The Stylish Travel Girl’s Guide to Shopping in Bangkok for All Budgets
Travel guides for Bangkok all speak of the gold crusted Grand Palace, the crumbling wats, or the floating market. But they all neglected to talk about one thing: the malls.
Few cities I’ve visited take their shopping as seriously as Bangkok does. The Sukhumvit area is a few blocks just jam packed with shopping centers. We stayed in this area and I swear, there must have been at least 8 large malls within a few blocks walking from our place. To escape the unbearable Thai heat, we slipped into one of the malls… and I was amazed. From then on, whenever Daniel asked me what I wanted to do that day, my answer was “to go to the mall.”
Bangkok malls are nothing short of spectacular and in my opinion, should be a tourist destination. Let me guide you to the best malls and shopping experiences in Bangkok. There is something there for everyone no matter what your budget is!
For the high roller glamazon: Siam Paragon
Let’s start this guide off on the ultimate high note (literally): with the most luxurious mall in the city! The main floor of Siam Paragon houses all of the world’s most prestigious brands, from Louis Vuitton to Versace to Hermes. This is the place to come if you’ve got some money to spend. Don’t have that much spare cash? It’s okay! The first floor has more affordable fashion stores, such as H&M and Zara. The upper floors boast luxury car showrooms, the latest electronics, restaurants, and a huge Cineplex. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I did not personally go into Siam Paragon, but next time I’m in the city, I’m making a stop here for some delicious window shopping!
How to get there: Bangkok Skytrain, Siam Station (interchange between the dark green and light green lines)
For every taste : Central World
Siam Paragon may have the world’s most coveted brands, but Central World is the mother of all shopping centers. This mall is the largest in Thailand, and the seventh largest in the world. This impressive statistic may not mean much to you until you step inside and see just how huge it is. Pictures do not accurately show its size at all!
What I love about this mall is that everyone feels welcomed here. Between the over 500 stores featuring popular Western brands, boutiques, electronics, interior design, books, and much more, there is something to suit everyone. And between the over 100 eateries spanning from Western fast food to local Thai to high end international cuisine, there is something for every taste. But it doesn’t just stop with shops and dining! Central World also houses an ice skating rink, movie theater, imported goods grocery store, and even an educational entertainment center for kids while parents shop!
I think Central World is truly a worthy tourist destination in its own right! But just one tip: come with your best walking shoes.
How to get there: Bangkok Skytrain, Chit Lom or Siam Station (light green line)
For the wanderluster shopper: Terminal 21
Terminal 21, as the name suggests, is a travel themed mall and wins for the cleverest concept in mall design! Arriving at this grand shopping center is like arriving at an airport, where each floor transports you to a different country. Take a stroll along the cobblestone pathways of Rome on the ground floor. Then immediately be whisked away to Tokyo on Level 1 and London on Level 2. Don’t forget to visit the markets of Istanbul on Level 3 either (p.s. pop into the restroom on this level… Apparently, it was voted as Bangkok’s best public restroom!). The top floor, Hollywood, is of course the movie theater.
When you’re hungry from doing all that world-traveling in a day, just take a quick flight over to San Francisco on Levels 4 and 5, where you will be spoiled with more food choices than you can process. Level 4 offers many sit-down restaurants while Level 5 (my favorite!) houses the huge food court at Pier 39. Here, you will find a labyrinth of vendors serving up fresh street style food in an upscale mall setting. The mango and sticky rice stall in the center is ever so popular for a sweet treat! This food court is also a favorite for locals!
How to get there: Bangkok Skytrain, Asok Station (light green line)
For the budget conscious fashionista: Asiatique
Asiatique, located right on the Chao Phraya River (look out for the huge ferris wheel!), is what happens when the typical night market gets a glam makeover! This space used to be an old international trade port and has now been given new life as a sprawling outdoor shopping & dining area. Over a thousand stores are housed in four large old revamped warehouses. You’ll find a mix of unique fashion boutiques – from vintage to boho to edgy – and handicraft shops. And the best part? The price is right. You can easily find cute shirts or dresses under $10 US. This was where I wish I had more luggage space!
Asiatique is only a night market, opening up operations at 5 pm and going til midnight. You can easily make an evening of it by also dining at one of the many eateries. I especially love the classic hand-pulled milk tea & coffee stand!
How to get there: Bangkok Subway, Saphan Taksin Station (dark green line). Then take the free boat shuttle to Asiatique at the pier.
For the bargain hunter: Chatuchak weekend market
For those looking for a more raw, less-sterilized shopping experience, I am including the Chatuchak Weekend Market! This is the largest market in Bangkok. It’s over 35 acres big and contains eight thousand vendor stalls! I cannot even pretend to understand how it’s laid out, so just pick an entrance point, wander in and get lost among the narrow aisles! Absolutely EVERYTHING is on sale here (I even saw a pen of puppies!), and I’m sure I barely even covered a fraction of it. I did however chance into a shop where every single item was only 100 baht or $3. I couldn’t pass that price up and bought a blue polka dot dress. Score!
This market opens up Friday night after 6 pm, and all day Saturday and Sunday, until 6 pm.
How to get there: Bangkok Skytrain, Mo Chit Station (light green line).
Are there any fun shopping centers in your town? Which one of these places would you want to visit?
Anna worked as a construction manager in Los Angeles… until her life got flipped upside down when she met a boy with big dreams to travel the world. She’s since shed the hardhat and now can be found gobbling down strange street food, taking too many pictures, and squealing at anything furry. On her blog, she writes about her favorite travel memories, love, food, and making sense of life as a new full-time traveler.
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