Three Great Shopping Venues In Jomtien
Jomtien is one of the most popular areas in Pattaya, not only with those who now call Pattaya home, such as the expats but also with a wide range of tourists. People from all over the world holiday here, staying in one of the many hotels, resorts or maybe renting a condominium.
Families, couples and singletons come from Australia, China, most of Europe, the USA and the city also attracts an abundance of Thai visitors. At some point the subject of shopping will arise but where is best for people to spend their money in or around Jomtien.
There are of course two excellent supermarkets on the east of Jomtien on Sukhumvit Road, Big C and Tesco Lotus, both of which play host to numerous small shops as well as the larger supermarkets.
You will also find a wide range of outlets along Jomtien Beach, mainly food venues and tourist shops but every now and then, something unique pops up. However we will look at a few of the more specialised shopping arenas in this article.
One of the most popular attractions in Pattaya is the Floating Market, which can be found on Sukhumvit Road. Bus loads of tourists arrive at this venue every day, often spending the day here.
You have to pay to enter but it’s not expensive and for those who like to shop, it is paradise. It is split into four areas, which cover the regions of the country such as central, north, north east and south of Thailand.
As you walk along the wooden gangways, you will pass boats, which will take you around site or some will be selling items such as fruit, from their floating transport.
The market often feels rickety, and sometimes you wonder if the walkways are indeed safe but rest assured, they are perfectly stable. As you slowly meander along, you will pass over 100 shops selling a wide range or products from souvenirs, clothing, carved objects, silk goods, art, coffee, food, beer, shoes, hats, sunglasses and much more, many of which are top quality and/or branded goods. There are bargains to be had here and if you buy more than one item, you can haggle for a discount.
There are bridges, old fashioned telephone boxes and numerous other subjects that make excellent scenes for photography, so make sure you take your camera with you.
You must take one of the boat trips and traverse this large shopping market that gives the impression that you have entered an ancient world. Long tail boats or larger passenger services are available. Simply sit back and enjoy the relaxing tour around this colourful attraction.
You can learn about Thai culture and craftsmanship in the Thai Folkways Village, enjoy a monkey show, have a traditional Thai or oil massage, walk over the Bridge of Love and make a wish, watch a silk weaving display and the more adventurous amongst you can try the zip line that zooms from a high tower across the water. There is even a bird cage, which many will take great pleasure from. Buy some food, enter the cage and the exotic and colourful birds will be eating from your hand in no time.
The Floating Market gives a wonderful insight into how people lived many years ago and earned a living from crafts and localised skills. It also provides a wonderful days shopping in tranquil conditions. There is no haste here, everything is done at a leisurely pace and the food on offer is superb.
This vibrant market is located at the Sukhumvit end of Thepprasit Road and is literally a traditional market, feature hundreds of stalls, selling everything you can possibly think of.
It is incredibly busy, so if going, plan ahead, especially if driving; for parking is at a premium here. It is advisable to make use of public transport for this venue.
The market opens around 17:00 from Friday to Sunday but it is after dark when it truly comes to life. You will find locals and tourists alike here, all looking for a bargain or sampling the scores of food stalls, many of which have small seated areas, acting almost like market cafes.
You cannot visit this venue without sampling the food available. You will find every variation of traditional Thai food being cooked in front of you, a range of chicken, duck and pork smouldering away in archaic cooking appliances, often in the form of barbecues or ovens. Fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, sushi, doughnuts, cakes, French fries are all on sale as the smell from the small kitchens blend into a bouquet of enticing aromas, almost begging you to sit down and sample the foodstuff on offer. You can of course take your purchases away with you, to eat or buy fresh and cook in the convenience of your own home.
Delicious fruity drinks are made to order from a selection of stalls. Simply choose your favourite fruits and they will turn them into tasty ice cold drinks in front of your eyes.
From the roadside, you will pass stall after stall laden with clothing. Shorts, printed T-shirts, sandals, training shoes, jeans, dresses and kids clothes can all be found here.
Electronics such as mobile speakers, or GoPro style cameras, phone accessories, cigarette lighters, sunglasses, eyewear, watches, wallets but to be honest, if you cannot find it here, you may not find it in Pattaya.
There is even a pet section where you can purchase not only food but animals too. Rabbits, puppies, kittens, hens, ducks, mice, hamsters and even a goat if that takes your fancy.
Prices here are exceptionally low and again, if you purchase more than one item, they will haggle with you. However, you may find that the price is better if you avoid arguing and show respect; be nice to them, and they may just give you a better deal.
You should be aware that you can purchase any real fake item you care to mention here. If it says Adidas or Nike and costs 200 baht, it is very likely to be a copy. Just accept what it is and either buy or walk on.
However, many items are actually excellent quality. There is a girl who sells towels for instance and at a fraction of the price of the supermarkets, yet the grade is the same. Another lady and her daughter sell top of the range printed T-shirts. You can feel the difference in the cloth and the colours do not fade. Shop around and see what you can discover in this wonderful market.
The market is by far the busiest you will come across and is an experience you have to see for yourself.
When you have completed your evening of bargain hunting, there are scores of taxis, baht buses and taxi motorbikes patiently waiting to take you home.
One final piece of useful information. At 18:00 each night, everyone stops when music is played around the venue. No one talks or moves. You should adhere to this tradition for they are paying tribute to the king. It is only for a minute so be respectful and stand still in silence.
This modern set of buildings sits between Tesco Lotus and Thepprasit Night Market, close to Sukhumvit Road.
There are individual shops and a larger area, which is open plan, specialising in a variety of brand names. Prices are usually more expensive than the supermarkets and market venues but you are paying for quality. That said, there are bargains galore to be had, for almost every item on sale has a discount waiting to be applied.
There are two sections. Firstly the Fashion Mall area, featuring international brand names. In this zone you will find ladies fashion and accessories, golfing equipments, sports clothing, most of which are discounted by at least 50%. Many of the items on sale are last seasons stock, but if that is suitable to you, then savings galore will be had.
The venue claims to support 300 leading brand names covering men’s, ladies’ and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories. There are football club outlets, shops and stalls featuring top names such as Lacoste, Hollywood Studio Store, Delsey, Scholl, Character World, Kids Republic, Gap, Esprit, Adidas, Levi, Timberland, Reebok, Bossini, Nike, Crocs and a host of others.
There is even a few quality restaurants where you can relax, enjoy a meal and recover from your shopping spree.
To give you an example of how much money can be saved here, try picking up a pair of quality training shoes with a price tag of 3,000 baht. Take them to the assistant and ask how much? They will almost certainly apply a huge discount and the shoes now become 1,800 baht for example. A true bargain.
One word of advice. Many shops and stalls have signs up stating they do not accept returns, so ensure that the item fits and is what you are looking for.