Bangkok Thailand has just about anything you could want to explore, experience, or buy. Bangkok has a maze of Mega Malls, street stalls, and night bazaars that carry pretty decent looking knock offs of famous brand names of clothing, handbags, watches, as well as genuine items of the same. and They of course also offer items made in Thailand, souvenirs and items that would fall under the ‘unusual‘ category.
5 awesome shopping malls in Bangkok. I have visited all of these malls and the information provided is my own opinion garnered from experience. Some information I did have to look up about the number of stores and floors they have because they are just immense. Counting floors is not part of my shopping experience. I go shopping with my wife to browse and shop for that maybe one must have item or souvenir or just to browse for hours.
Keep in mind that the malls and open-air shopping mall, ASIATIQUE The River Front, are enormous so plan to spend some time there and wear comfortable shoes. Oh, and if you get hungry or thirsty, no fear! Food and drink of all kinds and prices are available. There isn’t any place you visit in Bangkok that doesn’t have food available somewhere close and these malls will provide you with the opportunity to eat just about anything you would feel like eating. One thing the Thai people love is to enjoy a nice meal so you benefit from that too.
Central World is reported to have 495 stores and services that provide goods for just about anything you could think of and more. It’s located at 4, 4/1-4/2, 4/4 Ratchadamri Road in Bangkok and boasts 2,000,000 square feet total of retail space. So, put your walking shoes on and go explore. It’s touted as the third largest shopping center in the world and has seven stories of shopping and a hotel on the premises as well as an office complex. Furniture, clothing, shoes, you name it, it’s here.
During the riots that took place in May 2010, the complex suffered fire damage to part of it near the Zen Department store and they had to close it for a short while due to repair work. I was there in August 2012 and there were no signs anything had ever happened to it. One thing I really admire about Thailand is how fast they fix things that are damaged by manmade or natural disasters.
MBK Center, some call it MBK Mall, is eight stories high and boasts 2000 shops. No, that’s not a typo, 2000 shops. MBK Mall is located in the Pathum Wan district of Bangkok, at the corner of the intersection of Rama I Road and Phaya Thai Road. In this same area, actually across Rama I Road are two other malls, Siam Center and Siam Paragon. You can get to both malls via a covered foot bridge from MBK Center for easy access.
MBK Center is amazing because not only do they have regular shops, you will find kiosks out in the hallways that are selling all kinds of goods, original and knock offs, which include but definitely not limited to leather crafted items, beauty products, music and videos, cell phones and other electronics, and an assortment of backpacks and bags. There are plenty of places to eat here too so you can recharge and continue shopping. MBK Center and the other two malls are a shopaholic’s paradise where you could literally spend more than a whole day poking around.
Asiatique The Riverfront
Asiatique The Riverfront is a new shopping / eating open air mall that is not a mall like the others, but is an area of developed land near the Chao Praya River that offers the visitor / traveler / Thai many shopping opportunities as well as an abundance of eateries catering traditional Thai, seafood and western cuisine. It is located at “2194 Charoenkrung Rd., WatPrayakai, Bangkoleam, Bangkok“. Their operating hours are posted as 5:00 P.M. (1700) until midnight, seven days a week, and this is definitely a place that caters to tourists, travelers, and Thai’s alike.
According to their website, there are a total of “1500 shops” and 16 eateries listed to explore and enjoy. The shops are set up in kiosks and shop fronts and they sell just about anything to include Thai crafts and goods, clothing, electronics, as well as art, jewelry, and many other items and souvenirs people may be looking for. In addition to food and shopping they also have live entertainment. When I was there they had a ukulele concert, which to some may sound corny, but I will tell you the show was incredible and the musicians were very talented. The “Joe Louis Puppet Theatre” also has relocated here which used to be at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar.
For those who have been to Bangkok, this is an upscale version of the old Suan Lum Night Bazaar, minus the huge ferris wheel, which has since closed down. The land is supposedly going to be or is in the process of being redeveloped into yet again a shopping stall and open market attraction.
When they closed down Suan Lum Night Bazaar I was really bummed. You could go to Suan Lum Night Bazaar in the evening and have an awesome meal in their huge open-air food court. In the food court they had large screen televisions broadcasting the soccer matches (the Thais favorite team seems to be England’s Manchester team) and they also had a stage where live Thai bands would entertain you; and there was no cover charge. If it rained that was no problem because the food court had a huge canopy that they would extend to cover the area. After you ate you could go explore the many shopping stalls and barter the prices down for goods and crafts that were offered for sale. So, it was a really fun place to go spend some time and even get a really great Thai foot or body massage.
