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If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, bring an empty suitcase because shopping in Bangkok is amazing! As I walked around Khoa San Rd at the end of my 8 months in South East Asia a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I should have just waited until arrival to plan my travel wardrobe for Thailand. In this post by travel fashion girl, Tara Simmons, find out about the best Bangkok shopping.
Bangkok – A Shopoholic’s Paradise!
by Tara Simmons
Bangkok, sometimes referred to as a “shopaholic’s paradise”, truly lives up to its name! Shopping in Bangkok offers you a variety of malls, markets, and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for bargains, luxury items, high-end fashion, or a cultural experience – you will find it here. Some of the best deals are even found late into the evening at trendy night-bazaars. Inhabited by 7 million people, this city boasts a truly unique shopping experience.
If you are traveling to Southeast Asia, Bangkok acts as the gateway to many destinations including Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Flights into Bangkok are among the cheapest in the region and you can find the best fares on sites like Cheapflights or Skyscanner. My best tip would be to book your flights out of Bangkok so you can fill your bags up with shopping goodies and not have to lug everything around your entire trip!
You’ll want to look your best when you shopping in Bangkok! Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!
Wholesale shopping in Bangkok is a great way to shop because you will be purchasing the clothes at an extremely inexpensive price. When arriving to Pratunaum, be ready to literally shop till you drop. This “market” is actually about three malls attached by walkways above the streets absolutely filled with mazes of shops; some selling specifically dresses for special occasions, but most with high fashion blouses, skirts, and accessories.
Since the clothes are wholesale you get the best deals by buying three items from one stall and you can even get them fitted and tailored while you shop for a small fee, allowing you to walk out with a completely custom-fitted wardrobe! Follow the big crowds to find Top Shop merchandise at a fraction of the price! (Editors note: I paid $9 for a sweater that was $30 in H&M!)
MBK Shopping Center
Similar in size to Pratunaum, this is the sister mall for the shopper looking for the best deals on more than just clothes when shopping in Bangkok. The 2,000 stores and 8 floors are full of electronic appliances, mobile phones, DVD’s, furniture, luggage, stationary, as well as fashion items and accessories galore. As long as authenticity is not on your forefront, you will be sure to leave with an abundance of the cheapest items around, all found in one glorious location.
This mall is popular with tourists as well as locals and for anyone looking for the best deals around, and for a way to beat the heat and chill out in an air-conditioned environment, as this mall if full or restaurants and a cinema as well.
Use packing cubes to help you organize and even compress your belongings to maximize your space.
This mall is more compact than the previously mentioned, but makes up for size in quality ranging from a selection of shoes by Jimmy Choo to Lamborghini’s for sale. Considering it has 5 floors and 250 shops, Paragon is still a large Bangkok shopping center but caters for a premium price tag.
You will find international high-end fashion on the first floor; leisure and lifestyle items such as furniture, cars, and beauty salons on the second and third; and the fourth contains an I.T. electronic wonderland. The mall isn’t complete without an aquarium and a 15 theater Cineplex on the fifth and final floor.
If you are looking for top fashion trends and quality items while shopping in Bangkok, you will be sure to find them here.
You’ve had your Thai papaya salad for dinner and now you’ve got the itch to shop? No problem. Night bazaars and markets have the most entertaining shopping in Bangkok. The Patpong market and shopping on Khao San Road offer the most to its consumers; fashion, booze, and even go-go dancers.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is fun, bright, and geared toward tourists looking for cheap items to blow their cash on. Vendors will bargain with you before you even pick up an item letting you know you’re already getting a deal before you’ve started!
Patpong is a little more organized with more “designer” items such as awfully unauthentic Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci sunglasses, and trinkets to take home as souvenirs. Don’t be fooled by this market, however, it is in no way a classier shopping experience because as soon as your eyes wander from the merchandise, you will see dozens of go-go bars and half-naked women hollering for you to come in and watch (a.k.a pay) them dance. Only in Thailand!
One reader notes: “Shopping in Bangkok is not complete without going to Chatuchak Market ( known as Jatujak or JJ market) on the weekends…. I spent so many Saturdays there roaming the 15,000 stores (literally) when I lived there. It is the world’s biggest weekend market with so many amazing finds and a great places to try out your Thai! It is located by the Kamphaengphet and Mo Chit stations.” Thanks for that great tip!
No matter what type of fashionista you are, shopping in Bangkok has it all. Be prepared to shop ’til you drop, just be sure to sport some comfortable shoes! What are your favorite spots for shopping in Bangkok?
For more Thailand travel tips, please read:
- The Ultimate Packing List for Southeast Asia
- What to Pack for Thailand
- How to Keep your Passport Safe
Suggested Travel Resource:
Author: Tara is a native Californian and newbie world traveler, having just backpacked through Europe and continuing on throughout Southeast Asia. Enthusiast of all things organic; she also loves to read, write, and bake in her spare time and currently keeps her own travel blog Traveling Days.