I usually don’t spend a lot of time shopping while on the road and prefer to buy my essentials before traveling. However, Bangkok is an exception. I simply love shopping in Bangkok for the variety of styles, latest fashion and dirt cheap prices. Yes, it is even cheaper than India so its wise to take an empty suitcase while traveling to this mecca for shopaholics.
My Favorite Places to Shop in Bangkok
Bangkok has an array of malls and street shops dotted all over town – with plenty of day, night and weekend markets as well. A first time visitor would surely be perplexed. To simplify this process, I have created this Bangkok shopping guide based on my 7 trips to this metropolis.
Budget Shopping Options in Bangkok
Being a thrifty shopper, I love budget malls and the array of street markets in Bangkok. Here are my favorites and all of these happen to be in walking distance of each other so can easily be covered in a day –
Platinum Fashion Mall
This is my #1 choice and I make it a point to spend few hours in this mall every time I visit Bangkok. Platinum has different sections and floors for each category – shoes, accessories, women’s/men’s fashion and handicrafts.
It is easy to get lost as there are hoards of lanes, floors, 3 different mall sections and a ton of shoppers. However, once you get a hang of it, you can easily navigate your way around.
Here’s a short video I took while walking around Platinum fashion mall to give you a feel of the place –
This is a wholesale mall, which means if you buy 3x of any item you get a discount. It’s worth to bargain as you can usually get the same price for 1 item as well.
Tip – Stalls along the escalator are the cheapest – I have seen denim shorts/jumpers and even jeans being sold for a measly 50 Baht (Around $1.4)!!!
Just opposite Platinum mall is this bustling street market with hoards of vendors selling wholesale clothes, shoes and accessories all day long. This is one of the best street shopping options but in Bangkok, be very careful with your money as pick pocketing is very common.
Pratunam starts from Petchaburi road and goes all the way up to Baiyoke towers – where you can find some more budget shops. Shops are open till 2100 hours but then the night market starts with a different variety to choose from. Both day and night markets are worth checking out.
Indra Square is just next to Pratunam and the only real difference is that this is another mall where you can shop indoors, in Air con if it gets too hot outside. Rates are tad higher than the Pratunam street shops outside, with less margin for bargains but still the clothes, bags and accessories found here are a steal.
Pantip Plaza (Electronics)
This is your ultimate go-to place if you are looking for highly discounted electronics. This IT mall is a 2 min walk on the same side as Platinum fashion mall. You can literally buy anything and everything to satisfy your geek pleasures here. From laptops to latest phones, cameras, mp3 players, printers, games and all sorts of hardware and software, Pantip is ‘the’ place to buy electronics.
Even retailers from other parts of the country come to Pantip to get a bargain and cut the middleman costs. There are a lot of shops to choose from and it can get overwhelming at first. I would recommend to spend some time to check out different shops and prices in order to get the best bargain electronics.
Mid-Range Shopping Malls in Bangkok
Mid range malls in Bangkok are excellent and offer different styles with better quality than the wholesale malls. You also get more space as lanes are much wider and less crammed.
MBK shopping center is the most popular mid-range option for travelers and locals. With over 2000 shops to choose from and few budget stalls as well, it drives a lot of shoppers looking for pocket friendly goods, without having to rummage through narrow lanes. Spread across 8 huge floors, it is a shopaholics dream.
This mall has everything from clothing to electronics and even food court and supermarket. So unlike the wholesale malls, you literally get everything under one air conditioned roof. No wonder shoppers flock in hoards to MBK center everyday.
Central world plaza is one of those more spacious malls. You can choose from two major department stores of 500+ shops for your shopping pleasures. The rates are definitely higher than MBK but the quality is by far superior. Plus, if you head to the back of department stores, they often have sales at throwaway prices (when they have a few pieces of a style left).
Terminal 21 makes it to my list simply for the unique factor. Each floor is designed keeping different city markets across the world in mind. So every floor has its own unique city theme – Paris, Rome, Caribbean, Tokyo, London, Istanbul and San Francisco. Even the toilet interiors are done keeping the floor theme in mind. Considered as one of the high-end malls it is worth a visit and highly recommended.
Luxury Shopping Options in Bangkok-
Okay so in all honesty, I have only ever been to Siam Paragon and that too for window shopping. I don’t care so much about brands and simply buy what I want and like and brand names are not what determine my shopping choices. However, for those who are looking for the latest and best original brands head to one of these ultra lovely malls – Siam Paragon, Central Embassy, Emquartier & Emporium. Even if you are not looking to shop, these are definitely worth going to just to ogle at interiors and do some people watching.
Public Transport – Bangkok has a excellent public transport network – tuk tuk, taxi, skytrain, bike taxi – You have plenty of options. However, tuk tuk’s and bike taxi’s usually go short distance and taxis during peak hours are hard to find. Your best and fastest bet is walking to the nearest BTS (skytrain) station to catch the train to your next stop. However, if you are looking for comfort and hassle free transportation, opt for a private tour/car hire.
Private Transport – The most convenient way is to simply hire a car or take a shopping tour of Bangkok. I took a customized tour from ThailandiaWeb which is priced at 40 Euros for 6 hours and is definitely worth it. Considering I got stuck in traffic for 2 hours that day,a taxi would’ve costed a bomb. I could choose where to go and since I just had one day for shopping and wanted to re-visit all my favorite spots, renting a cab was the perfect option.
If you want to spend entire day in one or two malls (Which you can, provided you have ample time in Bangkok), public transport would be just fine.
Shopping spots in Bangkok jotted on a Map-
Other Useful Resources –
Which are your fave shopping spots in Bangkok? Tell me about them in comments below so I can check them out when I re-visit and add them to my Bangkok shopping guide.