Samui Wining & Dining
THE GREEN CROSS CODE

Morya – Samui’s most progressive pharmacy – goes green with ‘Health and Herbs’.


Page-108

When it comes to matters of health or hygiene then we tend to go with the brands that we know. Which is all fine and dandy until you’re far away from home. Yes, of course, you’ll make sure that you bring your prescriptions along and even your favourite brand of tea bags! And then, while away, when you buy your milk and your toothpaste – even something as simple as a packet of peanuts – you’ll simply hope there’s a brand that you recognise.

As much as anything else it’s about trust. Especially abroad, when there are just too many things that are strange, to take a risk, particularly when it comes to something as important as health. And not without reason. Traditionally, for the Thai people, hospitals and doctors are expensive and a visit takes up a lot of time. Therefore the local pharmacy is the place to go when you’re unwell or need medical advice or treatment. Sometimes this is appropriate. But sometimes the advice can be rooted in folklore, and awareness of physiological and medical basics is not always consistent. Even the established pharmacies in big cities here flow along these lines – particularly in places where there are few foreign visitors or tourists.

        But picture this: a qualified and internationallyaccredited pharmacist with a fully-stocked shop of proven products, many of them familiar brands from Europe and America. A team of assistants who can speak several languages. A service which can duplicate your medication and supply you with exactly your own prescription and brand or, alternatively, offer you something that’s identical, local, and less expensive. A range of products which mirror – and even extend – the same items you’ll recognise in your pharmacy back home. And, if you’re unfortunate enough to have an accident or become ill, will supply you with branded medication or even a wheelchair or pair of crutches on a daily rental basis – and deliver them to your hotel or resort. You can get all this, and more, from Khun Kwanchai and his trusted and established chain of Morya pharmacies.

          Khun Kwanchai Patpaen is the man behind this chain, and it was his idea to bring to Samui a level and standard of care which visitors could be assured was the same as they were used to back home. In a nutshell, pharmacies with qualified staff, and which provided familiar services and stocked products of an international quality. Khun Kwanchai is friendly, dynamic and outgoing. Many others in his position would have by now have sat back, content to enjoy their 21 pharmacy outlets across the island and turned their thoughts to another Mercedes. But this man is constantly on the go, always looking for ways to make Morya better and, in the last year, has added innumerable new products to the shelves of every Morya pharmacy. And he’s shrewd, too. He’s keenly aware of what we want, and the way that Western expectations have been changing over the years. And also it’s interesting that Khun Kwanchai, personally, has always had a leaning towards alternative and oriental remedies and medicines.

          The first sign of this came with the introduction, in all of the Morya branches, of a range of healthy and natural ‘spa’ products, extending from feel-good facial packs to herbal compresses and organic scrubs. From there it was one small step to make the next connection: an entire range of health and herbal products. Putting it another way; a range of alternative medicines, combined with holistic, organic, and herbal products and remedies.

          All the Morya pharmacies have an entire range of well-being, health, medical and pharmaceutical products, plus a selection of homeopathic and herbal products. But Khun Kwanchai is a keen sort of a chap, and has been busy sourcing and buying lots more homeopathic and alternative products. And the result of this is there are now two different-but-related ‘Moryas’. Every pharmacy on Samui seems to announce its presence with some sort of green, blue or red cross as part of the logo. But the ones to go for are the ones with ‘Morya’ as well as a cross! There are lots of blue crosses that wear the Morya badge around the island now. But there are only four which have a green cross.

          The green cross Morya means “Health and Herbs”. In the regular Moryas, you’ll find that it’s all centred on pharmacy plus health and well-being products, plus a few shelves of herbal remedies. In the green cross Moryas it’s the other way around. Khun Kwanchai has gathered-in so many alternative and holistic products that you could fill a shop with them. So that’s just what he’s done – four shops, actually, at the time of writing.

          Is it like visiting an esoteric Chinese herbalist? Not in the least. If you’re after something with gloomy cascades of dark-wood drawers, jars of pickled newts and ingredients for spells and incantations, plus a little old man with long grey whiskers pounding on a crucible and muttering something in Nepalese then you’re in the wrong place entirely. This is a pharmacy. It’s bright and clean and modern. Only it’s all about natural remedies and the herbal side of things. But everything’s still bright and modern, and there will be lots of very western-looking bottles and tubs and packets. You won’t be able to get chemicalbased medicines – for this you need to go to one of the other outlets. But you will get expert advice. Sunburn? A careful examination from the resident manager will advise you of an aloe-herbal compound, or tell you to go for hospital advice. These people have integrity, know their limits and won’t hesitate to lose custom (you!) if it’s beyond their scope and in your interest.

          And to go along with all of this Morya has now issued a loyalty card – ‘MY Card’. The way it works is that you’ll be given one free if you spend 500 baht or more (or if you want one to begin with then it’ll cost you just 50 baht to enrol). The benefit is that every time you shop at Morya you’ll get a discount of 5% on pharmaceuticals and 10% on the in-house brands of Morya, Health Planet, Oriental Nature etc. Cards are valid for two years and represent great value for money!

          The Morya pharmacy chain has long-since established its reputation for conventional health care products, and is a tried and trusted brandname on Samui. And there is little doubt that in the months to come we’ll also be seeing more of those familiar Morya crosses, but this time the crosses will be green!

 

 Rob De Wet


 


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