I promised you all a Bangkok Shopping guide based on my trip in January, and here is part 1! I spent one week in Bangkok in January 2015 and went shopping every single day I was there. I know Bangkok is often just a quick stopover rather than a final destination for many travellers, so it’s best to be organised if you are wanting to shop to get the most out of it. I’m going to give you a breakdown of the main malls in Bangkok (which are in the Siam area) as well as some lower end malls and popular markets.
How do you get there? What shops are there? What time do the malls open? Do you bargain? – All your questions are answered below!
Higher end malls
Siam Center, Siam Square, Siam Paragon and Central World are the more higher end malls in central Bangkok. These are the places where you find your usual fashion, beauty, home-ware and department stores. The best news here is that they are all within walking distance of one another.
Central World is my favourite as it has all the stores that I really wanted to shop at and it’s big, but not too big (uhmm actually the sixth biggest shopping centre in the world according to Google). They also had this super cute Christmas Snoopy theme thing going on when I was there. Google the mall to get their website with the shop directory. My picks are H&M, Sephora, Forever 21, the beauty level of Zen, MAC and Tony Moly. You’ll find a mixture of shops and brands you know, shops you’ve heard of and brand new stores. Oh, and there’s also an ice skating rink on the bottom floor.
Siam Center has very similar stores to Central World, but their Sephora is slightly bigger and they have a La Senza. There’s also this cool as fuck aquarium in the bottom level of the mall if you want to have a break and check out some animals (otters, fish, sharks and poisonous frogs).
Siam Paragon is the fanciest of them all and is lined with brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton and mega expensive jewellery stores. It’s totally worth a wander even if you aren’t ready to part with huge wads of cash. The Starbucks on the upper level is a sweet place to grab a drink and rich people watch.
Siam Square is an area of different kinds of shops along some of the side roads across the road from the big malls. There’s some cool little food places here and some interesting Thai fashion boutiques. Two must see’s here – The Hello Kitty Cafe and Eve and Boy. All the food, furniture, decor and staff are Hello Kitty themed, which was my dream come true! Eve and Boy is the most incredible makeup store – it’s like a Sephora that focuses on drugstore brands and has a big hair care section as well as perfumes and a few higher end brands (NARS, Stila etc). I got the most amazing blush/highlighter compact from here for like $2 NZD – so make sure you check out products from brands you’ve never heard of, there are holy grails to be found!
These malls have some amazing food courts, so you will never go hungry! Each of the malls mentioned have a mixture of fast food and more expensive sit down style meals. Most of the fast food (McDonalds, KFC etc) you’ll find on the ground/lower levels and then the more restaurant style places are usually up in one on the top floors. I specifically remember having some great Thai food upstairs in the Siam Centre and Central World. I also ate way too many Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Siam Center.
If you are needing a snack go no further than the Auntie Anne’s – this place has the yummiest hot freshly baked pretzels in the world and they are super cheap. You can find Auntie Anne’s everywhere, grab a kiwi-lemonade with a pretzel and you’ll have energy for hours more shopping.
Shopping mall tips
♥ Every mall has a few beauty spa and massage places, go grab a foot massage when your feet get tired.
♥ Most of the malls have a system where tourists can get a card to use in the store where you don’t end up paying Thai tax – I’m not sure how this works because I didn’t use it. However at MAC they asked to see ID and I got the Thai tax off my purchases. At Sephora they asked if I wanted to be charged in my home currency which was awesome because I was charged in NZD, I could tell exactly what I had spent and there was no extra bank conversion charges.
♥ Don’t be freaked out by the security at the doors, it’s at every door in every mall in Bangkok.
♥ These types of malls are just like the malls at home, the advertised price is the price – no bargaining.
♥ Siam where all the malls are is such a central location, if you are on the Sky Train line just jump off at Siam. Otherwise catch a cab.
♥ The malls open at 10am but close later (8-10pm).
My lower end/markets Bangkok shopping guide has just gone live! Check it out by clicking here!