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Hat Yai | Shopping Page 1

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Street vendors in Hat Yai

Street vendors in Hat Yai


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Shopping in Hat Yai - Page 1


I'm not the best person to talk about shopping because I have never been the type that goes shopping as a form of recreation. I go shopping when I need to buy something.


Vendor at Hat Yai's famous Gim Yong market

Vendor at Hat Yai's famous Gim Yong market


Bargains do exist in Hat Yai but maybe not for things you were expecting. There are lots of vendors on the streets and at the local markets but I would not describe this particular shopping scene as offering good shopping. Most of the clothes, sunglasses, luggage, etc. that they sell is generally poor quality and won't last very long. The goods aren't actually that cheap either.

I stopped buying things from street vendors and markets a long time ago. Clothes just fell apart after a short time; sunglasses broke; and the luggage was no better. Aftersales service from these places is non-existent. The zip on a small holdall I bought for a trip to Phuket broke after a couple of days. I took it back to the shop after I returned but the woman was completely uninterested and refused to do anything.

On the other hand the big department stores in Hat Yai are very good. Robinson, Diana and Odean are fine but Central is probably the best. They have proper buying departments that check for value and quality, and what they sell is normally pretty good. If you have a problem with anything you can get it fixed or changed. What may come as a surprise is that the department stores are often cheaper than the street vendors.

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Central Festival

The Hat Yai branch of Central Festival opened in December 2013 and it is the largest shopping mall in southern Thailand. When it opened it wasn't just another department store in Hat Yai; this single event completely transformed the shopping landscape in Hat Yai, and actually it completely changed Hat Yai.

Previously, Lee Gardens Plaza had been the centre of Hat Yai's tourist district. This area was always busy and always attracted lots of tourists. However, many shops and businesses moved away from Lee Gardens Plaza and the downtown area and relocated inside Central Festival.

Hotels started to spring up around Central Festival and because there is so much on offer many tourists now spend lots of time at Central Festival rather than the downtown area.

Click the following link to see my complete guide to Central Festival in Hat Yai:

Central Festival.

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Money and Credit Cards

Getting money from ATMs in Hat Yai is no problem at all. There are ATMs everywhere. Just make sure your ATM card from home will work on the Cirrus or Maestro networks.


ATM in Hat Yai

ATM in Hat Yai


All Thai banks now charge a Bt150 fee for withdrawing money from an overseas account using one of their ATMs. AEON, a Thai finance company, didn't use to make this charge. I don't know whether that is still the case.

The main AEON office is in Niphat Uthit 1 Road and there is an AEON branch and ATM in Carrefour. There may also be others.

Be aware that your bank at home will also make a charge for using an overseas ATM, and also you will be given a very unfavourable exchange rate. Using ATMs in Thailand is convenient but it's an expensive way of getting money from home.

Most shops take credit cards, although you will probably have a problem using credit cards with street vendors and at some of the local markets.

Department stores and the larger stores selling electrical goods don't add a charge for paying by credit card. However, smaller shops do, notably shops selling camera gear.

I believe that this practice is technically illegal, but this is Thailand. They all do it and they won't accept payment by credit card unless you accept the additional charge.

You are forced to pay the charge, or you can pay in cash, or you can walk away. The choice is yours. Whenever I see Thais buying expensive camera gear they always have a wad of Bt1,000 notes.

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Changing money

Changing foreign money isn't a problem, especially if it is Malaysian Ringgits or Singapore Dollars. Major currencies, such as British pounds or US dollars won't be a problem either, but more unusual currencies might be a problem. Most of the larger hotels can change money, as can the many banks in Hat Yai, and also some travels agencies.

You can also find a few shops that just deal with currency exchange. As I update this in March 2019, the Yongdee Hotel in the image below is closed for a major renovation.


Currency exchange at the Yongdee Hotel in Hat Yai

Currency exchange at the Yongdee Hotel in Hat Yai


In 2014 or 2015 a new money changing shop called Yuwadee Exchange opened next door to the well-known Konsortium travel agency opposite Lee Gardens Plaza.


