Bangkok draws in shopping gurus from all over the globe, allured by it’s plethora of shopping options. From the arts & crafts of the sweltering JJ weekend and Suan Luam Night Market, to bustling Mah Boon Krong (affectionately known as MBK) with its five floors of DVD’s, cheap clothes and electronics, to the upscale Siam Paragon, complete with Porsche and Lamborghini showrooms, right through to the wholesale clothes market of Patumwan, the options are both interesting and limitless. Simply arrive with ‘carry on’ luggage and fill a case of new goodies or at the very least, leave ample space in your bag, as in Bangkok, rest assured, there are still bargains a plenty!
Although there are street level shops in the business districts of Sukhumvit and Silom, the majority of the city’s more sophisticated shopping outlets, arts & crafts boutiques, book shops, pharmacies, hair shops, and department stores can be found nestled inside the city’s many world class shopping malls. The latest additions, including Paragon, CentralWorld, Erawan Mall, Emporium and Gaysorn Plaza, are all super modern and chic and air-conditioned throughout, making the inside shopping experience far preferable to the outside alternative in the Bangkok sizzling heat.
A trip to a mall in Bangkok can even be a full day experience as most malls are equipped with 100 + restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in cuisines from all over the world, multi-screen cinemas with original soundtrack, some with world famous I-max screens, gymnasiums, massage centers, internet café’s, aquariums and beauty salons. Many, particularly of weekends showcase special events, be it an international watch fair, fashion show, travel or arts & crafts expo, so there needn’t even be a dull moment in the city of Angels.
Proud holder of the title of Largest Lifestyle Shopping Complex in South East Asia, this mall was revamped, re-named and re-launched in 2007 with a full interior work-over, new range of shopping outlets and an eye-catching exterior glass facelift.
With 500,000 + sqm. of retail space home to more than 500 shops, 50 restaurants, and 20 cinema screens, kid’s zone, no less that two department stores, within the labyrinth of corridors and escalators, Central World features a wide range of lifestyle outlets to satisfy virtually all possible whims, you can safely say that there will be one or two shops at CentralWorld that cater to your taste.
When it comes to F & B, be it a quick coffee break, a small lunch or a full-on wining and dining experience, CentralWorld delivers. In addition to numerous independent dining options, CW has one of the trendiest Foot Courts in the city showcasing foods from all over the world. In winter season, usually starting mid to late November, the outdoor square comes to life when the beer garden is erected. Featuring 4 zones, one can choose from the three Thai beer brew areas of Chang, Singha, and Leo or alternatively for the international Heiniken arena. Up until mid January, expect free flowing reasonably priced beer, and a mix of Thai and international food with live music provided by young local talent. Back to top
Think of the most glitzy shopping mall you’ve been in and then multiply it by at least 10 and you may get somewhere near the Siam Paragon Shopping Center. Five floors of upmarket products, great for window shopping if nothing else! Fancy buying an orange Lamborghini, a gold diamond studded Rolex watch, or a pair of Gucci shoes? All of these top-end lifestyle brands can be purchased at Siam Paragon.
A great excursion for families, make sure you set aside a few hours for a trip to Siam Paragon. In addition to fashion, books, home & living, jewelry & watches and cars, you can experience the culinary delights that can be found in the basement’s many restaurants, in addition to the multi-screen cinema up on the top floor and the Aquarium found in the lower basement floor. Back to top
An institution in Bangkok, MBK as it is best known to foreigners, but Mah Boon Krong to the locals, is Bangkok’s most well known shopping mall. A mall where you can still come out with as many bags as you spent dollars, of all Bangkok’s shopping malls, MBK is still the place to find a bargain. Just buy a huge suitcase to hold all your new clothes, shoes, fashion accessories, handbags, electronics, cameras, DVD’s and CD’s, leather products arts & crafts!
One notable floor includes the 4th floor, an electronics lovers paradise. Literally hundreds of shops selling every kind of phone imaginable, portable DVD players, MP3’s, Sony Playstations and PSP’s, Nintendo WII’s, digital cameras, and all manor of accessories for all of the above.
As with most malls in Bangkok, MBK has a great food village. Named the Fifth Avenue, here you can find foods from all over the world, this is a great place to catch your breath between shops as it is one of the calmer floors of the mall. Indian, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, Sandwiches, Italian food, and of course Thai, there’s sure to be something to get your mouth watering. For an even cheaper, but slightly more frenetic dining experience, you should head up to the 5th floor food court. Mostly Thai/ Chinese, you can find all the local favorites here. Also up in the top floors of MBK is a revamped multi-screen cinema showing western and Asian films in their original soundtrack, and a super-modern ten-pin bowling center. Back to top
A must if you wish to venture into Bangkok’s malls is the Emporium. The pioneer of upmarket Bangkok shopping, Emporium has long been the favorite hi-so (high-society, a key term in Thailand) shopping mall in town, that is until Siam Paragon sprung up. Nevertheless, Emporium is still considered uber hip showcasing all the globes top brands of fashion, lifestyle, interior décor and jewelry. Notable floors include the pleasure and leisure zone located on the third floor, where you will find a fine selection of hi-tech AV gadgets and gismos in addition to a well stocked golf emporium.
