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Shopping in Bangkok

guide to shopping in Bangkok with reviews of shopping malls and markets in Bangkok

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If ever there was a time for shopping in Bangkok it is now. With amazing discounts at most stores in Thailand, you can find everything that you are looking for at exceptional prices.

Bangkok is famous for pirated goods, but have a look around first, sometimes you can buy the original at cheaper or for just slightly higher prices than on the street.

On this page you will find a variety of information about shopping in Bangkok, whether it is for computer products, clothes or fake merchandise, where to buy and where, as well as what to watch out for. Do also check our guide about VAT Refunds for Tourists in Thailand, as it can help you save a little from the purchases you make while in Thailand.

Another way to save money, is to apply for a tourist card, such as the M Card at The Mall Group which includes The Mall, Siam Paragon, Emporium and an expat or tourist card for all the Central Shopping Centres. These cards normally give you an extra 5% discount. Be sure to check what the terms and conditions are for each item purchased as the discount is not always available. Signing up for these cards is simple and normally just requires some form of id.

Discounts are common place in Bangkok. Whether it is in a major shopping centre, or small local shop always ask to see what is available. It should also be noted that discounts are not necessarily the same from one mall to another. A suit at Siam Paragon could well have a discount of 40% or more, while the exact same suit at another place like Central Chidlom may well have a totally different price.

Diving Shops in Bangkok: Scuba Equipment -
Please see our full page review of Diving Shops in Bangkok.

Computer Software: The main place to buy computer software, as well as computer hardware etc is at Panthip Plaza on Petchburi road, almost opposite the Amari Watergate Hotel. Everything under the sun and computer related can be found there. With seven floors of shopping heaven for computer buffs, copy is very much the thing, so if you are looking for original be careful. The shop on the top floor, IT City, is very reliable, and offers mainly original soft and hardware. Due to a lot of police restrictions, which seem to change month by month, the shops sometimes will refuse to sell you copy software directly instead they have to send it to you by EMS (registered post). There is not normally any problems with this, however it does mean that you should visit this computer heaven early in your trip, if you plan to buy some software, so that the sellers have enough time to send it to your hotel if required. Three days should normally suffice at the most. Having said that please note that these restrictions change all the time, and you will even see vendors removing all the latest DVD's, CD's, VCD's and software very quickly only for it to reappear minutes later once we presume an inspection has finished. There are some other computer shops in Bangkok which are also well worth a visit and a little easier to get to than Petchburi road. One, is Fortune Plaza which is on Ratchada Road next to Param 9 subway station. There is also another Panthip Plaza on Rattanathibet Road close to The Mall Ngam Wong Wan and a massive computer mall in Rangsit.

DVD's: VCD's and DVD's are also available at Panthip but they can also now be found all over Bangkok. Do watch out when buying DVD's as quality can vary enormously. Always ask whether the DVD is a "master copy", which basically means is the picture and sound quality the best available. This should help to avoid any misunderstanding although it still very much depends on the honesty of the vendor and also the vendors understanding of quality. Quality would normally be described in percentage terms. So for example if you wanted to buy the latest blockbuster movie which is not even out in the cinemas yet then the quality will normally be less than 100%. Some shops may even let you see the quality if you ask nicely. VCD's are now roughly 50 Baht or so but can be had a cheaper if you shop around. DVD's are also readily available and cost anywhere from 100 Baht. You should note that original DVD's can cost as little as 240 Baht and there are quite a few shops around Bangkok where you can buy original movies in DVD, video and VCD format. Most vendors will give you a box for free if you ask, while some may charge 5 Baht per box. If you have a DVD player at your hotel do check each DVD for quality and if you are unhappy then you should have little problem changing the DVD. See also our guide to: Buying Electronics.

Rolex: Please see our full page article on Rolex Watches.

Bike Shops in Bangkok: Please see our full page article on Bike Shops in Bangkok.

