SPENDING SPREE IN SIAM – A shopaholic in Bangkok is spoiled for choices. Listed here are Bangkok’s 10 best shopping malls.
By Barbara Woolsey
There’s honestly no better place to indulge a shopping addiction than in Bangkok. Thailand’s capital is a shopaholic’s tropical paradise, and mega-malls offer a welcome, air-conditioned retreat from the hot tropical weather. This is where Thais spend their weekends, and it can be a chance to relax or dress to the nines depending what you’re into. Whether browsing, dining at restaurants or taking in a movie, Bangkok’s biggest shopping complexes offer an entire day’s itinerary in just a single building. In contrast, there are also plenty of boutique malls and niche shopping centres – so whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s designer jewellery or that designer bag, it’s only ever just a BTS ride away.
That being said, with such limitless possibilities and unbelievable excess, it can also be hard to know exactly where to go. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of Bangkok’s top shopping malls, what they offer and how to get there. Now all you have to do is track down a traditional Thai foot massage to relax after your shopping spree, but many of these malls cater for that too.
Bangkok’s newest mall, Emquartier, is still under construction but it’s proving to be quite the spectacle. It houses more than 10 venues and halls so far, and the locals are definitely excited about the range of brands available: luxury designers like Jimmy Choo and Valentino, high-end regional favourites like Mugendai (Japan) and Stylenanda (Korea) and affordable labels like H&M and Uniqlo.
After some serious retail therapy, you can always hit the Emquarter Gourmet Market that promises artisan foods from around the world or hang out in the Quartier Water Garden, a beautiful tropical garden with Asia’s highest man-made waterfall, Quartier Falls. For a proper dining experience stroll along the Helix, a gentle path that slopes uphill climbing climbs five floors in a spiral with restaurants and cafes on either side – recreating the European outdoor, café culture but in air-conditioned environs. There is also the Virgin Active fitness centre, one of the company’s flagship locations with a club lounge and a massive indoor pool and spa.
Emquartier together with Emporium and a new mall to be called EmSphere, will form the EM District – a new world-class commercial and tourist hub in the heart of Bangkok. Access: BTS Phrom Pong
Paragon is probably Bangkok’s best-known shopping mall and the most centrally located in the heart of the downtown Ratchaprasong District. It’s home to the Paragon Cineplex cinema, where you can watch movies in IMAX, 4D or in VIP seats with blankets, waiter service and alcoholic beverages. Siam Ocean World, the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia, and Madame Tussauds can also be found here. The mall also holds a variety of large-scale events, performances and exhibitions in its adjoining exhibition and opera concert hall. Access: BTS Siam
Siam Center caused a big splash when it revamped a couple years ago, throwing a big glam party with guest appearances from Adrian Brody and Nicki Minaj. But actually, Siam Center has a long history that goes back to 1973 when it opened as one of the city’s very first shopping malls. Located right next to Siam Paragon, this mall is popular with the young and hip for shops like Forever 21, CC Double O, Steve Madden, SuperDry and Jeffrey Campbell (Villians SF). There is also a selection of Thai designer brands to choose from, such as Fly Now III, Kloset and Greyhound Original. Access: BTS Siam
Gaysorn Shopping Centre
Gaysorn Shopping Centre is the veritable hub of international lifestyle brands, flagship stores and luxury brand name products from around the world. This is also the place to shop for high-end Thai fashion and accessories brands. For the past decade, Gaysorn has brought exclusive lifestyle shopping experience to its local and foreign clients. With its discerning selection of world-class fashion brands it maximizes the shopping experience, its skilled customer service personnel enhance the experience. And adding to it, is a dedicated team of valets and concierges. The customer’s comfort being of the utmost importance.Access BTS < strong>Siam or Chitlom
Step into another chic dimension at the exclusive Erawan Bangkok.Within a few steps of BTS Chitlom, the chic shopping complex provides a personal shopping experience with direct access to the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok right in the heart of the Ratchaprasong shopping district. Ideal location for design and fashion lovers.
