Brief Guide to Shopping in Pattaya
Second next to Bangkok, Pattaya is arguably Thailand’s top destination for shopping fanatics and bargain hunters. As Thailand-experienced travelers know, you could literally take a flight to Bangkok without virtually any luggage on you except for your passport, some cash or a credit card, because whatever item you might fancy or be in need of during your stay, can easily be found anywhere in Pattaya – and this at considerably cheaper prices than in your home country.
From contact lenses and cheap reading glasses to a complete set of shining new teeth; from precious gemstones to counterfeit Rolex watches or Ray Ban sunglasses; from fake designer clothes or football shirts to breast implants and tailor-made cashmere suits; from beautiful handicraft and cheap souvenir junk to original brand-name clothing at wholesale prices – Pattaya’s simply got it all.
Aside from traditional Thai-style markets and large modern shopping malls, the best shopping opportunities can be seized along the southern stretch of Pattaya Beach Road and on Pattaya Second Road. These areas are literally packed with hundreds of small tourist-oriented shops and street-side stalls offering such various items as traditional handicrafts and souvenirs, counterfeit CDs or DVDs, fashion jewellery, cheap clothing “made in China”, and all sorts of counterfeit goods. To satisfy the needs of more quality-conscious buyers, Pattaya also has an ever-growing number of brand-name clothing stores, art galleries, Thai jewellery shops and tailor shops, usually run by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent.
Most vendors and shop assistants speak some basic English, or at least a few business-typical phrases in English or some other languages, and are all equipped with calculators – the perfect medium for negotiations. Unless you’re on a shopping spree in a non-private run department store (where price tags are attached to the articles) it should always be possible to bargain.
No doubt, shopping is a favourite pastime for tourists, expats and locals alike, and while it’s easy to go on a trip to Pattaya without literally any luggage except for one’s air ticket, passport and some cash, it’s nearly impossible to fly out of Thailand without some new extra luggage on you. No idea where to stash all that newly purchased souvenir stuff? Is your bag too small and on the verge of bursting? Don’t worry – just add another suitcase to your shopping list and carry on regardless …
But let’s give you a few tips and warnings at this point. Even when you’re sunbathing and snoozing on the beach, or slurping a bottle of liquid amber in one of Pattaya’s open-air bars, you still won’t be protected from beach and street vendors who will basically try to sell you anything you can think of; from counterfeit watches and “flowers for lady” to electronic cigarettes and rechargeable battery-powered table lamps. You know, the stuff you just needed.
And while the opportunity to buy a brand-new pair of high-heels or a fake D&G handbag (paid for by a temporary Farang “boyfriend”) may be handy for the local bar girls, the street vendors’ constant Hello my friend, only looking, Sir! and their sometimes obtrusive to outright aggressive style, can easily become a bit annoying in the long run, especially when you’re just out for a quiet afternoon on the beach or a relaxed drinking session.
Your webmaster, for example, recalls a particular evening some years ago at an open-air boozer on Soi 7, when he equipped himself with a pen and paper and made a classified list of the legions of street vendors who were marching up and down Soi 7 with their hawker’s trays full of crap. Your webmaster persevered his experiment for 10 bloody minutes and, while chasing each vendor away, started working on his check-list. Truth be told, he can’t remember any longer the exact figures for counterfeit watches, cigarettes from Cambodia, roses and crocodile leather belts – or whatsoever was thrust upon him within the 10 minutes of his field research. What he does remember, though, is that the total number of street vendors he counted was already exceeding 20 (that’s at least two per minute) when he finally gave up and paid for his drink …
Mai ao krab (speak “my-ow-cup”) for “No, thanks” is a useful Thai phrase you should always remember in order to repress any “street vendor terror” before it gets out of hand. Two other useful phrases are paeng (expensive) and lot dai mai? which means: “Can you give me a discount?” For more useful shopping-related phrases and Thai numbers, please visit our extra Thai Phrases & Vocabulary page.
Of course, all these (illegal) beach and street vendors have come to Pattaya to make a living, and most are certainly struggling to survive. And no doubt, selling low-quality (and often overpriced) stuff that no one really wants, is still a more respectable job than robbing drunk foreign tourists at night in order to finance one’s drug addiction. As penetrant as some of these street vendors may be, at least they’re making an effort to actually make a living by working; so treat them fairly and with due respect.
