Whether it’s the most luxurious international brands you’d like to peruse in ultra-modern malls or the ambience of a traditional market place, Bangkok is the best place to shop until you drop.
Shopping options are widespread in Bangkok and visitors will find it hard not to be tempted by the vast array of options that include high-end shopping malls and boutiques, as well as street markets and bazaars. Shopping can take place either day or night so shoppers can find their fix at any hour. Bangkok shopping allows for the best of both worlds – with state-of-the-art, air-conditioned malls offering luxury brands associated with the West yet also the lively, colourful and authentic street markets and floating markets associated with the East.
For ultimate luxury shopping, Central Embassy in an impressive, architecturally designed building that takes the shopping experience to a whole new level, with eight storeys of retail space. Brands include Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Hermés, Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Prada, Rolex and Versace.
Early in 2015 the grand Em Quartier mall opened in Bangkok, boasting South East Asia’s tallest man-made waterfall at 40 metres – along with all the usual luxury brands you’d expect to find. If you’d like to gaze at fish while browsing, the luxurious Siam Paragon has Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium, conveniently located at the front of the very central Siam BTS Skytrain station. The mall has over 250 luxury stores in a fairly compact layout with decorative window displays.
The Central World premium shopping mall features creative artworks and sculptures throughout with interactive capabilities. The mall is separated into six zones with their own distinct ambiance, purposefully designed so shoppers can look through to the other zones during their foray.
For a more casual affair, Asiatique the Riverfront combines the mall and night bazaar experience in one. A former trade port, this mall houses over 1,500 stores and 40 restaurants. Siam Square, Bangkok’s equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue, provides an interesting mix for all things cool, edgy and funky – but also is home to some of Bangkok’s most expensive real estate. The open-air shopping experience features creative outlets where emerging designers producing eclectic fashion and wares can be found.
If you love the thrill of a market atmosphere, the Chatuchak Weekend Market should be top of your list. More than 8,000 merchants sell an extremely wide range of wares across a 35-acre floorspace – where you can find ceramics, clothing, books, antiques, art, plants and homewares and much more. There’s a system to navigate your way throughout the market, with one main walkway that encircles the entire market branching off into a series of numbered alleyways. Numbered entrance gates provide good points of reference too throughout.
An indoor version or similar to the Chatuchak Weekend Market can be found at the air-conditioned Platinum Fashion Mall, sprawling over four levels. Consider this a one-stop option for reasonably priced souvenirs and fashion items, with haggling still acceptable.
For a more personalised experience, the renowned tailors of Bangkok can custom-make shirts, trousers, skirts, jackets and eveningwear all made-to-measure. Wear a piece of Thailand home with you in the form of a tailored Thai silk garment, or select from a vast range of other quality fabrics.
For a truly photo-worthy and scent-filled shopping experience, the Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Klong Talad Bangkok) has blooms of all descriptions at very affordable prices. Located just south of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, it’s a suitable stop on a tour of the historical attractions of the Old City. It’s open 24 hours but the best time to go is pre-dawn at 3am when floral retailers bargain to buy their stocks in bulk.
For a place to kick back after all the shopping, head to the new Yod Piman Riverwalk. Inspired in design by the Ayuthaya period, this lifestyle mall exudes the feel of Old City Bangkok. River views, cool breezes, a large beer garden and evening entertainment will make your souvenir shopping more enjoyable.