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If you come to Koh Phangan for long periods then it is likely that you will need to buy some supplies. Whether it’s food and groceries, cleaning products or dog food, you will want to become familiar with the different shops selling different things. Even if you’re here for a short time you may run out of toothpaste or want to get yourself some breakfast materials to save money, so let’s get familiar with some shopping on the island.
People who regularly prepare dinner at home eat fewer calories than those who don’t cook and cooking also improves your consumption of nutritious ingredients. By cooking yourself you know what is going into your food if you are health conscious and depending on the ingredients you’re cooking with here on the island you could be saving money. However, it is affordable to eat out in Thai style but still, you may want to have some things in your kitchen in case you don’t want to go out and get food. Most rental houses come with basic kitchen equipment such as pots and pans, cutlery and a gas burner to cook on.
If you would like to support more local business then you can buy fresh ingredients from a few markets on the island, some are static and open every day and others more event like such as the Saturday market. Here’s a list of the markets selling fruit, vegetables, meat and fish produce.
Located in the main town, this is one of the main markets even used by restaurant owners. Here you will find a whole street which is dedicated to fresh produce. The street is made up of individual shops that all kind of blur together even though some sell different things and some sell the same. It is worth checking out the different stalls to find the best bananas for example.
This street is good for fresh fish, often delivered by fishermen daily, you can also buy meat here. For thai ingredients this is a really great place, they have lots of vegetables and herbs as well as curry pastes and ingredients for Burmese dishes also.
A market that happens outside of the Big C supermarket with stalls selling fresh veg and ingredients as well as snacks already made. A lovely little market happening three times a week from independent traders. Great to check this out first for ingredients before going for a shop in the actual supermarket.
Once a week the ‘Chinese street’ in Thong Sala turns into a walking street market. As well as selling souvenirs, clothes, snacks and all other wondrous things you can also find fresh produce on sale to cook with, also locally grown produce such as bananas and other fruit.
Scattered around the island, similar to Mama Restaurants where you’ll eat lovely thai food cooked by Mama, there are lots of these little shops, usually from someone’s home selling vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and other local ingredients. Familiarise yourself with your local ones to support families in your community.
As the island has developed and become more international, Koh Phangan now has a few main branded supermarkets. This is where you can get global ingredients if you’re missing some home comforts as well as Thai food and produce. International produce will of course be more expensive.
On the main Baan Tai road on the way to Thong Sala from Haad Rin, you will find Big C Supermarket. Here you can buy, vegetables, fruit, dairy products such as cheese, bread and tinned and canned foods.
Makro is more of a wholesale place but as long as you grab a card then you can use it for personal shopping as well. This is where you will find the biggest selection of international ingredients as well as fresh vegetables, fish, meat, dairy and dry goods such as pasta.
This supermarket opened in 2008 in the heart of Thong Sala. Like the Tesco supermarkets you might be used to back home, this is Thailand’s version of it. They have an area for fresh produce although smaller than the other supermarkets.
This small supermarket is ideal to buy herbs and spices as well as products for healthy living and vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. They have organic vegetables as well as vegetarian sausages and meats, tempeh, soy, and other dry goods and noodles, also lots of spreads like peanut butter as well as nuts, seeds and quinoa.
If you are renting a house then it is likely that you don’t have a cleaner (unless you employ one). And so you will need some cleaning products, whether it’s a sponge for washing up, disinfectant or washing detergent, here is where to get cleaning products.
Big C, Makro and Tesco as listed above all sell cleaning products. You will be able to find things to clean your house with as well as liquids and soap such as washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner and laundry products.
Located in Sri Thanu, Unpacked make all-natural cleaning products if you want to stay away from chemicals. They have laundry detergent as well as washing liquid and many others.
You can find these shops literally anywhere in case you run out of something you need to clean with you can get small amounts here.
We all want to stay clean ourselves too right? Ok, yes it is a ‘hippy island’ so some people may not but most of us do. The good thing is that you can find hygiene products on the island so you won’t need to bring them with you. Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorants and all other manners of personal cleaning and grooming products are widely available.
Big C and Tesco have good hygiene sections, Makro does not have any. You can find make-up, hair products, skin and cleaning items, mostly Thai but with international recognisable brands also.
There are lots of pharmacies on the island all selling personal hygiene products, some have a nice selection of naturally made ones if that’s your thing.
Again, great if you need something quickly such as running out of deodorant or small bottles of shampoo, conditioner or soap bars.
They have all naturally made soap bars and other hygiene products, hand made and natural.
Located on Walking Street in Thong Sala they make all-natural soap bars which all smell delicious and contain beautiful ingredients. They also have other things such as gorgeous eye oils.
You can pretty much find anything you might be looking for on Koh Phangan, whether its food shopping, house cleaning or for your body. There’s almost no need to bring anything specific to the island from your home country now as it can be cheaper to get it here. Happy Shopping!