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The Best Shopping Malls in Bangkok: Electronic Equipment | Computer Software | Computer Hardware | Clothing

▶ Amarin Plaza

The stylish Amarin Plaza is linked to Erawan Bangkok via a skybridge. The five-storey shopping plaza has an almost festive aura to it, drawing in a mixed crowd - from affluent Thais to expats and business travellers - with highly desirable brand names such as Guy Laroche, Valentino and Crocodile, to name but a few. Due to the diverse offerings splayed out, the theme of Amarin is woven around colour, or as they have it, 'Kolors of Style'. The top floor is devoted to creativity. Here, you can learn to play an instrument, dance the salsa, attend make-up school, send your children to art classes at 'Kolor Me' - or even turn them into human calculators at Kumon Math Academy. The fourth floor highlights taste and features a casual and inviting food court featuring fragrant Thai and Asian cuisine, as well as a spa, health center and Absolute Yoga Studio. The lower three levels offer an exciting variety of stand-alone stores. From the living, bright silks and pure cottons, fine furnishings and handmade garments to the notable rare antique silk of Come Thai, the third floor highlights contemporary Thai lifestyle collections. There are also two bookstores on this level, Tokyodo and Bookazine. Intricate, jewel-like handicrafts by Narai Phand - endorsed by the Royal Thai Government - can be found on the second floor, the haven of culture. And on the ground, amongst designer brand leathers, jewels, lingerie and eyewear, is the vital activities hall, offering articles that reflect the season.

Address: 496-502 Ploenchit Road, Ratchaprasong Square 

Tel: +66 (0) 2256 9111

Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00 

BTS: Chidlom

▶ Emporium Shopping Center and Food Hall

The Emporium is like a glossy magazine come to life. Behold the seven layers of shopper's paradise, where the first three floors are dedicated solely to fashion. Exclusive world-class brand names dominate the ground floor, hot international designer items, leather and jewelery the first floor, and glamorous garb for the young and trendy, the second. Fashionistas, this is your playground. Those more concerned with gadgetry and gear need not feel left out. 'Pleasure & Leisure' is the name of the third floor, as it has everything you could dream of to maximise the experience of the audio, visual and digital lifestyle. On this level you can also satisfy all your golf and sporting needs at the 'Global Sports Mall'. Anyone acquainted with the world of interior d-cor will want to become one with the fittings and furniture in 'The Living Gallery' on the fourth floor. From Victorian bathtubs and chandeliers to see-through perspex chairs and inspired kitchenware, this is the place to outfit your lifestyle. Peruse the 'Exotic Thai' gallery, where traditional design elements, textiles and crafts have been reincarnated as modern accessories. 'Design Source' holds baroque lamps, mirrors and sparkly statuettes, while modern contemporary Asian art prevails at the 'CVN Art Centre'. The fifth floor gathers diverse household appliances, silverware, porcelain, crystal - all the finishing touches to a stately dinner party. For a tour through the conceptual world history of design, a visit to the Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC), on the uppermost level is highly recommended. The TCDC features two state-of-the-art exhibition spaces, as well as Asia's largest design library. Sit down and absorb it all at Creative Coffee Space, where jazz music provides the ambiance for stimulating conversation.

Or if you are exhausted by now, why not sink into a comfy seat and space out at the luxurious cinema, after a rejuvenating treatment at Sense and Spirit Spa. To finish off a day well spent, the reception area of SFX cinema is so highly polished, the floor reflects the orb-like lighting, which seems to follow you around as if you were on stage. Yes, you are a celebrity, and life is good!

It would be a shame if you go to The Emporium and don't check out the ground floor Supermarket where you can find not only the best of Thailand, but imported fresh, processed, tinned and bottled goods from all the corners of the globe. If the sight of all this makes your stomach growl, you're in luck. For The Emporium features a host of trendy eateries and delis at its food hall. There's also two food courts to choose from; the one more of a Thai experience, the other a journey through international cuisine. Basically, your every craving and whim can be appeased here. You could choose to have a three-course meal with music and wine, or a light healthy snack and smoothie. You have the option too of take out to feast on later, but the tempting aromas will make you want to break open the sensible packaging and devour the contents long before you get even close to home... In this area there are dozens of cafes, patisseries, bakeries and fast food outlets, as well as a canteen-style eating area. Here you can choose from ice-cream, desserts or mid afternoon (or any time) snacks with a cup of your favorite pick-me-up beverage. This is more the spot to stop by for a break between shopping for designer futons or on your way to the cinema, than a place to spend hours carving your way through a meal. The take-home section features noodles of any denomination, Japanese tepanyaki, freshly-made sushi and bento boxes, fragrant Thai cuisine, an array of international fare and the most delectable patisserie. There is a selection of restaurants with Japanese, Vietnamese, Western and Asian fusion menus in the food hall area. Drinks bars offer freshly-squeezed juices, smoothies and even alcoholic beverages. In this section, vegetarian options are confined to soups and salads.

