IT Heaven in Bangkok
Visit Panthip Plaza on the weekend and you'll enter one of the busiest, noisiest shopping malls in the city. Not surprising when you consider that this plaza is IT heaven for anyone looking to buy, part-exchange, upgrade or repair a computer, or purchase peripherals and software.
If you think the technology in your country is advanced, then wait until you go to Panthip. Everything is available including (pirated) copies of software and DVD's which have probably not yet been released in your region.
Panthip Plaza 's popularity is given much to its competitive pricing and the availability of second-hand IT products. Once also known for its huge selection of pirated DVD's or copy computer software, these are not so obviously located now, but none the less plenty are still available if you look hard enough.
Whilst the Thai Police have endeavored to crack down on these illegal copies, they are still in the market. Periodically police checks are made and shops are closed down, but resourceful vendors still manage to find a way to ply their wares. This usually involves the item in question being housed, not physically in Panthip Plaza , but in a building just down the road.
Interestingly obtaining legitimate licensed software in Thailand is more difficult than finding pirated merchandise. This is due to their high price and the ease of availability of counterfeit versions. Thailand is well known for its counterfeit culture, not only within the IT industry but for watches, clothing and bags. Often a copy of a pirated DVD or software CD will cost a tenth of the price.
Sometimes it is possible to obtain cheaper legalized software which is licensed for sale in Thailand only. However be aware that the corresponding manuals etc will be in Thai. Panthip Plaza is 5 floors of every possible computer related item you can imagine. It is an old building and is a maze of electronic and IT outlets specializing in hardware, software and accessories, as well as a couple of anchor stores such as IT City, which can be found on the top floor, and Data IT on the mezzanine level.
With hundreds of small shops and stalls to choose from the safest bet is to go for the established and recommended vendors. Shop around and compare prices first and bargain where you can. The plaza is well known for its low prices so it attracts shoppers on a budget.
Panthip Plaza is very popular and it can get very crowded, particularly at the weekends. The best time to go is just after opening when its quieter, and vendors are keen to make the their first sale of the day. Opening hours are from 10:00 am to 8.30 pm daily, although many stores start to shut around 7.30 pm - 8.00 pm.
Finding the plaza is easy. It is located on Petchaburi Road, just across from the Pratunam's City Complex and near the Amari Watergate Hotel. The nearest Bangkok Skytrain station is Ratchathewi and then its a 10 minute walk along Petchaburi Road. A final note it that not all vendors at Panthip Plaza speak English as Thai customers outnumber the tourists.
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