Ok, so you want to combine two of your passions: beaches and shopping. Shouldn’t that be easy in Thailand, a country that is known as a shopper’s paradise? Wrong.
There are actually only a handful of destinations where you can have them both: great beaches and great shopping. That said, if you are looking for something a bit more sophisticated than cheap, pirated t-shirts from the markets – those you can find anywhere in Thailand.
So, what are the best destinations for beaches and shopping? Tada! They are Phuket and Hua Hin. Between them you can choose whichever you appreciate more: shopping or beach. Hua Hin is better for the shopping, Phuket for the beaches.
One way to go around the dilemma of shopping in a quiet beach destination (those two just don’t meet in Thailand) is to stop for a few days in Bangkok, satisfy your shopping fever there and fly to any beach destination of your choice.
Phuket – Best for Beaches, Good for Shopping
Phuket has some of the biggest and widest beaches in Asia – and pretty good shopping too. Some of the beaches are busy, others surprisingly calm.
The best shopping in Phuket is on the busiest beach, Patong Beach, which has a big shopping mall JungCeylon. More shopping malls can be found next to the island’s capital Phuket Town.
Read more: How to Choose Between Phuket’s Beaches?
Hua Hin – Best for Shopping, Good for Beaches
Hua Hin has great shopping options of its own and Bangkok’s abundance of malls is just a few hours away.
Besides the more conventional shopping mall, Hua Hin Market Village, the beach resort has also several more creative shopping options such as retro style Pleanwarn shopping centre, Greek island inspired Santorini Park and Hua Hin Venezia, which even has Venetian style canals and gondolas.
Not to mention the legendary Hua Hin Night Bazaar that spreads over several streets every night and from where you can find every imaginative object that you might want to buy.
Hua Hin’s beaches are nice, but fall far behind of those in Phuket.
Pattaya – Great for Shopping, Not so for the Beaches
Pattaya is also close to Bangkok and has a fair share of its own shopping malls like the futuristic Central Festival mall. The downside is the beach part. Pattaya’s beaches just can’t compete with Phuket’s or even Hua Hin’s stretches of sand.
More than it’s mediocre beaches Pattaya is known for it’s vibrant and, well, notorious nightlife.