Shopping Page 2

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Hat Yai's famous Gim Yong market

Hat Yai's famous Gim Yong market

 

 

Thai Shopping Tip

Bargains can be found at the traditional markets, but guarantees and after sales service are non-existent at these places. For peace of mind in case there is a problem it is often better to buy from reputable department stores. You will often find that the prices are the same, and in some cases the department stores are cheaper.

Shopping - Page 2

Store Listings

Here is some information about specific products and places in Hat Yai. If you have some useful information about where to buy something, or if you would like me to find out about buying something, feel free to contact me.

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The 'As Seen On TV' Shop
The 'As Seen On TV' Shop, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: On the corner of Saengchan and Duangchan roads
Map: Map 3

Comments: Have you ever wondered where you can buy all the wonderful life-enhancing items that are advertised on American-style 'infomercials'?

Look no further because Hat Yai has its very own 'As Seen On TV' shop.

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Baan Chaa (Tea House)
Baan Chaa (Tea House), Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: 69/22 Saeng Arthit Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 350649
Mobile: +66 (0)81 341 3019
E-mail: ban_cha2550@hotmail.com
Map: Map 1

Comments: I've always liked small specialist shops that concentrate on one product line and do it really well. The shopping experience is so much better than huge superstores that have massive selections of bland, uninteresting goods.

Baan Chaa is located in the shop where the old Chinese doctor used to live before he died. When he was alive he had all sorts of interesting tea-drinking accoutrements, and were he alive today I'm sure he would be happy that the tradition is living on in his old house.

The shop stocks a wide range of teas from China and Taiwan. Most is in leaf form, but they also have teabags (that can actually be reused). Some of the teas are cheap, and some are expensive.

In addition to tea, there are all sorts of teapots, kettles, cups and saucers, and other bits.

It's a good little shop with a friendly, helpful owner. The location is behind Gim Yong market, close to Cheo Chaang temple.

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Bicycles
All Wheel Ride bicycle shop, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Comments: There are quite a few places in Hat Yai (including the big supermarkets) that sell cheap, low quality bicycles but there are also a few shops that sell specialised road and offroad bikes. I was passionate about push bikes when I was younger and still appreciate looking at well-engineered machines (even if my legs and lungs no longer have the power to ride them as they should be ridden).

Hat Yai Mountain Bike stocks a few electric bikes alongside the more traditional muscle-powered machines. Spare parts also seem to be in good supply - on one occasion I found the owner of a Penang bike shop stocking up on spare parts in Hat Yai to sell in his shop.

Vespiario, the Vespa scooter dealership in Hat Yai, also stocks an excellent range of pedal-powered bikes. They have some beautiful Bianchi road machines and also folding bikes from Chevrolet and Louis Garneau.

Srisuwandee Bicycle Shop

Address: 23 Klongrien 1 Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Opposite Thai Lee Seng Products and near the Acoustic Bar
Telephone: +66 (0)74 364891
Mobile: +66 (0)81 328 9790, +66 (0)81 896 5176
E-mail: hatyaibicycle@yahoo.com
Map: Map 2 AWR - all wheel ride

Address: 26 Lamai Songhroh Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Near Chok Dee Dim Sum restaurant
Telephone: +66 (0)74 233621, +66 (0)74 233622
Mobile: +66 (0)81 690 1213
Website: www.allwheelride.com
E-mail: info@allwheelride.com
Map: Map 4

Latitude: N 07° 00' 07.1" (N 07° 00.118')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 32.1" (E 100° 28.536')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Tennis & Bike Sports

Address: 143 Niphat Uthit 2 Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 243660, +66 (0)74 244415
Mobile: +66 (0)81 897 1543
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 11.9" (N 07° 00.198')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 13.2" (E 100° 28.219')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Hat Yai Mountain Bike

Address: 24 Sripoovanart Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Between Diana department store and the Florida hotel (on the opposite side of the road)
Telephone: +66 (0)74 355055
Mobile: +66 (0)84 198 9394
E-mail: hatyaimtb@hotmail.com
Map: Map 4

Vespiario

Address: 36-38 Niphat Uthit 1 Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 233169
Mobile: +66 (0)81 690 1213
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 23.1" (N 07° 00.385')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 09.6" (E 100° 28.160')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

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Big C
Big C department store, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Niphat Songkhrao Road 1 (quite a long way from central Hat Yai)
Map: Map 1

Comments: There are three large 'superstore' chains operating in Thailand and, with the recent opening of the new Carrefour, Hat Yai has all of them. They are Big C, Carrefour and Tesco Lotus.