If you've worked up a serious appetite and are in the mood for a top-notch meal, pay a visit to Park Food Hall. A tad more formal than the other places, this is an enclosed area where you are presented with a coupon for 2,000 baht which you pay for afterwards (for whatever you spent). Park Food Hall consists of many food bars with a dining area in a dimly lit atmosphere conducive to a wholesome and fulfilling eating experience. Choices include gourmet Arabic, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, seafood, Japanese bento, Olive Mediterranean featuring mezze, a pizzeria and even original English grub such as pot pies, fish and chips and mashed potatoes with gravy. This is a good place to visit if you miss all your favourite foods back home. Covering a total area of 1,500 square metres, Park Food Hall has more than 400 seats, and the stylish interior verges on the glamorous. You can enjoy a 180 degrees landscape-view of Bangkok and the lush greenery of Benjasiri Park while sampling gourmet delights. Park Food Hall also serves as a venue for regular events like product launches, culinary workshops, mini-concerts and art exhibitions.

Opening Hours: 9.00-21.00
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 24/26
BTS: Phrom Phong

▶ MBK Shopping Mall

The multi-storey MBK is probably Bangkok's most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals. Eight floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electric appliances, cameras, stationery and DVD's (and then some). MBK (launched in 1986) is a beehive of activity, especially on weekends, when half of Bangkok converges to shop for bargains. And plenty of bargains are to be found here! It's not as upmarket and stylish as neighbours Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and the glitzy Siam Paragon, but its mind-boggling range of goods spread over 89,000 square metres are considerably less expensive. MBK is a popular shopping complex, and the immense choice of consumer goods at give-away prices makes it a worthwhile trip to be included on any visitor's shopping agenda. You'll find entire floors dedicated to shoes and handbags, fashion and clothing, mobile phones and furniture. Like every shopping complex in Bangkok, there is an enormous food court (which was renovated in early 2006) with lots of affordable and yummie Thai and International food to choose from. The top floor comprises of an entertainment complex boasting plush cinemas, modern karaoke facilities, a computer games arcade and plenty of other restaurants and fast food choices.

To start with, fashion outlets cover everything from jeans, outsized clothing (for the 'larger' Western frame), shoes, handbags, accessories, jewellery, trendy apparel and famous-name brands. The bargain prices of many of these items mean that merchandise is often copy products or from questionable origin. It's important to take a closer look at the quality and craftsmanship. But if your idea of a shopping bargain is to pay a few dollars for an Adidas T-shirt or a Gucci belt - and authenticity is not an issue - head straight to MBK. Many of the products that can be found here are similar to that at markets, but the convenience of shopping in an air-conditioned environment beats hot and sticky markets - especially in the hot season. And, just like the markets, all prices are negotiable; MBK is probably the only mall in Bangkok where you can put your bartering skills to the test. You'll be surprised how much a big smile can knock of the original asking price. If you're shopping wholesale, prices get even more competitive.

The fourth floor is dedicated to mobile phones, DVD's, CD's and all kinds of related gadgets and paraphernalia in a market-type environment with stalls crammed into every available space. New phones, second-hand phones, starter packs, the latest (copy) DVD's, PC games and games consoles, MP3 players and what have you...

A flagship tenant is the four-storey Tokyu Department Store, the only one in Bangkok and a leading department store in Japan, which offers a wide range of quality merchandise like clothing, apparel, cosmetics and household goods at reasonable prices. On the fourth level is has a supermarket too. There's also a TOPS supermarket at MBK (ground level) and a mini indoor craft market (on the sixth floor) with a range of arts and crafts from all over Thailand - a lot of it though the typical souvenir-type items targeted at tourists. MBK does not consist only of shops; walkways and aisles on most floors are lined with push-cart stalls, and the center area of the ground level is often used for sale promotions, exhibitions or other events - often with a local flavour. There are also a few hair salons and beauty parlours, several tailor shops and digital printing studios. Shopping Tip: Tourists can apply for a special MBK Tourist Discount Card at the information kiosks on the first and second levels (remember to take your passport along). Armed with this card you will be entitled of discounts between 5 and 30% on selected merchandise and at some restaurants - a list of participating stores will be provided when you apply for the card.

Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Location: Phayathai Road, Pathumwan
BTS: National Stadium
Tel: +66 (0)2 620 9000

▶ Siam Paragon Shopping Center

The jewel in the crown of the city’s shopping centers – Siam Paragon – completes the strip of malls that begins at MBK and fringes the square, often referred to as ‘the battleground of the malls’. These are where Bangkok earns its stripes as an international fashion hub, with a profusion of leading designer flagship stores inside Siam, like the city in which it is located, is an area of contrast. True to Bangkok’s unified configuration the area is a collaboration of internationally renowned high-end brands and independent traders where price scales go across the board. Adjacent to the world-class malls is a dense warren of boutiques, Siam Square. Siam also holds the dubious honour of being the most expensive place to rent land in Bangkok. It is what Bond Street is to London and Fifth Avenue to New York, while still possessing the innovative atmosphere of Camden Town or Soho, NYC.

One of the oldest malls in Thailand, but also one of the most vital. Situated slap-bang in the centre of what is called 'the battleground of the malls' - and easily dwarfed by the bigger and flashier malls - few know that Siam Center was there before all the others. Constructed in 1976, this original looks good for her age, thanks to the panoply of bright and playful shops and the ever-younger and fresher clientele, expending their reeling energies and pocket money.

Having gone through a few revamping exercises, this mall targets adolescents, and has a loyal and fashionable following. Four floors of fun, Siam Centre contains about 300 shops, 20 restaurants and a dedicated showroom Mob.F for Thai fashion labels. Vibey music is played throughout the corridors, broadcast by the resident 94FM radio station on the fourth floor. Loads of skate and surf shops, together with lifestyle brands such as Monkey See, Levis and Von Dutch draw in chattering troupes of teenagers.

There are a number of clothing boutiques with outfits designed for nubile bodies. A substantial spread of camera and mobile accessory shops - essential to the digitally enlightened generation - can be found here too. Cute jewellery and all the paraphernalia that signifies coolness, can be found throughout. Speciality stores feature shoes, hair accessories and sexy underwear. A range of cosmetic salons with attentive beauty consultants attend to the needs of the fresh-faced visitors who frequent the mall. Ice cream parlours, cake and coffee shops provide the necessary refueling of calories. Mob.F, carrying some 42 one-off Thai fashion labels, is where next-gen trend-setters pick up their gears and accessories. On the ground floor, a trendy open-plan cafe has free Internet access. There is, alas, no cinema in Siam Center itself, but walk through to Siam Paragon and there you will find - along with a very different atmosphere altogether - cinemas galore.

Opening Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Location: Siam
BTS: Siam

▶ Pantip Plaza

The mother of all IT shops, the entirety of Pantip Plaza is dedicated to computer and technology items. The multistory shopping centre on Petchaburi Road offers a wide selection of stores, selling everything from computers and computer-related accessories, including; parts, printers, digital cameras, MP3 players, PDAs, and much more. Pantip Plaza is also (in)famous for its inexpensive counterfeit versions of software and DVDs. Although you might not be a techno-geek, it’s worth visiting when you're in the area for the pure fascination value. Walking through the main entrance of this IT complex, you'll be greeted with copies of the latest software for sale (100 - 150 baht), along with DVDs, MP3 CDs, and anything else that can be put on a disk. If you're looking for a new wireless mouse, USB stick, CD-Rom drive, or whatever you can think of, sift your way through as many vendors as possible to compare prices and find the best deal.

IT City, situated on the 5th floor, is the biggest IT store in Pantip Plaza, displaying and selling the latest equipment. The store is well organized and less chaotic than other parts of the mall. Some of the staff speak English well and are ready to provide details of each item. Although some of the products sell for higher prices than other shops, products usually come with a warranty and reliable after-sales service. Most IT brands are well represented, and IT City is the surest place to buy from as it is a credible and established outlet. The secret is to take your time, and to compare prices. To put it simply, Pantip Plaza is a must, especially if you're shopping on a budget. Even just for the experience, it is well worth your time to explore the extensive variety of IT products offered, packed from floor to ceiling.

Opening Hours: 10:00 - 21:00 (every day).
Location: Petchaburi Road, opposite Pratunam's City Complex
BTS: Chidlom (but still quite a walk)

▶ Central World

This mega-shopping complex offers one of the most exciting shopping experiences in Bangkok. Occupying some 550,000 square metres of retail space and a total area size of 830,000 square metres – that is 30% larger than any other shopping centre in central Bangkok – CentralWorld is now officially the largest lifestyle shopping complex in Southeast Asia. It has everything from brand name clothing boutiques, funky fashion, high-tech gadgets, bookshops and designer furniture to imported groceries, a lineup of banks, beauty salons, gourmet eateries and even an ice-skating rink. With so many tantalising options to explore, you could easily spend half a day here without realising it. Partially rebuilt and recovering from arson attack, CentralWorld is a lifestyle shopping mall with a range of offerings that encompass more than 500 stores, 100 restaurants and cafes, 15 cinemas, Kids' Zone and Learning Centre(Genius Planet Zone), two anchor department stores, as well as a trendy food court, the largest supermarket in Asia and an outdoor square for large-scale events like Bangkok's official New Year countdown party.