On the other hand, no one and not even a tourist can buy everything apparently. So you should always point out clearly, yet in a polite manner, if you’re really not interested in yet another bunch of roses or a low-quality copy Rolex. As much as you may enjoy your Pattaya shopping experience – don’t start wasting your money away on useless stuff you won’t even take back home just because you’ve been talked into it.
Pattaya Shopping Directory A-Z
Pattaya Videos & Nightlife Clips – Beaches, Attractions, Nightlife Spots
Many art galleries can be found on Pratamnak Road in South Pattaya, up the hill on the main road to Jomtien, or on the small alleyway next to Mike’s Shopping Mall on Pattaya Beach Road. They typically don’t just have original paintings but can also reproduce famous masterpieces or turn your favourite photograph or personal portrait into a notable original piece of art and a nice personal souvenir. Most artists in Pattaya provide good quality paintings at very moderate prices.
The Avenue Shopping Mall
→ Pattaya Second Road, South Pattaya
This spacious shopping center with 22,000 square metres of retail space features, for example, high-end fashion boutiques, eight cinemas, 24 bowling alleys, international restaurants and outlets of world-famous fast-food chains, a three-storey fitness centre and Villa Market, the latest addition to Pattaya’s international supermarkets with quality imported food and wines.
Bali Hai Plaza
This relatively new shopping mall at the Bali Hai Pier (southern end of Walking Street) features a “Fashion Factory Outlet” and shops with reasonably priced brand-name clothing.
Big C Supercenter
→ Central Festival Center, Pattaya Second Road (North Pattaya)
→ Sukhumvit Road, South Pattaya
Pattaya has two large Big C Supercentre department stores, one on Pattaya Second Road in North Pattaya and another one on Sukhumvit Road near the junction with South Pattaya Road (Pattaya Tai). Aside from the department stores, both complexes also feature a large number of smaller retail shops and stalls, plenty of restaurants, fast-food outlets and food courts.
Big C Extra (formerly Carrefour)
→ Central Pattaya Road, Pattaya Klang (corner of Soi Yume)
In 2011, Big C Supercenter Plc., a subsidiary of the French retail company Groupe Casino, took over all Carrefour stores in Thailand, which subsequently changed their name to Big C Extra. Opened originally in 2004, Big C Extra was then already well established as one of Pattaya’s best department stores with a variety of imported quality products in their extensive supermarket section, many reasonably priced own-brand items (like original French cheese imported from France) and a good butcher department.
Apart from the Big C Extra department store on the second floor, the shopping complex features a Home Pro home improvement store, a food court, plenty of restaurants and fast-food outlets, and many smaller retail shops and stalls.
In comparison with Bangkok, Pattaya doesn’t really have a large choice of quality bookshops. Most will, however, still cater for your average tourist needs and provide you with travel guides, maps, Thailand-themed books, foreign newspapers and magazines, or English-language bestsellers.
→ Central Festival Center; Big C Extra; Royal Garden Plaza; Dongtan Beach (near the police box); Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (Sukhumvit Road, North Pattaya)
- D.K. (Duang Kamol) Book Store
→ Pattaya Soi 13/2 (Soi Post Office); Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang)
- Pattaya Beach Books
→ P.S. Plaza (intersection of Central Pattaya and Pattaya Second Road)
- Se-Ed Book Center
→ Big C Extra; Tesco Lotus (South Pattaya); Tukcom
Central Festival Center
- Central Festival Center
→ Pattaya Second Road, North Pattaya
Located on the northern section of Pattaya Second Road, the “old” Central Festival Center is one of Pattaya’s longest established shopping malls and features a two-storey Big C department store, a movie theatre, boutiques and brand-name clothing stores, retail shops and stalls, restaurants, banks/currency exchange, a video games area, as well as an IT corner with mobile phones and accessories. Large open area for concerts, public shows and special events.
- Central Festival Pattaya Beach
→ Pattaya Beach Road, Central Pattaya (near Soi 9 and the Pattaya Police Station)
This seven-storey shopping mall, according to media reports, Asia’s largest beachfront shopping complex, opened only in January 2009. Built on a beachfront land plot of 35,200 square metres with a 220,000-sqm shopping area, this seven-billion-Baht megaproject features more than 200 fashion outlets and boutiques, countless restaurants and food courts, an international supermarket, a fitness centre and spa, a large SFX cinema with 10 theaters on its top floor, 16 bowling lanes etc. The complex has two 29-storey towers, one of which is the new Hilton Pattaya Hotel.
