Koh Samui Shops
Koh Samui has a lot of shops! They range from fake designer goods (clothes, watches, shoes, bags) to DVDs of the latest movie releases (some filmed with a hand-cam inside the cinema ... check before you buy!) through to antiques and curios, local handicrafts, hand-made silver jewellery, gold shops, bespoke tailors and just about everything in-between!
Chaweng has a much wider range of all these, but rents are high and so are prices. There’s a strip on Chaweng Beach Road that runs from around the region of Starbucks, right down to McDonald’s where you’ll find such shops lining the side of the road and in small arcades, too.
Both Nathon and Lamai have their share, but with less choice. The advantage here is that things are definitely cheaper than Chaweng!
Koh Samui now has hypemarkets and western styled supermarkets. Tesco-Lotus (branches in Chaweng, Lamai and Nathon), Big C and Makro. There’s also Tops in Chaweng, and Coco in Lamai. All of these have bargains in the food departments, and hard-to-find tinned and preserved goods from Europe are beginning to appear.
It’s also worth mentioning that opticians in Thailand are hugely less expensive than in the West. The sight-testing equipment is the best, and tests are usually free. Designer frames abound and prescription lenses - tinted or polychromatic - are readily available. Expect to pay about one-quarter the price you would back home. And the same goes for contact lenses, although the gas-permeable ones take a while to be made and delivered.
Bargaining on Koh Samui
As a general rule of thumb, whatever the price asked to begin with, you can probably get it for around one-half to two-thirds of this with a bit of good-natured haggling. But this depends entirely on what time of year it is! In the high-season, with so many people about, prices stay high. When it’s not peak season and there’s less money about, there’s more chance of bringing the price down. If you are buying several items, then you have more leverage to negotiate a better overall price.
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