Shopping Centres / Malls in Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market the famous weekend market is a MUST when in Bangkok, however for us to be able to explain this amazing market to you fully we have devoted a whole page to it. Read our Review of Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok and browse Pictures of Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok.

Patpong Night Market offers a wide range of fake goods such as watches, clothes, bags etc. Located in the heart of Patpong (skytrain station Saladaeng), with Bangkok's famous bars on either side this night market offers many distractions, and perhaps an excuse for many to visit this famous night spot. Haggling is expected, and to be honest, unless you really want to go to sleazy Patpong, then we would recommend the Night Bazaar mentioned below.

Suan Lum Night Bazaar is an absolute must and a viable, even preferred, alternative to visiting the Patpong Night Market and even Chatuchak as it is not as cramped, has good quality entertainment and food stalls, and sells almost everything you could want from your trip to Thailand. The Night Bazaar is a quick taxi ride away from Silom road, next to Lumpini park (underground station Lumpini). The Bazaar opens around 6 and closes around midnight, it normally has live entertainment such as a live band and a wide variety of food stalls so you can enjoy an evening of fun and shopping at the same time. A definite must for anyone with a shopping list.

Emporium Sukhumvit Soi 26, is an excellent shopping centre and was for many years the best in Bangkok. It has a cinema, and a lot of quality designer wear, as well as two food courts, one with mainly Thai food and another more designer attempt at competing with the best food court in Bangkok, namely the Food Loft at Central Chidlom. The Emporium, as do all malls in Bangkok, regularly has very good sales, which are always worth checking out with discounts anywhere from 15 - 80% off at times. While this should still be a must visit on your shopping spree in Bangkok, we do recommend Central Chidlom and Siam Paragon over the Emporium. (skytrain station Phrom Phong).

Siam Paragon - For years the Emporium enjoyed the position of the leading Shopping Mall in not just Bangkok but Thailand, followed very closely by some of the Central Department Stores such as the Central Chidlom. But today, Siam Paragon, Central World and also Central Chidlom have all now, in our view at least, taken over this prestigious accolade and they offer everything, if not even more, than the Emporium. Siam Paragon opened its doors in December 2005 and is quite literally enormous. It is an absolute must for travellers to Bangkok in search of high quality merchandise. It should also be noted that the Siam Paragon is home to many of the world's leading designers and while the actual mall may close at around 10:30 many of the designer shops close much earlier, so if you are looking for Gucci, Zegna, LV etc. then an afternoon or morning visit is advised. There are also some excellent restaurants at the Siam Paragon, including Aoi which offers some of the best Japanese in Bangkok, Crystal Jade which has some of the best Dim Sum for lunch in Bangkok etc.

Bobae is a wholesale market which offers mainly clothes and textiles. Items can be bought at very cheap prices in bulk.

Central Bagna If you like enormous this is your place. Pretty much everything under the sun here and all in a clean new shopping mall. Just do not get lost!

Robinsons Sukhumvit When there was not many shopping centres in Bangkok, then this place was one of the leaders. Not so anymore. There are a few Robinsons in Bangkok still, and they do tend to be a little cheaper than some of the other major malls but it is not somewhere we would suggest going out of your way for.

Central Chidlom: Despite all the newcomers to the shopping mall scene in Bangkok, Central Chidlom is still easily one of the best. It is another beautiful shopping mall with everything available and some great sales. One of the biggest advantages of this shopping mall is its ease of navigation, it is a store and was built as such, without the hundreds of shops you will find in other places. If you do go to this shopping mall make sure you try the quite amazing food court - Food Loft - on the sixth floor. (skytrain station Chidlom).

Amarin Plaza: How this shopping mall is still open is beyond us. A lot of tailors and other shops. This place is crying out for a refurbishment or a complete makeover - perhaps another hotel?!

Central World Plaza was previously called the World Trade Centre. This shopping mall is absolutely massive, it offers everything but unfortunately it is not the easiest of malls to get around.