Yuwadee currency exchange next to Konsortium Travel in Hat Yai

Yuwadee currency exchange next to Konsortium Travel in Hat Yai


I don't usually change money in Hat Yai, therefore, I had never done much research into where to get the best exchange rates. However, before a trip to Malaysia in 2018 I asked a few locals and found that the best place is a currency exchange called Thairat Exchange near to Hat Yai Plaza.

It's always very busy with both Thai and Malaysian customers, which seems to confirm what I was told.

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Sales and Discounts

Diana and Odean Department stores in Hat Yai are quite good for buying clothes and shoes but whenever I go to one of these places it reminds me of buying a mattress.


Mattresses for sale

Mattresses for sale


Have you noticed how mattresses are always sold at a supposed huge discount and never actually sold at the supposedly original price?

When something is permanently 'On Sale' with a 60% discount, are we actually supposed to believe this. Apparently so. It really bugs me shop assistants keep telling me "40% off" when I know this is complete garbage.

Supposed 'Sales' are a complete joke and nothing is ever sold at the 'original' price. Items arrive on the shelves with two prices: a hypothetical original price and a sale price. Other countries have laws about this kind of thing but not in Thailand.


Everything is always on sale in Hat Yai 365 days a year

Everything is always on sale in Hat Yai 365 days a year


I wouldn't mind if it wasn't for the fact that sales assistants also try to insult my intelligence by repeatedly telling me about imaginary discounts. By definition, an item is only on sale if it was previously offered for sale at a higher price but that is never the case in Thailand.

Quite often, when you buy clothes, you will get a 'discount' coupon. So does this mean the coupon entitles you to an additional, genuine discount next time? No.


Everything is always on sale in Hat Yai 365 days a year

Everything is always on sale in Hat Yai 365 days a year


It's all gamesmanship and shops will always do whatever they can to get the highest price for whatever is sold.

If you are just passing through Hat Yai and see goods supposedly 'On Sale' don't be tempted to buy, thinking that you have arrived at a good time. Everything is always 'On Sale' for 365 days a year. In other words, nothing is ever on sale.

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People from Asia can ignore this because it will be completely obvious. However, it isn't obvious to many Westerners. In most Western countries goods are advertised at a fixed price and that is the price you pay. But this isn't necessarily the case in Asia.

Firstly, you need to understand where you can and can't haggle. Department stores will offer discounts, but there will be no haggling beyond the advertised discount. Where I buy electronic equipment there is no haggling.

However, in the traditional Thai markets and small shops in market areas, haggling is a way of life and the first thing you will notice is that most goods won't have an advertised price. If you want to buy something you have to ask how much it costs and this question is the start of the haggling process.

It's basically a big psychological game. Vendors buy goods wholesale at very low prices and their objective is getting the most profit they possibly can on every sale. The amount of profit depends on who their customers are and they are masters in assessing people.

If you have bought something already and walk through a market area you will notice the vendors staring at your shopping bags. Are you the type of person who spends freely, or are you stingy? Do you buy expensive goods or cheap goods? What kind of goods are you interested in buying? They will get lots of clues from just looking at you.

If you are foreign the price will go up. If you are old or look a bit dimwitted the price will go up. If you look wealthy the price will go up. Depending on what they think they can get away with, the initial price offered to individual customers will vary.

As a customer you need to make sure that you don't show any signs of weakness. Never agree to the initial price. Even if you really want to buy something, look uninterested and start to walk out of the shop. Remember, it's a game.

It became obvious to me with the Brexit negotiations that many Brits don't understand how to negotiate. This is because there is no culture of haggling in most Western countries. The equivalent of walking out of the shop is for the UK to leave the EU without a deal. The UK doesn't want this, but neither does the EU, and therefore the threat of a 'no deal' will ensure that the UK gets the best deal. It's an important option to keep on the table.

