Bangkok is, hands down, my favorite city to shop! You’ll find everything you need from luxury brands, to quirky Asian fashion items and wares. The prices, on the whole, are lower than the west and the standard of the malls are world-class. Journey to the buzzing street markets, and you’ll find even cheaper products along with unique dining experiences.
Where to find the best prices?
Bangkok is a particularly cheap place for market shopping. For higher quality purchases, go to the bigger malls such as MBK, Siam Paragon, Platinum, Central World, Future Park, JJ Mall, The Emporium, & Icon Siam. Future Park & JJ’s are generally the cheapest. Consumer prices in Thailand¹ are quite low compared to other nations, which makes Bangkok a cheaper city for shopping than most western countries.
This Bangkok Shopping Guide takes you on a tour of Thailand’s most glamorous and glitzy shopping malls, enormous and eventful department stores, beautiful and bountiful boutiques, vibrant and bustling street stalls, charming and diversified markets, adventurous and dazzling night bazaars, to name but a few. Whatever your budget, Bangkok has got it all and more in one of the best shopping meccas in all of South East Asia.
The Malls & Plazas …Where to go!?
The best places to go for Bangkok shopping will depend on your preference for luxury products and services, or whether you wish to rough it in a chaotic market somewhere.
See below for the malls and plazas we recommend.
Asiatique on the Riverfront ~ 4.3 Stars
The Asiatique (map) is a mix of mall and outdoor markets. It was purpose-designed with street-style market shopping in mind. It’s a bustling environment that serves regular entertainment alongside various shopping options.
It’s the perfect place to visit at night, where you can enjoy the Ferris wheel, see some special performances, dine out and browse a myriad of shopping stores and outlets.
The beauty of choosing Asiatique as your shopping destination is that opens out along the picturesque Chao Phraya River ~ a great place to create warm memories and some happy snaps.
There’s quite a lot to see and do, so be sure to check out our guide to Asiatique on the Riverfront.
Icon Siam (The Mother of All Malls) ~ 4.6 Stars
This spectacular megamall cost over 1.6 Billion US Dollars to complete in 2018, it’s no wonder it has since become a magnet for shoppers from around the globe. You will find luxury fashion department stores, beautiful water features (along with stunning light shows) as well as architectural embellishments that are truly awe-inspiring.
It also lies along the river, so you have plenty of transport options, plus the opportunity to take a stroll outside and enjoy the views.
- An indoor floating food market with river (Sooksiam)
- A seven-story Takashimaya Japanese department store
- The National Heritage Gallery/ Museum
- Large Electronics section with Thailand’s first Apple store
- A 3,000 seat cinema and concert hall
- And incredible light and fountain show outside
- Upscale restaurant and dining options
- Premium luxury brands (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Versace)
- Gym facilities
- Next to the Chao Phraya River
- Contemporary performances
- An stunning roof-top park with views of the city
If you’re looking for a fun day out, be sure to check out the ground floor and enjoy a delicious meal after purchasing from a traditional style floating market. You’ll find food from over 70 provinces displayed here. If you’re lucky, Muay Thai and other traditional dancing shows are performed inside the concert mall and on various stages within the centre.
Be sure to make your way outside to see the longest fountain in SE Asia (approximately 400 meters). At night, go see the sound and lights show at 6.30pm, 8pm and 9pm daily where light is displayed directly onto the fountain, making for an unbelievable audio-visual experience.
Opening times: Everyday from 10 am to 10 pm
Address: 299 Charoen Nakhon Rd, Khlong Ton Sai, Khlong San, Bangkok (map).
Terminal 21… Offers The World ~ 4.6 Stars
In this marvelous modern megacentre, each stunning floor is designed to represent different cities that attract tourists. The number 21 has become part of the title since it is a reference to Soi Sukhumvit 21 where the first location of this retail complex is located.
Terminal 21 offers a unique shopping experience with 600 different individual shops. You will feel as if you are walking through the streets of various cities throughout the world. The structure, both inside and out, resembles the look of a modern airport terminal. Once entering the mall, signs will direct people to their various destinations, just like you might see in an actual airport. This theme is even carried on to the information staff since they can be identified by the flight attendant uniforms they wear.