If you love interior décor, head up to the fourth floor where you will find everything you can imagine. Western traditional designs, chic minimalist Asian works, inspired kitchenware, luxury textiles and modern arts and crafts of the Exotic Thai Gallery and the CVN Art Centers, this is probably the most impressive rage of interior products under one roof in Bangkok.
Shopping at Emporium, you’ll probably develop a healthy appetite, or at the very least the yearning for a break from shopping and a cup of coffee. As one may expect, the Emporium features a fine selection on eateries from all over the world, including full restaurants, coffee & cake shops and deli outlets, giving plenty of options for taking five minutes to grab a snack. In addition, the Emporium has no less than two food courts serving affordable and varied treats from around the globe. If you need to stock up on any bits and pieces, head up to the supermarket, where you will find just a huge range of Thai and import goods.Back to top
Located in the Samut Sangkhram province 80 KM from Bangkok, this market was put on the tourist map courtesy of the bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Certainly still worth a visit, Damnoen Saduak consists of narrow Klongs (canals) lined with boats each fighting for position to snap up a deal from the tourists. It’s fascinating, loud, touristy but heaps of fun. Opening times are 7.00 – 11.00am on Saturday and Sundays. To get there, take a bus from the southern bus terminal to the Samut Sanglhram Province, and then either walk the walk way to the market or haggle a short boat ride to the market pier.Back to top
One of the most influential malls in the city, Siam Center (Circa 1976, but with a few face lifts along the way) paved the way for the Emporiums & Siam Paragons of the city. Conveniently situated right in the center of the Siam district, right next to the Siam BTS station, the Siam Center, holds its ground despite being situated right next door to the city’s newest and flashiest malls. On any given day Siam Center is full to the brim of young, hip, energetic clientele keen to part with their cash in exchange for uber-fashionable clothes, shoes, bags and accessories, well worth a visit if only to partake it a spot of people watching.
Siam center has four floors and is home to over 300 shops and restaurants. Piped and pumped, music is played throughout the corridors courtesy of the radio station located up on the fourth floor. Featuring a quirky and eclectic mix of shops catering to the latest teen fads, the line up includes skating gear, poptastic fashion clobber, cool accessories and all other currently popular lifestyle brand creations. As no young Thai is complete without hi-tech communications gadgetry, at Siam Center, the youth can get fitted out with the latest phone technology in any one of the many phone and accessory shops.
To complete the set up, beauty centers are dotted around the mall with consultants on hand to let you know what’s on offer. Hair stylists nail artists, teeth whitening experts, doctors offering bottox injections or laser surgery, anything and everything is on offer to maintain those fresh good looks. Catering to youth appetites, as one may expect, Siam Center features many food outlets in addition to a stylish food court boasting good food at great prices.
Demonstrating its age, having been created in an era when not every mall got one, this mall is one of the few without a cinema complex. However, just across one of the many walkways that branch out from the mall, you will find the Siam Discovery Center, yet another shopping center with an alternate theme, and equipped with an ample number of big screens. Back to top
Located in Ratchaprasong, right next to the BTS Chitlom Station, access to Gaysorn is easy. Situated in a great part of town, just down the road is the newly developed Central World, Erawan Mall and the Erawan Shrine, another key site and well worth visiting when in the area.
Shops showcasing exclusive hi-end products and designer labels, thoughtfully positioned around several floors of stark white marble, with plenty of wide open space, the Gaysorn plaza’s chic modern design and exclusivity presents an elite shopping experience.
Expect to find a range of exclusive fashion brands such as Gucci, Rolex, Panerai, Louis Vuitton, and Prada, just to name a few.
Highlighting the exclusivity of this establishment, Gaysorn features a lifestyle consultancy team. Within this service, fashion and lifestyle brand experts are on hand to offer assistance in first identifying ones personal preferences, then suggesting suitable shops and products to satisfy that thirst and to provide advice on generally what’s hot and what’s not in the world of fashion, if you didn’t already know that is.Back to top
The newly developed five star Hyatt Erawan Bangkok at one end and the revered Erawan Shrine at the other, located in the middle of the Rachaprason Shopping District, the Erawan mall arguably has the credentials to be described as the most exclusive of the city’s shopping malls. Spread out over five exclusive and moderately sized floors, the Erawan Mall, a self described ‘boutique mall’, showcases only the most stylish lifestyle brands.
In fitting with the Erawan Mall’s fine line-up of retails outlets, the cuisine on offer is equally impressive. On street level you will find a range of moderate sized eateries which make up the Urban Kitchen. Culinary highlights include the Chinese treats of La Mian Xiao Long Bao and Crystal Jade to the steaks and grill specialties of the Caesar Steak House, to the up-market but authentic Thai creations of the Nara. Ideal for a shopping break or simply to escape the barmy Bangkok streets just outside is the Erawan Tea Room. Overlooking the famous Erawan Shrine, the Erawan Tea Room offers the perfect opportunity to savor some of the world’s finest teas. Also on offer is a range of delectable sweet things to tantalize the taste buds.Back to top