If you take time out from the beach to go shopping for some gifts and souvenirs during your trip you’ll soon discover that some of the most popular items include the wonderful range of Thai handicrafts that are widely sold by vendors and in gift shops. Thailand is famous for its handicrafts, they are cheap and make wonderful gifts.
There is plenty of good shopping to be found on Samui, with some excellent handicrafts and jewellery, as well as the usual range of fake designer goods. The major shopping areas for handicrafts are at Nathon, Chaweng, and Lamai, although the smaller villages also have some good potential, and where there are tourists in significant numbers there are vendors. Popular items include hand woven silk, wooden items, home décor objects, art, toys, clothes, leather goods, lacquerware and silver jewellery, sculptures and Buddhist art.
Price here for Handicrafts on Samui tend to be a little higher than in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, but you will still end up paying a fraction of what you would at home. Bartering for prices is common practice in Samui, as elsewhere in Thailand, and usually involves some friendly banter. If the price is too high, then smile and say no thanks. Losing your cool doesn’t work in Thailand.
There are a range of handicrafts to be found around Koh Samui, with some excellent quality products from all over Thailand, as well as the southern region. Most handicrafts on Samui come from Chiang Mai however, and if you’re planning on heading north then save your shopping for later and save. Wooden handicrafts can be found all over the island with items made from coconuts some of the most popular among tourists. There are also some more unusual items available, such as beautiful leather puppets that originate from Nakhon si Thammarat, and fine soap carvings from Samui itself.
Chaweng is the busiest shopping area with the main road lined with small shops and stalls selling a range of handicrafts items that is both astonishing and charming. You will also find plenty of vendors coming to you, particularly on the beach, and usually selling sarongs and a few other small pieces.
There are possibilities to buy antiques in Samui, but it is recommended you stick to reputable dealers if you want the genuine article. There are plenty of antique reproductions, which are often beautiful in their own right, just as long as you know what you are getting.