Bangkok ' s Shopping
Malls and Markets
Some of the Best Shopping in the World
Bangkok 's shopping choices are endless. "Shopper's paradise" is often an overused term but in Thailand's case it certainly applies. This city has something for everyone, even the most hardened shopper.
From glitzy, luxurious Bangkok shopping center to crowded, bustling local markets, the range of goods available is not only exotic and extensive but also cheaper than you would find back home. Part of Bangkok 's shopping success is its wide range of outlets. Huge shopping malls proliferate the city but local day or night markets can also be found at every twist and turn.
Thailand is also known worldwide for its "counterfeit culture". Replica watches, handbags, sunglasses, clothing and other accessories hang from market stalls and kiosks in all the tourist areas. Pirated DVD's and computer software are extremely popular with visitors, often acquiring copies of movies, computer games and software programs which have yet to be released in their own country.
Whilst the quality and the legality of these items are questionable, none-the-less there is a lucrative trade in this market and demand often exceeds supply. The best bargains in Bangkok 's shopping malls and markets have to be the silks, soft furnishings, clothing and wooden carvings which would otherwise cost a fortune back home.
Clothing items are incredibly good value for money – especially cotton. The cheapest are from local markets such as Pratunam market or Chatuchak weekend market. However the biggest drawback is sizing as aside from the typical 'tourist' attire of T-shirts and casual beachwear, clothes are usually made for the smaller Thai frame rather than western one.
This particularly applies to women's underwear and swimwear. With a Thai brand, although your size may in principle be available, you'll often find the cut is different and much shorter or narrower in the body.
The main shopping area is in the heart of the city, and what locals refer to as " Bangkok 's shopping street." This refers to an area stretching from MBK in Siam Square, through to Central World Trade and up to Central ChiDlom. An undercover walkway has been constructed to enable shoppers to go from one end to the other, with ease and in comfort. The walkway runs just beneath the BTS / Bangkok skytrain tracks and offers a respite from the traffic fumes and the city's uneven, narrow pavements, so is kind to tired feet!
Within this section of Bangkok are the main shopping malls, MBK , Siam Discovery Center, Siam Paragon, Gaysorn and Central World Trade. It ends at the largest branch of Central department stores, in Chidlom, which has an extensive range of western size clothing. Siam Paragon, Discovery and Gaysorn are the most upmarket malls, followed by Central World Plaza which proffers itself as a "lifestyle shopping complex". One of the most luxurious designer malls, The Emporium, is further down the road adjacent to the Prom Pong Bangkok Skytrain station in Sukhumvit.
Whilst the range of shopping malls is mind boggling, the best Bangkok shopping experiences are to be had by visiting the city's markets. Chatuchak weekend market, (the biggest open air market in the world) is not to be missed, and the Suan Lum Night Bazaar proves a good alternative for tourists in the evenings, with its many stalls and open air restaurants.
Patpong Night Market in Thailand's infamous red light district also draws a big crowd, but as one online travel guide puts it "the quality and prices of most items sold are about as real and trustworthy as the girls shaking their wares in go-go bars flanking the area."
However, whatever your preference, you can be sure that Bangkok 's shopping opportunities have something to suit everyone.
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