Siam Discovery is nowhere near as glitzy as Siam Paragon or the newly relaunched Siam Center next to it, but it is an easy to navigate straightforward downtown shopping mall without any of the gimmicks and many like its unpretentious atmosphere. There are plenty of high end fashion and designer choices here, families come here to pick up their favorite brands. The first three floors of the mall have clothing and fashion shops galore, while the upper two floors contain home design and decor, along with anything that doesn't fit on the first three floors. Also included in the Siam Discovery Mall is a Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and an Ice Planet Skating Rink, so the whole family can have fun while hitting the clothing stores at the same time. There are also a plethora of eating options upstairs here, with an international food court featuring Japanese, Thai, steakhouses, and plenty of others. It's easy to pass several hours here.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: Not only is Siam Center Bangkok's most comfortable central mall, it has great selections too.
Dave's expert tip: Located just west of the Siam Center, you can actually walk through both Siam Paragon then the Siam Center to get here, staying air conditioned almost the entire time.
Amarin somewhat slips under the radar with the famed Siam Paragon, Central World, and plenty of other downtown malls nearby, but it is a pleasant surprise, as it is always having huge sales, and definitely worth a look. Outdoor and sports aficionados will be especially pleased, as not only is the huge Sam Sports downstairs stocked with well named brands of running shoes and other sports gear on sale, but upstairs, the large Outdoor Adventure Zone is home to Bangkok's best travel and outdoor gear, with everything from Ortlieb bicycle panniers to European high end brands of tents, sleeping bags, packs, and other gear that is almost impossible to find in Bangkok available, often at reduced prices.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For Bangkok's only real place to buy sports equipment and for constant sales, Amarin rocks.
Dave's expert tip: The best way to get here is via the Skytrain to Chidlom Station, and then walk the Skywalk to the Maneeya Plaza exit.
Recently relaunched, the longstanding downtown Siam Center now is as cutting edge, hip, and chic as any of Bangkok's shopping malls. It combines fashionable Thai designers along with big name foreign brands, along with plenty of hi tech and glitzy gimmicks to make sure you have a pleasant shopping experience. Art exhibitions sit next to Nike stores or local high end designers Greyhound or Jaspal. A large active muay thai boxing ring in the middle of the store is just one of the surprises you might find, along with a giant fish tank that makes up the front display window on one entrance into the mall. The chairs, sofas, and open spaces in here are easily the best of any Bangkok shopping center, making the Siam Center not only great for shopping, but a relaxing and fun place to hang out as well.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For cutting edge and chic shopping downtown, Siam Center s a great choice.
Dave's expert tip: you can enter here directly across from Siam Paragon as well as via the BTS Skytrain Station at Siam, so no need to stay out in the heat.
While not quite as famous as the nearby Central World, Central Chidlom is also a centrally located downtown seven floor departments store that has just about everything to make for a good shopping experience. The floors are easy to navigate, with separate areas dedicated to menswear, women's clothing, travel, shoes, and so forth. The highlight of the mall though is its Gourmet Food Market downstairs, which is stocked with fine food from around the world, and is one of the few places in Bangkok where you can find truly top notch imported olives, cheeses, gourmet bread, and just about anything else. Located smack downtown with easy public transport access, everything is convenient about this spot.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For one of the top gourmet food markets in central Bangkok, along with great designer goods, Central Chidlom is excellent.
Dave's expert tip: Located just a short stroll from the Chidlom BTS Skytrain station, and this is the best way to get here due to the heavy traffic congestion that is the norm in this area.
Perhaps Bangkok's most luxurious and upscale mall, Gaysorn sits across the street from Central World in the heart of central Bangkok and houses a collection of the most high end fashion brands and designs. Luis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, and all the most noted names are represented here, as well as Thailand's top creative designers such as Sretsis and Senada Theory. Gaysorn is an opulent mall, full of white marble, and far easier to navigate and less crowded than the malls surrounding it, and there are plenty of chic cafes and quiet niches in which to take a break from the chaos of the busy Ratchaprasong Junction outside.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For ultra luxury goods, centrally located Gaysorn Plaza is Bangkok's best.
Dave's expert tip: The Chidlom BTS Skytrain station has a convenient exit directly into the mall, making it easy to go almost from air con to air con.
