Thailand: Shopping in Bangkok.


Sometimes you get stuck with things that come most naturally to you. I’ve been stuck on writing this post for past couple of days. And yet I haven’t got hold of an opening line for this post, so I thought of putting it bland and straight, “For all those who love shopping and seek inspiration : Head to Bangkok!” As simple as that.

Bangkok not just has options in terms of shops/brands but options in terms of experience. It ranges from glass and steel, high end luxury malls for the high heeled, well loaded crowd to flea markets with shops the size of an average fitting room. As it happens I saw it all, even though it was at the expense of missing out on a stunning temple, but then, I don’t call myself a shopaholic for nothing.

Having said that, shopping in Bangkok needs a master plan. Well, I had to read a lot of blogs/travel websites/guides to get the best out of my time there so I’m writing an exclusive post on shopping in Bangkok hoping, this might cut down a lot of ground work for shopping enthusiasts like me.


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A busy glowing night market near Chit Lom BTS, a ‘milky way’ of shoppers!


Shopping can be categorised into three different ‘areas’ or ‘experiences’ here:

a) The Malls

b) The local city market

c) The flea markets (basically the mother of all flea markets – Chatuchak Weekend Market)

An easy way to start would be an all inclusive mall that you can browse through like a catalogue, to get an overview of what it has to offer. I started with MBK mall which I believe is a good start up point. It is more of an indoor AC-ed flea market than a mall. It has more than 1000 stores/stalls of things that you normally find in the suitcase of a person who returns from a foreign holiday – clothing, shoes, toys, trinkets, decor, luggage – you name it. It’s a good place to look for summer dresses, t-shirts, fake labels in handbags and casual clothing – or something you would pack for a beach holiday.  As is the place so are the prices i.e in between a mall and a flea market. Therefore don’t be wondering when you find people strolling around with suitcases in the tow. They are neither off to catch a plane nor have they landed directly on MBK, that is just a personal shopping cart. I managed to fish out a couple of summer dresses (by a local thai brand called ‘I’m’ and Workshop) and a kaftan in my first visit. I could buy more (I had been eyeing a dress) but then I thought of keeping it for a later visit incase I don’t find a better version elsewhere.

Wasn’t that stupid thinking?

When I made a return to MBK the scene was more or less changed. My dress was gone. GONE.

So don’t make that mistake. Remember it as THE most important rule of shopping in Bangkok. You see it? Like it? Want it? BUY IT!

MBK has a lot of food joints too incase you get hungry shopping. It can be reached by BTS or sky rail and the name of the stop is National Stadium Station.

Diagonally opposite to MBK stand, like brothers-in-arms, Siam Centre, Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery. Let’s start with the big brother – Siam Paragon. It is probably the heart of Bangkok. And looks like Bangkok has a large one. Whoever says Bangkok is the ‘mecca of cheap shopping’ probably hasn’t been to ground floor of this mall. The lowest floor has the highest priced labels – Versace, Pucci, LV, Ferragamo, Chanel, Jim Thompson – and the likes. Second floor eases a bit on prices but not on style for there is Zara, MNG, Gap etc. Paragon also boasts of a ultra luxurious movie experience. There is Kinokuniya store for book lovers. Also food court here is as fabulous. It has many popular restaurants including one of the three Four Seasons in the world! For vegetarians/Indian food lovers there is a fabulous Indian restaurant called – Royal India. Totally worth it. I think I’ve said enough about Paragon.

Oh! and there’s an aquarium too, really big.

Siam Centre is the youngest one and the one I found really interesting. Everything about it is hip and cool including the labels, the visitors, the stores, the eateries, the washrooms – yes do visit them! They have been very thoughtfully and futuristically designed for ‘selfie’ junkies. For all whom taking ‘selfies’ is a part of life – this is your temple. This is one mall where you find a lot of local thai brands in the same neighbourhood as international names.

Siam Discovery is also an interesting one but was just quickly brushed through by us. But let me tell you here, there are hardly any repeating stores in these malls. So don’t skip thinking they are all the same.

After these Siamese ‘brothers’ we walked a little further to check out Central World. Well, I, personally did not like it as much. It has very run-of-the-mill stores with run-of-the-mill clothing/shoes. However I managed to grab some goodies from Topshop and Uniqlo there although I’ve been to better stocked Uniqlo’s and Topshop’s. There is one store that was an absolute delight, it’s called Lyn Around. Since it’s targeted at young girls, finding bigger sizes could be a problem. I found Central World at Phuket a much better option than here.

All the malls that I’ve mentioned so far are at walking distance with respect to each other.

There are a lot more malls than the one’s I’ve just mentioned (Gaysorn, Platinum, Terminal 21) but in the given time these were all we could visit.

