Bangkok Shopping Guide - A Tour of Bangkok's Popular Malls and Bargain Shopping Markets

Siam Paragon Shopping Mall
Siam Paragon Shopping Mall | Source

Shopping in Bangkok

There are a lot of things Bangkok is well known for and bargain shopping is top on the list. Most shops and markets in Bangkok allow customers to haggle and that's really one of the reasons why tourists love shopping in Bangkok. Because big discounts and deals can be had for electronics, clothing, Thai souvenirs, counterfeit luxury bags and wallets. You can also haggle for a cheap prices on travel luggage to pack all your booty home at most shops in the city.

Shopping malls and markets in Bangkok come in all sizes and price ranges. These are not just places that sell things to people. Thais love the latest fashions and electronics just like Westerners, especially during mall in store sales. But shopping malls to Thais are extensions of their own homes. Since the average Thai apartment is only 30 square meters and without kitchens, it is hard to entertain guests or large gatherings. For Thais, eating and shopping at Bangkok's malls are a great place for social gatherings.

In this hub you will learn: Where the best malls, outdoor markets and bazaars in central Bangkok are. Plus you will also find places to shop that are less well known to tourists (but more to locals) and slightly off the beaten tracks. Risking getting lost may just reward you with that special item you can't leave Bangkok without.

Map of Part of Central Bangkok

Locations of hotels and BTS Sky Train stations near Bangkok's shopping malls and markets.
Locations of hotels and BTS Sky Train stations near Bangkok's shopping malls and markets. | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gaysorn MallPantip PlazaPlatinum Fashion MallCentral World MallMBK Mall
Gaysorn Mall
Gaysorn Mall | Source
Pantip Plaza
Pantip Plaza | Source
Platinum Fashion Mall
Platinum Fashion Mall | Source
Central World Mall
Central World Mall | Source
MBK Mall
MBK Mall | Source

Where you can and can't bargain

You will not be able to haggle for prices in all shops in Bangkok. Below are a few general rules of thumb:

  1. If it's a brand name store in malls such as Emporium, Siam Paragon and Central World with heavy price tags you will not be able to bargain.
  2. In MBK there are shops where you can haggle and some you can't. If the prices are written with a pen in a makeshift stall you will be able to haggle.
  3. Platinum Fashion Malls is a great place to pick up Thai designed clothing. You will get a better price if you usually buy 3 items instead of 1.
  4. Pantip Plaza has a mix of shops where you can bargain and some you cannot. If you see something you like but you don't agree with the price, just walk away, you'll most likely find what you're looking for somewhere else.

Bangkok Shopping Malls and Department Stores

Central Bangkok is where all of the shopping action is. And it's very easy to travel around Bangkok especially if you use the city's super efficient BTS Sky Train, which will easily take you to all of the shopping centers mentioned below.The station names are noted right next to the shopping center.

Here's a quick rundown of shopping malls in central Bangkok:

  • Siam Paragon (Siam BTS Station) - The current reigning champion of malls in Bangkok for those with expensive needs, tastes and a deep pocketbook. Need a brand new Maserati or Ferrari? You'll find it here. Besides luxury cars Siam Paragon houses some of the finest brand name shops from Europe. Kids and aquatic enthusiasts will enjoy Siam Ocean World in the lower levels. No pirated or knock off merchandise are found here.
  • MBK (National Stadium BTS Station) - Officially named 'Mahboonkrong'. The prices in there are more down to earth for the masses. You'll find jewelry, clothes, toys, mobile phones, computers, Thai and Chinese snacks, luggage and more. You are able to haggle for lower prices in some shops but not all. Knock off and fake merchandise are found here. Staying at a hotel near MBK Mall is highly recommended too.
  • Central World (Chit Lom BTS Station) - A popular shopping with affordable brand name shops for the masses. There are many Central branded malls throughout Bangkok. Central World in particular is the flagship property. Sadly, a quarter section of this popular mall was burned down during the red shirt protests in May 2010. Reconstruction is in progress as of writing. No pirated or knock off merchandise are found here.
  • Gaysorn (Chit Lom BTS Station) - This is a smaller mall with boutique brand name stores with big price tags. No pirated or knock off merchandise can be purchased here.
  • Erawan Shopping Arcade (Chit Lom BTS Station) - Connected to the Hyatt Erawan Hotel, the Erawan Shopping Arcade are for those with unlimited credit. But it's a nice place to walk around, soak in the air conditioning and window shop. No pirated or knock off merchandise are found here.
  • Platinum Fashion Mall (Ratchathewi BTS Station) - Shopaholics will love this place. PFM mainly sells clothes and you can get a very good price here because right across is Pratunam market, a popular wholesalers market for clothing and other goods. However, in my humble opinion shopping in PFM is much more comfortable since it is indoors and well air conditioned. Better prices are offered if you buy more than one item. Currently there is one other but newer Platinum Fashion Mall built right next to the larger one. Knock off and fake goods are sold here.
  • Pantip Plaza (Ratchathewi BTS Station) - This mall is where you'll find the latest electronic gadgets, DVD and Cd's (genuine and pirated). If you have a hardware or software problem with your computer you can find help here.
  • Emporium Department Store (Phrom Phong BTS Station) - Loads of expensive shops here with luxury brand name stores. No pirated or knock off merchandise are found here.
  • Siam Discovery and Siam Center (National Stadium or Siam BTS Station) - Both of these shopping centers are connected to each other. Siam Discovery carries higher end products plus many stores selling designer home furnishings. While Siam Center has a mix of affordable and pricey merchandise and many Thai teens prefer to hang out here. No pirated or knock off merchandise are found here.

