With the shopping options ranging from luxurious, high-end malls to bustling street markets, Thailand’s capital has something to suit every budget.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Sprawling over 35 acres, and comprising of more than 15,000 stalls, the Chatuchak Weekend market is easily the largest, and the most famous market in Thailand. It is almost impossible to explore all the stores in a day, but if you budget for an entire day here and don’t take too many refreshment breaks, you might just get a taste of all that the market has to offer. From clothes to accessories, and household items to pets, Chatuchak has something for everyone.
Affectionately called the J-J market by locals, Chatuchak makes an attempt to organize itself, with numbered aisles and colored sections ostensibly dedicated to different products. Information booths scattered throughout the market also offer free maps. Nevertheless, you will almost definitely get lost, so make sure not to lose sight of all your party members.
Expect the market to be crowded, with an estimated 200,000 visitors every weekend. Watch your purse as it can be a pickpocket’s paradise as well. The biggest downside is the heat as the market is open air. Also, while there are ATMs available, they can be hard to find, so make sure you have enough cash on you.
Visitors can opt to take the skytrain or BTS to Mo Chit station on the Sukhumvit line, located five minutes walk from the market. Alternatively, take the subway or MRT to Chatuchak Park station (Suan Chatuchak), then follow the signs.
Mah Boon Krong
Popularly known as the MBK mall, Mah Boon Krong’s eight floors, jam packed with 2,000 stalls, have been compared to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, but you get to shop in air conditioned comfort. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, however, so be prepared to pay up to 20% more than you would in Chatuchak.
MBK makes no bones about the fact that it’s not as glamorous as neighbors Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon. However, it’s also more budget friendly, and offers an amazing array of clothes, bags, accessories, and even furniture. Expect most items to be fake, but it is possible to find a gem or two here.
Located on Phayathai Road in Pathum Wan, MBK is easily accessible via BTS. Stop at the National Stadium, where a pedestrian bridge will take you directly into the mall.
Siam Paragon is Bangkok’s premier shopping destination. Centrally located in Pathum Wan, the mall opened in 2005 at a cost of $ 375 million, and attracts the top brands from around the world. From Ferrari to Versace, Siam Paragon offers high end fashion for the discerning customer, but doesn’t leave out mere mortals with more affordable brands like Zara and Sony.
Siam Paragon is the place to see and be seen, but if you don’t have the cash to spend, console yourself with a meal in the gourmet market and food hall on the Ground Floor. Offering both international cuisine and deliciously spicy Thai food that will make both your mouth and your eyes water, you won’t leave here hungry.
Don’t miss the Siam Ocean World in the basement, featuring sharks, eagle rays, penguins and more. South East Asia’s largest aquarium also offers visitors the chance to dive with the sharks, and has regular feeding shows for its many animals.
Take the BTS to the Siam station, conveniently located at the junction of the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line.