Formerly known as World Trade Center, the newly branded CentralWorld, is still home to the very popular department stores Zen (closed until further notice) and Isetan (open). The mall's make-over, however, has not just involved some cosmetic changes to give it an image boost - instead, it has been fully redesigned and revamped, and is brand spanking new for all practical purposes. All that remains of the former glory days, of course, is its location slap-bang in the heart of the Chidlom 'battleground of the malls' with direct Skytrain (BTS) access, and the popular outdoor square area. The two famous shrines are still there too, mind you, just moved a little bit more to the right.

To prevent shoppers from getting lost, and to help circulate people to all areas and prevent clustering, a clear traffic circulation system was devised that enhance vertical and horizontal movement around the six interconnected shopping zones, each offering a different ambiance and certain unique features. There are also more than 100 escalators, as well as see-through lifts. CentralWorld's retail layout is influenced by the shopping street concept, allowing shoppers to spec several storefronts at a glance, whilst its overall design has placed a lot of emphasis on natural light / daylight that filters through the many skylights and open wells. Spectacular sculptures by famous artists are used as decoration features, and a glass mobile consisting of 3,500 glass balls hanging in an open well has had the crowds in awe. CentralWorld is on the forefront of technological sophistication too. Two of Southeast Asia's largest LED screens, measuring 9 x 16 metres, overlook the outdoor CentralWorld Square and will be used to broadcast major events. Inside, giant LED screens are also used to broadcast activities from one zone to another.

More than 250 interactive LCD monitors and directories have been installed throughout to provide an estimated 150,000 shoppers daily with information and shopping directories. And the 40 ATM machines scattered around are also the largest number in any commercial complex in Thailand. Specialised anchor 'mega-stores' - measuring between 2,000 and 8,200 square metres - include SuperSports, PowerBuy, B2S, Central Food Hall, SB Furniture and Toys 'R' Us. The department store Zen spans seven floors, while Zen World on 13 floors offer a fitness centre, spa, yoga, beauty centre, as well as an educational and tourist promotion centre. Among the 500 world-class stores count 35 flagship brands like Zara, Miss Sixty and Timberland, and 36 'first stores' - the likes of the English brand Next. Good news for parents is the Genius Planet Zone (kids' zone and learning centre) and Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park), where specialised supervision is provided in an 'edutainment' environment. Go right ahead, here you can drop the kids off with a clear conscience that they will have fun and their minds stimulated while you're getting a good old-fashioned dose of retail therapy. The indoor parking lot - the largest in Thailand - measures 287,000 square metres and can accommodate 7,000 vehicles. Already completed is the 45-storey CentralWorld Offices, one of the city's most modern skycrapers. CentralWorld has arrived. Bigger. Better. And, unmistakably, a shopping experience not to be missed. All that's missing is mini golf karts for rent. Oh, what bliss...

Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
BTS: Chidlom
Address: 4, 4/1, 4/4 Rajdamri Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel: + 66 (0) 264-7000

▶ Terminal 21

Bangkok mall Terminal 21 takes shoppers on a retail journey to places like Tokyo, the Caribbean and San Francisco. If you're a developer with a prime piece of land right smack in the middle of Bangkok's busiest retail zone, it would appear you have only three obvious options. Build a condominium, a hotel or a shopping mall. Sure enough, filling in one of the few remaining stretches between the Phrom Phong and Siam BTS stations without a retail outlet is Terminal 21, which opened earlier this month. One might think the last thing Bangkok needs is yet another shopping mall. Fortunately this isn't just another shopping mall. Bangkok shopping mall Terminal 21 was designed to look like an airport. Named for its resemblance to an airport terminal and its location at Sukhumvit 21, Terminal 21 is right next to the busy Asoke intersection, connected with the BTS Asoke and MRT Sukhumvit stations.

