THIS IS A TRANSLATED, UPDATED VERSION OF THIS SWEDISH POST!
If it’s something I really enjoy about Thailand – it’s markets. They’re everywhere, popping up here and there periodically, and market atmosphere is happy, fun, nice and great!
Night markets is the shit!
In Thailand markets are often held during nighttime, which is another reason to like them. During evenings and nights the temperature is cooler, so you don’t have to walk around in the scorching hot sun when shopping, but I suppose that’s why they’ve chosen to open them during nighttime in the first place. Sometimes they’re smart, the Thais.
Every beach has their night market!
On Koh Samui the beaches take turns on markets.
- Bo Phut/Fisherman’s Village: Fridays
- Maenam: Thursdays
- Lamai: Sundays
- Chaweng: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
- Nathon: Saturdays
The market in Fisherman’s Village is IMO the best one, but that’s totally subjective, since Fisherman’s Village has been a home to me for some time, and I really like the atmosphere of that beach. I also want to point out I might be mistaken of some of the weekdays specified here, my memory is not what it used to be.
You’ll find both unusual clothes and accessories in Fisherman’s Village.
The shopping is over all really good in Fisherman’s Village. They have more than this tourist crap they sell everywhere, and the boutiques are a lot more stylish, and they all sell different, and really nice things. The downside is it’s a bit more expensive there than anywhere else on the island.
My favourite shop of all is a small boutique called “Volver”, where they sell stuff from Japan and Korea. Clothes, accessories, bags, etc, and for a great price too actually. Not too expensive. If you’re in the neighbourhood, you’d be wise to take my advice to check it out.
Why discount when the farangs are so eager to spread their money around them?
It’s very hard to get discounts in Fisherman’s Village, though. They over charge you for everything and usually don’t budge a millimeter. Sometimes I get so tired of it I rather just walk away than buying whatever it might be. I simply don’t have the energy standing for hours, discussing the price with some salesman over charging you exorbitant prices, while he’s pretending he’s not over charging you, and seriously claims “this is the price everywhere!”.
I simply don’t have the energy or interest to deal with those believing you’re a stupid tourist, or those who’re only in the game to cheat you. But luckily, they’re not too many in this country. Of course they exist here too, naturally, it would be odd if they didn’t. But upon encounter, you can just leave. Walk on by to the next one. You also have to understand this is their livelihood, and if you’re able to get an extra 100 baht for the merchandise, then of course they have to try.
What about the salesmen in our own countries for example; don’t they always try to get the best price for themselves?
It’s not only the market stuff and clothes that are more expensive in Fisherman’s Village. The pharmacy overcharges Paracetamol, too.
TIP: If you need Paracetamol in Thailand – buy CEMOL!
I’ve managed to find a cheap brand of Paracetamol; 35 baht for 100 tablets. Cemol is the name of the brand, and if you’re broken like me and have to eat a lot of painkillers you might want to go for the cheaper brands, so DON’T buy Sara, Tylenol or other imported brands – Cemol works perfectly fine! They come in 3 different variants: white tablets, white & blue tablets, and blue tablets. The white tablets are really nasty though – thick, big tablets (no chewis or effervescent tablets) and they usually get stuck in your throat where they dissolve which makes me throw up, and well, you get it, right? So I prefer the blue ones, but that’s just a question of preference, they’re all the same, i.e. contain the same amount of Paracetamol.
Once I paid a visit to the pharmacy in Fisherman’s Village and the lady coughed up a price 4 times the ordinary price, without even flinching.
Anyhooo, the pharmacy in Fisherman’s Village thought it might be completely sane to charge 120 baht per bottled Cemol. Totally flabbergasted I almost choked and stared in incredulity at her: “120? Really?” “Yes. Really.” The poor lady answered and looked rather tormented. ”Usually I buy them for 30-40 baht!” I explained, while realising this was the first time I actually tried to get a discount in a pharmacy! However, she only smiled widely and looked at me like I was some kind of rabid fool. ”Noooooo. 120. Same everywhere.”
Hm. Yes. Indeed. Need I mention I took my business elsewhere?
The strange thing though, is that those trying to make us believe the prices are the same all around the island seem to be living in the delusion that we haven’t set foot outside of Fisherman’s Village, and how plausible is that? Or is it plausible? I don’t even know what type of tourists are living around me. Maybe it’s mostly charter trip people, who might have been shoveled there and staying put there, completely uninterested in any excursions, only venturing out to the Walking Street. They might not even be eager to visit Chaweng or Maenam, which are the closets beaches. There are some pretty nice hotels on “my” beach, so it might be plausible after all. For me though, it’s very incredibly unreasonable.
TIP: Check out the prices in Nathon, if you need to shop on the island, but the best tip really is to wait and get some good shopping done in Bangkok!
The best tip for all of you hanging out on Samui, and want to go shopping: take a trip to Nathon at least one time before you go on a shopping spree in Chaweng, or any of the other beaches. Look around, check the prices. Don’t be stupid! For example one salesman in Ao Nang tried to overcharge my friend Lina for a watch, which he wanted 650 baht for. Well, now Lina wasn’t the best customer to cheat, since she already bought 14 of this type of watch, so she already knew the price (about 100 baht per watch). 650 baht isn’t that much money after all, for a tourist – “just like back home”, you think and you pay looking cheery.
NEWSFLASH: if it’s as “cheap” as home it’s probably too much!
If I’m to be honest I think Nathon has very good shopping, a lot better than both Chaweng or Lamai – probably the best on the island, so like I’ve said, if you have to do some shopping on the island then Nathon is the place. Cheaper and better! More for the money! Quantity over quality! Etc etc etc etc…
Over & out!
The market Rongkleua at the border between Thailand and Cambodia is so large you can rent a golf cart to drive around the area while shopping. Here you can buy everything – for a really, ridiculously really cheap price!