Samui Guide Magazine Online Version. "Koh Samui. "Koh" is Thai for Island and Koh Samui is Thailand's favorite island getaway location. Located in the south of The Gulf of Thailand just offshore from Surat Thani. The island is surrounded by white sand beaches and coral reefs. The Angthong Marine National Park lies just a few kilometers away. Samui is a favorite with young and old, singles and families, Thais and International visitors. Features and attractions include natural beauty, waterfalls, national parks, inland mountains, coral reefs, extensive white sand beaches, scuba diving, four-wheel-driving, elephant trekking, mountain tours, island tours, national park tours, accomodation, night life, zoos, parks, gardens, temples, wats, restaurants, markets, fishing villages, buffalo fights, working monkeys, snake farms, butterfly farms, bungalows, 5-Star accomodations, PADI & BSAC dive courses, land & house rentals and purchase. Samui is the place to be for the holiday of your lifetime." 
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Shopping on Koh Samui

SHOP

From market stalls piled high with fake watches and sportswear to upmarket antique shops, Samui has something to satisfy most shoppers. Bargain hard for market stall purchases - be friendly but unafraid to walk away if you don't like the price. Most enclosed shops have fixed prices.

Antiques & Furniture 

Be careful if you're here to buy genuine antiques. There is a thriving industry that produces top-quality reproductions. These objects can be beautiful and are good buys in their own right… provided they are sold at copy prices. Well worth checking out for high quality furniture is the recently opened Java Teak on Route 4169. Tel. 077 447 249. 

Books 

For a comprehensive selection of new books and all the latest mags, go to Bookazine, opposite McDonald's in central Chaweng. Tel 077 413 616. There are also numerous second-hand bookshops around the island. By far the best is Nathon Books on the same road as the pier.

Discs

The discs at market stalls are obviously pirated, but the quality of CDs can nevertheless be pretty good. DVD's are a bit more hit and miss - a bad soundtrack can frequently render them unwatchable, so ask for a demo if possible. Older films tend to be of higher quality. Games and software should also be treated with caution. Expect to pay from 100-200 baht per disc.

Jewellery 

Most of the world's gemstones are sent to Bangkok for cutting and setting, and the prices in Thailand can be considerably lower than elsewhere. Local gold and gemstone jewellery can be a bargain. But beware of unscrupulous dealers who prey on ill-informed customers - every year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand fields over 1,000 complaints about jewellery scams. It's best therefore to stick to established shops such as Classic Gems, Tel. 077 230479. For top-quality silverware, check out Farn Shop next to the Big Buddha Wat, Tel. 077 245 245.

Optical Services 

Designer frames and contact lenses are excellent value on Samui. Professional eye examinations, contact lenses, Ray Bans, Oakleys and the latest ultra-thin Japanese lenses are available at Sawang Optical. Tel. 077 230 720, on Chaweng Beach Road.

Beautiful Optical in Chaweng, Tel. 077 230 052, and Nathon, Tel. 077 236 362 stocks a good range of frames, as does Top Charoen Optical at its various branches: Chaweng, next to Pizza Hut, Tel. 077 413 706, and also in front of Chaweng Cove Resortel; Nathon, Tel. 077 420 442; and Lamai next to Weekender Beach Resort. Market stall fakes give no UV protection, despite stickers to the contrary.

Sportswear and Surfware 

Adidas gear is made under licence in Thailand and is considerably cheaper than in the West. Similarly, Nike and Reebok also have factories here making clothes and trainers mainly for export, so products crop up in sports shops and occasionally on market stalls. If you want guaranteed authenticity then stick to sports shops, although the copies widely available on market stalls are often pretty good quality. Real surfwear is available at Hardcore Surf in central Chaweng (next door to McDonald's). All the usual suspects such as Quicksilver, Roxy, Surfer Girl, Rip Curl, Oakley and Fresh Jive are for sale.

