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 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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: For unpretentious shopping with a large selection and great family vibe, Siam Discovery is a good choice.
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.
Maboonkrong, more commonly known as MBK, may not be as fancy as its neighbors Siam Paragon or Central World, but it is certainly as popular. Probably best known as the place to buy a mobile phone in Bangkok, this is actually just one floor of this large shopping mall that houses an excellent collection of clothing, shoes, department stores, restaurants, as well as a multiplex cinema. MBK tends to have big sales going on all the time, and the prices are far lower than its nearby designer counterparts. Due to this, it can be a rather crowded and confusing place to wander through, but don't let this deter you. The ethnic food court upstairs has a range of cuisine from around the world, and the mall is noted for various performances that go on outside in the big plaza, including the Japanese Cosplay Festival as well as the colorful Bangkok Tattoo Festival, both of which are annual events.
Recommended for Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: Mah Boon Krong is a great spot for mobile phone shopping along with having a bit in the international food court.
Dave's expert tip: MBK is accessed directly from the National Stadium Skytrain station, but as this is the last stop on the Silom line, it is almost more enjoyable and preferable to get off at Siam and make the leisurely stroll on the traffic free Skywalk that runs down from Chidlom past Central World and Siam Paragon, stopping as you need to shop.
Recently relaunched, the longstanding 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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: For cutting edge new design and one very comfortable mall, the Siam Center is a truly outstanding 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.
Groove @ Central World is a foodie shopping paradise tucked in between Central World and Siam Paragon in the heart of shopping crazy Ratchaprasong in central Bangkok. The glitzy mall boasts a rather hi tech and futuristic looking facade that is made from light reflecting aluminium, and features an innovative overhanging roof which protects shoppers and diners from the elements as it creates a sheltered outdoor dining area. The mall is covered with pleasant artwork and sculptures plus there are trees and wooden benches to give it a more homey feel, and it really does feel like an escape in the heart of the city. Taking up 20,000 square meters, the complex can be accessed from the ZEN Department store in Central World as well as from the BTS Skytrain Siam and Chidlom stations via the Ratchaprasong Skywalk. Top shops here include the French gourmand culinary paradise Fauchon, a branch of the Greyhound Cafe, Belgian Beer gurus HOBS, and 1881, a tapas bar run by the folks behind the popular Water Library
Recommended for Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: For foodie shoppers, the new Groove @ Central World is a fine haven.
Dave's expert tip: The mall can be accessed from both the 3rd and 2nd floors of Central World, as well as from the Ratchaprasong Skywalk.
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. Not to be confused with the old Pratunam Center, which has since become the Palladium mall, Pratunam refers to the alleyways between the Baiyoke Tower and Petchaburi Road that are home to an endless array of packed market stalls, 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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: for wholesale clothing and a great street market experience, Pratunam is hard to top.
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.
Bangkok's number one high tech mall. 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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: For the greatest collection of IT products under one roof, Pantip Plaza is a Bangkok institution.
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.
Perhaps Bangkok's most luxurious and upscale mall, Gaysorn sits across the street from Central World 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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: for upscale fashion on the highest end, Gaysorn is right at the top of the mall scene
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.
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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: For central location, array of shops, restaurants, and its great multiplex cinema, Central World is a great mall.
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.
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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: For luxury and novel design leading the new designer malls, Central Embassy is it.
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.
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 Pathumwan's Best Shopping because: With its Gourmet Market and Food Court and fancy multiplex cinema, Siam Paragon is Bangkok's best mall.
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.