I’ve had some queries where to shop while in Bangkok, Thailand. First off, let me say I’ve done the whole tourist thing quite a few times and scored deals or been burnt so these days, I only shop for things I know I want not what I think I need, cheap or no. I have also been doing very short trips – mostly overnighters so time is essential for me. So, this may not be the guide to shopping in Bangkok that you’re looking for – merely a taster of what Bangkok has to offer 🙂
Shopping for Clothes
Everyone will tell you to go to Pratunam. The whole area starting from Indra Shopping Complex and beyond is FULL of little clothes stores and stalls where you can purchase clothes in bulk or singly. Bulk means 3 and up and prices drop accordingly. I’ve picked up some decent stuff there. Dresses for RM12, loose pants for RM5 etc. But you must be careful to check and double check the quality to be sure you’re happy with it and the size. Most times, you aren’t allowed to try them on so always err on the side of caution.
To hit the morning clothes market, go early – 6am is best because they start closing up by about 9am. The other stalls or shops start opening about 9am. Be prepared to be hot and sweaty so bring a lot of drinking water with you. If you plan to do a lot of wholesale clothes shopping, you might want to look for a hotel in the area so you don’t waste time.
I also like going to Siam Paragon and CentralWorld and even Central, all easily accessible by BTS train – Siam stop or Chidlom stop. You can easily walk from one to the other using the overhead bridges.
The clothes in these department stores may be more expensive but are of better quality and when you hit the sale period (mid and end of the year) you can get very good prices and discounts on some stuff especially brands or styles we don’t get in Malaysia.
Shopping for Accessories and miscellaneous items
Chinatown (Yaowaraj Rd) is a good place to go. The place is positively brimming with costume jewelry, hair accessories, bags etc. Mostly its wholesale (1 dozen and up) but you can get things very cheap e.g. earrings for RM0.50 up, sparkly hair clips for RM1, fashion bags etc.
The market is very closed, there are LOADS of people, and its very hot but if you persevere, you can get a lot of good deals. I know of many people who go there to buy wedding favours e.g. key chains, fans etc because its cheaper than buying the same item here.
The market closes at about 4pm or so. If you’d like to pick up some deals, get there early when its not so hot and remember to bargain! Accessibility to Chinatown can get tough because of the traffic jams. Some cabs don’t even want to take you there at peak times even if you’re willing to pay. I take the public bus 😀
Shopping for cosmetics and makeup
Bangkok has many brands we don’t get here in Malaysia or maybe even Singapore. Notable brands available in Bangkok department stores (Central) are NARS, Lola and Stila besides other usual big name brands. Prices are quite high though.
Watsons is quite fun to browse in. They have Kanebo Tiffa and some of the brands like Ponds, L’Oreal and Maybelline and Revlon have new releases or new products there first. Some lines don’t even reach our shores. I’m told by reliable sources that the Ponds Age Miracle and Maybelline Angelfit Double Perfector are NOT coming into Malaysia in the forseeable future.
Boots pharmacy is a fun visit. They sometimes have Buy 2 Free 1 deals which is great! They carry the usual brands including Boots No. 7 and 17 brands of makeup, Botanics etc but I’m usually there to pick up bath and body products from Boots Natural Collection or anything else that smells good and is on sale. They also carry a small selection of Soap and Glory products which I find so-so only.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak weekend market is as the name implies only open on weekends (Saturday-Sunday). You can take the BTS train all the way to Mo Chit Station and walk from there. That’s a good place to pick up souvenirs, house decoration, handicraft etc. Its fun but I’m always too tempted to buy a pair of wooden elephants that I know I cannot carry home 😛 I’ve picked up beaded cushion covers and wall hangings for about RM5 and RM20 respectively so its always good for a bargain.
But do be warned, its suffocatingly hot and the place is a maze so do not get separated if you’re in a group or you might lose each other forever! Its a bit of a tourist trap sorry to say so be prepared to bargain till you’re blue in the face.
The key thing to remember is that for anything outside of the department stores, you can bargain, so be prepared to chip away at the quoted price, unless of course, its reasonable to you. I usually fix a price in my head that I’m willing to pay and if I get it at the first try, I just hand the money over. In that sense, I guess I’m just not very good at bargaining 🙂
There are many places I’ve missed out I know like Mah Boon Krong (MBK) shopping centre and Suan Lam night market but I don’t go there due to time and accessibility issues so I can’t tell you anything about it.
Food food food!
The other place I enjoy going to is the Big C Hypermarket and the Food Hall at Siam Paragon. I shop for my instant noodles and some groceries at the Big C (where its cheaper) and I gawk at brands and products I don’t see often anywhere else at the Siam Paragon Food Hall 🙂
I am usually in Bangkok for very short trips so I usually restrict myself to only a few places and I usually end up at Siam Square and CentralWorld besides Chinatown.
So that’s it. Where I know you can shop in Bangkok in a nutshell. Other than Chinatown, everywhere else I shop at is in the Chidlom-Siam-CentralWorld area where I also stay when I’m in Bangkok so everything is within walking distance for me 🙂
If you have tips to share for shopping in Bangkok, or where to buy stuff in Bangkok, please feel free to share in the comments below. I’d love to learn of new places to visit!
Other shopping travel guides:-