Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. But, the truth is … It really is. Everywhere you go in Bangkok, you’ll see people shopping, haggling and generally having a good time at it. Shopping, apart from eating, might well be described as the national activity of the Thais and, trust me, they’re good at it.
There are generally two schools of thought to the whole shopping in Bangkok thing. One type of people like to shop in swanky malls in air conditioned comfort and the other group wants to see the ground reality and love to shop in stinky bylanes and crowded markets. I belong to the first school of thought and I’ll tell you why, in a while.
Bangkok offers umpteen shopping avenues for both kinds of people. There are huge airconditioned malls as well as open air markets offering bargain buys at dirt cheap prices.
This post is an attempt to guide the first timer to Bangkok in his/her quest for the eternal shopping experience.
We’ll start with the obvious, the Siam central area. Siam central is the BTS interchange station for the Sukhumwit and Silom lines. The BTS is connected by a skywalk to the Siam Center mall and this is where most visitors start their trip in Bangkok, like we did, mostly because of the fact that its connected to the Skytrain station.
There are a couple of nice eating joints at Siam Center but this isn’t where you should be spending your hard earned moolah at, in my opinion. If you really want to splurge get out of Siam Center and get into the Siam Paragon which in my opinion is the best mall in Bangkok to hang out.
Siam Paragon has something to do for everyone. For the casual tourists there is the aquarium show, for the expat settling down in Bangkok there is the excellent gourmet super market, for the thai teens and the kitty pary ciruit ladies there is the multiplex on the top floor and for the rest of us, they have an excellent food court.
There is the canal on the ground floor, which is basically a string of cafes built on top of an artificial canal. The canal is flanked on both sides by gourmet upmarket restaurants which, sadly, were out of my budget to try. The food looked yummy though.
What I did try was eating at the food court at the gourmet super market. The place has an excellent variety of food and desserts and you won’t be disappointed and if at all you are there’s always the next stall :-)
Once you’ve had your fill you can move to the next Siam mall, the Siam Discovery, although I’d suggest that you go back to your hotel and take some rest. All this walking around must have tired you a bit. Or … if you’re like me, you can check out Siam discovery also on the same day and torture your feet so much that you have to walk around Bangkok for the next few days with swollen feet :-)
Siam discovery center houses a multiplex on the 6th floor which is supposed to have the most comfortable seats in Bangkok, or so I’ve heard. The Siam Discovery follows the “One floor, One concept” theme, which groups similar stores on one floor. Among the stores is Thailand’s only Diesel designer clothing store as well as Asia’s only branch of the Habitat home furnishings retailer It also houses the popular Japanese gift shop, the Loft. An excellent place to search for cute gift and knick knacks although a lot of the stuff that we found here was available at other places for much cheaper. You can end the day with an early dinner at the food court and brace yourself for the next day’s shopping experience at Bangkok.