How to Shop in Bangkok
More often than not, you find that too much choice is just as overwhelming as too little. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is a shopaholic’s paradise and is packed so full of shopping malls, retail outlets and the like, that a shopper caught unawares is likely to feel a little staggered. Hopefully, this guide to shopping in Bangkok will help you feel a little more prepared.
What to Buy
Anything, really. Bangkok, being one of the world’s greatest shopping destinations, offers everything from amazing fashion and beauty products to electronic goods, from ceramics, pottery and lacquerware to jewellery, antiques and traditional products.
Besides shopping for your body weight in clothing, shoes and accessories you should also check out more unique, traditional items like Teak wood carvings, bronze statues and natural fibre mats and handbags to take back home with you. These inimitable items make fantastic gifts and home décor. Thailand has gorgeous gemstones and jewellery as well and mines its own sapphires and rubies. When buying jewellery make sure that the shop is endorsed by the Thai Gem and Jewellery Traders Association and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, as Bangkok is notorious for jewellery scams targeting tourists. When visiting a jewellery store keep an eye out for the Jewel Fest logo, which should be displayed prominently in the shop. Genuine stores will also issue a certificate of authenticity with a money-back guarantee once you’ve purchased an item. Thailand is also renowned for their lacquerware, made by overlaying bamboo or wooden items with black lacquer, and their ceramics and antiques.
Where to Shop
If you love malls, you’re in luck, Bangkok is packed with some of the greatest malls in the world! CentralWorld mall is the biggest and trendiest in the city, MBK mall is renowned for the fantastic bargains they offer, Siam Paragon is where to go if you’re looking for world famous brands like Jimmy Choo, Prada, Marc Jacobs and a host more. Shopping malls that support every style choice and budget are available in the city and you can check out Bangkok shopping websites to figure out which ones you want to visit!
The Chatuchuk Weekend Market is one of the most extraordinary, surreal and lively markets the world has to offer. There are some 10,000 stalls that you can haggle your way through, offering everything from antiques, lacquerware, beads, vinyl records and suits of armour to actual live sea horses.
Unlike most other cities around the world, Bangkok’s shopping doesn’t end when night falls, it actually seems to wake up. Night Markets in Khao San and Patpong are exhilarating and unforgettable experiences to be had — the whole street lights up as tarpaulin covered stalls open around 6:00 pm and begins to sell a wide array of exotica and counterfeits.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, juices and delicious cooked meals can be bought at the Floating Markets — a stunning sight to behold whether you end up buying anything or not! Floating markets are located in Damnoen Saduak, Taling Chan Market, Tha Kha and Bang Ku Wiang Market.
Head towards Little India or Pahurat for gorgeous silks and Chinatown for gold and traditional items. River City shopping complex is the best place to purchase antiques and collectables as well as pottery, ceramics, old maps and prints, sculptures, wood carvings, Thai silk and home décor. Finally, Pantip Plaza, also known as the computer shopping mall, is a heavenly playground for tech geeks.
You don’t typically have to travel far to reach any of these shopping areas; luxury hotels, serviced apartments, places like Travelodge Hotels Asia and many other affordable hotels in Asia that have branches in Bangkok, are typically located very close to most major shopping districts. Regardless, the city is easy enough to navigate, especially using the Skytrain and underground rail systems, which connect to main business, entertainment and shopping areas in Bangkok.
When to Shop
Shopping is a year-round experience in Bangkok with plenty of sales and bargains available throughout. However, if you plan on shopping for clothes, keep in mind that retailers tend to throw extravagant summer sales between July and September and many major fashion labels begin to launch new winter collections at this time as well! December to February is also a good time to visit with year-end sales being announced and new spring and summer collections being released.