However, many naive Brits are protesting against the 'no deal' option and this, of course, simply plays into the hands of the EU. All this will do is weaken the UK's bargaining position.

As a foreigner in Thailand you will be given very high initial prices. Never pay the initial price, but come back with a lower offer and don't be shy. If something is worth Bt60 and you are told Bt100, don't make an offer of Bt90 because you are still being ripped off. Offer Bt50.

Look in several shops and don't be in a hurry to buy. There are often huge variations in price for the same goods and I've even noticed this with on-line prices on Lazada Thailand. Not just a few Baht, but sometimes twice the price for exactly the same thing. If you do this and find cheaper prices tell the vendor, who may then try to undercut the other shops. Play them off against each other because if you don't play with them they will play with you.

And remember that you are in a strong position. You have the upper hand. They have already invested in stock and need to sell that stock. The money in your pocket is what they want and you have the choice to spend it wherever you want.

It's a big game and Thais are very good at playing it because they have played the game the whole of their lives. Many foreigners don't understand the rules of the game because they have no experience, but it gets easier the more you do it.

Alternatively, if you want to buy something tell a Thai friend and let them negotiate. This is what I did on my first trip to Thailand in 1987. I was travelling with a buddy and we hooked up with a Thai guy who lived in the States and was back in Thailand on a vacation. He had the language skills and understood haggling, so always got the best prices. Don't be daunted. It's a game, and like most games it can be fun if you know how to play.

Regarding language skills it certainly helps if you speak some Thai, even if you only know some basics such as numbers. Not only does it eliminate communication problems, but it shows that you understand Thailand and how the country works. If you speak Thai you probably aren't a naive tourist who has just arrived and vendors will show a little more respect.

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Electronic Equipment

I would suggest that buying anything electrical from the market or on the street is a gamble. Few items come in their original boxes but are just repackaged in a plastic bag. There isn't much choice either. At one point I was looking for a shortwave radio but all the market vendors had the same models - weird brands from China.


Electronic goods at Suntisuk market, Hat Yai

Electronic goods at Suntisuk market, Hat Yai


Basic computer and camera equipment is available in Hat Yai but I stress 'basic'. If you want anything that is a bit unusual it is unlikely you will be able to find what you want. Hat Yai isn't Bangkok or Singapore.

I have bought quite a few cheap memory cards and flash drives from Hat Yai markets. Most were fine but one wasn't. After taking about 150 photos I suddenly saw a message on my camera that said the memory card wasn't formatted. It prompted me to format the card but by doing so I would have lost all my photos.

The street markets sell a lot of counterfeit goods and they are quite convincing. What may look like the latest iPhone on the outside has very different electronics inside. Memory cards can also be faked. The card will work, but the Sandisk label on the outside is just for show.

If you buy something with a problem and then leave Hat Yai you aren't going to be able to take it back. Even if you live in Hat Yai, customer service can be bad. I returned my faulty memory card but it took four months to get my money back.

As I said, it's a gamble. Of course, you can reduce the risk by buying from a proper shop but then you will pay accordingly higher prices.

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Fake, Pirated and Illegally Imported Goods

These things are all very much part of the Hat Yai shopping scene, and typical all over Thailand. At government level there is lots of rhetoric about what is being done in Thailand to clamp down on this trade. However, the image that is presented to you in Thailand is never representative of what actually goes on.


Fake football shirts, Hat Yai

Fake football shirts, Hat Yai


There are lots of fake goods. Pirated music, DVDs, and software are rife. Most of this stuff (I am told) comes in from China.

Locally, everyone knows what is sold, and where it is sold. If the authorities really wanted to stop the trade, they could do it in half a day.


Another fake?

Another fake?


The truth is that no one really wants to see it stopped. Many Thais make a living from selling illegal goods, and many others can afford to buy expensive music, DVDs and software, which they couldn't if they had to pay the full retail price. Expensive software would be beyond the reach of most Thais, were it not for cheap pirated versions.