Some people may have personal preferences as to which one they like best but they are all basically the same. There is a big supermarket selling everything, some ancillary shops outside of the main supermarket area and places to eat. Because of their size they tend to be located slightly away from town centres.

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Big C Extra (formerly Carrefour)
Big C Extra, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Big C Extra when it was owned by Carrefour, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: Phetkasem Road (not shown on map)
Map: Map 2

Latitude: N 07° 01' 08.5" (N 07° 01.142')

Longitude: E 100° 29' 08.7" (E 100° 29.145')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Carrefour (Thais pronounce it 'car-foo') opened after Big C and Tesco Lotus. After it had been open for about six or seven years, Carrefour decided to pull out of Thailand and so sold up to Big C. The superstore is now officially known as Big C Extra but lots of people still refer to it as Carrefour.

Apart from the main supermarket there are the usual shops and restaurants within the store plus a massage shop. Just inside the entrance are several stalls selling handicrafts from various OTOP (One Tambon One Product) initiatives.

There is also a large 'HomePro' store selling everything for the home from towels, mats, lighting and electrical appliances to complete bathrooms.

Being located on the Phetkasem Road there are hundreds of sawng-thaews going past every day thus making it an extremely easy place to get to from both Hat Yai and Songkhla if you don't have a car.

For several years after it first opened, shopping at Carrefour was a better experience than shopping at Tesco Lotus. But then Carrefour started to get tatty and Lotus was completely refurbished.

In my opinion it's now a better shopping experience at Lotus, but everyone has their own preference. Even the Lotus shopping carts are better and drive a lot smoother.

Big C Extra is open every day from 9am until 11pm. The small shops inside open at around 10am.

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Casual Clothes
Casual clothes for sale in Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Everywhere

Comments: Jeans, shorts and T-shirts are everywhere. The picture was taken at Hat Yai Plaza which has the largest collection of casual clothes shops in town and a thriving rag trade knocking them out. Quality is variable and prices are negotiable.

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Central Department Store
Central department store, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Sanehanusorn Road (opposite Lee Gardens Plaza)
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 20.5" (N 07° 00.342')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 17.7" (E 100° 28.294')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: This is one of the best places to shop in Hat Yai. The ground floor sells cosmetics and women's clothing.

On other floors are men's clothes, household goods (some very nice stuff), kids' clothes, electrical goods and a book department with a coffee bar. Above the department store is the Novotel Central Sukhonta hotel, probably the best hotel in Hat Yai.

TOPS supermarket used to be in the basement but it was completely destroyed by the 2010 flood. TOPS is now on the 5th floor where, hopefully, it will be safe from flooding.

The basement was closed for a long time after the flood. It has reopened again and there is now a branch of Jeffer Steak House and some other restaurants.

The quality of goods at Central is excellent and there is always something on sale. Tourists are given a 5% discount just by asking or by producing a discount card that can be obtained for free at the customer service desk.

If you are a tourist and planning to leave Thailand by plane they will also prepare the paperwork so that you can claim the VAT back. This VAT refund does not apply if you leave by road, as many visiting Malaysians do.

I generally haven't had a problem with anything I've bought at Central but in case there is, everything is guaranteed. The most surprising aspect about Central is that despite looking like an expensive store and offering good quality merchandise with a guarantee, a lot of items are cheaper than in the local street markets.

On the second floor is a branch of Western Union.

Central won't suit people who like to shop early in the day. From Monday to Thursday it opens at 11am and closes at 9pm. From Friday to Sunday it opens at 10:30am and closes at 9:30pm.

