The famous Panthip Plaza in Bangkok

Bangkok’s biggest electronics/computer emporium

Bangkok’s biggest electronics/computer emporium

Panthip Plaza is Bangkok’s definitive computer and software outlet. It is positioned on Petchaburi Road in Pratunam district (near Ratchathewi and Chit Lom BTS stations) and is the biggest and busiest computer store in the country. If you can look past the constant hassle of vendors selling you knock-off adult movies and software, it can be a real buzz to shop here.

The centre is a huge, five-tier mall that focuses on computers, cameras, gadgets, DVD movies and software. Many people on their travels decide to stop-off here to pick up computer programmes, games, and even laptops.

Most shops in Panthip Plaza are small and independent, although there are also many larger reputable companies dealing here, so don’t have the mindset that everything is a knock-off. Although prices aren’t dirt cheap, some good deals can be had if you shop around and bargain hard. What isn’t cheap in Panthip Plaza is either the real deal or can be had for about the same price elsewhere in town.

Panthip Plaza software

The best thing about Panthip Plaza is the extensive range of items, particularly CDs and DVDs. There are dozens of software vendors on the ground floor of the plaza. All types of programmes are available on the cheap, such as Windows and Mac operating systems, anti-virus software, audio software like Cubase and Reason, games, and more. They are, of course, hacked and burnt while you wait at a typical price of around 100 to 200 baht per disc.

The latest Hollywood and Bollywood movies, as well as audio and MP3 music CDs, are also widely available from these vendors and if not on the spot in hard copy, they too can be burnt to CD in minutes. Music CDs are around 100 to 150 baht while DVDs cost around 200 or 300 baht. You may find the very latest movies are poor quality, having been videotaped in the cinema.

When purchasing knock-off software, movies and music, you will find that most vendors simply have a catalogue. You pick what you want and they take your money and then burn to CD from a remote location. This is to counter the periodic Thai government crackdowns on pirated material and is thus easier for the vendor to conceal.

Cheap Thai manufactured hardware on the cheap

Cheap Thai manufactured hardware on the cheap

If you find all this a bit unsettling, several stores in Panthip Plaza offer software originals with licensing, but you should expect to pay the nominal prices for such programmes as you would in the USA and Europe. Also, be aware that they may be in the local Thai language.

Panthip Plaza computers

There are three big computer stores in Panthip Plaza, along with numerous smaller outlets, which sell laptops, MP3 players, printers, and mobile phones. There’s also a glut of out-of-the-way places that sell second-hand computers and parts. Be careful with the latter as it may be tough to get them repaired as parts are often smuggled in.

If you are in two minds whether to shop for a PC in Thailand versus at home in Europe or the US, you’d be better off sticking with home-bought stuff. While the value for money in Panthip is undoubtedly good, you are unlikely to receive the same standard of after-sales service. Computer peripherals from Panthip, on the other hand, can generally be had at a snip and the range is staggering for hard disk drives, flash drives, motherboards, memory, and so on.

Panthip Plaza music stores

Not many people realise this, but Panthip Plaza also has a number of musical instrument stores. They are mainly on the fourth floor and generally sell used equipment – keyboards, guitars, amps and ancillary equipment. Vintage, locally made organs are a popular buy, along with counterfeit Ovation guitars. If you are after traditional Thai instruments, you will need to shop elsewhere.

Panthip Plaza restaurants

Panthip Plaza also has several food courts, restaurants, and snack bars. Fast food restaurants can be found on the ground floor including American fast food, an S&M Market sits on the mezzanine level and a pretty good quality food court on the second floor while there is a big buffet-style restaurant on the third floor. Thai dishes in the food courts cost around 30 to 40 baht a dish, with desserts just 15 baht.

Other Bangkok technology centres

Panthip Plaza tends to remain busy throughout the week, and the year. This is especially so during the numerous Thai public holidays, but particularly on weekends.

If you find yourself here during a busy period, there are other options in Bangkok for picking up cheap technology. Other IT stores in Bangkok are generally smaller with fewer products on offer, although they are usually less busy and prices are not much greater that at Panthip Plaza.

          Hollywood IT: located near Ratchathewi sky train station (BTS) and within 100m of
          Panthip Plaza.
          IT Mall: located in the Fortune Tower at the Ratchadapiskek Road/Asok-Din Daeng
          Road intersection.
          Seri Centre: near to Seacon Square.

In addition, all major shopping malls in Bangkok have computer, electronic, and mobile phone stores.

Panthip Plaza getting there

Panthip Plaza is slightly out the way but is quite near to Ratchathewi and Chit Lom BTS stations. Standard bus numbers 2 and 11 serve Panthip Plaza, along with air-conditioned bus numbers 5, 11 and 12. All tuk-tuk and taxi drivers know where Panthip Plaza is. Be sure drivers of metered taxis switch on the meter and always haggle with tuk-tuks before setting off.

If you are anywhere near Siam Paragon and it isn’t too hot, Panthip Plaza is not that far of a walk.

Ed Note! Although the sale of unauthorised (copied) software and hardware is widespread in Thailand and well known, the publishers of this site do no endorse the sale of pirated goods. We do not intend to encourage the market but have a policy of ‘telling it like it is’ regarding openly practiced activities. Recently, pressure from the US on intellectual property rights has resulted in the police finally taking action against these vendors and it is likely that such goods will become more difficult to find in centres like Panthip.

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