The location in Bangkok opened in October of 2011 and is the first one of the three locations. It is located in the Watthana District at Sukhumvit Road and Asoke intersection (map).
This innovative shopping experience offers numerous opportunities to not only shop but also eat and take part in other types of entertainment. It offers fun for all visitors, no matter what their interests might be. There truly is something for everyone.
EmQuartier for Luxury Designer Items ~ 4.5 Stars
This new mall (map) is a must-visit for anyone who loves fashion. It offers an incredible selection of high-end brands, from Gucci to Prada. If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, several independent boutiques are also located in the mall.
In addition to its focus on fashion, EmQuartier is also home to some of Bangkok’s best restaurants. Everyone has options, from cheap street food to high-end seafood dishes. You’re sure to find something that suits your taste. The mall also has a large entertainment complex which includes an IMAX theatre and a rooftop garden.
EmQuartier has an ice skating rink and an IMAX theatre in addition to its enormous shopping mall. There are plenty of restaurants and even a rooftop garden with lots of plants. If you’re looking for an activity to do in Bangkok, this mall has plenty.
EmQuartier also caters more towards the style-conscious shopper. It is home to dozens of upmarket boutiques which sell everything from clothes to accessories. You can find Prada and Louis Vuitton brands, among many other famous names.
Central World Plaza (Big & Bold) ~4.5 Stars
Central World Plaza (map) was formally called the World Trade Center. It’s the second largest shopping complex in Southeast Asia situated in one of Bangkok’s busiest shopping precincts at the Ratchaprarop intersection in the Pathum Wan District. It measures a total of 1,024,000 square metres with the actual shopping section measuring 550,000 square metres.
Originally, the complex started out as an eight-story mall, opening in 1990, but has subsequently undergone massive reconstruction, having acquired new owners in 2002. The basic architectural structure of the building didn’t exactly arouse my emotions. It looks more like a large rectangular box than anything else, but lately, things have dramatically changed. Once you are inside, the real beauty unfolds.
Lifestyle mega-store ZEN is an upmarket department store that occupies seven levels with a floor space 50,000 square metres. A modern 15-screen cinema complex named SF World Cinema is located on the eighth floor and a number of Thai cinema premieres are held there every year including Bangkok’s International Film Festival. It also houses some first-class luxury theatres.
There is a central food hall on the seventh floor, which can be essentially two-fold, allowing you to do some gourmet shopping in a supermarket while stopping over for a meal at any number the of smaller outlets and restaurants there. Some of the brand names include Marks and Spencer, Guess, Lacoste, Starbucks, Toys “R” Us. Hush Puppies, Playboy, Swatch, Panasonic, Rolex etc.
3 Modern Malls Next to Each Other
Siam Paragon ~ 4.5 Stars
If you are looking for a high-end shopping experience, Siam Paragon (map) is the mall for you. This massive complex offers everything from luxury brands to top restaurants. It’s also home to one of Bangkok’s largest aquariums ~ Sea Life Siam Ocean World.
Some of the special features at Siam Paragon include a nine-screen cinema, a bowling alley, and an ice skating rink. There’s also a large food hall where you can find anything from Thai cuisine to international favorites. If you’re looking for a place to spend an afternoon or evening, Siam Paragon is worth a visit.
Siam Center ~ 4.5 Stars
As one of the largest malls in Bangkok, Siam Center (map) has everything you could want. Over a hundred restaurants offer some of Thailand’s tastiest cuisine, and there are over two thousand shops to choose from. The mall is also home to several cinemas and even an ice skating rink if you’re looking for fun things to do.
One thing that makes Siam Center so great is its focus on fashion. The mall has several flagship stores for some of the biggest names in fashion, including Chanel and Louis Vuitton. If you’re looking to update your wardrobe, this is the place to go. Siam Centre is a great choice if you’re looking for a place to eat, lounge around, and shop.