Everyone benefits - apart from the original manufacturers. Thais regard what happens as a victimless crime. The manufacturers are a long way away and all foreigners are rich, aren't they? (according to the Thai way of thinking).


Fake sunglasses, Hat Yai

Fake sunglasses, Hat Yai


The police turn up at the illegal markets occasionally but all that happens is the vendors roll down their shutters and shut up shop for a few minutes. Then, as soon as the police move on, the shops re-open.

What is perhaps surprising is the scale of this business. In Singapore, I have seen small shops selling pirated software alongside lots of legitimate businesses. I'm not even sure that they exist any more.

In Hat Yai, it isn't just solitary shops but entire markets.

You can buy whatever you wish in Thai markets but I saw a sign at Hat Yai airport warning of the consequences of taking fake items home with you. If you are caught at customs with fake items in certain countries the penalties can be quite severe.

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Big Boys' Toys

There are a number of places in Hat Yai that sell what I refer to as Big Boys' Toys. They sell, among other things, army and police supplies. However, instead of restricting sales to soldiers and policemen, these items can be bought by anyone.


Knives for sale, Hat Yai

Knives for sale, Hat Yai


Unlike Army Surplus stores in the UK which, as I remember, were just like big camping stores, these places in Thailand sell lots of equipment in addition to clothes and footwear. A lot of the stuff they sell is obviously illegal but Thais don't regard laws in the same way as Westerners do. Besides, if every illegal activity was closed down in Hat Yai there wouldn't be much left of the markets.

As far as legal stuff goes, you can buy good quality military clothing and footwear. For example, you can get a solid pair of brand new army boots that look as if they will last forever for Bt2,500.

They sell torches (flashlights), compasses, GPS navigation devices, night vision binoculars, Swiss Army knives, military watches, and multitools, etc. Most of the multitools are cheap knockoffs (I bought one for Bt400 but don't expect it to last very long before it breaks), but I have also seen genuine Leatherman tools. The genuine articles are a lot more expensive but will probably last a lifetime.

Walkie-talkie two way radios are also easily available. I'm not sure how legal these are in Thailand but because of the bandwidth they operate on they are probably illegal in most other countries.

Some of the weaponry on sale is quite frightening. You can buy full-size Samurai swords, metal baseball bats (I have lived in Thailand since 2003 and have never seen anyone playing baseball, but I've seen a lot of baseball bats for sale), nightsticks and batons, Ninja throwing stars, stun guns, laser devices, highly authentic looking BB guns, and a whole range of fearsome looking knives. I guess the legality of some of this stuff is questionable even in Thailand and if you were planning to take anything home you might get a difficult time at the airport.

You will find some of this stuff on sale at the local Sunday markets, for example the one in Hat Yai Nai on a Sunday morning. There are also a number of small stalls inside and around Suntisuk market.

Raan Daa isn't very conspicuous, and I think its location is deliberate. It is located upstairs and behind a shop at the front. It is the kind of shop that is known to certain people and not really intended to be found by casual shoppers.

The last time I went there the owner followed me upstairs and confronted me as if I had just walked into his home uninvited. "What are you doing here?" he barked at me.

There are a lot of items at these places that I would never consider buying, but a few I would. Nonetheless, the things on sale continue to fascinate me. Maybe it's because at heart I am just a big boy and I still enjoy looking at Big Boys' Toys?

In the photo above, Raan Daa is located between the eyeglasses shop and TMB bank. It is very near to the 7-Eleven store opposite Suntisuk market. You need to walk through the shop at the front to the rear and then go upstairs.

On its business card Raan Daa also advertises sex toys, if you're interested. However, I didn't see any on display.