As you can read from above there are many shopping malls and department stores carrying merchandise with heavy price tags. For some reason genuine luxury items such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Coach merchandise and so on cost more than the USA or other parts of Asia.

But ever so often stores do have special sales. And remember as a shopper you can claim VAT (value added tax). And even though most of the things you see inside the expensive malls may be beyond your price range they are still good places to wander around and cool off during a hot afternoon. And if you are ever hungry in a mall head for the food court where you can get local Thai street food in a clean environment and better yet, affordable prices.

Most of Bangkok's Shopping Malls are connected by the Sky Walk

Located right beneath the tracks of the Sky Train, the Sky Walk platforms conveniently connect to some of the city's best shopping centers
Located right beneath the tracks of the Sky Train, the Sky Walk platforms conveniently connect to some of the city's best shopping centers | Source

Sky Walk to the Malls

You can easily walk from Chit Lom BTS station to National Stadium BTS Station, while dropping by each of the shopping malls connected to the Sky Walk.

The Sky Walk is connected to:

  • Central World
  • Siam Paragon
  • Erawan Shopping Arcade
  • Gaysorn
  • Siam Center and Siam Discovery
  • MBK

Walking between malls on the Sky Walk is not far at all and best of all you'll be right above the city's traffic and in the cool shade.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Another entrance to Central World via the Sky Walk platform beneath the BTS Sky Train.Inside Central WorldInside MBKSiam DiscoveryAn entrance to Siam Center, it's directly opposite from Siam ParagonGround floor of MBK - Brand name computer companies gather here to promote their brandCentral World - Malls are also places for special events and marketing promotionsGap Store in Siam Paragon - A newly opened popular clothing shop from the USAPlatinum Fashion Mall - Recommended for finding bargain clothingGaysorn Mall
Another entrance to Central World via the Sky Walk platform beneath the BTS Sky Train.
Another entrance to Central World via the Sky Walk platform beneath the BTS Sky Train. | Source
Inside Central World
Inside Central World | Source
Inside MBK
Inside MBK | Source
Siam Discovery
Siam Discovery | Source
An entrance to Siam Center, it's directly opposite from Siam Paragon
An entrance to Siam Center, it's directly opposite from Siam Paragon | Source
Ground floor of MBK - Brand name computer companies gather here to promote their brand
Ground floor of MBK - Brand name computer companies gather here to promote their brand | Source
Central World - Malls are also places for special events and marketing promotions
Central World - Malls are also places for special events and marketing promotions | Source
Gap Store in Siam Paragon - A newly opened popular clothing shop from the USA
Gap Store in Siam Paragon - A newly opened popular clothing shop from the USA | Source
Platinum Fashion Mall - Recommended for finding bargain clothing
Platinum Fashion Mall - Recommended for finding bargain clothing | Source
Gaysorn Mall
Gaysorn Mall | Source

Awesome and Affordable 4 to 5 Star Hotels in Bangkok

Bangkok has some of the best luxury hotels in malls that are not expensive when you compare them to the USA and Europe.

Terminal 21 Shopping Mall

Terminal 21 is one of the newest uber shopping centers in central Bangkok on Sukhumvit Soi 21, right by the Sukhumivit / Asoke junction. Both Sky Train and MRT stations are just outside of Terminal 21 so it's a very easy mall to find.

