Best Places for Shopping in Downtown Bangkok



Bangkok is well known for its shopping possibilities. In fact, many would say it is the city's national pastime! And for those who want to indulge, downtown Bangkok is the best spot to do it in, with an incredible array of all the best shopping centers and malls to fulfill any shopper's cart. Here you will find the ultra luxury new Central Embassy Mall, as well as upscale Gaysorn Plaza, home to the highest end designer goods, located near to Bangkok's two most renowned shopping meccas; Siam Paragon and Central World. While you are here, it doesn't take more than a few minutes walk to pop into the user friendly Siam Center as well as Siam Discovery, which play second fiddle to the mega malls perhaps in name only. For wholesale clothing at fantastic prices, the outdoor Pratunam Market is an excellent choice. If electronics are what you are after, Pantip Plaza, the city's electronics center, is just another half block away. If you are looking for outdoor gear or sporting goods, don't forget to check out the less visited Amarin Plaza, which always seems to have mega sales going on. Whatever you are after, you can be sure to find it when out shopping in downtown Bangkok.



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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Meet Dave Stamboulis

Dave Stamboulis is a travel writer/photographer based in Bangkok. Born in Athens, Greece and growing up in the U.S., Dave first discovered Bangkok while on a 45,000-kilometer bicycle trip and...  More About Dave

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