Gaysorn Plaza Reopened after a lengthy close and renovation in July 2002. It is a relatively upscale shopping centre with many of the world's top designers. It is opposite the World Trade Centre and the Grand Hyatt Hotel, with a variety of shops. To be honest it is a little too white bright for our liking, so be sure to take your sunglasses!

SOGO next to the Grand Hyatt Hotel - has closed down.

Siam Square This is a small area with lots of excellent local market style shops to be found. The Hard Rock Cafe and CM2 disco is also in this vicinity.

MBK is 6 floors of little shops that sell assorted goods. Everything can be bought here at very good prices. It is hectic and busy especially at the weekend, but if you are looking for a bargain then this is a great, if not a tiring place to start. They have two shops that we can strongly recommend, and deserve a mention simply because a lot of people look for this and don't find them. The first is on the sixth floor and is called Seven Sis, here you can have words printed on to pretty much anything, hats, t-shirts, shirts, you name it. The beauty is that not only is it great value, but it is also stitched and not screen, this means that your t-shirt or whatever will not fade out in the wash or even start peeling. You can either buy the t-shirt there, or take your own. Take a look at the picture of the shop by clicking here. The other shop too mention will do any form of printing for you, name cards (although they are cheaper on the sixth floor near SevenSis, stickers and posters. The stickers really are very well done, and can be designed any way that you want. The shop is called Number One DESIGN, and is on the third floor. Take a look at the picture ? Click here. You should also not miss the food court on the sixth floor, it must be one of the biggest in Bangkok, the food is great, and everything is amazing value. Yes ALL the pics of Bangkok the food court included are here take a look! MBK basically has everything you could ever need, from unique items mentioned above to Mobile Telephones (be sure to ask whether the phone is 'second hand' or not) to excellent fake Louis Vuitton bags, to originally made local shoes and such. If the fake LV bags interest you then all we can say is that you will need to ask and look around as they are not on display and we prefer not to mention the shops that carry them. MBK is a shopping must on any visit to Bangkok.

Tesco Lotus Located on Rama IV Road, close to Sukhumvit 26 (although there are many all around Bangkok), is an enormous supermarket which has other shops adjoining.

Boots always a favourite with travellers as many things are much cheaper than back home. Boots are located around Bangkok so finding one is not a problem. Do compare prices with Tesco Lotus, or any one of the other supermarkets in Bangkok, as price differences can be quite substantial depending on what promotions are running and what products you want.

Silver: Silver products such as jewellery can be found all over Bangkok but perhaps the best place to purchase silver is in Chinatown where there are many shops selling it.

Bed Sheets: Bed sheets in Bangkok are not as cheap as some other countries around the world, but the major malls often have some special discounts which can make such items very affordable. If you want the ultimate and one of the finest bed sheets in the world then we suggest you visit Pasaya. Read a full review of Pasaya - Ultimate Bed Sheets in Bangkok.

Bangkok Tailors: As the subject of shopping for tailor made clothes is quite extensive we have devoted a separate page to Bangkok Tailors.

Summary: If it sounds to good to be true it probably is. There are plenty of scams around, so don't be scared to say no, or walk away, just keep your wits about you and everything should be fine. The best quality malls in Bangkok are Central Chidlom, Siam Paragon and Emporium if you miss the others then don't worry. You can walk between Siam Paragon, Central World and Central Chidlom using the walkway that runs beneath the skytrain, it is free and for once you do not need to constantly look at the ground for fear of falling down a pothole! Want the markets? Then Suan Luam night bazaar will suffice and if you are around at the weekend then Chatuchak in the morning. If you skip the Patpong night bazaar then all you will really miss is sleaze and being harassed. For cheaper more localised shops, then MBK, Discovery Centre, and all the shops in Siam Square.

After all that shopping you will probably need a drink!! Read our reviews of the Bars in Bangkok.

See also: Currency Converter and Money Tips. Were you looking for a specific shop or product? Let us know and if we can we will help. Contact us.

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