CRAZY ABOUT SHOPPING HERE
Koh Samui shopping is never dull. This might come as a surprise to most first time visitors to Koh Samui, but there are some shops you would not expect to find on such a small island.
Tesco Lotus meets Home Pro
One of them is TESCO LOTUS a giant supermarket chain selling everything, clothes, electrical goods, food, drinks, stationery, you name it and yes, their market is the Thais and the increasing number of ex-pats who are retired or living and working on the island. They also sell alcohol and have a modest selection of New World wines. Competition is hotting up and other shops have opened selling a wider selection of wines and spirits.
TIP. If you are buying alcohol during the day from a supermarket, you can only buy between the hours of 11 to 2pm or after 5pm in the afternoon.
Also, in the same complex are other small shop outlets selling mobile phones, cameras, toiletries, toys, videos and CD’s. There is a multi-screen cinema showing Hollywood movies, a fast-food hall, hairdressers, childrens rides and games and to top it all there is HOME PRO. Think B&Q in the UK.
Again, this is a giant warehouse selling everything for the home, including bedding, televisions, refrigerators, curtains and every power tool imaginable. DIY has definitely arrived in Thailand! This shows how things have changed in Koh Samui. The local Thai population has become more affluent and there is a rising number of expats, some who are married to Thai’s and who have made Samui their home, either for business or retirement.
TESCO LOTUS ALTERNATIVES
Just down the road from Tesco Lotus you have a choice of two other hypermarkets selling food and household items. If you are looking to buy in bulk then MAKRO is for you. This hypermarket is a little bit cheaper than Tesco Lotus, but only takes cash. Restaurant owners shop here and anyone who has a lot of storage at home. Good for parties and you want to stock up on the beer!
Further down the same road is Big C, similar to Tesco Lotus, but less crowded and easier to walk round. Big C has a very clean environment and a good choice of food, both fresh and frozen. Also, in the same building, on the ground floor, is a good selection of eateries, including a Japanese restaurant and burger bars.
If you are looking to buy good wine at rock bottom prices then go to Wine Connection, 50 metres past Tesco Lotus on the same side of the road. Here you will find a good selection of French and New World wines for under 500 Baht. Remember, Thailand has some strange licensing laws and you are only permitted to buy alcohol during certain times of the day, between 11am and 2pm and after 5pm.
Another shop that carries more western products such as Waitrose biscuits, teas etc., is TOPS SUPERMARKET, half way along Chaweng main street. If you are a regular visitor it is worth getting a loyalty card as you can save money on discounted items for card holders. Parking is easy here, just pick-up a ticket at the gate to Central Market and get it stamped in the supermarket, then hand it in as you drive out and you wont have to pay for parking.
Still in Chaweng Main Street and round the corner from Tops is BOOTS the chemist. Here you can buy all your toiletries and sun creams as well as the usual pharmaceutical items.
Save some money and stock up before you return home.