Unlike the many beaches in other parts of the world, you won’t find the sandy coasts of Hua Hin and Cha-Am teeming with shopping stalls and pleasure-seeking tourists. Instead sun worshippers lounging in the beach and ponies with tourist riders trotting along the beach are the common sight in Hua Hin and Cha-Am. Part of the allure of these beaches are the peace and quiet sea-setting that they offer vacationers. There are occasional beach vendors approaching tourists to offer their craft in Cha-Am, but not a lot: the beaches are relatively quiet and are never too crowded even on weekends. There is, however, a vibrant local market if you’re planning to do some shopping in Hua Hin/Cha-Am districts.
Whether you’re thinking about shopping for souvenirs for your loved ones back home, or perhaps you want to travel light and are just looking into purchasing everything you might need for the beach, Hua Hin and Cha-Am both have shopping centers that are worth visiting.
At the heart of Cha-Am, a shopping complex called Premium Outlet offers mall boutiques and stores selling international and local brands. The prices though do not differ greatly from the prices of goods and commodities in your home country, but it’d still be a nice way to spend your afternoon, window-shopping around the area, if you ever get bored of the beach and need some cool air from its air-conditioned surroundings.
If you like bargaining, head on to the local market. Like any district in Thailand the size of Hua Hin and Cha-Am, there are markets in Hua Hin and Cha-Am with reasonable products available. Some local products of Hua Hin and Cha-Am include fresh and dried seafood, dried fruit products like pineapples, coconuts, bananas and aloe vera. They also have cotton and cotton products often made into placemats, tablecloths and pillowcases.
At Damnoenkasem Road near the beach, there is a day market selling mostly local products made from sea shells, handmade batik cloths and all kinds of handicrafts. There is also a night market along Dechanuchit Road that stretches for almost three blocks on the road, where you will find local delicacies, shoes, clothes, bags, accessories, gadgets, CDs and a host of other things. If you decide to visit the night market, beware of imitated products of branded clothing, bags, shirt, shoes and many others. You’d also find cheap products having low to middle quality. They are good buys for some but bad buys for others: whatever you decide is for you, just remember that in Hua Hin/Cha-Am, you generally get what you pay for.
And while shopping in Hua Hin/Cha-Am streets requires cash, the good news is, you can haggle for the price of practically everything on sale. Bargain with a smile and you might even get them at half the original price. Take note that there are no warranties offered and some stores even have a no return – no exchange policy, so it’s best to inspect what you’re buying carefully. But for the most part, shopping in Hua Hin/Cha-Am is fun, especially if you consider that the cost of many products can be just a fraction of what you’d have spend in your own country.