Pharmacies are just about as old as the hills. Well, certainly their products are. The first pharmaceutical products were plants that were prized for their medicinal benefits. They were literally tugged out of the ground, pulled off trees or picked from the stems of plants. The knowledge of medicinal plants was known to the Ancient Egyptians, and grew amongst the Ancient Greeks and Romans, the Chinese and through the Islamic world. The first pharmacies (some are still open today at their original sites) date back almost 1,500 years.
Whether the medicine worked or not, pharmacies of yore weren’t particularly attractive places; they were filled with plants, roots and leaves, strange liquids and potions, and everywhere there were the smells of all the botanical products.
Fast forward to today’s pharmacies and you’ll see that they’re no longer dusty shops filled with withered and dried plants. They’re bright and modern, and they sell an incredible amount of medicine from all over the world. Even when you venture far afield, you’re likely to come across pharmacies that are very much standardized and keep to international norms that are strictly enforced. This means that you can trust the medicine to be well in date, to be stored correctly and most important, that it will have been dispensed by a pharmacist – a qualified person, in other words, who’s been to university and is trained.
On Samui you’ll see many pharmacies, a surprising number for a small island, and they’re mostly reputable places. There’s also a chain of pharmacies, simply called Morya, that operates just here and nowhere else. Trusted by islanders, foreign residents and holidaymakers alike, Morya has many branches and unless you’re in a wild, out-of-reach place, there’ll be one near you.
Morya is often the first port of call when you’re feeling sick. And on a holiday there can be various reasons for that. Perhaps you ate something suspect, had too much sun or suffered some other tropical malady, from an itchy rash all the way through to a seemingly inexplicable fever. Step into any of Morya’s pharmacies and you’ll soon be talking to a qualified pharmacist. He or she will be able to communicate in English and understand just what your problem is. Staff can use computer interpretation services for other languages. Each pharmacy has a full range of medications in stock – approximately 4,000 of them. Better still, you’ll usually have a choice between brand name and generic medicines, meaning there’s often a range of prices.
Due to national regulations, pharmacists in Thailand are allowed to sell a greater variety of products without a prescription than their counterparts can in the west. It’s easier to buy medicine in Thailand as there’s often no need to see a doctor first. In many cases the pharmacist can make a diagnosis and know what medicine is appropriate. In addition customers can come to get repeat prescriptions. But Morya won’t sell you anything for which, under Thai law, you need a doctor’s prescription first; they adhere to the rules. Should you need to see a doctor, they’ll be able to supply information about where to go.
There are 19 Morya pharmacies at the moment on Samui, including three new branches that have recently opened. You’ll
find the first of these new branches just in front of Tesco-Lotus in Chaweng (there’s one inside the supermarket, too). The second is in Chaweng Noi near Vana Belle and the third is in Lamai, at the local market.
Morya also has medical equipment and whether you’re looking for a thermometer, a pair of crutches or even a wheelchair to rent, you can find them all in stock. They also stock traditional and herbal medicines, with some coming from Thailand and others from China and Korea. There are many products that you won’t find outside South-East Asia, and some you’ll probably never have heard of. You may be surprised at how effective they are. You’ll also find a full range of vitamins and
supplements, as well as a range of food supplements.
Many people drop into Morya knowing it’s here that they’ll find a plethora of fragrances and perfumes as well as beauty and skin care products. It takes quite a while to browse just what’s on offer. Or maybe you would like to pick up a gift or a souvenir. Choose between a variety of natural spa and product sets, for example, coconut, lemongrass, jasmine, and so on. There are also many kinds of massage oils of premium quality.
If you’re particularly interested in organic and spa products and health and nutrition supplements, you should head for Morya’s Greenhealth stores, which focus on these ranges. Currently there are five of these, with the latest having opened on the Chaweng Beach Road, next to McDonald’s.
Morya has a full range of sun-care and after-sun products with a full spectrum of sun factors, as well as protection for children. If your skin’s feeling stressed through too much sun, they can help with that, too. Naturally, Morya has mosquito repellents in stock, along with creams and sprays. And if your skin is prone to itching, either because of the sun, an allergy or insect bites, they have many solutions on hand that’ll bring comfort. Morya isn’t just for adults, of course. Babies and children may also require help. Whether it’s some diapers, baby food, lotions or children’s shampoo, Morya is certain to have it.
Finally, last but not least, Morya also sells a limited range of dried fruits and snacks. If you’re from the west you may not be so used to these, but they’re certainly worth trying, and they also make good souvenirs, too.
Hopefully, you won’t get sick during your holiday on Samui – the vast majority of visitors don’t. But if you do, then just walk into any of the Morya branches and you’ll find friendly and efficient staff who will be able to provide help. But there are many other reasons to come and see what Morya offers. With their bright, clean up to date stores, it’s a pleasure just to drop in and browse the aisles and just see what’s on offer. You’ll be surprised by the sheer amount and variety of their products. And perhaps best of all, both Morya and Greenhealth cater for you when you’re in perfect health.
For further information, telephone 0 7741 3298 or 0 7731 0646.