Attitude may not be everything when it comes to fashion. However, if you part-mix it with elegance, are not necessarily driven by trends, throw in a hunk of designer outfits and accessorise with pizzaz — then you will be one of the lucky few who may not stand out, but are remembered for the lasting impression you make. Well, at least, that’s the aim!
We should all practice what Yves Saint Laurent preaches: “Fashions fade, style is eternal”.
One place where such lucid philosophy, especially when it comes to retail therapy, holds no credence — is in Bangkok. Intentions may be honourable, but we don’t always buy what we need because it’s so easy to get side-lined by snapping up bargains and stocking up on items we probably hadn’t even initially thought about.
Thailand’s capital – or as the locals call it Krung Thep – is diverse and stimulating, a heady blend of extraordinary aromas, visual treats and captivating attractions that include the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). Countless stratum build with scores of hidden treasures that have given Bangkok an iconic status.
The shopping in the ‘City of Angels’ is much more than a day-and-night pursuit. In addition to bringing a flavour of the cultural distinctiveness of the east, shops here are the equivalent of the best in the west.
The choice is yours. Where would you rather shop: in luxury malls versus adventurous markets. There are plenty of stores that offer a relentless variety to suit both your taste and hip pocket.
Ultimate retail experience
It’s high fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Dior, Prada, Hugo Boss, Guess, DKNY, Diesel, Shiseido and Swarovski that will have you scurrying for the best deals. Glamour will get you itching to spend at Siam Paragon and for something classy go to The Emporium.
If best buys are what you’re after, then head to MBK and the biggest and most trendy can be found at CentralWorld.
Bargains are plentiful at one of the world’s largest weekend markets – Chatuchak Market – where the sheer size and diverse range of merchandise will ensure that you literally shop ‘till you drop’. The 14ha of market area is divided into 27 sections and contains more than 15,000 booths.
Whether you are seeking high fashion brands, or lookalikes, for retail therapy that’s qualitative, quantitative and satisfying, my list of the city’s top 20 outlets will make you realise why Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise:
Siam Paragon is a glass-and-steel über-luxury mega mall for all your exclusive brands. You’re in designer heaven here!
The Emporium, Phrom Phong
The Emporium Phrom Phong is like a ‘glossy magazine come to life’.
This is a retail outlet for all things affordable, with an estimated 2,000 shops occupying seven floors of space known for ‘look-alike’ brand products.
Another mega mall with a well-rounded collection of shops and entertainment outlets.
Siam Square is an area of contrasts and a hub of cool. This is where styles are shaped, emerge and resurface. It also has the most expensive real estate in Bangkok. It’s Bangkok’s Fifth Avenue.
Gaysorn Shopping Mall, Chidlom Ploenchit
This is a niche boutique mall with a host of premium lifestyle brands and fashion labels from a selection of Thailand’s most innovative designers including Sretsis, Zenithorial, Senada Theory and Kloset.
Central Plaza Rama 9
One of the newest to the city’s ‘mallscape’ is the seven-storey Central Plaza Rama 9 that brings ‘one-stop lifestyle entertainment shopping’ concept to the Ratchadapisek area.
Novel concept comes with Terminal 21, Sukhumvit Road, with its cutting-edge concept where you go globe-trotting, with several world-famous cities under the one roof. Wander around a maze of shops in Tokyo City and saunter down London’s Carnaby Street, haggle in an Istanbul souk or browse the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Central Chidlom, Chidlom-Ploenchit
This is a good-sized mall that offers a pleasant shopping experience
Amarin Plaza is almost an entire shopping mall dedicated to cut-price goods.
A modern shopping complex that fuses a boutique shopping concept with hip lifestyle trends
Platinum Fashion Mall, Pratunam
This mall is a specialised mega mall for clothing and fashion accessories, taking a “flea market concept indoors, in air-conditioned comfort”.
Pantip Plaza, Pratunam
Pantip is described as the “mother of all IT malls”, with the entire complex dedicated to computers, IT gadgets and cameras.
Jim Thompson Factory Outlet
Jim Thompson was credited with reviving the silk industry world-wide and where you’ll also find cotton fabrics, home furnishings and accessories.
Pasaya Fabrics Factory Outlet
An outlet in Soi Thong Lor where you’ll bag a bargain.
Levi’s Factory Outlet
Located near Bang Chak Skytrain Station it offers big discounts that are sure to delight.
Pratunam is wholesale fashion district popular with locals for streetwear, odd fashions and future trends.
Shopping after dark is a must in Bangkok. In addition to Chatuchak, there are hundreds of markets in the city of royal palaces including Khao San teems with unkempt travel wear; Patpong stalls brim full of counterfeits or exotica; Rod Fai specializes in all things vintage and Pak Klong Talat for a gorgeous array of flowers along with fruit and vegetables.
It’s charming and nostalgic. Wandering around the streets will find you in a crowded market or a backstreet lined with shop houses. You’ll be able to buy just about anything you can think of.
Asiatique combines a night bazaar and a mall with over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurant in a replica warehouse complex.
The retail outlets are easy to navigate and you’re spoiled for choice, so put on your comfortable shoes and starting walking, exploring and snapping up bargains in the ‘Eternal Jewel Cit
Rama Gaind travelled as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Absolutely Fantastic Holidays.