Raan Daa

Raan Daa, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Shoes bought from Raan Daa, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: 117/2 Niphat Uthit 3 Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 351384
Telephone: +66 (0)74 350729
Mobile: +66 (0)86 956 2626
Mobile: +66 (0)81 766 4876
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 18.8" (N 07° 00.313')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 15.0" (E 100° 28.250')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Shops like this in Thailand sell a quite fascinating selection of goods. I'm not interested in the weapons or other military equipment, but I have bought several pairs of shoes from this place. I walk a lot, so I need shoes that are comfortable and durable. The shoes I used to buy from department stores fell apart very quickly.

At all Thai markets and small shops like this you are expected to haggle. The first price you are given will be high, with the shopkeeper hoping that you will just hand over the money. Many foreigners who don't know how things work in Thailand will just hand over the money.

Thais and foreigners who know what they are doing in Thailand will respond with a much lower price. The shopkeeper will then offer you a better price somewhere in between the first price and your suggestion. If you aren't happy with the improved offer, just walk out. The best price is often offered just as you are about to leave the premises.

There are some other shops in Suntisuk market, just across the road, that sell similar (or exactly the same) goods, however, I have compared prices on several occasions and this shop is normally the cheapest. Remember that you will need to bargain to get the best price.

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Click for more details about Preuksa Spa in Hat Yai

Big Motorbikes

See separate page:

Big Motorbike Dealers In Hat Yai

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Camera Gear

There are several small photo shops around Hat Yai that process photos and sell small point and shoot cameras but what if you are interested in something more than a small P&S camera? There are a few places in town and my favourite, by far, is Chia Colour Lab.


Chia Color Lab, Hat Yai

Chia Color Lab, Hat Yai


Chia has a good selection of equipment in stock and if they don't have an item they can order it within a few days from Bangkok. For ordered items you will need to leave a deposit. They stock original equipment from the big camera manufacturers and also cheap third-party accessories, which normally come from China, for example Yongnuo products.

I hate shops in Thailand where the staff fall about giggling whenever they deal with a foreign customer, as if you are dressed the same as Ronald McDonald. It's very unprofessional. I've experienced this quite a few times at the Fuji shop.

On the other hand I have always found Chia very professional. I'm quite friendly with the owner and he's a very nice guy. His son works in the family business and most of the staff know what they are talking about. Their prices are good too.

In early 2013 the price of a Canon 5D III at Fotofile in Bangkok was Bt89,000. Big Camera branches were selling the same camera for Bt99,000. The Chia Colour Lab price was Bt84,500. Their prices are very competitive and their level of service is good by Thai standards.


Fuji Shop, Hat Yai

Fuji Shop, Hat Yai


Chia, like many small businesses in Thailand, increase the price by a few percent if you want to pay by credit card. Big chains and supermarkets don't do this. When you see Thais buying cameras they normally have a wad of cash.

You can also find studio lighting kits quite easily in Hat Yai. They can be bought or ordered from Chia or Fuji. In between Chia and Fuji (also on Supasarnrungsarn Road) is another photo shop called Yin Dee Silp (pronounced Yin Dee Sin). This is where I bought a small studio lighting kit.

Yin Dee Sin seems to concentrate more on photographic services and processing these days. They used to stock more equipment but it has gradually disappeared and there isn't much now.

The Big Camera chain have some branches in Hat Yai and these are normally located inside shopping malls. Their prices are quite expensive. Similarly, the Photo Hut Group (another chain) have a branch at Tesco Lotus in Hat Yai Nai.

Chia Color Lab

Chia Color Lab, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: 60 Supasarnrungsarn Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 246808
Fax: +66 (0)74 237141
Web Site: Chia Color Lab
Map: Map 1

Latitude: N 07° 00' 28.0" (N 07° 00.467')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 14.1" (E 100° 28.236')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: I recommend Chia highly and this is always my first choice for buying camera equipment in Hat Yai. Chia Color Lab is located next door to the Singapore Hotel.

