Samui Wining & Dining
More at Morya
Samui’s most progressive chain of pharmacies is keeping ahead of the crowd.


More at MoryaSamui is an island of extremes. Close to glitzy 5-star resorts you’ll see rustic villages. The bustle of Chaweng contrasts sharply with the miles of unspoiled beaches to be found nearby. There’re luxury yachts and old fishing boats moored together. All in all, it makes for a pleasant and harmonious whole. But there’s one aspect that people never feel easy about. When it comes to health and welfare, there are no two ways about it, everyone heads for familiar territory. We go for the modern and reassuring comfort of a high-tech hospital or a friendly and familiar pharmacy.


And that’s where the ‘Morya’ chain of pharmacies springs crisply into the picture. If you’re a visitor to Samui, then it won’t be a name you’re familiar with. But not so for the folks who live here. There are now 21 of the tried and trusted Morya branches scattered around the island; four of them in Chaweng alone. And Samui’s expat community has learned to look out for the familiar and reassuring green cross of the Morya logo.


Even the appearance of each branch inspires confidence; brightly lit and with a modern-looking wall of glass across the front through which the white-coated staff can be seen at work. However, they’re not alone in this as every other local pharmacy tries to project a similar image. But where Morya is unparalleled is that each and every branch has a qualified and experienced dispensing pharmacist in residence. And these pharmacists don’t have some kind of slimmed-down certificate that’s awarded after a year at college, either. These are dedicated professionals who have undergone the rigours of an intensive 7-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. Their studies of anatomy and physiology are on a par with the initial years of a degree in medicine. They’re qualified in biochemistry and organic chemistry. And there’s a hefty component of law studies to get to grips with, too, relating to medical aspects as well as pharmacy. You can rest assured that the staff at Morya really do know what they’re doing!


Although the idea was a while in hatching, all of this began in earnest, back in 2001, with the acumen and vision of one man, the owner and Executive Director of the chain, Khun Kwanchai Patpaen. A native of the nearby mainland city of Surat Thani, he’d anticipated the demand on the nearby tourist island of Samui for pharmacies that were the same as ‘those back home’. Pharmacies with qualified staff, and which provided familiar services and stocked products of an international quality. “We started slowly with just one branch in Chaweng,” he said, “and it was immediately encouraging. Two more branches followed quickly. We’ve not only expanded our services and products but have kept up with trends, too. All of our staff must speak good English. That’s vital. But now, with so many other nationalities coming to stay on Samui, we’ve also upgraded to a multi-lingual level. Now, if you are, say, a German, Italian or Russian visitor, you can be certain that you’ll be able to make yourself understood.”


Where Khun Kwanchai’s vision differs from those of lesser mortals is that he has a perceptive insight into the unique needs of ‘foreigners’ on Samui, whether they’re staying for a week or actually living here. And this has resulted in a whole range of services emerging which are not typical, but definitely useful if not actually essential, on a tropical ‘home-away-from-home’.


In order to grasp the significance of some of these services, you need to understand the way things work here. Some hospitals rely on the assumption that their ‘customers’ will come complete with comprehensive medical insurance – which not all visitors do. Morya is able to identify any medication (either locally-prescribed or from abroad) and source it at a competitive price, or even provide an inexpensive yet identical local equivalent. And the aftercare arising from, say, a minor motorbike accident, can prove surprisingly expensive. But Morya can supply a wheelchair or crutches or, for diving incidents, a mini oxygen cylinder, and even run comprehensive blood tests.


“We realise that when an emergency occurs,” Khun Chai continued, “most visitors don’t quite know what to do. They are not aware of their options. And so, because it’s urgent, quite understandably they follow the most direct path. And that’s why we have an ‘emergency number’ that anyone can call – 0 7724 7361. Wherever you are on Samui we have a branch close by. Call our emergency line and it goes direct to our main office. We’ll then contact the branch that’s nearest to you and they’ll deliver whatever you need to your hotel or home. You can even call us to come and identify and replicate your medication or deliver ointments or antibiotics. And,” he added, “we have temperature-controlled containers for items that are sensitive to tropical conditions.”


And, in line with this progressive approach to services, you’ll find a similar outlook when it comes to the products on the shelves. Naturally there are all the expected shampoos, sun-creams, mosquito repellents, prickly-heat or allergy treatments, analgesics, Band-Aids and bandages. But there are now increasingly more visitors coming from within Thailand as well as from other Asian nations, and so you’ll also find Thai and Chinese medicines and balms with familiar brand-names. Plus, of course, the expected ranges of cosmetic, hair and beauty products, baby-care and diet supplements.


But, in addition to all of this, Khun Chai has now introduced a range of Morya-Brand organic skin and beauty products which include soaps, lotions, bath scrubs, and spa and massage items. It’s all in line with the continual policy of upgrading and improvement that the Morya name is associated with. Even the Morya website is smooth, professional and very user-friendly, with a full line of products listed, and online-shopping.


Morya pharmacies are located all over the island, conveniently close to wherever there are concentrations of resorts or hotels to be found and now including the Big C supermarket. They open at 9:00 am and close late, usually at 10:00 pm, with the more-central branches staying open until midnight.


Rob De Wet


Copyright 2020 Samui Holiday Magazine. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.