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Koh Samui Shopping Guide - Find where and what to shop and buy

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Koh Samui has a reputation for expensive shopping, especially when it comes to handicrafts which are almost always shipped in from the mainland. There are still deals to be had, and perusing the markets is certainly part of the island experience.

Chaweng has the densest collection of retailers, followed by Lamai. Both of these communities have resort-area boutiques, beachside marketplaces and larger shopping complexes outside of town. Whether it's swimming apparel, souvenirs or sundries, shoppers will find everything they need on Samui.

Pearls are a local specialty, and serious buyers will find a brilliant selection in the finer boutiques. Resort staff can point you in the direction of the merchants with the highest quality. It's also possible to arrange tours of regional pearl farms, though this usually requires an off-island excursion.

Chaweng/Beach Road/Chaweng street market

The main beachfront road in Chaweng stays open from morning until late evening. It's made up of street vendors and little boutiques selling fashionable clothes, tourist paraphernalia, silk textiles, beach accessories and handicrafts. It's a fun place to stroll for an hour even if you're not planning to buy.

Lamai/near Main Street/Lamai Night Bazaar

In the evening, the Lamai town center converts into a pedestrian market that deals in the typical tourist market goods. Expect an abundance of pirated DVDs, designer knockoffs, affordable jewelry and handicrafts.

Bophut/Central Fisherman's Village/Bophut Plaza

Bophut's major tourist shopping area is more of a city square than a walking street. Merchants work from a grid of stalls, hawking T-shirts, pirated music, faux fashion and beachwear. A few of the merchants sell wooden carvings and similar handicrafts.

 

Nathon/Na Amphoe Road/Beach Gallery Antiques

This shop is small, but it has one of the most intriguing collections of antiques on the island. The items are relatively disorganized, but they span somewhat tacky flea-market type items and classier pieces worth a serious look.

Chaweng/Route 4169/Tesco Lotus

Anchored by a Tesco Lotus superstore, this shopping mall branches out to include many boutiques and restaurants. This is a good place to buy authentic name-brand goods, but it's still a good idea to keep an eye out for convincing fakes. The mall also has a bowling alley and movie theater.

Koh Samui shopping tips

Prices are inflated here on the island, but most merchants are willing to barter. Tailored formalwear is available on the island, but this is a particular area of concern where negotiation is absolutely expected. Those choosing to have an outfit made are encouraged to shop around and go with a tailor that insists on multiple fittings.