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Nakorn Sin

Fuji Shop, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: 237/3-4 Supasarnrungsarn Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 221492
Fax: +66 (0)74 247824
Map: Map 2

Latitude: N 07° 00' 32.5" (N 07° 00.542')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 44.9" (E 100° 28.748')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: I prefer Chia Color Lab, but I have bought equipment from here. They have quite a good selection of camera bags and also stock tripods and lighting gear, etc.

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Yin Dee Sin

Yin Dee Sin - Click for larger image

Studio lighting kit - Click for larger image

Address: 94-96 Supasarnrungsarn Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 243406, 231093, 350497
Fax: +66 (0)74 238945
Map: Map 1

Latitude: N 07° 00' 29.5" (N 07° 00.491')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 16.5" (E 100° 28.275')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: These days, this shop seems to concentrate more on photo processing than equipment. This is where I bought my budget Electra Studio Lighting kit.

They have some camera bodies, lenses, tripods, bags, etc, but there is very little in stock. They can order anything, but if you walk a few yards to Chia Color Lab you can probably buy what you want without having to order it.

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Glasses and Contact Lenses

These items are a good deal and there are lots of shops in town. Just remember to ignore the first price you are given. If you see something you like, start to leave the shop and wait to be offered a sensible price.

I would advise against using the shops in the downtown tourist area, especially the well-known chains of opticians in Thailand, as these tend to be quite expensive. Find somewhere off the beaten track where there aren't tourists. This advice actually applies to everything in Thailand, not just eyeglasses.

Thais believe that all foreigners are infinitely rich and have absolutely no qualms about ripping off tourists. Thailand can be a cheap country, but only if you pay the same prices as locals.


Opticians shop, Hat Yai

Opticians shop, Hat Yai


You'd be amazed at how even the 'lowest possible price' will be reduced further once you start to leave.

If buying glasses you would do well to already know your prescription. One of the big differences between many 'opticians' shops in Hat Yai and in the UK, for example, is the competency of the person doing eye tests. In the UK it is always a very highly qualified optician and I've always had complete confidence in that person's ability. Some shops in Hat Yai do have properly qualified opticians but not the places that are only open to sell glasses.

Why are brand name eyeglasses so much cheaper in Thailand than in Western countries?

At first, I thought it was because they were fake but they aren't. I bought a pair of Oakley eyeglasses (not sunglasses) for about Bt4,000. A pair of Oakley glasses would be significantly more expensive in Europe or the United States.

When I searched on-line, I found that they were an old design and no longer sold elsewhere. So, this seems to be the reason. Cheap eyeglasses in Thailand would appear to be end-of-line designs, and thus can be sold cheaply.

This doesn't bother me at all, but if you are a dedicated follower of fashion and need to always wear the latest fashions, it might.

On the subject of eyesight, there are places in Hat Yai offering laser eye surgery. It is not a subject I have done much research into but I believe that the prices are quite low. My experience of hospitals in Hat Yai has been fairly positive so I would expect doctors performing eye surgery to be competent. This procedure shouldn't be taken lightly. You need to do lots of research and in my opinion your decision on where to get it done shouldn't be based on cost.

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I think shoes are a good buy in Thailand. Not the type of footwear that tourists wear in Thailand, but ordinary business shoes. I used to spend lots of money in England on expensive shoes on the basis that it was a false economy to scrimp on shoes or mattresses because you always depended on one or the other.


Second hand shoes at Hat Yai Plaza, Hat Yai

Second hand shoes at Hat Yai Plaza, Hat Yai


However, paying lots of money didn't always guarantee comfort. I have bought shoes in Thailand for a fraction of the price and they have been well made, smart and comfortable.

Diana and Robinson have probably the best selection of shoes but - as usual - Central has the best quality (and the highest prices).

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Cheap Furniture

Of course, tourists and backpackers coming through Hat Yai aren't going to buy furniture but if you plan to live in the area and rent a house you might need to. There are many shops a little way out of town with really nice home and office furniture at giveaway prices. I have bought things I know I will leave behind but even if I get six months use out of them they will still be good deals.


