However, a stroll around the area now uncovers many shops selling original Thai silk, clothing, bags, and jewellery. This list includes Ban Boran Textiles, one of the most prominent names in the area.
Phuket local Wandee Kaewthawee is the face of the shop and owns it along with her Japanese friend Ichii.
Despite Phuket’s omnipresent heat, the most popular item on sale are the Thai silk scarves, which come in a variety of colours and are priced at B450 (cotton) and B600 (silk).
“Tourists really like the handmade products, especially ones with embroidery,” says Ms Wandee.
Clothing is also popular at Ban Boran Textiles, including hippy favourite fisherman’s pants for just B250. Priced a bit higher, cotton skirts cost between B800 and B1000, while ladies silk dresses are B2,000.
The attractive large silk hangings that adorn the shop walls are B7,500 up.
The colourful decorative handbags are sourced from hill tribes in northern Thailand, while the shop’s rather extensive silver jewellery collection is made by people specifically from the Karen hilltribe in Chiang Mai.
Necklaces start at B2,500, rings B500, and beaded necklaces from B800.
According to Ms Wandee, handmade silver ornaments made by Ka Riang tribes in the north are the most
unique items sold in the shop, as no other retailer in Phuket stocks them, she says.
When the shop first opened, Japanese tourists were the main customers, though today Ban Boran Textiles sells products to a large spectrum of tourists, many of whom are western.
– Ban Boran Textiles,
51 Yaowarat Rd, Phuket Town, 076 211 563.