Shopping in Bangkok
An Experience to Remember
Shopping in Bangkok is the answer to a shopper's prayers. From colorful local markets to posh shopping malls, there is so much to explore and enjoy – even if you are not too particular about shopping in general. Apart from attractive prices and overall good quality, Bangkok shopping is full of cultural flavor and gives you a unique chance to experience more of the Thailand capital city.
You don't have to go too far to find places to shop in. Besides numerous shopping malls, department stores and markets spread over the city, smaller shops and stalls are available literally at every step. Going shopping purposelessly can potentially be damaging for your wallet – the selection of local and imported products is so tempting that you invariably end up buying something you don't really need. Therefore, it is wise to narrow your shopping plans, choosing either particular items to buy or particular shopping destinations to visit.
Silks, handicrafts, antiques, gemstones, jewelry and clothes are the items shopping in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand is known for. Apart from that, fakes and knock-offs of all kinds are also popular, and if you can't find what you are looking for, you can always get it custom-made. Prices are almost always proportionate to quality, but also depend on where you get the item and your bargaining skills.
Shopping in Bangkok is a way more expensive in popular tourist areas, with hotel boutiques being the priciest ones. Polite and friendly haggling is acceptable in all street markets and privately owned shops (including those in shopping malls). For this purpose, it is always useful to learn Thai numerals, even though most vendors can speak very basic to fluent English.
If you are looking for the cheapest prices around, be ready to explore open-air markets with Chatuchak being "the Mother" of them all. Of course, you will have to bear some inconveniences like heat, humidity and crowds as well as certain risks (watch your purse!), but the biggest selection of Thai and other Asian products is well-worth it. For antique-hunters, both artificial and real, Chinatown is your destination. Pratunam area is another huge market specializing in trendy and cheap clothing. After-dark shopping in Bangkok is at its best in Suan Lum Night Bazaar.
If you crave for glamour, Bangkok shopping malls are there to satisfy all your needs. For the best designer brands, visit Siam Paragon and Central World Plaza – two giant shopping complexes, claiming to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. If you want a friendly atmosphere, plenty of discounts and a way lower prices, go to Mah Boon Krong ( MBK ) shopping center – chances are once you are there you will not want to go anywhere else.
Various department stores, both upscale and catering to an average crowd, include Robinson, Carrefour, Big C, Tesco Lotus, and Central Department Store each with multiple branches around the city. Duty free shopping in Bangkok can be done in the World Trade Center with a convenient option of picking up the purchased items in the airport.
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