Furniture store, Hat Yai

Furniture store, Hat Yai


One thing I bought that I never expected to buy was a safe. It was Bt5,000 (about 70 UK pounds) and a real bargain for the peace of mind it gives. I'm sure that in the UK an equivalent safe would cost five or six times what it cost in Hat Yai.

Presumably shipping costs would wipe out any savings of buying furniture in Thailand and getting it sent home but it might be something that is worth looking into.

Update March 2019: I started this site in 2004 when the UK pound to Thai Baht exchange rate was over 70. At that time everything in Thailand did indeed seem cheap. As I write now, with the post-Brexit exchange rate at around Bt40 - Bt42, many of the things that used to be cheap are now quite expensive.

As Buddhism reminds us, nothing stays the same forever.

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Mall culture reached Thailand some time ago and, as a result, huge shopping centres have sprung up in recent years.


Carrefour, Hat Yai

Carrefour, Hat Yai


British-owned Tesco Lotus, near the Prince of Songkla University (PSU), is popular with Thai families at the weekend. In addition to shopping there are also restaurants and things to keep the kids amused. A huge plus-point for Thais is that the superstores are all air-conditioned and thus provide a cool sanctuary year-round, especially in the hot season. Many poorer Thais don't have any air-conditioning at home.

French-owned Carrefour opened a large store on Phetkasem Road similar to Tesco Lotus, which was then taken over by Big C and renamed Big C Extra. The original Big C store is on Niphat Songkhro 1 Road (Map 1).

Later on, Tesco Lotus opened another superstore in Hat Yai Nai. However, it is smaller than the one at PSU and the selection of produce isn't as good.

There is also a branch of Makro. Makro isn't really a supermarket, as such, but a cash-and-carry place where people buy in bulk. Makro tends to attract a lot of Thai Muslims. All of the big supermarkets have their pros and cons. Prices are roughly the same but certain goods are cheaper at certain places.

At the end of 2013 every large shopping centre in Hat Yai was completely eclipsed when the Hat Yai branch of Central Festival opened. This is the largest shopping mall in southern Thailand.

It is so large that I had to create another section of this website dedicated to the Hat Yai branch of Central Festival.

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Thai: ร้านนาฬิกาหาดใหญ่

Most of Hat Yai's big department stores have departments selling watches and, additionally, there are independent watch shops inside the department stores. There are also independent watch shops located outside of the department stores.

Department stores have the highest prices, but there won't be any problems with fake or substandard goods, and you will get a proper guarantee.

Watch shops in Thai traditional markets are cheaper, but the markets aren't completely legitimate and whenever the police arrive all the shutters are pulled down and the shops close until the danger is over. The vendors are normally quite honest about whether a watch is fake or not, but the after-sales service may not be very good and also the watches on sale are normally old models.

Buying at one of the markets contains an element of risk. You may be able to pick up a bargain, but your purchase could go horribly wrong. It is difficult for me to give you more information about watch shops in the markets. The vendors hate photographs being taken and whenever I ask for a business card the immediate response is, "Why?" Because of the way they operate they tend to be very suspicious of people who ask questions, but don't buy anything.

Someone in Hat Yai has set up an on-line watch selling business called Hatyai Nalika and it seems to be well known among Thais all over Thailand because the prices are cheap. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about this on-line shop.

I can't find a physical address for Hatyai Nalika, I don't know whether the source of the watches is legitimate, I don't know if the watches are genuine, or if they have proper guarantees. By all means give them a try, but I have no personal experience and therefore can't make any recommendations.

The Thai word for watch or clock is 'naa-li-gaa', but Thais write it in English as 'nalika'.

On the second floor of Gim Yong market is a shop that sells mainly Casio watches, but there are also some other brands. They are genuine and prices are cheap, but I don't believe they are current models.

There's a small shop in Suntisuk market that sells watches, including those made by Citizen and Seiko. Again, they are genuine, but maybe not the latest models. Also, with these cheap places located in traditional Thai markets, I'm not sure what the guarantee policies are like. Another small shop in Suntisuk has a huge selection of Casio watches.

