Over the last few years Koh Phangan has developed in many ways and although convenience and affordability is great for us all it is sometimes not as beneficial for the local community on the island.
There are lots of international chain companies on the island now and with their glaring lights and convenient placed locations you may find yourself going to these shops a little too often.
Did you know that smaller shops run by the local community can in fact actually be cheaper to get the same things? Plus you will be supporting a local family rather than a corporate company.
An added benefit to visiting the local Thai stores is that you have more of a chance of getting to know the owner and maybe learning something from them, you can improve your Thai and these small business owners are usually willing to help!
You will get a more personalised shop experience if you can just make a little extra effort to buy your groceries, beer, snacks and toiletries at these small Thai shops, visiting them often means you’ll more than likely become friends with the people there as they genuinely appreciate you choosing to visit them over the large chain stores.
Of course it’s not all bad if you can’t get everything from the small local shops but choosing to just seek them out as much as you can will ensure that a family can support itself.
If you’re looking for fresh food there are also lots of markets and fresh produce shops rather than the bigger supermarkets, our favourite ones are in Baan Tai on the way into Baan Kai located on the one way system near Ban Sabai. These are owned by some lovely families, you can get to know them and their children and start to feel more of a part of the community yourself by shopping here rather than at big chains.
You can find all sorts of Thai vegetables in these local shops and everything is sold by weight rather than already packaged, so try to shop local and help support the wonderful community of Koh Phangan!