Bangkok's number one high tech mall is set downtown and is easy to find. Anything you want or need having to do with computers, cameras, and any electronics, this is the place to come. While there is plenty of decent and legit hardware and software, the market is also notorious for pirated goods, and especially single men will be endlessly hassled on the second and third floors to buy "sexy movies." The second floor food court in Pantip has an extensive array of eats if you need a break,and remember to try bargaining in many of the shops, even if the price is "fixed." It also pays to shop around, as the prices really do vary from stall to stall in this labyrinth of a shopping center.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For the widest range of all electronic goods and parts in an easy to get to spot, Pantip Plaza is Bangkok's best choice.
Dave's expert tip: Remember to get the forms correctly filled out for the VAT refund (7%), which must be done properly in advance to be able to get the refund on the way out of the country. Some shops in Pantip won't give the VAT on certain items, these are usually grey market items, perfectly legit, but the price is already substantially lower than if you bought the product elsewhere with the VAT.
Positioned smack downtown and once known as the World Trade Center, the Central World Plaza is the third largest shopping complex in Asia, and even with the opening of nearby Siam Paragon, still remains one of the top shopping draws in Thailand. The outside of the mall is thronged with visitors praying at the local female fertility shrine, as well as enjoying the daily changing exhibits and festivals that take place in the large open space fronting the complex. Inside, 8 floors host just about every shopping label in Thailand, bookstores, musical instrument shops, and much more. The 7th floor has a wide selection of excellent eateries of different cuisines, plus a gourmet supermarket stocked with goodies, and the 8th floor is home to the 15 screen SF Cinema City movie complex.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: Known as the center of the city, Central World's gourmet market, cineplex, and countless shops never fail to amaze.
Dave's expert tip: It is well worth checking the Central website to see what events are on. They often have Chinese New Year performances, sumo tournaments, and the outside beer gardens open in the winter feature live musical groups each night.
While Pratunam is not a shopping mall or department store proper, it is a fascinating outdoor market area that features hundreds of small clothing stalls selling at highly discounted prices, and is especially good for wholesale. Located smack downtown, it is full of stalls that take up the alleyways between the Baiyoke Tower and Petchaburi Road and are home to an endless array of shops, some covered and others out in the open street, selling mostly clothing, along with silver, jewelery, and other fashion accessories. You will be hard pressed to walk in here, as not only are the aisles incredibly narrow and packed with shoppers, but they are also full of food vendors and street sellers, making for the quintessential Asian street market experience. It's worth braving the crowds here just for the atmosphere, not to mention cheap clothing.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For inexpensive wholesale clothing in a convenient location downtown, Pratunam is tops.
Dave's expert tip: this is the best wholesale market in central Bangkok. It starts somewhat across the street from the Platinum Fashion Mall, just follow the crowds into the alleyways off of Petchaburi Soi 19.
Located in the dead center of Bangkok, Siam Paragon is all about big. One of Asia's biggest malls, featuring a 15 theater multiplex cinema which includes Asia's largest screen, the Siam Ocean World, which is Southeast Asia's largest aquarium, a bowling alley, a concert hall, and of course the gigantic multi-floor mall that is home to hundreds of luxury brand retail shops, car dealers, food court, and perhaps the best gourmet market in the kingdom. You can buy virtually any type of food here, from fresh imported seafood to gelato to fine wines from around the globe. The upstairs cinema includes an IMAX theater and stays open well past the mall closing hours.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For its heart of the city location and incredible food court, Siam Paragon always wins.
Dave's expert tip: If coming or going to Petchaburi Road, take advantage of the little known free shuttle cart that runs from the west side entrance of Siam Paragon up past the Kempinski Hotel and out just shy of Petchaburi, with Panthip Plaza a short stroll up the street. The free shuttle runs until 6pm.
Bangkok's newest opulent luxury mall doesn't disappoint. Named after the former British embassy gardens upon which it sits, this futuristically designed building is made out of shimmering aluminium tiles and seeks to pay homage to Thai temple design while at the same time merging a podium and tower into one coiled structure. Inside, you'll find some of the most elite brand names in Bangkok all at some of the highest prices to be found in town as well, letting you know just what kind of real estate you are sitting on. In addition to the luxury shopping, there are plenty of great eating options, led by renowned names like Din Tai Fung (Shanghai dumplings), the Water Library, and Sonboom Seafod. There is also a hi tech cinemaplex, and construction is on the way for a new 6 star hotel that will be one of Bangkok's finest.
Recommended for Downtown Shopping because: For its upscale shops and dining, plus unique design, Central Embassy is elite.
Dave's expert tip: Easiest way to get here is to take the BTS Skytrain to Ploenchit and use the direct walkway from the station exit into the mall.