KOH LANTA SHOPPING PART 1
Koh Lanta Shopping. Shopping is another great way to get to know a place and to support the local economy. Fortunately, Koh Lanta has plenty of unique locally made products in interesting shops and locations to keep you from experiencing shopper’s withdrawal.
Generally, more populated areas will have more products to offer, but some of the real gems are hidden away on less populated beaches.
Buy a shopping bag
The market and shops in Baan Saladaan are the best place for general shopping; for buying Qtips and cold medicines (Pharma Lanta is highly recommend), goods from the mainland and western products.
But first buy a shopping bag. Plastic bags pose a threat to reefs and wildlife and are unsightly blowing around on the beaches.
Help keep Lanta clean, carry your own bag.
In addition to the necessities you’ll find a few unique places to shop in Baan Saladaan.
Catfish is one of the island’s few booksellers. They offer used books in good condition in a variety of languages. They also sell handmade crafts and greeting cards. It’s a great place to look for your next beach read or a unique souvenir.
If you need a beach cover-up there’s an esoteric batik shop on the main road just past Baan Café, It doesn’t have a name or set hours, but the artist is there most days and often late into the evening. He makes many styles and will even fashion a special design for you in just a few days.
Saladaan market is full of tiny shops selling souvenirs, jewelry, art and beach gear. Yes, you can haggle and this is a good place to hone your bargaining skills.
Silver, driftwood, stones & shells
Traveling down the northwest coast on the main road out of Baan Saladaan you will come upon a structure that appears to have washed up on the beach.Mountain Sea Silver and Stones edifice is made entirely of driftwood. A custom jewelry shop, they offer one of a kind designs, sell stones, shells and driftwood for fashioning jewelry, healing rituals or keepsakes, or you can bring one of your own finds and participate in the design process.
Along Khlong Dao beach are several beach and souvenir shops, for browsing in between beverage stops. Fix the Girl is an ideal waylay point; here you can buy jewelry, fashion, beauty products and have your hair or nails done, all while any person in your party who may be tired of shopping is resting in the adjacent Monkey Bar.
Also embracing this unique sales technique is Irie bar and gallery. Most of the items: jewelry, paintings and clothing are made by the staff. Drink a beer and choose one of their large handmade pocket belts, a favorite accessory of the locals.
As westerners, we often have conflicting feelings about consumerism’s encroachment on less industrialized cultures.
But we also want to fulfill our desires, and have the comforts we’re accustomed to. Buying locally made products matters.
Take the time to talk with the vendors about their goods, their business and their vision of Lanta’s future. Support individuals and their families with your acquisitions and interest.
Help Koh Lanta maintain its individuality and promote its prosperity with your resources.
Next week, we travel to the east coast for peek at a few more of Lanta’s singular shops.