Siam Discovery Center ~ 4.4 Stars
This massive mall (map) offers plenty of fun things to do. Aside from the usual shops and restaurants, there is an IMAX theatre, a bowling alley, and one of Bangkok’s biggest aquariums. It also has some really interesting architecture that makes it worth visiting even if you aren’t planning on buying anything.
One of the great things about this mall is that it’s located right on Siam Square, Bangkok’s most popular shopping district. It means you can shop at Siam Discovery Center and then head off to a different one of Bangkok’s malls afterwards if you’re still not done.
Older & Cheaper Malls
Central Chitlom ~ 4.4 Stars
Central Chitlom (map) is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a mix of high-end and affordable brands. The major attraction of this mall is that it’s located right in the heart of the city, so you can easily explore everything else Bangkok has to offer after you’re done shopping.
There is a mix of budget and high-end dining establishments if you’re looking for an especially fancy dinner. You can choose from both Thai cuisine as well as international dishes.
The mall’s garden has several water features, including fountains and streams, so it feels more like you’re outside than inside. There are also plenty of tables with chairs if you’d rather sit down for your shopping break instead of standing up.
MBK Centre ~4.3 Stars
Ma Boon Krong Shopping Complex also known as the MBK Center is a huge marble shopping mall situated in Bangkok’s downtown Pathum Wan district and adjacent to the Chulalongkorn University.
It was originally one of the biggest malls in Asia when it was founded in 1985 and has approximately 2,500 shops on eight levels.
MBK houses a cinema complex, a bowling alley, karaoke rooms, internet cafes, gaming parlors, several restaurants and fast-food outlets, including a 5,000 seat food court on the 5th floor.
There are jewellery, electronics, leather, furniture, photography, art and health stores as well as a department store called Tokyu. The centre is also well known for its variety of negotiable products, including cosmetics, mobile phones, and designer clothes.
Tip: What many tourists are unaware of is that there is this huge underground shopping section located beneath the building where all the locals shop. The area is a hive of activity where even more bargains can be purchased.
Future Park Rangsit / Zpell (Huge Mall on the outskirts of BKK) ~ 4.4 Stars
This is a secret find, and is actually one of Thailand’s largest malls! Renovated in 2015, with ³the addition of the Zpell Shopping Precinct this mall offers terrific quality shopping and caters mostly to locals being further away from the city centre. It’s one of my favorite malls, and not surprisingly a favorite among locals. I’ve always found the prices to be comparatively cheaper than other shopping centres in Bangkok, although not every retailer offers upscale quality.
It’s well worth the visit, approximately 200,000 people shop here daily. If you want to make a day of it, you may want to venture to the beautiful Thammasat University Rangsit Campus with its lush urban rooftop farm/garden.
- 2 main shopping precincts (the old and the new)
- The new Zpell Precinct “never regular mall” is spacious and high-class
- Quality Fashion Retailers (Muteki, H&M, Akiyoshi, After You)
- US$4.2 million renovation in 2015
- Close to Thammasat Rangsit, and the Asian Institute of Technology
- Close to the Muay Thai Institute
- Close to Zeer IT Shopping Mall
- Fitness facilities
- Close to the Don Mueang Airport
- Close to modern hotels
- Kids entertainment including the arcade, ice skating, the Funarium, and trampoline park
- Houses Thailand’s First Indoor Ski Slope Park
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 10.30AM – 9.30PM
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from AM – 10PM
Locations: Situated on Phahonyothin Road in Pathum Thani (map).
Zeer Rangsit – IT Mall for Locals ~ 4.3 Stars
Zeer is an old-style shopping mall that caters to all your usual shopping requirements. They do have cheap prices with regards to fashion with the addition of the wholesale clothes markets. Most locals come here to either purchase or repair electronics and computer products. If you are prepared to negotiate pricing with the retailers, you may pick yourself up a bargain somewhere!
- Good prices for electronics
- Great eating options both inside and out
- Not so many tourists because of the location
- 3 Floors of IT retailers and service centres
- Ability to negotiate price with smaller shops
- Wholesale clothes market
- Simple mall (older style)
- Close to Don Mueang Airport
Opening Hours: 10.30AM – 8.PM everyday
Address: 99 M.8, Phahonyothin Rd, Khu Khot, Lam Luk Ka, 12130
Pantip Plaza (IT Mall) ~ 4 Stars
Pantip Plaza is a five story IT shopping mall situated on New Phetchaburi Road in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district (map). There are hundreds of small shops specialising in computer hardware, software, and assorted accessories, including photographic equipment and mobile phones, and of all descriptions.
