Saturday, 2 May 2015

Shopping in Big Buddha, Koh Samui

Informal commercialization

The Big Buddha is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Island of Samui. As such, the area embracing the foot of this colossal testament to this Eastern deity has become one of the fastest developing areas on the island. Every year, thousands of travelers from all corners of the globe flock its sandy shores. The local Thai vendors were the first to acknowledge the potential for profit that this area had shown and came in their masses to set up an array of different shops and market stalls. This informal commercialization has occurred to such an extent, thanks to the popularity of the Big Buddha statue that the beach now has its own marketplace that bustles with activity, bargains and the smell of cooked food.

Tourists are offered an array of memorabilia and souvenirs ranging from hand-crafted statues, knock-off T-shirts, embroidered table cloths and stunning oil paintings to the latest DVDs, music CDs, clothing, sports gear and much more. This marketplace is essentially a cluster of little stalls surround the temple area, making it a great retail capper to a stroll around the Buddha statue and an unforgettable experience to those wishing to indulge in Thai shopping! On Friday nights, local bands get up on make-shift stages set up around the marketplace to delight - or in cases, make you wince - at the Thai interpretation of Western music!

Best hand crafted silver shops

There aren't many 'brand name stores' in Big Buddha Beach, however the area does host a handful of beach shops, a surf store and one or two women's clothing shops. Some of the best hand crafted silver shops are to be found in this area and the quality of their craftsmanship draws people from all over the island. These shops are located in a cluster around the corner of the market area.

The main road that leads straight through the centre of Big Buddha Beach has recently been upgraded and now, sitting adjacent to it, one can find a supermarket, several dive shops and a fresh produce store. As the road repairs grew closer to completion, many pub owners took the opportunity to set up shop, resulting in a proliferation of bars, clubs and night time activity in this area, which has certainly added to its growing popularity with the tourists. However, for those of you who have set out to have a nice and relaxing holiday, there are still those precious secluded and pris-tine spots on Big Buddha beach that lie hidden from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.