Asiatique The Riverfront is a really nice place to go for the same reasons and I really recommend you check it out. They even have the “ASIATIQUE FESTIVAL” going on now into January 2013. Check out their website under “Happening”.
Siam Paragon is another mega shopping center that not only provides an incredible shopping experience, but they also have a huge theatre complex as well and the Siam Ocean World aquarium. Other entertainment choices other than shopping include a bowling alley and a karaoke center. I hadn’t bowled in years and the Thai bowling alleys are a lot of fun because they are lit up with colorful lights, they play music, and everyone is having fun and not serious about winning or losing. Haven’t done the karaoke thing, but if you’re a crooner or ‘croonerette’ this might be right up your alley.
Siam Paragon is located on Rama I Road in Pathum Wan district in the same area as MBK Center and Siam Center as mentioned before. The difference with Siam Paragon is if you want genuine designer / luxury items, not knock offs, this is one of the places to go. If you have the money to spend or even go just to ‘browse‘ it’s a fun place to see.
THE MALL Thapra
Although The Mall Thapra is a lot smaller mall than the aforementioned mega malls, I enjoy going here because the clientele are mostly Thai people. You will see foreigners on occasion but I know when I have been there I kind of stand out. Here they have department stores, cell phone shops, gold shops, and eateries.
My favorite place in THE MALL to eat is down on the basement level where they have an awesome grocery store and a cafeteria type eatery where you purchase coupons to ‘buy’ your food. The majority of the selections are Thai cuisine which is cooked right on the premises and the food is incredible and cheap. If you have coupons left over you just bring them back to the cashier window and they will give you your cash back for the value of the leftover coupons. They also have western fast food like KFC and McDonalds in the Mall as well as other types of Thai restaurants. If you like custard pie, which I DO, KFC sells miniature custard pies which are awesome. They go great with a cup of coffee. :) Just make sure if they were just cooked that you don’t burn your mouth; the custard will stick to the roof of your mouth and gums; trust me.
THE MALL is also very close to the BANGKOK’s NOODLE MAN who’s noodle stall is located in the alley behind THE MALL along with several other Street Food vendors. I recommend a visit to BANGKOK’s Noodle Man as well if you get the chance. If you are already at THE MALL, why not!
THE MALL THAPRA is located in Bukkhalo, Thon Buri, Bangkok off of Ratchadapisek Street.
Platinum Fashion Mall
The Platinum Fashion Mall is a mall that caters to those looking for fashion clothes and accessories for women and men at retail and wholesale prices. The way I understand it, if you buy one or two pieces of clothing at the shops, it’s at retail price, but if you buy three or more it’s at wholesale prices. Just be sure to ask and or barter for the best price. It is not uncommon to see people who have these big bags on wheels walking around and buying several pieces for resale and most of these types are foreigners.
The mall is six stories worth of retail space and I haven’t been there since 2011 when there was supposed to be a Platinum Fashion Mall 2 opening up. If all you are looking for is clothing and / or accessories this is a great place to check out. This mall is located on Pretchaburi Road in Pratu Nam Bangkok.
There are yet again two other malls in the same vicinity, Pantip Plaza and on the opposite side, the Pratunam Complex which is a 14 story mall. It’s also not far from Central World mentioned previously.
If you are a female traveling with a guy who does not like to clothes shop, maybe he can go do something else for a while. I know I get burned out because there are just so many clothing items you can look at and my wife seems to hit every vendor. I know I eventually get to a point I just want to hit myself in the head with a hammer. LOL I love her dearly and try to stick it out, but they usually don’t have any place a person can sit while she is looking at or trying stuff on. Even though I sound like it’s a frustrating experience at times for me, I definitely wanted to add this mall in this essay as a choice for our women travelers, or guys who are into clothes, who will probably enjoy it more. Me? I am a t-shirt, shorts and Crocs / flip-flops kinda guy while in Thailand. :-)
I have only touched on what is actually available for shopping needs or wants in Bangkok. There are many other malls and street vendors and night bazaars to explore. Hopefully these five will help you on your way and you can explore more as you discover them while spending time in Thailand. I will probably post more locations in the future.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and I hope this information is of help to you; especially the first time visitor.
Have you been to Bangkok? Where is your favorite place to shop? I welcome any comments that can add more information to help our fellow Thailand travelers out. If I have left anything out, please feel free to let me know that as well!
Happy and safe ‘wanderings’!