Shopping in local market areas is what I love about a city. And this also happens to be my favourite shopping area in Bangkok – The Siam Square. To say that this area is brimming with talent is to understate the fact. Lots of local thai designers, all in their twenties but know the business like a veteran.

Some have tiny shops with no changing rooms but that DOESN’T mean you can’t try it on! Yeah…at an unnamed store in Siam Square a young shopkeeper handed me a maxi skirt for a changing room. As I held it, running the drill in my head, Adi (my husband) gave one of those laughs that are preceded by a shocked pause. He (the shopkeeper) was polite enough to leave his shop to two strangers in the make shift changing room. Although it was a bit awkward but it worked. I (and the shopkeeper) felt lucky enough to find the garment fitting, after all the trouble of changing and parted on a happy note! But that’s Siam Square for you.

Haggle you must but be just, that’s how it works best. Siam Square is the place to buy some off beat clothing, evening dresses and trendiest tops and t-shirts. I did not see much of shoe shops here, though. The vibe of the area is playfull and edgy – well themed with their merchandise. We immensely enjoyed shopping here, spent hours in this market. I could recommend a lot of shops here but unfortunately many still await a name, but Sugar Moustache, Post Nerd are two personal favourites.

If there is one place in world to buy T-shirts, it is Bangkok and to be more specific Siam Square and Chatuchak (aka Chatujak or J.J market). I’m not a big time t-shirt wearer but I was compelled to buy a few.

Here’s one that would give you some idea about the size of stores in Siam Square and the wit of the people running the place.


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That’s one witty shopkeeper in Siam Square!


Our last day was spent largely at Chatuchak weekend market. As the name suggests it opens at 6pm on a much loved Friday evening and on Saturdays and Sundays it opens from 9am to 6pm.

To reach Chatuchak we started off early in the morning and hopped on a BTS to hop off half an hour later at Mo Chit Station. You could take an MRT as well depending on where you are.

Chatuchak market has more than 8000 stalls, so it is a wise idea to go to a specific stall of interest as guided by a map which is available here. It had been divided area-wise into clothing, kitchen, home decor, art and ceramics, plants and pets etc. Just so that you have an idea, we spent an entire day, morning to evening, in this market and could see only 1/4th of it. Tip of an iceberg.

It is one big Noah’s Ark. 😀


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When a girl ties her hair up, she means business! Some serious shopping in a playful store.


Should I say it again that it is an amazing experience to be at Chatuchak market?

I could write an entire post about it but I’ll try be laconic here.

Mind boggling variety. Quality of merchandise is not too bad for a flea market and the price. Can bargain although some shopkeeper won’t budge even by a penny. Grab it if you really really like it – trust me, you won’t find your way back into the store. Even if you do, it might be taken. TAKEN (remember the scary word!). It is just an observation but as you go deeper into the market the prices are cheaper. Very lovely, gentle, polite and patient people. Walking, haggling and thinking under a hot tin roof can have serious consequences so keep a water bottle handy and also wear light and easy clothing. Wear comfortable shoes, take care of your belongings and keep a day aside for it, if you want to do more than just have a look at the market.

There are lots of massage parlours in between the stalls where you can take a seat and sip herbal tea and get your feet ready for more walking. It’s a social service for the price charged.

Although I say it myself, I’m quite an experienced flea market shopper and this one beats almost all I’ve seen so far. However, I’m very disappointed in knowing and informing you that, it does not feature in any of the listings of ‘great’ or ‘best’ or ‘must see’ flea markets. Although they do claim to be the largest flea market in the world. Also, I now need to see a few permanents on these lists to know better.

While we’re talking about Thai massages, I must add the best Thai massage in all of Thailand is at Oriental Experience Bangkok, it is available upon request, and specifically for in house guests.

Well, this was about shopping in Bangkok in particular, but for the sake of simplicity I’m adding a little note about Central World in Phuket. It is basically a mall but what one ups it is a number of stalls and some really good Thai craft stores so if you don’t have the time to go exploring much in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand, this could a one stop ‘shop’.

I haven’t taken too many pictures around shopping, as the camera lies buried deep under the shopping bags in the backpack.

I love shopping and shopping loves me too, for I have returned home with some really good finds! 🙂

After our city trip to Bangkok, we left for Koh Yao Yai, a small island off the coast of Phuket, up next on the blog!

Take care.

P.S: By the time one last shoe, one last shirt and one last scarf was bought and packed, I finally got over my jet lag! The waves of sleep which erstwhile just touched my feet and left, finally swept me in!


  1. a very good piece of writing from a shopaholic to other shopaholics. seeing you in LITTLE HUT surrounding by beautiful dresses tells the story.nice writes up,a good guide to shopping in thailand,MUST READ those heading to thailand for shopping.