It’s safe to say that shopping malls have become an important part of the culture in Bangkok. Indeed, there are countless malls all around the city – so many that a visitor might wonder which ones are best to visit.
Most of the famous and stylish places to go shopping in Bangkok are found in the city centre, with additional malls dotted all around the other commercial districts as well. Admittedly, most luxury shopping malls in Bangkok are fairly similar, in terms of what you can buy. But the vibe of the mall can vary hugely from one place to the next.
Siam Paragon is super popular with younger generations, since it’s their hangout spot for either after school, or after work. Plenty of casual brand name stores can be found here, like H&M – but there are also upscale designer brands like Hermes and Chanel.
The newest and perhaps most remarkable destination for shopping in Bangkok is unquestionably ICONSIAM, located by the Chao Phraya River. ICONSIAM takes the cake for the best view in the city’s archipelago of malls, as it looks out over the river and part of the city’s skyline. The mall also probably has the best atmosphere, with a unique celebration of Thai culture and design evident on the lower floors. The team that created ICONSIAM is also behind Siam Paragon, so they know everything about luxury.
The mall is also a huge place, offering Thai as well as international brands. Incidentally, ICONSIAM happens to be the home of the only Apple store in Thailand, although a new one is scheduled to open at Central World soon.
Another great spot for shopping is Central Embassy. Located between Chitlom and Phloen Chit BTS stations in central Bangkok, Central Embassy is the definition of a luxury shopping mall. It features a wide collection of designer brands, along with fine dining and a fancy cinema that other places can’t beat. As an upscale shopping experience, Central Embassy is also one of the quieter shopping places in Bangkok. You can shop peacefully here, without any crowds or fuss.
Honourable mentions: Central World, Emquartier, Gaysorn Village, Central Chidlom. Siam Center & Siam Discovery.
Local-style malls and shopping centres
Luxury shopping malls have all the prestige, yet Bangkok has plenty of cheaper alternatives that can give you better value and a more authentic Thai experience.
Platinum Fashion Mall is perfect if you’re looking for a nice selection of affordable clothes. Most of the floor space is set aside for ladies’ clothing, with only one floor dedicated to men’s wear. You’ll find plenty of stores selling similar items, so it should be easy to compare prices and grab the best deals.
When it comes to outdoor markets, Chatuchak Weekend Market (near Mo Chit station on the BTS line, or Chatuchak Park station on the MRT) stands out from the rest. It also happens to be one of the biggest markets of its kind in the entire world. The market is open only on weekends, so any visit during opening hours will always involve a large crowd of locals as well as tourists.
At Chatuchak, you can find everything you need: clothes, pets, souvenirs, food, furniture, and plenty more. There’s plenty to discover if you just wander around. Just make sure you go there early, and bring a lot of cash; you’ll need a lot of time to look at everything, and the items on sale are super tempting.
A visit to MBK mall, near National Stadium BTS station in central Bangkok, offers a very different experience. MBK is one of the oldest malls in Asia, with plenty of options available across several floors. You can buy clothes, video games, phones, and accessories. There are seemingly endless lines of stalls selling similar products, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to wander around until you find just what you want.
Last but not least, we can’t forget about the geeks. Pantip Plaza (just north of Siam Paragon) is the perfect place to get lost in the world of IT. If you’re looking for a new computer, or even to build your own computer, Pantip is the place to be. There are many options for buying computer software and hardware, as well as everything related to photography.
At the end of the day, Bangkok rivals any city in the world when it comes to shopping. Whether you’re into luxuries or bargains, the city has plenty for you to enjoy. So get on out there, and find out for yourself why Thai people spend so much of their time in these fine shopping areas.