Opened for business in October of 2011 Terminal 21 is a very well designed mall following in line with the theme of an international airport. There are a total of 9 floors but floors 2 thru 6 are designed around some of the most popular cities around the world such as Tokyo, London and San Francisco.

There is also a supermarket and food court in the basement with Thai dishes ranging from 25-35 Baht. But there are restaurants, coffee and dessert shops on just about every floor. For a real treat check out the movie theaters on the top floor, Hollywood style!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Just one of the many souvenirs to discover in ChatuchakChatuchak - T-shirts are sold everywhere. Though big sizes might be a bit hard to find.Mo Chit BTS Sky Train StationPatpong Night Market - Overpriced so be prepared to bargainLumphini Night Market - Overpriced too but it's a great place to chill out.
Just one of the many souvenirs to discover in Chatuchak
Just one of the many souvenirs to discover in Chatuchak | Source
Chatuchak - T-shirts are sold everywhere. Though big sizes might be a bit hard to find.
Chatuchak - T-shirts are sold everywhere. Though big sizes might be a bit hard to find. | Source
Mo Chit BTS Sky Train Station
Mo Chit BTS Sky Train Station | Source
Patpong Night Market - Overpriced so be prepared to bargain
Patpong Night Market - Overpriced so be prepared to bargain | Source
Lumphini Night Market - Overpriced too but it's a great place to chill out.
Lumphini Night Market - Overpriced too but it's a great place to chill out. | Source

Something to remember

In general it's best to shop in outdoor markets that are frequented by local Thais. After all they are the locals and they know where the best deals are found. However, when it comes to clothes big sizes may be hard to come by.

Bangkok Street Markets and Bazaars

Day or night. Indoors or outdoors. Bangkok's shopping never sleeps... well almost. One advantage about shopping outdoors or during nighttime at bazaars is that the prices are much more reasonable and flexible enough to haggle.

As most outdoor and night market stalls are independentaly owned by entrepreneurial Thais, looking to strike it out on their own.

It's not uncommon at all to see young locals selling rehashed mobile phones, hand designed t-shirts and jewelry right on the city's sidewalks in certain hotspots. Many Thais head over to Pratunam clothing wholesalers market and lug huge bags of clothes to resell back to the public in makeshift stalls.

You can get to most of these places by using the BTS Sky Train.

Here's where to find outdoor markets, bazaars and night markets for bargain shopping in Bangkok:

Chatuchak Weekend Market (Mo Chit BTS Station) - Possibly the biggest outdoor market in the world. This vast outdoor market will keep you wandering and meandering through the stalls and shops for hours if not the entire day. You'll often find reasonable bargains here because it's also where locals Thais love to shop. Visit my Chautchak Weekend Market hub for more information. Opens at 6am to 6pm but it's best to get there by 10am when most shops have opened up.

Lumphini Night Market (aka Suan Lum Night Bazaar) - This is a much more touristy market with local hand made goods and souvenirs. If you are nowhere near Lumphini then it's best to get there by Bangkok's MRT train. Opens at 6pm and closes at 1am. Check out the outdoor beer garden and food stalls for tasty meals.

Patpong Night Market (Sala Daeng BTS Station) - Located smack right in the middle of Patpong Red Light District. Normally I would say avoid this overpriced night market because whatever you can find here you can find in other markets but without the overinflated prices. But still, Patpong is one of those must see places on your travel itinerary.

Pratunam Market (Petchburi Road)- This wholesalers clothing market is very popular and often crowded. To make things worst traffic in the surrounding area is a nightmare and none of the trains stop right next to it, though you can walk to Pratunam from 2 BTS Sky Train Stations, Ratchathewi or Chit Lom. Take a look at the map below and you'll get a general idea of what I'm talking about; Pratunam is located on the northeast section of the map.