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Central Festival
Central Festival, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Kanchanawanit Road (opposite Makro)
Website: Central Festival Hat Yai)
Map: Map 4

Comments: Phuket has had a Central Festival for a long time and now Hat Yai is getting one. I am writing this at the beginning of December 2013 and Hat Yai's branch of Central Festival is scheduled to open on 14th December 2013. It is a significant addition to Hat Yai's shopping scene and it is causing quite a lot of excitement among the locals.

Central Festival continues the trend of large, new shopping centres being built out of town. Phuket went this way and Hat Yai is following suit. There isn't much in Phuket main town and that will soon be the case in central Hat Yai, apart from a few things for the tourists.

The main reason is a chronic lack of available land in the town centre, but I suspect that Hat Yai's annual flooding problems have also contributed to this trend.

Certain areas outside of central Hat Yai are now starting to get very developed. The airport road is one such area, and the Sadao road - where Central Festival is located - is another. These areas are on high ground and therefore not prone to flooding. I don't believe that this is a coincidence.

Makro is located just opposite, the second branch of HomePro is a little further along this road, and Central Festival is close to the night market, Greenway market, and the bus station.

Some signs have appeared outside giving a few clues as to what will be inside when it opens. There are also some details on the official website. There will be lots of shops, restaurants, and apparently a cinema. Some of the shops and restaurants will be new branches of existing establishments, but some will be new to Hat Yai.

There also appears to be an exhibition centre that will stage events and the first of these will be the 2013 Thailand Motor Festival that will run from 14th to 23rd December 2013.

The things I am personally looking forward to are new restaurants and hopefully a good English language bookshop. Asia Books will be opening a new branch at Central Festival and I hope that it compares with some of the better bookshops in Bangkok and Phuket. Currently, there isn't a single bookshop in Hat Yai with a decent selection of English books.

I took the photo above when construction was still taking place. There were cranes and (normal for Thailand) ugly overhead electricity cables everywhere. I will add some better photos later. The cranes should disappear soon, but the electricity cables will no doubt remain.

I can't figure out why the local municipality decided to put all the downtown electricity cables underground a few years ago, incurring a huge amount of effort and expense, but whenever new buildings are built they revert to ugly, overhead cables. It just doesn't make sense, but this is Thailand where many things don't make any sense.

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Chanavadee Maithai
Chanavadee Maithai silk products, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: 36/58 Niphatsongkhrao Road (opposite Soi 11)
Telephone: +66 (0)74 366594
Mobile: +66 (0)81 990 2435, +66 (0)81 898 0059
Map: Map 1

Comments: Lots of shops in Hat Yai and all over Thailand sell silk products but this is the place to go if you wish to purchase genuine, high-quality Thai silk clothes and shoes. It's not cheap but you get what you pay for. The styles are traditional Thai and may not suit farang tastes but this shop isn't for tourists; it's the genuine article.

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Dee Nair Non
Dee Nair Non, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: 9/1 Chee Uthit Road
Telephone: + 66 (0)74 355599
Mobile: +66 (0)81 896 7667, +66 (0)81 599 4141
Map: Map 3

Comments: This shop advertises quite heavily in the free map that is handed out to tourists and has a prime location - being located next to Davis Tour and other travel agents where many Malaysian tourists arrive and depart from Hat Yai by bus.

There are plenty of other (and bigger) places in Hat Yai that sell the same kind of stuff but because of its location and its advertising presence this one is perhaps better known. So, what does it sell?

Their business card (in Thai, which I have transliterated) gives a clue: hoo chalaam (sharks' fin), gra-poh bplaa (fish stomach), bpling ta-lay (sea slugs). All this stuff is dried and they also sell cashew nuts, dried mushrooms, and other dried goods.

The Chinese love this stuff and prices are a lot more favourable than in Malaysia apparently. Lots of Chinese Malaysians visit Hat Yai, and buying this kind of food forms a big part of their trip. The Thais are extremely aware of this and there are many shops in Hat Yai that have opened purely to supply this kind of thing to Chinese Malaysian tourists.

