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Shopping in Bangkok

Countries:

Thailand
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Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok
Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road and the surrounding district is one of the best known localities in the Thai capital. Unlike some districts in the city you won’t find beautiful temples or palaces here; Sukhumvit Bangkok is better known for its Westernised feel and consists of bars, restaurants and shopping malls that you’ll find alongside sois that are filled with even more bars (salubrious and otherwise) and massage parlours. The sex trade is difficult to ignore with prostitutes almost everywhere you look, and you wouldn’t come to Sukhumvit Road for the traditional Thai culture, but even so, it’s one of the most visited neighbourhoods in the city. So why the interest? Read on to discover our recommendations for amazing places to visit on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok.
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Khao San Road
Khao San Road - The popular book 'The Beach' famously described Khao San Road as "the centre of the backpacking universe". Judging by the truth-seeking travellers who converge here it's a phrase that sums it up pretty much perfectly. On Khao San itself and the streets either side, you can shop, exchange tales and prepare for you next stint on the backpacker trail. Packed into a 1 km-long strip are budget guesthouses and mid-range hotels, internet cafes, bars, restaurants, massage parlours, travel agents, bookshops, market stalls, tattoo shops and much more. So much, in fact, that the people, peddlers and party spirit have spilt over into nearby Soi Rambuttri. With its carefree, anything-goes vibe, it's quite unlike anywhere else in Bangkok.
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MBK Shopping Center
MBK Center is probably Bangkok's most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals, and busy with shoppers every day. There are eight floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electric appliances, cameras, stationery and DVDs. Launched in 1986, MBK Center is a beehive of activity, especially on weekends, when half of Bangkok converges to shop for bargains. It's not as up-market or stylish as neighbouring Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and the glitzy Siam Paragon, but it offers a mind-boggling range of goods spread over 89,000 square metres and is considerably less expensive. On the ground floor of MBK, you will find lines of stalls selling fashion, shoes and handbags, fast food outlets and a Tops Supermarket, with an open space dedicated to sales offering prices discounted by 30% to 50%. As you move up the levels you’ll find enclaves of products almost randomly placed. Part of the fun of MBK is exploring the long straight paths looking out for things that take your fancy. As a rough guide, fashion is mostly on the lower floors, a mass of electronics on the 3rd and 4th floors, with home furnishings and souvenirs on the 5th and 6th.
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Chatuchak Market in Bangkok
You may think you’ve visited some pretty amazing markets in your lifetime, but we’re fairly sure that none will come close to beating the sheer size and variety found at Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market. It really is a sight to behold, and it’s arguably the best place in the whole city to buy souvenirs and all manner of other things. But beware; the size, heat, and crowds of thousands of people are not for the faint hearted though our guide to Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok should help you navigate and survive this awesome place!
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The Artist House
The Artist's House (The Artist's House) is a centuries-old house turned gallery in Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya River. Owned by Khun Chumpol Akkapantanon, it’s an excellent spot to escape from the city’s modern buildings and hectic traffic for a day. Baan Silapin (and its neighbourhood) dates back to the 1800s. A boardwalk leading to the gallery is lined with shops, cafes, local restaurants, and a temple. You can also spot many unusual and human-sized statues painted in white, red and black sitting by the water. The Artist's House has a tall, white stupa dating back to the Ayutthaya period standing in the backyard. You can see plenty of traditional paintings, masks and, puppets throughout the building. It’s most popular for hosting traditional Thai puppet shows, where intricately-made puppets are manipulated by artists dressed in black. Shows take place on a small wooden stage every day at 2pm, except Wednesdays. It’s a good idea to call in advance as the theatre sometimes performs in other parts of the city, usually during special events.
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Asiatique The Riverfront
Asiatique successfully combines 2 of the most popular shopping experiences in the city: a night bazaar and a mall. Around 10 minutes downriver from Saphan Taksin BTS station, this once-bustling international trade port transformed into a huge replica warehouse complex with over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants. Open from 5pm, spending an evening here is no problem: you’ll have good fun browsing the boutiques, picking up gifts or something for yourself. You’re also guaranteed to find something you’d like to eat and if this isn’t enough entertainment, nightly highlights range from Calypso ladyboy cabarets to classic Thai puppet shows.