Bangkok is a veritable shopping hub, at par with the best in the West, is a well-known fact. Where it scores a point or two above its competitors is in the sheer diversity it offers. From the usual suspects like DKNY and Armani that you’d find in any upscale mall to culturally unique outlets you won’t come across outside the city, Bangkok shopping offers you plenty of bang for your buck.
So, without further ado, here are the 6 Bangkok shopping experiences you must have:
1. Patpong Night Market
If you fancy your skill at bargaining and have a keen eye for distinguishing between genuine and knock-offs, Patpong Night Market is the best that Bangkok shopping can offer. Set in one of Bangkok’s most notorious nightlife districts, Patpong can be either a deal haven or a tourist trap.
Even if you’re not looking to shop, take a stroll around Patpong after sunset. The delightful chaos and the surrounding nightclubs and bars will make for a memorable evening.
What to shop: ‘Genuine fakes’, souvenirs, handbags, accessories, cheap clothing
MBK is a mall unlike no other. Comprising eight floors packed with over 2,000 outlets selling everything from designer clothes and furniture to electronics and hardware, MBK’s USP lies in the fact that it’s one of the few (or perhaps, only) malls in the world where bargaining is legitimate.
If you’re looking to have a comprehensive shopping experience, get your haggling cap on and head for MBK.
What to shop: Designer fashion, jewellery, electrical appliances, mobile phones
3. Chatuchak Weekend Market
Welcome to one of the biggest markets in the world. Even Delhi’s Janpath or Bombay’s Linking Road does not hold a candle to it. Covering over a kilometre and hosting an astounding 15,000 booths, the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a tourist attraction in its own right.
From retail clothes to handicrafts, wood carving and jewellery, everything you can imagine is on display at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Haggling is encouraged, but try not to get carried away doing so. Spare a whole day for the Chatuchak experience, and carry a bottle of water – there’s plenty of walking to do!
What to shop: Local souvenirs, handicrafts, wood carvings, clothes, jewellery, artwork, ceramic wares
4. Asiatique Riverfront
Once an international trading port, Asiatique has metamorphosed into one of the most popular open-air, after-dark shopping arcades in the city. Nestled by the river, Asiatique proffers Asian handicrafts, European fashion and American food, as well as a host of entertainment facilities. It makes no bones about its touristy leanings, with brands big and small catering to international tastes, selling keepsakes to take home. The glittering ‘Paris Wheel’, a huge ferris wheel within the compound, is another sight for sore eyes, even if you don’t take a round.
Take the free shuttle boat departing from Sathorn/Central Pier to reach Asiatique Riverfront. It’s a must-do experience if you’re looking to experience the Bangkok shopping scene.
What to shop: Local souvenirs, fashion items
5. Central World
Bangkok has its fair share of colossal malls. Central World, the sixth largest shopping centre in the world, is one of these heavy hitters. With eight floors, each catering to a specific item (kids, men, women, electronics, etc.), there’s little you won’t find in this mall.
In fact, Central World is so huge that it even hosts cars and motorbikes for sale. Sports enthusiasts would be advised to check out Super Sports, a gigantic shop where you’ll find all kinds of sports gear and equipment.
Open : Daily
What to Shop: Clothes, sports gear, electronics, wine
6. Siam Paragon
Luxury shoppers are advised to take the Sky train to Siam station to visit Siam Paragon. The luxury wing at the ground floor offers brands such as LV, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Burberry et al. After you’re done shopping (or window shopping), find your way to the huge food court on the same floor, where you’ll find some of Bangkok’s, and the world’s, biggest restaurant chains.
In terms of the biggest and the best in the city, Siam Paragon has the biggest book store (Kinokuniya, 3rd floor), fitness centre (Fitness First, 4th floor), cinema complex (15 theatres, including 3D, 4D and IMAX), and aquarium (Siam Ocean World, Basement). So there’s plenty to do even if you’re not an avid shopper. Try combining Central World with Siam Paragon since they’re nearby.
What to shop: Luxury items, books, souvenirs
An exciting concoction of the local and the international, Bangkok is widely acclaimed as a shopper’s paradise. From the side-streets of Chatuchak to the air-conditioned aisles of Siam Paragon, the overwhelming range in price and product makes Bangkok one of the rare destinations where any kind of shopper (or non-shopper!) can find their niche.