Thailand is infamous for fake goods and, of course, Hat Yai is no exception. However, avoiding buying fake goods isn't really that much of a problem.

Firstly, most vendors are quite honest about selling fake goods if you ask them. Secondly, just use your common sense. If you are offered an iPhone for Bt2,000 or a Rolex watch for Bt1,000, do you really think it is genuine? Of course not. For such low prices, if it isn't fake it is stolen.

One of the problems with shopping in Hat Yai is that although there may be a lot of goods on sale, a lot of the goods are the same and there isn't much variety. It's not like Bangkok.

If you want to buy a standard Asus or Acer computer that is easy, but finding something a bit more sophisticated isn't always easy.

It's the same with watches. There are thousands of ordinary watches available, but if you are a watch connoisseur and want something a little different or a little special it is unlikely you will find it in Hat Yai.

I bought the watch that I still use every day in Phuket in 1996. I was scuba diving at the time and it's a basic Citizen divers' watch. After 20 years it gains a few minutes each week, but it has always been reliable and it has survived some hard knocks. This type of watch is easily obtainable in Hat Yai.

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Central Festival Department Store

Central Festival watch department, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Central Festival watch department, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: Central Festival, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Map: Map 4

Latitude: N 06° 59' 28.2" (N 06° 59.471')

Longitude: E 100° 29' 04.6" (E 100° 29.076')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: If money is no object and you want to buy an expensive, high quality watch, this is where to go. The Central Festival department store stocks lots of top brands and there is a great selection of the latest models.

You won't have any concerns about watches being fake and if you have a problem you can be assured of good guarantees and after-sales service. Prices are normally higher than elsewhere, but Central can be surprising at times.

There are some very good promotions and I have often bought goods at Central department store that were cheaper than in the small shops and markets outside.

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Central Festival Mall

Boss Time, Central Festival, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: Central Festival, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Map: Map 4

Latitude: N 06° 59' 28.2" (N 06° 59.471')

Longitude: E 100° 29' 04.6" (E 100° 29.076')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: The Central Festival mall always has watch shops, but they open and close so frequently that it is difficult to keep up. The shop in the photos, Boss Time, has already closed.

Swatch opened a shop in the mall, but that also closed, as have several other independent watch shops. At the time of writing (December 2019) there are three watch shops: Signature, Watch Station and White Brandname. However, by the time you read this there will no doubt have been more changes.

You can check using my Guide to Central Festival. I can guarantee it will never be completely up to date because the shops inside Central Festival change so frequently, but I try to keep it as up to date as I can.

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Jai Sen Watch

Jai Sen Watch, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: 55 Sanehanusorn Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Telephone: +66 (0)74 231298
Map: Map 3

Latitude: N 07° 00' 13.9" (N 07° 00.232')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 19.1" (E 100° 28.318')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: Jai Sen Watch, on the corner of Sanehanusorn and Chee Uthit roads near Lee Gardens Plaza, is an independent watch shop in the downtown area and has a good selection of clocks and watches. They seem honest and friendly enough, and their prices are reasonable. The shop is always busy and I believe that everything is genuine and above board. This shop has been in operation for a long time and seems to have a good reputation.

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Store Listings

Use the following links for information about specific products and places.

Hat Yai Shopping Page 2

The 'As Seen On TV' shop to Khlang Synn

Hat Yai Shopping Page 3

Makro to Vichusin Center

Central Festival

Since it opened at the end of 2013, Central Festival (the largest shopping mall in southern Thailand) has completely changed the shopping landscape in Hat Yai.

Many retail and service businesses have moved to Central Festival from downtown Hat Yai. You can still find some traditional markets and businesses in central Hat Yai around Lee Gardens Plaza, but the majority of retailers are now at Central Festival.

My Complete Guide To Central Festival Hat Yai tells you what shops and businesses are located there.