Most other shops try to attract shoppers by being big and cheap. Dee Nair Non has taken a different strategy. It's a comparatively small shop but it is well located and advertises a lot.

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Diana Department Store
Diana department store, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Sripoovanart Road
Map: Map 4

Latitude: N 06° 59' 53.5" (N 06° 59.892')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 41.9" (E 100° 28.699')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Diana is a little way out of town but easy to get to by tuk-tuk or motorbike taxi. There are restaurants and a cinema in addition to the shops. You will find a branch of TOPS supermarket and also quite a few beauty clinics. If you have kids, there is a children's play area and there used to be a bowling alley many years ago but it is now closed.

Clothes and shoes are the main items for sale at Diana. Prices and quality are reasonable. Don't pay much attention to the sales. Everything is always 'discounted' each and every day of the year, which actually means that nothing is ever discounted if you think about it. Items are never sold at the claimed pre-sale price.

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F & C Aromatic
F and C Aromatic - Click for larger image
Address: 29 Niphat Uthit 1 Road
Tel: +66 (0)74 237458
Mobile: +66 (0)89 736 4246
Map: Map 3

Comments: In Singapore I've seen lots of places around Kampong Glam selling non-alcohol based perfume, which is of particular interest to Muslims.

There are obvious religious reasons why Muslims need to use alcohol-free perfume but it may also be of interest to non-Muslims.

In Hat Yai there aren't the same number of shops as Singapore, but this type of perfume is available. F & C Aromatic probably has the best selection.

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Gift & Golf
Gift and Golf - Click for larger image
Address: 45/2 Sanehanusorn Road (near Sakol Hotel)
Tel: +66 (0)74 244639
Fax: +66 (0)74 236145
Map: Map 3

Comments: Some people visit Hat Yai to play golf. If you are interested in buying equipment this is one of the few shops I have seen selling golf equipment.

It's been a long time since I bought golf clubs or accessories so I'm afraid I don't know whether buying golf stuff in Hat Yai is a bargain or not compared with other places.

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Gim Yong Market
Gim Yong market, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Fanny Hi-Fi for sale at Gim Yong market, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: Phetkasem Road/Suphasarnrangsan Road
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 27.9" (N 07° 00.466')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 11.2" (E 100° 28.187')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Normally transliterated to Kim Yong, Gim Yong is your quintessential traditional Thai market. There are traders on the streets outside that sell fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, roasted chestnuts, etc.

The market building itself consists of two floors. The ground floor is full of small stalls selling household goods, watches, electronic goods, fabrics, fresh meat, nuts, dates, and lots of cheap packaged food from Malaysia. This is all brought into the country without paying any duty and therefore prices tend to be cheaper than legal retail outlets.

The stalls are connected together by a rabbit-warren-like series of small passageways. It is quite frenetic most of the time with shoppers and stall holders trying to make their way around. Expect to be barged around a bit, and wherever you stop to look at something expect to hear, "Ao arai ja?" (what do you want?) from one of the female stall holders. Many of the shopkeepers here are Muslim.

Prices don't tend to be displayed but the shopkeepers and regular shoppers know what the prices should be. When tourists show up who obviously aren't familiar with their surroundings, expect the first price given to be vastly inflated.

This is completely normal for Thailand. The objective of the shopkeepeer isn't to build a relationship with customers; it is to make the maximum profit from each sale. This is how retail in Thailand works. In order to make the most profit, lying and deceit are commonplace.

If you aren't sure what something should cost, ask around. What you will find is that all the stalls sell the same items. It isn't unusual to find that one shopkeeper is quoting twice as much for exactly the same thing.

The second floor at Gim Yong is quite different. It is home to a few clothes shops - the one I am thinking of sells a lot of second-hand, cowboy-themed clothes, shoes and accessories.

However, upstairs at Gim Yong most of the stuff for sale is cheap Chinese electronic junk. There is a lot of stuff for sale but I can almost guarantee that you will never have heard of any of the brand names. If you fancy a Fanny hi-fi system, this is the place to go.

