Makro is originally a Dutch shop based around the idea of cash and carry warehouses for retailers who belonged to the Makro Club. Since its modest beginnings in 1968 the idea has caught on around Europe and now in Asia. There is already a successful Makro store in Koh Samui. The Koh Phangan Makro opened in 2014.
With the political upheavals throughout the country and many rice farmers facing financial ruin because of the failed government rice pledging scheme the timing could not be worse you might imagine. However, prices for food stuffs and other items on the island have always been inflated compared to the mainland. This has been due to limited competition and the power of the ferry companies.
The situation changed slightly with the introduction of a medium-sized Tesco Lotus in Thongsala. Although local businesses complained at the time that Tesco Lotus would put other shops out of business it has not been the case.
This formed the backdrop to the opening of the new Makro in Koh Phangan. It has not been met by protest. Rather everyone is keen to visit the store and purchase some bargains.
The shop is on the Bantai road, about 1 km before Thongsala. If you are driving to Thongsala from Bantai (or Haad Rin) you will find Makro on your right hand side.
The original idea of Makro was that only retailers with a Makro card could make purchases. I expect for legal and tax reasons that this is still officially the case. However, the Makro in Koh Samui issues all-comers with a temporary card when they enter the store. The same system has been implemented in Koh Phangan.
Makro in Thailand is a great place to shop for imported products especially food stuffs such as cheese and meat. They also sell a good range of local products and brands.
As the shop is intended for retailers the products tend to come in large sizes. This is also one of the ways the company keeps prices low – by selling in bulk and using less packaging.
If you just want to buy something for your dinner then Makro will not be the place to go. However, if you have rented a private villa in Koh Phangan then you will be able to make a big shop at Makro at the start of your vacation and get great value for money.
Shopping in Koh Phangan just got a little better.