Each floor of this Bangkok shopping mall has a different theme based on various cities around the world, so it's like traveling to a new shopping venue when you hit each floor. And the designers placed gorgeous statues and icons of each city in their respective sections. For example, the bottom level, a Caribbean-themed supermarket floor, has some beach decor and a huge lighthouse right in the middle of the floor. If you enter the mall from the street or BTS skywalk, you will be in Rome and Paris, two floors dedicated to fashion brands. Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary when it comes to international brands. It's all the same stuff found in the other city malls. The real highlight is the local designers' section, where you can find 44 outlets featuring clothes by Thai designers. Up in the Tokyo and London sections, smaller brands can be found in compact spaces. Ladies can hit Tokyo for more than 100 beauty and clothing stores, and men can go up another floor to London for their own fashion needs. On the third floor shoppers are greeted by a sign saying “Welcome to Istanbul City," a floor filled with trinkets, gifts and accessories shops.

Because Bangkok's a novice when it comes to advanced toilet technology, a sign shows shoppers how to experience bidet bliss. San Francisco, on the fourth and the fifth floors, is where all the restaurant chains can be found, including some local favorites like Sunrise Tacos, Baan Ying and Canton House. Like most Bangkok shopping malls, there's a heavy dose of Japanese-themed restaurants as well. Click here for the full list of eateries. There's also the "Pier 21" food court, aimed at office workers in Asoke. Each dish is priced around 25-35 baht, though they come in slightly smaller portions than what's sereved out in the streets.
Lastly, up on the top is, of course, Hollywood. There's no replica of the iconic sign, but you know you're there because of the giant Oscar statue. On this floor Terminal 21 has its own SF Cinema City, although we're not sure why SF added one here when they have SFX Emporium one BTS station away. Apart from the city themes, what really makes Terminal 21 stand apart from the other cookie-cutter malls are its 21st-century utilities such as free Wi-Fi (bring your ID/Passport to one of the information counters), toilets with heated covers and bidets -- amazing! -- and an impressive 36-meter escalator. All in all, even though Bangkok needs a few more green spaces far more than it needs another retail outlet, it's difficult to deny that Terminal 21 is indeed a pleasure to stroll though.

Address: Asoke-Sukhumvit Intersection
BTS: Asoke. MRT: Sukhumvit.
Tel: +66 (0)2 108 0888

▶ Platimun Fashion Mall

Bangkok shopping: A beginner's guide to Platinum Fashion Mall Platinum Fashion Mall shop La Boutique, which can be found on the second floor in the Oxford zone. If you were to compile a list of Bangkok shopping centers you wouldn’t want to visit on a Saturday afternoon, Platinum Fashion Mall would be right up there with MBK and Pantip Plaza. This six-floor monster on Petchaburi Road is technically a wholesale shopping center, though it’s open to anyone in search of a bargain. Most of the floors are dedicated to women’s clothing, hats, jewelry, shoes and purses, but there are floors with shops selling stuff for men and children, as well as souvenirs and gifts.

The lanes in Platinum are narrow, all the better to cram every spare inch with shops. But this also means that weekends are a brutal time to visit, as foot traffic is slow moving. The best time to hit Platinum is in the morning on a weekday, right after the mall opens at 9 a.m. Otherwise, get ready to throw some elbows if you want a shot at digging through the racks for that perfect find as most of the shops are really tiny. Though it’s open till 8 p.m., by late-afternoon Platinum fills quickly with students and the after-work crowd -- a ruthless, hardened bunch of serial shoppers who will not let a timid first-timer get in their way of a bargain.
Platinum caters mainly to women, there are quite a few men's clothing shops such as Assembly, on the second floor. None of the shops let you try on clothing, which means you have to be extra careful about what you buy. Many of the dresses, pants and shorts are designed to fit women of a slimmer build. If in doubt, stick to simple items like T-shirts, slip dresses, tank-tops, shoes and costume jewelry. The selection of accessories is incredible, with some funky earring/necklace sets as low as 100 baht apiece. Most price tags have two numbers on them. The lower one is the wholesale price, which they’ll usually give to you if you just buy more than one or two items. The higher price is what you’ll pay if you just want one piece.

Because Platinum is so huge, with more than 2,000 shops, it’s best to just wander through the lanes and explore. Selections are surprisingly diverse so if you see something you really want, don’t wait and think you’ll find a cheaper version somewhere else. Many locals buy wholesale at Platinum to sell items in their own shops or online, and can be seen walking around dragging huge zippered plastic shopping sacks attached to little carts. If you're planning to go on a spree, buy a big plastic sack and do the same. Beats carrying around a dozen tiny plastic bags. If you’re on a mission for something specific, check out the Platinum website before you go and stake out the shops you want to hit. Almost all the stores are listed in the directory and have photos of their products.

Address: 222 (Pratunam) Phetchaburi Road, Bangkok.
Closest BTS station: Chidlom. From there, grab a taxi.
Tel: +66 (0)2 121 8000



Friday, April 23, 2021