Swimwear 

Life's a Beach specialises in the finest Australian bikinis. Brand names include Seafolly, Wahine, Wet Wet Wet, and Bodypaint. Sizes vary from 6 through to 18 and many are reversible. Bags are by Condura, Australia. (Opposite Central Samui Beach Resort between Osteria restaurant and the Rock Pub. 11am - 11pm).

Tailoring 

Samui offers a great deal of choice when it comes to bespoke clothing. Try to leave enough time for at least two fittings. It's always worth negotiating on price if you want several items, and don't be afraid to ask for alterations if dissatisfied. The following can be recommended: 
Baron Fashion Tel. 077 230 406
John Tailor Tel. 077 413 467
Joop! Tel. 077 413 237
King's Fashion Tel. 077 424 223
Pop's Fashion Tel. 077 230 300
Armani Suits Tel. 077 422 387
Vogue Collection Tel. 077 230 100
G-Armani Tel. 077 230 456.

Thai Silk 

Thailand's famous silk remains a perennial take-home favourite. Samui's tailors and fabric shops can provide a wide variety of different colours, designs and quality. It's much cheaper than in the West, but don't be tempted by incredible bargains, especially at market stalls - even if the label does claim 100% silk.

Woodcarvings and Ceramics 

Carvings and ceramics are widely available at market stalls in Samui. Much of it originates in the craft centres of Chiang Mai, and although the standard of workmanship is variable, it can be high quality. For coconut-wood carvings unique to Samui, check out the stalls at Hin-Ta and Hin-Yai (see Samui's Natural Wonders).

 

Shopping Feature
Java Teak


Making wood work
The island of Java is known for its skilled carpenters, local craftsmen that know how to work with good quality teak. Indonesia produces a wide range of handcrafted furniture to a very high standard, and many of the pieces produced there are sold elsewhere around the world. Lek and Simon Lowe, owners of the Java Teak furniture outlet just outside Mae Nam spent several years living and working in Indonesia before relocating to Koh Samui and starting their own furniture business. Java Teak now stocks a complete range of attractive and practical household furniture items including beds, coffee and side tables, dining tables, dressers, TV cabinets, desks, and dressing tables. They also carry various types of decorative woodwork such as chest mirrors and wall cabinets, and all their products are very reasonably priced, especially when compared with the same kind of products in the west. Quality is a key concern at Java Teak, every second shipment is checked, and the wood used to make the pieces is known as grade B teak, a wood that provides exceptional quality furniture because of its dense composition and very fine grain. Most furniture today is made from grade C teak, which is grown quickly in poor soils, and therefore produces a coarse, loose grain. Grade A teak, meanwhile is very expensive and difficult to come by due to the need for international logging restrictions. Indonesian grade B teak is reasonably priced but still grown quite slowly on plantations covered in fertile Javanese soil. Thanks to its superior source, Java Teak Furniture will mature with age and last a lifetime.

As well as offering a wide range of continually upgraded stock, Java teak also offers an extensive catalogue of furniture that is available to order direct from their supplier, and Khun Lek can even arrange for furniture to made to customers own designs. She personally ensures that all her customers enjoy both a knowledgeable and helpful service, and the shop even has a range of coffee table books on display, featuring teak furniture in the home to help people see how their pieces will look once installed. Customers include Thai homeowners, foreign residents building a new home and visitors that have the pieces shipped back to their home country. Transport and delivery is part of the service, and Lek works with a number of reliable and inexpensive shipping agencies. Anyone with a room or house to furnish will benefit from a visit to the Java Teak showroom.

Java Teak is open from 9am to 6 pm every day and is located on the main ring road outside Mae Nam, not far from the Santiburi Dusit resort. For more information call 077 447 249
 

VAT REFUND

Visitors may claim a VAT refund at Bangkok International Airport on purchases totaling
over 5,000 baht bought at stores displaying a “VAT Refund for Tourists” sign. Ask these stores for details.