Silk Road…tailor made in 24 hours

The main shopping area in Koh Samui is on Chaweng Main Street on the northeast side of the island.

At the top end of Chaweng is a shopping square selling a variety of branded clothes. If you want to be sure of the quality you are buying then this is a good start. Of course, there are plenty of vendors selling everything from imitation sunglasses to copy watches and fake handbags of big brands such as Louis Vuttion, miss printed on the bags!

Chaweng also has some very trendy handicraft and fashion boutiques, with new shops opening all the time. A 3-storey shop on the south end of Chaweng has all the Thai handicrafts you could wish for, but it can be more expensive than smaller shops in the same area. Also in this part of Chaweng, next to the Central Samui Beach Resort, is a branch of Jim Thompson’s from Bangkok, famous for its quality Thai silk scarves, ties and other silk products.

If all you want to buy is a sarong to wear round your bathing costume then you can buy this from one of the licensed hawkers (they wear jackets with numbers on) who ply Chaweng beach. We have found in the past that the sarongs wash well and the dye doesn’t run. Also, they often carry a good selection.

Travel and tour offices can be found all along Chaweng Main Street, as well as Internet cafes. Many CDs, DVDs and video games can be found at amazingly cheap prices, but be aware that some movies are actually shot with an ordinary video camera directly in the cinema, don’t be surprised if you see shaky pictures and the silhouettes of the audience at the bottom of the screen!

As in other parts of Thailand, tailor shops are popping-up everywhere, mainly run by the local Nepalese community. You will often be solicited on the street, “Armani suit for you sir and a Chanel dress for mam ?” “Come inside… Tailor made in 24 hours.” Results vary. You’ll get better results if you take an original item to copy. Tailored items seem to come out better than more fluid designs, so choose your style and material carefully. Expect it to take 48 hours and don’t hesitate to ask for adjustments, and discount, if you are not satisfied with the first result.