Bangkok is a real shoppers’ paradise and modern malls can be found in abundance here. Certain areas of the city feature many mega malls clustered together, all vying for the attention of shoppers. Siam Square is the hub of it all boasting the mammoth MBK, the gigantic and glitzy Siam Paragaon, Siam Discovery Centre, Central World Plaza, and Central Chitlom. They are all within walking distance of one another to boot.
Tip: The great thing about shopping in Bangkok is that tourists can claim the VAT back on their goods at the airport before departure, which amounts to 7 per cent of your total expenditure. Just remember to pick up the VAT form when you shop, and also keep hold of receipts!
High-end, exclusive shopping malls
Bangkok’s high-end malls feature branches of stores from major designers, such as Dolce and Gabbana, and are popular playgrounds with those who can afford the finer things in life. Exquisitely decorated and containing numerous gourmet restaurants, cafés and designer shops, they are also great for people-watching.
Siam Paragon is the leader in this category, while The Emporium on Sukhumvit Road (next to Phrom Phong BTS station) runs a close second. This large and lavish venue features eight floors (including the basement) and displays every designer label you can think of in residence.
Other contenders are Central Chitlom and the adjacent Gaysorn shopping centre (close to Chit Lom BTS station), or Central Silom on Silom Road (by the Sala Daeng BTS).
Slightly more down to earth is the Siam Discovery Centre by the Siam BTS, which features an interesting range of uniquely Thai boutiques as well as brands like Boots, Billabong, and H&M.
These are the huge, all-singing, all-dancing shopping malls that Bangkok specialises in. These places can get manically busy, and have a seemingly endless array of shops inside, although different types of shops are often clustered together, making the labyrinth slightly easier to navigate.
If you get tired of shopping, malls like these have various entertainment facilities available, such as a multiplex cinema, ice skating, ten-pin bowling, massage shops, and plenty of restaurants and health and beauty salons.
The largest is Seacon Square, which covers over 100,000 square metres. However, this is located a bit out the way for those who prefer to stay in central Bangkok. MBK is more conveniently located as it is situated by National Stadium BTS station. This colossal, packed structure features eight floors and hundreds of retail outlets, some selling very reasonably priced goods.
Next to MBK is the Tokyu department store, with doorways opening from one directly into the other, giving an even greater range of shopping options. Last but not least is Central World Plaza, which is situated next to Chit Lom BTS, has recently been remodelled and upgraded. This modern mall features Western stores, like Top Shop, and is popular with tourists.
IT buffs will be in technology heaven in Bangkok’s IT malls, which feature dozens of shops selling all kinds of gadgets and other technology and IT related goods, from the latest top of the range laptops and desktop PCs down to pirated games and software.
Panthip Plaza: on Petchaburi Road (nearest BTS Ratchathewi or Chit Lom) is the biggest of these and usually the busiest. Each of the six floors is crammed with IT stalls selling the latest gadgets, spare parts, accessories plus pirated CDs, DVDs and computer games.
Fortune Town: on Rachadapisek Road (nearest MRT station Phra Ram 9) is considerably smaller but is also less hectic than the often crowded Panthip Plaza.
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