Bargaining Tips: While asking for a discount, keep your voice low. Shopkeepers will appreciate not announcing to the rest of the world they are willing to bargain. Smile and be respectful. Most importantly remember that it's not worth haggling over Baht 30 since it's not a lot of money to a foreigner. To a Thai, it's one meal.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pratunam Market is located on the northeast section of the mapTraffic leading to Pratunam Market. You don't want to get stuck in that. Central World is the building in the background.Inside Pratunam MarketInside Platinum Fashion MallThere are also street-side markets up along Petchburi road Soi 17Slippers anyone?Go ahead and wander the streets, there are many inside and outside shops selling clothes at wholesale prices.
Pratunam Market is located on the northeast section of the map
Pratunam Market is located on the northeast section of the map | Source
Traffic leading to Pratunam Market. You don't want to get stuck in that. Central World is the building in the background.
Traffic leading to Pratunam Market. You don't want to get stuck in that. Central World is the building in the background. | Source
Inside Pratunam Market
Inside Pratunam Market | Source
Inside Platinum Fashion Mall
Inside Platinum Fashion Mall | Source
There are also street-side markets up along Petchburi road Soi 17
There are also street-side markets up along Petchburi road Soi 17 | Source
Slippers anyone?
Slippers anyone? | Source
Go ahead and wander the streets, there are many inside and outside shops selling clothes at wholesale prices.
Go ahead and wander the streets, there are many inside and outside shops selling clothes at wholesale prices. | Source
Ratchada Night Market
Ratchada Night Market
Union Mall
Union Mall
J Avenue
J Avenue

To Boldy Shop Where No Tourist Has Shopped Before

Here are some places where you won't find too many foreigners wandering around. Where shopkeepers and employees are not used to communicating in English. Paying a visit to these places will certainly deem you an adventurous shopper.

  • Thong Lo - It's not exactly a shopping center but a district in Bangkok known for it's trendy shops and hipster Thais. Head over to J Avenue Mall for a peek at local designer shops and find out what you can score for yourself. To get here take the BTS Sky Train to Thong Lo station.
  • Ratchada Night Market - You'll never know what you find here but it's safe to say you'll probably end up buying something that you have absolutely no need for except for the fact that it's cheap and it might look good on your desk as a paperweight. Though there might be instances where you'll find something of interest that you can put up on eBay. To get here take the MRT train to either Ratchadapisek or Lat Phrao station.
  • Union Mall - Mainly a place where young Thai teens hang out. It's a big mall where you can find locally fashion by talented designers. To get here take MRT Train to Phahon Yothin station.

There are a many more super shopping malls throughout Bangkok, but they are not within the city nor within reach of the BTS and MRT train systems.

Food Court at MBK Mall
Food Court at MBK Mall

Be sure to check out the food courts in the malls

Shopping and searching for bargains all over Bangkok can be an all day event. Luckily a lot of the malls have food courts filled with all kinds of local Thai food. It's a cleaner environment and most places even have English signage so you know what exactly you will be ordering and how much it cost.

And by the way if you ever need to use the toilets just head to any of the newest malls. Restrooms are cleaned on a regular basis.

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Comments 13 comments

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia

Great hub with wise advice. Happily I hate shopping, have no permament home and very little money but I do like malls and people watching.


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York Author

Thanks Peter, I enjoy people watching too, best of all it's free!


TheVacationLady profile image

TheVacationLady 5 years ago from Everywhere

I just suddenly had a dire urge to go shopping! lol Fabulous guide to use on a visit to the city!


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York Author

VacationLady you are welcome anytime!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 5 years ago

I have not been to Bangkok for ages. You have mentioned some places I have not visited, so I find this article very interesting. Thanks! :)


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York Author

quicksand - you are welcome!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 4 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Talk about a detailed hub! You gave us a tour of Bangkok the way any true-blooded locals would. Many thanks! We go to Bangkok for shopping. Now, there are more reasons to go there :)


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York Author

@kerlynb, thank you for the kind comment! Bangkok is really a great city for shopping. However, it's probably best to wait a few weeks and see whether or not flood waters from the north is really going to hit central Bangkok...


Steve LePoidevin profile image

Steve LePoidevin 4 years ago from Thailand

Thanks for all the info! We are heading back to Bangkok in a couple of months and will check out some of the places we haven't been to. We used to hate shopping until we moved to China!


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York Author

@Steve LePodevin, have fun shopping in Bangkok! I will be going to Kunming China mid February and really excited to go!


Greg 4 years ago

Love Bangkok... and my favourite mall is Siam Paragon. Love going in there for a quick and tasty lunch.. and the Gourmet Food Hall there is amazing!


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York Author

Hi Greg, yes Siam Paragon is awesome. I normally head to the food court for a Katsu Udon and a water which cost $3 bucks. Then I'll swing by a dessert shop and pick up a dessert and a coffee for another few dollars.

Here in New York City I'd be paying at least $12 dollars for a similar meal.

Bangkok has great bargains, not only for shopping, but dining too!


Jerbit profile image

Jerbit 3 years ago from Bangkok

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