Continued from Pattaya Shopping Guide & Directory (Part One, A-M)
Naklua Sunday Market
Along with the popular night market on Thepprasit Road, this is Pattaya’s largest and oldest Thai-style market and is held every Sunday. Both food and non-food items like household products, cheap clothing and the usual counterfeit junk are on offer here.
Located on Sawang Fa Road in Naklua, between Naklua Road and Sukhumvit Road, this market is popular exceedingly with locals as well as foreign residents of North Pattaya. On the other hand, if you stay in South Pattaya or Jomtien, there’s nothing fancy available here that you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Located next to the Tesco Lotus hypermarket at the junction of Sukhumvit Road and Thepprasit Road in Jomtien, this mall features a multitude of shops with original brand-name clothing at discount prices.
→ Sukhumvit Road, Jomtien (south of the junction with Soi Chaiyapruek)
Pattaya’s own Floating Market opened to the public in November 2008 and claims to be to be the biggest floating market in the eastern region. It features more than 100 boutique shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts, regional products, native food and specialties from all over Thailand. Designed to resemble Bangkok’s famous floating markets, the entire compound covers an area of approx. 100,000 square metres and is actually more a tourist attraction than a shopping complex.
The Pattaya Floating Market opens daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and you don’t have to buy anything. While entry to the market used to be free in the first years, the admission fee for non-Thai nationals is now reportedly 200 Baht a person, at least for foreign tourists.
There are about 80 boats on standby to ferry visitors around the extensive network of canals and wooden bridges, where freshly cooked Thai delicacies are available from water vendors. Stalls sell the usual souvenir and handicraft touristy bits, reportedly just a bit cheaper than, say, in the “tourist traps” on Pattaya Beach Road, and the vendors are also less pushy and friendlier.
The compound also features rice farming, sunflower fields, a wood carving museum, as well as outdoor cultural performances like Thai classical dance or martial art demonstrations.
P.S. Plaza – Tops Supermarket
P.S. Plaza, at the intersection of Central Pattaya Road and Second Road, features a Tops Supermarket branch, a number of restaurants, retail shops and stalls, a snooker hall, and a 32-lane bowling center on the top floor.
Royal Garden Plaza
This air-conditioned three-storey shopping centre, next to the Marriott Resort between Pattaya Beach and Second Road, features numerous upscale shops with international brand-name articles (e.g. Adidas, Nike, Boots Pharmacy) as well as smaller souvenir and handicraft stalls along the central corridors.
The usual outlets of world-famous fast-food chains are located on the ground floor. In addition, there’s an international food court on the top floor, as well as a video games arcade and a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum.
On a side note: At night hours, the Pattaya Beach Road area outside the shopping mall turns into a louche meeting point for freelance prostitutes and ladyboys trying to chat up customers. Watch your handbag, necklace and wallet!
Soi Buakhao Market
This usually crowded open-air market near the junction of Soi Buakhao and South Pattaya Road is held every Tuesday and Friday. As on all local markets, anything is available here, from cheap clothing and counterfeit DVDs to household products and posters of the royal family. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this place often becomes a sweatbox in the afternoon.
Even if shopping isn’t your favourite pastime, it can be fun to sit in one of the little bars and restaurants around the busy market square, which are usually packed on market days, and indulge yourself in some people watching.
South Pattaya Market (Talaat Wat Chai)
Located on South Pattaya Road (opposite the Wat Chaimongkol temple, near the junction with Pattaya Second Road), this covered market area is open every day and features both food and non-food items, e.g., reasonably priced clothing, counterfeit products and household items, or anything you’d look for on a typical Thai market. Locals know this market by the name talaat wat chai.
Supermarkets – International Supermarkets
Those who stay in Pattaya for a bit longer than just a fortnight, or have settled down here and get tired of dining out all the time, might sooner rather than later develop some kind of “culinary homesickness” and wonder where to buy some original French cheese, English sausages or German bread?
All no problem in Pattaya. As a truly cosmopolitan city, Pattaya has more than half a dozen international supermarkets that have many imported food products on offer and cater to the culinary everyday needs of Pattaya’s large expat community.
Aside from the larger supermarkets listed below, you can find a 7-Eleven or Family Mart convenience store (open 24/7) that meet most of your basic needs at virtually every street corner.
- Best Supermarket
→ Dolphin Roundabout, North Pattaya Road (Pattaya Nua)
Best Supermarket doesn’t only have a large selection of Farang food but also an extensive liquors department.
- Big C (North Pattaya)
→ Central Festival Center, Pattaya Second Road (northern section)
- Big C (South Pattaya)
→ Sukhumvit Road, around the corner from South Pattaya Road (Pattaya Tai)
- Big C Extra (formerly Carrefour)
→ Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang, junction with Soi Yume)
Department store and supermarket with many imported food products, reasonably priced own-brand items and a highly recommended butcher department.
- Central Festival Pattaya Beach
→ Pattaya Beach Road (near Soi 9 and the Pattaya Police Station)
Asia’s “largest beachfront shopping complex” also has an international supermarket with lots of imported food products. Reportedly a bit more expensive than its competitors.
→ Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang)
Pattaya’s oldest and premier Farang supermarket has an extensive selection of imported food products, a good bakery and probably Pattaya’s best butcher department.
→ Thappraya Road, Jomtien (around the corner from Thepprasit Road)
With many imported food products, Foodmart is a good alternative for expats living in Jomtien, however slightly more expensive than its central Pattaya competitors.
- Friendship Supermarket
→ South Pattaya Road (Pattaya Tai, near Tukcom and Soi Buakhao)
Along with Foodland and Big C Extra, this is one of Pattaya’s most popular international supermarket with lots of imported quality products and a good bakery.