- Big C Extra (formerly Carrefour)
→ Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang, opp. Soi Arunothai)
- Big C Supercenter
→ Central Festival Center, Pattaya Second Road (North Pattaya)
→ Sukhumvit Road, around the corner from South Pattaya Road (Pattaya Tai)
- Modern City Department Store
→ next to Mike’s Shopping Mall between Pattaya Beach and Second Road
- Tesco Lotus
→ North Pattaya Road (Pattaya Nua)
→ Sukhumvit Road, around the corner from Thepprasit Road, Jomtien
Jomtien Night Market
The so-called Night Market @ Jomtien (Jomtien Beach Road, just north of Soi 9 and opposite the beach football and volleyball court) opened only in 2013 and has since become popular exceedingly with Russian tourists and bargain hunters. Aside from the usual market stuff like souvenirs and clothes, this place also has many cheap food stalls and a couple of small Thai-style bars.
Lukdod Shop on Soi Yume in North Pattaya (near the junction with North Pattaya Road and not far from Sukhumvit Road and Pattaya’s main bus terminal) advertises as Pattaya’s largest “souvenir” shop and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. In reality though, this place is much more than just your average souvenir stall as you can find it on Pattaya Beach Road. Aside from Thai-style souvenirs, this wholesaler offers an extensive range of locally made products such as wooden Thai handicrafts, home decoration items, antique-style furniture, Thai silk articles, and basically anything that street vendors will resell at much higher prices. Many products can also be ordered online via their website. On request, they will export all purchased articles to any country worldwide.
Made in Thailand Market (Pattaya Night Bazaar)
This roof-covered permanent tourist market on Pattaya Second Road, not far from the Central Festival Pattaya Beach shopping mall, is a large conglomerate of independent shopping stalls and specializes in cheap clothing, souvenirs and household items. Despite its former name (it was renamed “Pattaya Night Bazaar” some years ago) this market would be more adequately named “Made in China”. Aside from a few tailor shops, this is the place to go when you’re looking for shirts with Thailand-related logos (like “Good guys go to heaven, bad guys go to Pattaya”) or fake designer clothing in sizes that suit XXL-sized Farangs as well. Bargaining is surely a must here, and vendors will readily produce their calculators.
Markets – Traditional Thai Markets
Apart from the larger and most popular Thai-style markets listed on this page, there are several smaller markets all over Pattaya and Jomtien that offer both food and non-food items. They are usually not as tourist-oriented as Pattaya’s upscale shopping malls and cater primarily to locals.
The typical Pattaya-style market is an open-air conglomerate of small stalls that feature a variety of domestically produced inexpensive products like household items, cheap clothing, counterfeit DVDs or mobile phone accessories. If you’re shopping for non-food items bargaining is definitely a must, especially if you purchase a larger quantity of goods at the same stall. Some basic knowledge of Thai language or shopping-related phrases can surely be extremely helpful when trying to beat down the price.
Mike’s Shopping Mall
This older five-storey shopping mall/department store, with a food court on the top floor and a public swimming pool on the rooftop, is located between Pattaya Beach Road and Second Road and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aside from the department store, Mike’s features mainly small retail shops and bazaar stalls which offer the usual souvenir-style items, fabrics and clothing. To quote literally from a former version of Mike’s website: “There are over 200 brand name shop with the best price.”
Bargaining is definitely recommended at Mike’s, and 500 Baht or so for a pair of “Diesel” jeans or other brand-name clothing is really extremely cheap, ain’t it? Then again, all that glitters is obviously not gold and you better find out for yourself what the brand name owners might think about these offers …
Mimosa – The City of Love
New tourist attraction and shopping arcade with a European-style design/architecture. Opened only in early 2013, Mimosa (or Mimosa – The City of Love, to give the place its full title) is located on Sukhumvit Road (opposite the Ambassador Hotel in Najomtien, a few kilometres south of Pattaya) and has become popular exceedingly with family vacationers and local tourists. Also features a ladyboy show.