Earlier this month Fancy a change of shopping scenery? Margie uncovers some of Bangkok’s best shopping options.
Like many people, I had transitted through Bangkok many times enroute to somewhere else. I’d dedicated much of those usually 48 hour stop overs to the big Shopping Centres and enjoyed the enormous satisfaction that comes with uncovering the bargains offered in the mainstream shops such as those must have Gap t shirts and Fendi jeans! And then (oh the sheer joy of it) there is the latest season release from Zara which of course is a season ahead of us here in Australia so not only is it cheap but you’ll have it before any of your friends! Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, Siam Discovery, Terminal 21 and MBK – seriously, you can lose days of your life here all in air conditioned, fluroscent lit comfort stopping only when your energy levels ran low to hydrate and carb load.
However, in June when 7 of my girlfriends and I were trying to decide where to go for a quick getaway from our beloved husbands and children for some quality girl time we decided to go to Bangkok to shop. And not to Shopping Centre Shop (well – at least not ALL the time) but to get into the heart of Bangkok and shop like a local. So we hired my very good friend, Khun Ben who lives in Bangkok. He met us on the first morning at our hotel. We were all bright eyed, well fed, rested and raring to go. 8 girls shopping – no prisoners taken! Here are our 2 best shopping experiences of that weekend!
Day One: Our first stop was the popular Chatuchak Weekend Market and we were like children in a candy shop. Before air-conditioned shopping malls sprouted up across Bangkok, there was Chatuchak – a vast weekend flea market on the northern city outskirts. Today vendors sell everything from copies of designer shirts to aromatherapy oils, scarfs, shoes, furniture, decorator items, potted plants, ceramics and reptiles. You name it, its on sale here. You can lose yourself for hours in the alleyways of Chatuchak, located half outdoors and half covered by leaky tarpaulins and roofs. Allow a day here – it is vast but the rewards for the observant (and patient) are enormous and local restaurants to re-fuel are plentiful. It operates Friday, Saturdays and Sundays only, and has 8000 market stalls set on 35 acres. BTS Skytrain – Mo Chit. Cash only (local Baht). Best buys at Chatachak – designer copy hand bags, costume jewellery, handicrafts, ceramics & designer T shirts. Bargaining is expected.
Day 2: Refreshed after a good nights sleep, we went to the Platinum Fashion Mall (located near the Amari Watergate). Not as well known as the larger Shopping Centres mentioned above, it is often overlooked by international visitors. However this WHOLESALE (there is the key word fellow shopping enthusiasts) clothes shopping mall features some great bargains many of which are bought by locals and resold via retail shops and at other markets. With time (there are 2000 shops) you can source some great women’s, men’s and children’s clothes at seriously good prices. Open daily from 9am – 8pm. Nearest BTS Skytrain – Chit Lom (10 – 15 mins walk). Cash only (local Baht). Word of warning – this is where many of the locals shop and therefore many of the sizes are geared towards their slighter frames, but don’t worry – the shop owners will unashamedly tell you if they don’t think they’ll fit you!
Best buys at Platinum – some unusual, fabulous fashion items (dresses, tops and skirts) but be prepared to invest the time and energy as there is so much stock to sift through. Our suggestion – if you see it, and you like it, buy it! Locating that item in that shop again 3 hours after you see it is nigh on impossible amidst the hustle and bustle of this Centre and many a slimming frock ‘that I’ll come back after I’ve had a good look around at my options’ has been lost accordingly! Bargaining only kicks in when multi pieces are bought from the same store. Expect to pay quoted price for single items.