Shopping facilities on Koh Tao are varied and extensive for the size of the island and its remote location. There are no big chains or malls, which is great news as it means the money you spend shopping on Koh Tao directly benefits the local people and community, rather than going to a corporate giant.
Clothing & Souvenirs
The main roads and side streets in all of Koh Tao’s main villages are littered with all manner of clothing and souvenir shops. You can find all of the classic Thailand T-shirt designs, as well as bags, flip flops, bikinis, board shorts, and all manner of souvenirs and mementoes. From friendship bracelets and necklaces to paintings, sculptures and ornaments, you’ll have no problem filling your bags with tangible reminders of your Koh Tao holiday.
Scuba shopping on Koh Tao is made easy as all four of the island’s main scuba diving equipment retail stores are conveniently located on the ‘down road’ in Mae Haad, all within about an 80 metre walk of each other! Each sells a range of products but all four are ambassadors for different brands, so it is worth checking them out separately to assess the choice available and get the best deal for whatever you are looking for. Many dive centres on the island will have their own retail sections, and the dive staff are normally happy to advise you on what your best options are.
Phone & Internet
It is generally accepted that the most reliable phone service provider for Koh Tao is the AIS network. AIS has a store in central Sairee and offers a range of deals on daily, weekly, and monthly packages. The most popular packages are data only, but some options include texts and voice calls too. The other main phone networks in Thailand are TrueMove and Dtac, however, do be aware there are no customer service facilities on Koh Tao for either of these.
Many hostels and hotels have book exchange sections, but there are also a couple of stores dedicated to selling new and second-hand books. The most frequented book stores are Buy, Sell and Exchange Books at the bottom of the ‘down road’ in Mae Haad, and Save Shop, which is located along the walking street in Mae Haad, opposite Coconut Monkey.
There are no dedicated jewellery stores on the island. However, in most cases, jewellery displays are simply incorporated into general clothing and souvenir shops. There are some larger jewellery displays in the more boutique-style shops.
You can buy bikinis and board shorts in virtually any clothing store. If you are looking for something a bit more robust, however, then check out Ripcurl or Flip Flop and Treacle in Sairee. You can also have a look in the scuba diving stores for more athletic options and rashguards etc.
For phone purchases, repairs, and accessories you need to go to a Koh Tao Telecom branch. There is one on the walking street in Sairee just opposite Choppers Bar, and another on the main road on the way out of Sairee over the road from Factory Café. There is also a branch on the ‘down road’ in Mae Haad.
You can find a limited range of electronics on Koh Tao, but do bear in mind that whatever you buy here will tend to be more expensive than buying online or in one of the big city malls. However, if you are desperate for a memory card or particular go pro accessory etc, you may be able to find one at either Technomania in Mae Haad (on the ‘down road’) or Koh Tao Technology on the beach road in Sairee, opposite Phoenix Divers.
For printing, laminating and most other office supply services, most people go to June04 shop in Mae Haad, which is situated just off the main road when you turn down towards the Songserm pier. June04 also offers passport photo services and printing. You can expect to pay 100THB for 6 regular sized passport photographs.