Thai, Chinese, Burmese and Khmer antiques are excellent buys. Statues, fabrics, woodcarvings and furniture are just some of the items available. Excellent reproductions of antiques can also be found. They make remarkable souvenirs and exotic additions to your home decor.

    There's an export ban on certain pieces, particularly Buddha images, and some other pieces may require an export license, but any reputable dealer will be able to advise you on restrictions and any necessary documentation. Here are some such reputable dealers around Phuket.

    1

    Chan's Antique House

    Considered by many as the pioneer of the antique business in Phuket, Chan Sim has been in the business for decades. This is a well-established family enterprise. Chan personally selects quality antiquities from Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, searching for the finest craftsmanship.

    Wooden, bronze, marble and stoneware Buddha images are featured with a large selection of lacquerware, furniture and decorative art objects. A variety of replicated pieces is also available in a separate section of this expansive showroom. For your convenience, Mr Chan can have your acquisitions professionally packed and shipped worldwide.

    Location: 99/42 Moo 5, Chalermprakiat Rama 9 Rd, Highway 402, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9am to 5pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +66 (0)76 261 416

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    2

    Fine Oriental

    There are few places in Phuket that have good Chinese antiques and vintage artefacts, which makes Fine Oriental a must-stop for lovers of Chinoiserie. You might find ceramics, stone and bronze pieces, from vases to furniture to figurines. It stocks a good range of antique and reproduction Chinese furniture, as well as pieces from Burma, Tibet and Mongolia.

    Location: 14 Soi Hat Surin 8, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8am to 6pm

    Phone: +66 (0)76 521 552

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    3

    Soul of Asia

    In Soul of Asia, you can find works by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Picasso along with Chinese and Vietnamese artists. There are also Chinese rugs, Chinese ceramics, jewellery, paintings and furniture from around Asia.

    Eric Smulders, the owner, converted an old Sino-Portuguese shophouse in Phuket Town to open his first Soul of Asia shop in 2003. He has since opened branches in Surin Plaza, at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa and the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa.

    Location: 5/50 Moo 3, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand

    Phone: +66 (0)76 271 629

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    4

    The Gallery Phuket

    The Gallery Phuket is a large warehouse stacked with Chinese antiques and design furniture. Marc and Qing Quing de Champeaux bring to Phuket many years’ experience of working in China. They combine modern and old world for interiors and much more.

    Location: 249/17 Moo 8, Thepkasattri Road, Thalang, Phuket, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9.30am to 6.30pm

    Phone: +66 (0)89 866 2346

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    5

    Art galleries in Phuket hotels

    For a lasting reminder of Thailand, why not visit one of the many shops offering original artworks by local artists? Choose from traditional or modern Thai themes, or commission your favourite scene to be replicated in a painting or sketch. A popular trend is to have a portrait sketched or painted as a gift or memento. A number of artists also specialise in portraits drawn from snapshots, meaning that you don't have to sit around for hours.

    The Holiday Inn in Patong Beach and Le Meridien Phuket Resort have portrait artists resident at work in the hotel lobbies during most afternoons or early evenings. Portraits are available in sepia, charcoal, pastel and oil colour, starting from around 3,000 baht depending on the medium used and the size of the portrait. Expect a 2-3 day wait, or have your painting or sketch posted to you. On the road leading out of Patong Beach towards Karon are a number of shophouses where artworks are ready for sale and special commissions are accepted.

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    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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