A Maze of Clothing Bargains
Pratunam Market is central Bangkok's answer to Chatuchak weekend market. It is both a wholesale and tourist market and prices are cheap, cheap, cheap.
Situated just before the Indra Regent Hotel on Ratchaprarop Road, near the Amari Watergate intersection, this market is full of inexpensive clothing.
Follow the small, shabby Pratunam Market sign and you'll find yourself in a maze of alleyways with clothes hanging everywhere. It is often difficult to weave your way through the narrow lanes, especially when you meet traders with wheelbarrows of clothing (or on motorbikes) coming at you in the other direction.
Much of what you find here is sold in the local departments stores at a much higher price. You can pick up some good "one-off" bargains but the majority of clothing is in Thai sizing and not western, which does narrow down the choice. However, a huge selection of T-shirts, fisherman's pants, sarongs and other cotton clothing is guaranteed. This is also a good place to find bargains in children's clothing.
If you want to give the folks back home a bit of a laugh then pick up a go-go bikini. There are some good underwear bargains to be had in Thailand but sizing may be an issue for the westerner.
As you might expect, Pratunam market is popular with the locals who can sniff out a bargain at twenty paces. The place is reminiscent of an Arabic souk with its confusing twists and turns and narrow corridors.
Thailand's counterfeit culture means that you'll be confronted with fake brands at every turn, be it clothing, bags, accessories or watches. If you purchase several pieces from one vendor you can haggle for the wholesale price.
If you intend to be a serious shopper, wear lose clothing and comfortable shoes as it gets pretty warm in this narrow undercover market. Watch out for pickpockets looking for easy prey. Do not keep your wallet in your back pocket and keep a hand on your purse.
Pratunam Market is open daily from morning until late afternoon, closing around 5 pm. After an hour or so's shopping in this rabbit warren you'll need some cool air and refreshment. In Thailand you are never far away from a restaurant, cafe or food stall. Take a breather in one of the many surrounding eateries or walk down to the nearby Central World Plaza for a bigger selection.
If you have not yet had your surfeit of shopping then try the nearby Baiyoke Building. Here you'll find another six storeys dedicated to clothes.
The Baiyoke Tower is supposedly Thailand's tallest building and is definitely worth a visit for its splendid panorama of the city. However, choose your timing carefully as you want a clear day. There is a public observatory on the 77th floor, a Roof Top Bar and Music Lounge on the 83rd floor and a revolving roof deck on the 84th.
The nearest Bangkok Skytrain station is Ratchathewi.Take the Petchaburi Road exit and walk about 10 minutes until you see the main intersection with the Amari Watergate Hotel and the Platinum Fashion Mall. Pratunam Market is directly behind the Amari Watergate, in Ratchaprarop Road.
Alternatively get off the skytrain at Chidlom and walk down past the Central World Plaza. This brings you to the Amari Watergate intersection and Pratunam market is just a short hop from here.
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