- Tesco Lotus (North Pattaya)
→ North Pattaya Road (Pattaya Nua)
→ Sukhumvit Road, Jomtien (around the corner from Thepprasit Road)
- Tops Supermarket
→ P.S. Plaza at the intersection of Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang) and Second Road
- Villa Market
→ The Avenue Mall, Pattaya Second Road (southern section)
Quality imported products, Western food and wine from all over the globe.
If you feel like overhauling your business wardrobe and look for moderately priced tailor-made suits, then Pattaya is certainly your second best choice next only to Bangkok.
Tailor shops that have specialized in custom-made ladies’ and gents’ fashion can be found in practically all major tourist areas of Pattaya and Jomtien (especially along South Pattaya Beach Road), in many of the larger upscale hotels and in basically every side-street.
They’re usually owned and run by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent who all have a good command of English as well as the typical “tailor slang” of the most prevalent European languages. More experienced tailors have been in their business for decades and have an extensive regular customer base. Many of them offer a “ready in 24 hours” service.
Note: Some tailors or their touts can be very pushy when they chat you up in front of their shops; so if you don’t really want a new suit, just ignore their drivel and walk on.
Prices for a suit package start at roughly 3,000 Baht, depending on material and style. It is highly recommended to insist on at least two fittings, however, and not to go for unrealistic knock-down prices. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so don’t expect cashmere when you pay for polyester.
Pattaya has a huge number of talented Thai tattoo artists. While some are more more professional and qualified than others, it’s always recommended to visit a proper tattoo parlour rather than get your tattoo on the beach or while drinking in a bar.
Dozens of tattoo parlours can be found all over Pattaya. You’ll find the largest selection in South Pattaya and on the alleyway next to Mike’s Shopping Mall on Pattaya Beach Road.
Before taking your choice for a particular tattoo shop and adding to your personal ink collection you’re advised to take a good look around the studio to ensure that it meets general hygiene requirements, and closely examine their portfolio of work. Established tattoo artist will also display certificates in a prominent place.
Prices vary widely but are in general considerably cheaper than in the West. Many tattoo studios also offer piercing services, including the usual nose, lip, tongue and belly button piercings, but also nipples and genital piercings.
Two large Tesco Lotus hypermarkets are situated on North Pattaya Road (Pattaya Nua) and on Sukhumvit Road in Jomtien (just around the corner from Thepprasit Road). Both shopping complexes also feature a variety of retail shops and stalls, outlets of international fast food chains, food stalls and bank/currency exchange services.
Thai Gold, Gems & Jewelry Shops
Regardless of their social rank, Thais from all social backgrounds are literally obsessed with gold.
Historically, Thai gold has served as alternative “currency” for centuries and could easily be traded and converted back into any real currency anytime. And although gold is Thailand’s premier status symbol and a shining gold necklace around a woman’s neck is certainly more attractive than a five-digit number in a savings account book, there are far more intelligent reasons why the purchase of Thai gold items is as attractive for tourists as it is for the locals.
While the gold price meets a world standard and doesn’t differ significantly from country to country, it’s mainly the low cost of craftsmanship in Thailand which makes gold such a lucrative investment object. Basically, you only pay for the gold weight of the product plus a moderate surcharge of 5-10% for manufacturing.
The weight unit for Thai gold is the Baht – not to be confused with Thailand’s currency. One Baht of gold is approximately 15.16 grams (1/2 ounce). As Thai gold contains a higher percentage of gold (96.5% or 23 karats) it is considerably softer and more shining than the average 18K gold popular in most Western countries.
Traditional gold and jewellery shops can be recognized by their red fronts with yellow inscriptions and are usually run by Thais of Chinese origin.
Gold shops can be found anywhere in Pattaya but predominantly along South Pattaya Road (in front of the Wat Chai market), on Central Pattaya Road (near the junction with Pattaya Second Road) and at the southern end of Pattaya Beach Road.
The shops are often guarded by moonlighting police officers and usually display the daily quotations on signboards attached to their glass fronts, with specifications for buying and selling rates.
If you’re seriously interested in jewelry and precious gemstones, it’s highly recommended to use only the services of well-established jewellery shops. Do never buy gemstones from street or beach vendors, or put your faith in dodgy business touts who promise you incredibly cheap “bargains” when buying gems from a certain shop. In the best case, you might simply get overcharged in order to pay for their commission; in the worst-case scenario you might waste your money on fake gems.
Situated on Thepprasit Road near the junction with Sukhumvit Road in Jomtien, this massive open-air weekend market is held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.
One of Pattaya’s biggest and most popular markets, it features both food and non-food items. You can basically buy anything here, from inexpensive clothes, fashion jewellery and counterfeit handbags, to winter-ready leather jackets, complete loudspeaker systems and puppies held in cages.
If you get exhausted from strolling up and down the crowded, narrow market lanes, there’s even a little bar to cater for your refreshment needs, or you can have an inexpensive Thai meal at one of the numerous food stalls.
Tukcom IT Center
Situated on South Pattaya Road (roughly opposite the entrance to Soi Buakhao), Tukcom is Pattaya’s one-stop IT center and has a wide range of IT products like mobile phones and accessories, computers and computer games, notebooks, digital cameras and pirated software.
But Tukcom is more than your traditional IT department store, it’s a five-storey conglomerate of independent specialized stalls, with each floor dedicated to certain IT products.
It’s highly recommended to compare the prices offered at different stalls in detail if you wish to bargain for the best possible price. Also watch out for their frequent promotion specials; however, beware of counterfeit products like copy smartphones at absolute knockdown prices. In Thailand – where original IT products are often more expensive than in Western countries – you simply won’t get the latest IPhone model for 3,000 Baht or so, ok?