The mall is abuzz with huge crowds, especially over the weekends, and it can get rather noisy at times with persistent vendors overly eager to promote their goods. They often hassle potential customers, including tourists wanting to find bargains.
Watch out for the hawkers selling counterfeit software and pirated movies. As you make your way around the center, you’ll sometimes hear a guy whisper “sexy movie” while showing you a blue movie cover. Next, he’ll ask you to follow him to a hidden compartment behind his store or another one a little further away. These guys are all too aware of random police searches, but somehow they’re not afraid to take their chances either.
Part of the mall’s success and notoriety, however, is due to the many counterfeit items sold there. Sometimes it may be difficult to know which is which. It is best to insist on a valid receipt or invoice, which should include value added tax.
The mall outside is a hive of activity with tiny stalls selling all sorts of items from cheap batteries, alarm clocks, lighters and a whole host of other bizarre looking articles. Tuk-Tuk drivers are all over the place offering to take you anywhere around the city at over-rated prices. Otherwise, it can be a thrilling experience.
For a truly electrifying shopping experience in Bangkok, you should try to visit as many of the markets as you possibly can. Not only do the markets here mimic an intrinsic and fundamental part of city life, but they also invite you into a world of unimaginable magnetism and amazement.
You can easily spend an entire day visiting the floating markets at Damnoen Saduak or those at Taling Chan though they may not be all in the same area.
A market you simply must not miss is the Chatuchak Weekend Market but for this to happen, you’d need to be in the city over a weekend as the market is only open on a Saturday and a Sunday for tourists and the general public. Here you’ll find a wide variety of merchandise and local food stuff.
Chinatown is another fantastic market to spend quality time. Best of all, it’s open all day and every day. You could if you like, visit a combination of two markets on any given day. More than that would be far too much, though not impossible.
The Bangkok shopping experience continues to expand into more areas of the city like the clothing market at Pratunam, where a huge range of inexpensive fashion garments such as dresses and sneakers are on display as well as handicrafts, jewelry and other assorted paraphernalia.
As you relentlessly continue your Bangkok shopping experiences you may come across Pat Khlong Talad Flower Market, which is possibly the best of its kind in the city. It’s a flower market paradise for lovers of bright big blooms such as orchids and roses including many species not found anywhere else.
Traditional Thai Wet Markets
If you have time to spare and would love to educate yourself a little bit more as to the way in which a great many locals do their daily shopping, then take a trip to one of the open-air markets. Klong Toey Market is perhaps the best example of a traditional Thai wet market because of the fresh produce in which it trades.
Thewet Market is similar in that it is also a wet market (hence the name) but slightly different as are all the markets of this type. There you’ll find not only fresh plants and flowers but also fresh produce such as fish and vegetables.
Backpacker/ Touristy Markets
For visitors wanting to buy cheap, why not try the street market on Khao San Road. It’s where you’ll find just about everything you might need for further your travel to other locations around the country as well as to a few neighbouring nations. Assorted travel related equipment such as rucksacks, hiking boots are readily available for sale at very reasonable prices.
Patpong Night Market is a bustling and popular shopping area also well known for its adult entertainment. Just ask any taxi driver. Fake brand names lie alongside cheap souvenirs like watches, clothing and other assorted paraphernalia. Prices are often more than double than anywhere else in the city. Not the best place to shop as are the touts who constantly bother you.
Suan Lum Night Bazaar situated east of Lumphini Park in Bangkok is open nightly from around 5:00 pm until midnight. It is a fabulous alternative to spending quality time away from the heat of the day. There is a crazy amount of small shops selling a variety of gifts, clothing, jewellery, silks, lots of handmade products including tapestries, paintings and sculptures. And in front of the market, there is a wonderful semi-enclosed beer garden and food stalls where live bands perform most nights.