I usually don’t spend a lot of time shopping while on the road and prefer to buy my essentials before traveling. However, Bangkok is an exception. I simply love shopping in Bangkok for the variety of styles, latest fashion and dirt cheap prices. Yes, it is even cheaper than India so its wise to take an empty suitcase while traveling to this mecca for shopaholics.
Table of Content
- Bangkok Shopping Guide – Where to Shop in Bangkok for All Budgets
- Budget Shopping in Bangkok
- Mid-Range Shopping Malls in Bangkok
- Luxury Shopping Options in Bangkok
- Map of Shopping Malls and Markets in Bangkok
- Other Useful Resources
Bangkok Shopping Guide – Where to Shop in Bangkok for All Budgets
Shopping in Bangkok can get out of hand if you are not careful. During my very first trip to Bangkok, I literally broke the bank, paid extra baggage and bought a 42 inch flat screen TV – all thanks to my wild shopping spree. Over the years, I have calmed down a bit and know exactly where to go and what to buy, without putting a dent in my wallet.
Bangkok has an array of malls and street shops dotted all over town – with plenty of day, night and weekend markets as well. A first time visitor would surely be perplexed. To simplify this process, I have created this Bangkok shopping guide based on my 7 trips to this metropolis.
Budget Shopping in Bangkok
Being a thrifty shopper, I love budget wholesale malls and the array of street markets in Bangkok. If you are like me and wondering where to shop in Bangkok on a budget or looking for street shopping in Bangkok, then read this section.
Here are my favorite places to visit in Bangkok for shopping on a shoestring budget –
Platinum Fashion Mall
This is my #1 choice and I make it a point to spend few hours in this mall every time I visit Bangkok. Platinum has different sections and floors for each category – shoes, accessories, women’s/men’s fashion and handicrafts.
It is easy to get lost as there are hoards of lanes, floors, 3 different mall sections and a ton of shoppers. However, once you get a hang of it, you can easily navigate your way around.
Here’s a short video I took while walking around Platinum fashion mall to give you a feel of the place –
This is a wholesale mall, which means if you buy 3x of any item you get a discount. It’s worth to bargain as you can usually get the same price for 1 item as well.
Tip – Stalls along the escalator are the cheapest – I have seen denim shorts/jumpers and even jeans being sold for a measly 50 Baht (Around $1.4)!!!
If you step out of the mall, there is a row of thrift stores outside as well.
Just opposite Platinum mall is this bustling street market with hoards of vendors selling wholesale clothes, shoes and accessories all day long. This is one of the best street shopping options but in Bangkok, be very careful with your money as pick pocketing is very common.
Pratunam starts from Petchaburi road and goes all the way up to Baiyoke towers – where you can find some more budget shops. Shops are open till 2100 hours but then the night market starts with a different variety to choose from. Both day and night markets are worth checking out.
Bangkapi Mall and Adjoining Markets
Bangkapi mall offers a wide variety of clothes, accessories and shoes in a huge indoor mall. Alongside restaurants and fancy lounge areas. The mall itself has branded showrooms but you can still find discounted deals and amazing deals sometimes. However, the best part are the outside stores in an open area called the Tavanna market. You would often find better bargains and variety outside. Of course the clothes and shows are not branded but isn’t that half the fun of street shopping in any case?
Indra Square is just next to Pratunam and the only real difference is that this is another mall where you can shop indoors, in Air con if it gets too hot outside. Rates are tad higher than the Pratunam street shops outside, with less margin for bargains but still the clothes, bags and accessories found here are a steal.
Pantip Plaza (Electronics)
This is your ultimate go-to place if you are looking for highly discounted electronics. This IT mall is a 2 min walk on the same side as Platinum fashion mall. You can literally buy anything and everything to satisfy your geek pleasures here. From laptops to latest phones, cameras, mp3 players, printers, games and all sorts of hardware and software, Pantip is ‘the’ place to buy electronics.
Even retailers from other parts of the country come to Pantip to get a bargain and cut the middleman costs. There are a lot of shops to choose from and it can get overwhelming at first. I would recommend to spend some time to check out different shops and prices in order to get the best bargain electronics.
Mid-Range Shopping Malls in Bangkok
Mid range malls in Bangkok are excellent and offer different styles with better quality than the wholesale malls. You also get more space as lanes are much wider and less crammed. Everyone needs food whilst on a long shopping spree and there are plenty of lovely restaurants, cafes and even vegan Bangkok eateries to choose from.
Click here for a complete list of foods to try when in Bangkok.
MBK shopping center is the most popular mid-range option for travelers and locals. It tops the list of best malls in Bangkok, hands down.
With over 2000 shops to choose from and few budget stalls as well, it drives a lot of shoppers looking for pocket friendly goods, without having to rummage through narrow lanes. Spread across 8 huge floors, it is a shopaholics dream.
This mall has everything from clothing to electronics and even food court and supermarket. So unlike the wholesale malls, you literally get everything under one air conditioned roof. No wonder shoppers flock in hoards to MBK center everyday.
Central world plaza is one of those more spacious malls. You can choose from two major department stores of 500+ shops for your shopping pleasures. The rates are definitely higher than MBK but the quality is by far superior. Plus, if you head to the back of department stores, they often have sales at throwaway prices (when they have a few pieces of a style left).
Terminal 21 makes it to my list simply for the unique factor. Each floor is designed keeping different city markets across the world in mind. So every floor has its own unique city theme – Paris, Rome, Caribbean, Tokyo, London, Istanbul and San Francisco. Even the toilet interiors are done keeping the floor theme in mind. Considered as one of the high-end malls it is worth a visit and highly recommended.
Luxury Shopping Options in Bangkok
Okay so in all honesty, I have only ever been to Siam Paragon and that too for window shopping. I don’t care so much about brands and simply buy what I want and like and brand names are not what determine my shopping choices. However, for those who are looking for the latest and best original brands head to one of these ultra lovely malls – Siam Paragon, Central Embassy, Emquartier & Emporium. Even if you are not looking to shop, these are definitely worth going to just to ogle at interiors and do some people watching.
Public Transport – Bangkok has a excellent public transport network – tuk tuk, taxi, skytrain, bike taxi – You have plenty of options. However, tuk tuk’s and bike taxi’s usually go short distance and taxis during peak hours are hard to find. Your best and fastest bet is walking to the nearest BTS (skytrain) station to catch the train to your next stop. However, if you are looking for comfort and hassle free transportation, opt for a private tour/car hire.
Private Transport – The most convenient way is to simply hire a car or take a shopping tour of Bangkok. I took a customized tour from ThailandiaWeb which is priced at 40 Euros for 6 hours and is definitely worth it. Considering I got stuck in traffic for 2 hours that day,a taxi would’ve costed a bomb. I could choose where to go and since I just had one day for shopping and wanted to re-visit all my favorite spots, renting a cab was the perfect option.
If you want to spend entire day in one or two malls (Which you can, provided you have ample time in Bangkok), public transport would be just fine.
Map of Shopping Malls and Markets in Bangkok
Other Useful Resources
Which are your favorite places to shop in Bangkok? Tell me about them in comments below so I can check them out when I re-visit and add them to my Bangkok shopping guide.