I was born in the city of Bangkok, so maybe that makes me a touch biased; but there are sooooo many reasons that make this place a shopper’s dream. I class it as one of the most exciting and unique shopping experiences in the world, because of the range of shopping approaches it caters for. Let me explain.
First, you can shop for handmade goods on the street or markets with prices starting at less than a dollar, or you can take it to the extreme and hit up one of Bangkok’s many high end boutiques – Chanel, Hermes, Dior – you name it they’ve got it, in abundance. And yes, it sounds cliche to say there’s something for everyone, but in this case it’s true.
Second, you get to shop almost whenever you like – this city never sleeps… (Ok… another cliche! But it’s true!) Bangkok shopkeepers aren’t early risers, but they’ll happily stay open until 10pm or midnight to bag a sale, so there’s no rushing around at 6pm before the doors shut, you can even take a break and catch dinner in between boutiques! Yay!!!
There are several clustered shopping experiences I’d love to highlight, the spots where you’ll find me on the hunt for new outfits. This basically restricts me to a handful of hotels, because I like to be in very short distances from the likes of Platinum Mall and CentralWorld, so I’ll also list my three top shopper hotels later.
Here we go – in order of where you should start, and how you should make your way through the Bangkok shopping maze.
This is a quaint way to get started on your Bangkok shopping holiday. Siam Square is a collection of little boutiques set among criss-crossing pathways that has the intimacy and character of a market, with each shop fuelled by modern air conditioning.
You’ll find more local Thai designers here than in the big stores, as the leases are cheap and flexible enough for the locals to set up and get creative. There’s loads of cheap streetwear and when I was growing up in Bangkok, this was the place to be seen! You’ll often spot bloggers and celebrities wandering around (well… Thai celebrities, who you may not recognise… don’t expect to bump into Kendall Jenner!). It’s also right next to Siam BTS station – another essential ingredient of Bangkok shopping, unless you want to sit idle in a taxi in bumper-to-bumper traffic!
Hot tips for Siam Square:
- Visit the Hello Kitty Cafe for some selfies!
- Grab a Shibuya honey toast from After You cafe! (After You is where all the cool Thai kids hang out.)
- If you’re missing your Western food, grab a burger and some fries from the Hard Rock Cafe!
- If you want to grab an iPhone case or any electronic accessories like power banks etc., ask someone for directions to MBK – it’s just next door and specialises in gadgets
- Don’t spend all of your money, you’ll want to save it for the small designers who moved from here to Platinum Fashion Mall!
Hotel tip: Check out Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square for this area