The exclusive shopping mall offers its visitors a great space spread over 13,000 sqm over five floors. Filled with an array of distinctive fashion boutiques, elegant lifestyle brands, heath & beauty boutique centers and gourmet eateries it is a uniquely engaging retail experience.Access BTS Siam or Chitlom
This massive development currently under construction, when done in 2017 will include two shopping complexes, two luxury condominium buildings, a riverside event plaza and seven attractions to be known as The Seven Wonders at Icon Siam. The Baht 50 billion project is so far the country’s largest investment to date by private investors (the shopping malls account for around Baht 28 billion in total). It’s a joint venture between Magnolia Quality Development, Charoen Pokphand Group and Siam Piwat, the same mega-mall tycoon behind Siam Paragon, Siam Center and Siam Discovery. Access: BTS Krung Thonburi
Asiatique: The Riverfront
Bangkok’s largest open-air mall is a lot of fun, with a massive open-air night market, over 40 restaurants and the city’s tallest Ferris wheel. There’s a traditional Thai puppet theatre and Calypso Cabaret that are perfect for entertaining kids, but only a walk around Asiatique is a history lesson in itself: the mall recreates the time of King Chulalongkorn’s reign from 1868 to 1910. You can see an old sawmill, a former World War II bomb shelter and even watch a working replica of Bangkok’s tram system from the olden days. Access: BTS Saphan Taksin
If you’re looking for outfits that will impress friends back home, Central Embassy is your first stop. It’s home to exclusive Thai designer brands like Sretsis (loved by Hollywood stars) Ponystone (loved by Thai stars), Chavana gemstone jewellery and more. All the international favourites are here too, Isabel Marant, Roberto Cavalli, Saint Laurent, Louboutin, Miu Miu and so on. You can take a break from shopping with a cooking class at Issaya Cooking Studio or homemade ice cream makers like Tropical Monkey or Supanniga. Access: BTS Ploenchit/Chitlom
Be careful not to get lost in CentralWorld – it is after all the world’s sixth largest shopping mall. There are two sprawling department stores, Zen and Isetan, an upscale cinema complex with around 800 seats, and endless options for shopping for apparel and accessories. It’s home to two of Thailand’s flagship stores for Uniqlo and Toys R Us. After a heavy credit card workout, retreat to the Central Food Hall, a gourmet supermarket, or the Groove area with its variety of cafés, restaurants and food stalls to choose from. Access: BTS Siam
Right across from EmQuartier, is another longstanding upscale mall known as Emporium. It’s got all the luxury mainstays like Gucci, Prada and so on, but what makes it special is its classy food court, cafés and high end restaurants. Guests can choose from food stalls serving Thai, Arabic, Korean, Indian and Vietnamese, or its luxury theatre SF Cinema. Access: BTS Phrom Pong
2 more incase 10 is not enough!
It’s easy to understand why Terminal is the eleventh most Instagrammed place in the world. Its airport theme has each level representing a different destination in the world, for example Tokyo, Paris and Istanbul. The design, decoration and massive statues are definitely more than picture-worthy and the mall offers free WIFI so those social media snaps can go up right away. There’s everything from fashion boutiques and shops selling handmade jewellery to children’s games and funky home décor. Access: BTS Asoke
Jewelry Trade Centre
This is Thailand’s premiere location for buying and selling jewellery and gemstones, with more than 300 reputable dealers on site. Dealings are controlled very closely, to ensure guests never need to be worried about scamming – there is always a seven-day full refund policy and personal shopping assistants are available upon request. In this 59-storey skyscraper near the river, you’re sure to find designer jewellery and rare items at a price and quality that is simply unbeatable; remember Thailand is famous for its gem industry. The Jewelry Trade Centre building is also home to Bangkok Art Galleria, where fine art from around Southeast Asia can be found, and Bangkok Fashion Outlet, filled with designer apparel and home décor for just a fraction of the original price. Access: BTS Surasak