Bangkok – The Shoppers Paradise
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Bangkok is famous for many things including partying, the street-food, getting tattooed or enjoying a drink at one of the sky-bars, but, the most important and tempting thing to do is shopping. Bangkok is heaven for shopaholics. If you are planning a trip to Bangkok ensure that you save a good chunk of cash to shop to your heart’s content without having to compromise or regret later.
Bangkok accommodates all types of shoppers, right from budget shoppers to buying expensive brands, you can shop at night markets to buy goods at wallet-friendly prices where you have to apply the Golden rule of ‘bargaining’ or at high-end malls where you can find world-renowned brands. Bangkok can never cease to amaze you. Gear up and wear your running shoes as shopping in Bangkok is no child’s play, you need to preserve each and every ounce of your energy as the markets and malls are huge and you have to walk a lot.
Work your way through these various shopping experiences to identify the best one for yourself.
The first place to shop on my list is the legendary Chatuchak Weekend night market, it is the world’s largest outdoor market and is on every shopaholic’s bucket list. With over ten thousand shops you can buy everything you can imagine, from books, furniture, clothes, bags, shoes, cosmetics, crockery, souvenirs and many items that you need on a day to day basis. This market is open from Wednesday to Sunday and the best time to visit is in the morning when you will hardly see any people, making it convenient for you to shop.
Hop on the traditional Long-tail boat and sail through the crowded floating market surrounded by sellers on boats selling fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit juices, beautiful flowers, clothes, handicrafts, souvenirs and local food which is cooked right on the boat. Make sure you haggle to get the best deal. The most authentic and charming floating market is Khlong Lat Mayom.
The Riverfront is a large open-air mall which can be reached either by riding the ferry as it is the last destination on the Chaophraya River or by taking a taxi directly. It combines two unique shopping experiences in one, a night bazaar and a mall. It houses over fifteen hundred boutique shops, forty swanky restaurants and street-food stores too, it opens in the evening and you will be able to recognize it from a distance as you see the Paris Wheel, you can explore the stores by looking at a map which will also help you find your way around.
You will find stores selling clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, souvenirs and trinkets. This place spoils you completely with its many choices.
MBK Shopping Center has eight storeys with over two thousand stores, you will find the best deals on mobile phones, gadgets, Thai branded clothes and designs, you will come across imitations of big fashion brands, apart from that you can also buy accessories, leather products, footwear, cosmetics and perfumes. This place will fulfill all your tech-savvy needs and that too at reasonable prices. MBK has two food-courts with plenty of cuisines to choose from, there is also a 3D Trick Eye Museum, a multi-screen cinema and a games arcade to keep you entertained all day.
Pratunam market is another place where you will find yourself in a maze of tiny stores selling bikinis, jeans, bath products, portable fans, speakers, lighters, shades, key-chains, funky pens and suitcases, everything is sold here at wholesale prices even single pieces, making it extremely cheap and affordable. You can buy souvenirs from here and make sure to bargain well to get the best rates. There are over a hundred stores and you will see street-food vendors on both sides of the road serving Thai fish cakes, pancakes, crispy fried chicken with sticky rice, grilled pork and chicken on skewers, rice lunch sets, fresh fruit juices and not to forget the most famous Pad Thai and Tom Yum. They also sell coconut ice-cream, milkshakes and you can try some of the noodle stalls too. Eat well as it’s not advisable to shop on an empty stomach and will help you make the right choice.
Do not forget to visit one of the busiest markets in Chinatown which is Sampeng Lane, walk through the chaotic little streets which are lined with shop-houses and tiny stores that sell gold, backpacks, beauty products, wigs, tea-sets, herbs, sarongs, dried food, home décor, martial arts weapons, sequined and feather items as well. This place is a flea market that offers a cluster of goods at a heavily discounted rate especially if you buy in bulk. You will also find hawkers selling meat on skewers, tacos, spring rolls and the famous coconut ice-cream sandwich.
Patpong Night Market
This market is a very happening place near Silom, it has go-go bars, stores that sell cameras, binoculars, knives and other weapons. This area is famous as they sell first copies of many big brands such as Gucci, Rolex, Lacoste and Louis Vuitton too. You will also find handmade items such as carved soaps and jewelry. This is a red-light area so be careful if you get lured in for a massage as that is not the real deal. Head down straight to the market area which starts at six in the evening and is open till the wee hours of the morning.
Located on the banks of the Chaophraya River Iconsiam is also known as the “Mother of all Malls” is home to many International Brands. Iconsiam turned the Chaophraya River into a global destination as all the tourists get a jaw-dropping view of the mall and its musical fountain from the river itself. You will find major designers such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Versace, Cartier and the list goes on. Iconsiam has about five hundred label stores and a hundred restaurants.
Platinum Fashion Mall
This is a wholesale fashion mall with outlets that sell mostly clothes and accessories. Every floor is named after a shopping district, Ginza, Soho, Oxford, Nathan, Camden and Orchard with over fifteen hundred stores and a food court which has cafes and fast-food chains. Here you will find clothes for all age groups and sizes, lingerie, formal and evening dresses which are imported from around the globe. If you buy three or more items from a particular store you will get some more discount, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
Terminal 21 is a chain of malls with 4 locations in Thailand, visit one of the locations to experience various countries from around the world. Every floor in this mall has a theme according to a different country including the washrooms. Starting from the basement floor named Caribbean, then Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul and lastly San Francisco with a beautiful London Bridge. You will be transported to another world surrounded by exquisite global and local designs. Head to the food-court which is the best food-court in town to indulge in world-famous cuisines and desserts, you will also find a multi-screen cinema there.
So pick the right place according to your taste and budget and list it in your itinerary when you visit Thailand.
Shopping is the best therapy and Bangkok is one of the best places to shop from as it offers the best and cheapest deals. A suggestion, do not hesitate to buy something when you see it as you may or may not see it again. You will find tons and tons of choices and variety to chose from, try to shop a day or two before you are leaving from Bangkok so that you will not have to carry the extra kilos if you are planning to travel to Krabi or any other island around.
Have you ever shopped in Bangkok? If yes, which is your favourite market? Leave your answers in the comments below. Which is your favorite place to shop?