Buddha images. Other pieces may require an export license, but any reputable dealer will be able to advise on restrictions and any necessary documentation.
Some of the best finds are in the shops outside Laguna Phuket, including the Palace of Art, Heritage Collection and Songtique. Oriental Fine Art in Surin, Ban Boran in Phuket City and Chan's Antiques on the bypass road are also excellent places to browse for high-quality works.
Chan's Antique House
Considered by most at the pioneer of the antique business in Phuket, Chan Sim, the managing director, says, "Visit Phuket"- visit Chan's. Having been in the business for over fifteen years, this is a well-established family enterprise. Chan personally selects quality antiquities from Burma, Loas, Cambodia and Thailand searching fir the finest craftsmanship.
Wooden, bronze, marble and stoneware Buddha images are featured with a large selection of laquerware, furniture and decorative art objects. A variety of replicated pieces are also available in a separate section of this expansive showroom. For your convenience, Mr. Chan can have your acquisitions professionally packed and shipped worldwide.
- Location: 99/42 Moo 5 Chalermprakiat R. 9 Rd., Located on Bypass Road, 2.5 km north of Tesco-Lotus Mall
- Tel: 076 261 416-7, 01 895 2490 - Fax: 076 261 418
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
- Location: 51/20 Chaofa West Road
- Tel: +66 76 521 552
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: To visit (appointment only) call: +66 (0) 81 273 2285
- Location: Mom Tri’s Royale Villa in Kata
Asian Buddha statues mix with a fine collection of vintage and antique furniture from China, The owner personally select the quality pieces. Worldwide shipping available. If in Bangkok visit the Songtique showroom at River City room 444.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9.00 to 18.00 hrs.
- Location: 63/16 Moo1 Tambol Cherng Talay, Amphur Talang
- Tel: 01 668 2555 - Fax: 076 325 666
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: 103/3 Srisoonthorn Rd, between the Heroines’ Monument and Cherng Talay
- Tel: +66 76 27 3533
Paintings and Art Galleries in Phuket
For a lasting reminder of Thailand, why not visit one of the many shops offering original art works by local artists? Choose from traditional or modern Thai themes, or commission your favourite scene to be replicated in a painting or sketch. A popular trend is to have a portrait sketched or painted as a gift or momento. A number of artists also specialize in portraits drawn from snapshots, meaning that you don't have to sit around for hours.
Currently Holiday Inn in Patong Beach and Le Meridien Phuket Resort have portrait artists resident at work in the hotel lobbies during most afternoons or early evenings. Portraits are available in sepia, charcoal, pastel and oil colour, for around 1,500-2,000 Baht depending on the medium used and size of the portrait. Expect a 2-3 day wait, or have your painting or sketch posted to you. On the road leading out of Patong Beach towards Karon are a number of shophouses where artworks are ready for sale and special commissions are accepted.
Original works of art can be found at the galleries/workshops of local and expat artists, including the Nakonnai Gallery in Karon Plaza, Rinda Studio in Rawai (near The Evason Phuket Resort), and the Sarasil Art Gallery on Phang Nga Rd in Phuket City.
Framing can also be carried out inexpensively on the island. Most art shops can recommend places close to where you are staying, or if in Phuket City, check out the little frame shop "Frame" on Tilok Uthit 2 Rd across from the night market next to Robinson Department Store.