Bangkok is retail galore, making it a jam-packed shopping paradise. We sift through the labyrinth of malls and markets for 5 places you most certainly have to shop at.
It is hard to tame your inner shopaholic when in Bangkok, seeing as how the lively city abounds with shopping delights. Here are 5 shopping areas in Bangkok that you simply must not miss. Time to bring your bargaining chops to the table!
The Pratunam shopping area definitely deserves its moniker as Bangkok’s wholesale fashion district. Situated where Ratchaprop Rd and New Petchburi Rd intersect, the area counts the Pratunam Market and the Platinum Fashion Mall as its stars.
In Pratunam Market, claustrophobics beware: the intricate web of shops on tiny crammed alleys is bound to make some feel a little nervous, if you aren’t already feverish with happiness at the ridiculous price tags. Pay wholesale prices for shoes, fashion accessories, and clothes – you can find the likes of funny t-shirts, cocktail dresses, winter jackets, and flamboyant costumes. Pratunam Market opens at about 10am to 8pm, with the busy hours being 11am to 2pm.
Within walking distance is the air-conditioned Platinum Fashion Mall. This wholesale mall sells mostly women’s clothing and fashion accessories (all six levels carry them, whereas only one level stocks men’s fashion); some Singapore blogshops even source their apparels from these shops! However, get ready for some restrictions: no refunds, no exchanges, no trying on of clothes, and no change.
Within the vicinity are other popular shopping centres, albeit non-wholesale ones, such as Central World, a trendy mega mall; and Siam Paragon which will excite diehard luxury fans to no end with names like Dior, Versace, Burberry, and Jimmy Choo.
2. Chatuchak Weekend Market
A summary guide to shopping in Bangkok will never be complete without mention of the sprawling and chaotic Chatuchak. The mother of all markets, it is fully open on Saturdays and Sunday, and has over 8000 stalls and 27 sections of alleyways peddling just about everything under the sun. If you want it, Chatuchak probably has it (and more!). Expect vinyl records, gaudy beads, vintage jeans, quirky wooden chests, gardening tools, antiques, and even live sugar gliders, pythons, and puppies (note: exercise caution when buying pets here). Go ahead and haggle, but please be friendly!
3. Pantip Plaza
Tech geeks, rejoice: Dubbed the computer shopping mall, Pantip Plaza is IT heaven, selling a gamut of computer products, printers, cameras, and other photography equipment. Need a new laptop or a wireless mouse? You can’t go wrong with Pantip! The mall is one of the best places to get digital cameras, and also have specialist camera shops for the pros. Go crazy over the amazing deals, but note that counterfeit products are also aplenty here. So if it looks far too good to be true, it probably is.
4. Khao San Road
The colourful Khao San Road is right smack in backpacker’s universe, and it makes for one of most interesting after-dark shopping experiences! Items here are mostly inexpensive, ranging from pretty hand-made blouses and vintage clothing to silver jewellery and used books. Travel shops are at every corner, and the street is also brimming with counterfeit products like t-shirts, shorts, bikinis, shoes, textiles, music CDs, and textiles. Youths in particular will love this place; besides shopping, you can get a caricature sketch of yourself, receive a foot massage, or dreadlock your hair.
5. Chinatown Sampeng Lane
Ah, controlled chaos. Besides charming old Chinese temples, you will be greeted by a kitschy, bustling street stretching for 2 kilometres in Chinatown selling all kinds of hair accessories, tea sets, hardware, bags, perfumes, shoes, fabric, traditional Chinese herbs and spices, and even Chinese lanterns, at very reasonable prices. That said, it may be the bargain hunter’s paradise but you may need to buy in bulk at some shops (i.e. get 3 or more pieces)! Shops here close at 6pm, so don’t expect to shop here come dusk.