The secret to shopping at Gim Yong is working out what is rubbish and what isn't. For example, if I wanted to buy a radio I would never buy a cheap Chinese brand I'd never heard of.

However, a lot of the food and other stuff is the same as elsewhere - including at the big department stores and supermarkets, except it is a lot cheaper.

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Gold
Gold shop, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Various
Map: Map 3

Comments: Like most towns in Thailand, Hat Yai has plenty of Chinese owned gold shops. The primary location is along Thamnoon Vithee Road near the train station. If you are a foreign male and spend more than about a week with the same Thai girl you will inevitably get dragged into one, "just to look," of course.

Unlike all other shops in Thailand they close at 6pm because, as a gold shop owner, it is apparently not very wise to remain open after dark. It's not a violent society but there are plenty of desperate people around.

Gold jewellery is sold purely by weight. Each item has the weight engraved on it somewhere. The price is then calculated using that day's gold price which fluctuates from day to day, like all other commodities. The shop will add on their commission if making a sale or deduct a charge if buying.

The workmanship isn't taken into account. It doesn't matter if the item is very plain or has been ornately created by an expert goldsmith. Only the weight is taken into consideration.

The gold is the yellow-coloured Asian variety that is quite different from what I am used to seeing in the West. Thai girls like gold bought for them. They can wear it as jewellery and because the Thais are very status conscious it tells other Thais they have some money.

Also, if they run into hard times, gold is very easy to convert into cash.

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Hatyai Fitting Golf
Hatyai Fitting Golf - Click for larger image
Address: Sripoovanart Road
Map: Map 4

Latitude: N 07° 00' 02.7" (N 07° 00.044')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 18.2" (E 100° 28.304')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Golf equipment shop run by a Thai golf instructor.

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iBeat
iBeat, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: Lee Gardens Plaza
Tel: +66 (0)74 244170
Website: www.piman.biz
E-mail: info@piman.biz
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 20.1" (N 07° 00.335')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 16.8" (E 100° 28.280')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Common sense tells me that I should be using a Mac but too much investment and too many years using Windows PCs means that I will probably never make the switch.

For those sensible Mac users, you will find a great selection of Apple computers, iPods, and accessories at iBeat.

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Kanom Baan Go Kai
Kanom Baan Go Kai, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Telephone: +66 (0)74 457678
Website: Kanom Baan Go Kai
Map: Way off the map

Latitude: N 06° 58' 43.6" (N 06° 58.727')

Longitude: E 100° 27' 54.6" (E 100° 27.911')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: I wasn't sure where to put this place. It sells cakes (kanom) and is very popular with the local Thais. There's a shop selling drinks inside and also a small restaurant selling a limited selection of Thai food.

The building itself is an attractive wood design but it's difficult to get to unless you have a car. It is located on the part of Route 4 that runs between the airport road (4135) and the road running between Hat Yai and Sadao.

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Khlang Synn
Khlang Synn Thai silk, jewellery and handicrafts, Hat Yai - Click for larger image
Address: 79-81 Niphat Uthit 3 Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Tel: +66 (0)74 244322, 232136, 234230
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 22.2" (N 07° 00.369')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 13.9" (E 100° 28.231')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: The name of the shop is fairly descriptive of what's inside - Khlang Synn Thai silk, jewellery and handicrafts.

They sell various silks and fabrics, along with the triangular pillows and cushions that Thailand is well known for.

The handicrafts include pottery, figurines, ornaments, etc, which come from various places around Thailand.

To be quite honest, most of what is sold in the cheap markets and on the streets of Hat Yai is junk. However, if you want to buy a decent quality memento of your trip to Thailand, a trip to somewhere such as Khlang Synn might be worthwhile.

It's near the centre of town, almost next to the Ocean shopping centre, and near the Asian and Diamond Plaza hotels.

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Hat Yai Shopping Page 1

An overview of shopping in Hat Yai

Hat Yai Shopping Page 3

Makro to Vichusin Center

 

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