Retail Therapy in the City of Angels
Locally known as Krung Thep, the ‘City of Angels’, Bangkok is a retail capital of Asia.
Street-cooked snacks and sweets, flower stalls and locals handicrafts are the main fare here and there is traditional Thai music playing courtesy of a school band.
From highly polished, multi-storied malls where well-off locals mix with the tourists and the merchandise is as cool as the air conditioning, to the sweltering heat of covered street markets where hawkers sell copy-cat products at a price often yet to be determined, you might be forgiven for thinking that, in this city, simply everything is for sale. The fun to be had shopping here is in the variety of ways to shop. Get that retail fix by river, by land or even by air, courtesy of the skytrain.
For 800 baht per hour, a long-tail boat will scoop you up from Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok’s private jetty and head up-river, passing many of the city’s famous landmarks en-route to Taling Chan, an old district in Bangkok Noi, accessible via the picturesque Thonburi canal network.
The Taling Chan floating market is a small-scale example of the more famous floating markets like Damnoen Saduak, but preserves a bygone way of life when river communities would trade from bamboo rafts at the river’s edge. Open only at weekends, this small market stretches back along the road from the river for a hundred yards. Street-cooked snacks and sweets, flower stalls and locals handicrafts are the main fare here and there is traditional Thai music playing courtesy of a school band. This is a charming, hassle-free way to idle away an hour at the start of a weekend in Bangkok.
Avoid the hustle and bustle of street-level Bangkok and jump on the skytrain which will whisk you to Siam Paragon, self-proclaimed ‘Pride of Bangkok’. This is three square kilometres of retail Nirvana. While you’d be forgiven for thinking this is predominantly for those in search of top-end luxury – “a Maserati to go with those Jimmy Choos, madam?” – there are plenty of recognisable high street outlets including the likes of Gap, Zara and Mango. That said, the high-end offer here is extensive with all major brands in evidence. In the middle of everything stands the Paragon Department Store, an impressive 50,000 square meters packed with everything you’d expect and more. For a 5 per cent discount on most purchases, you can apply for a Tourist Discount Card at the information desk on the ground level.
If all the marble, steel and air conditioning is just too cosmopolitan and you want to grab a real bargain, you need to jump back on the skytrain and head to Mo Chit at the end of the Sukhumvit Line. Simply follow the hoards to Chatuchuk weekend market, Thailand’s largest, a two-minute walk away. They say 200,000 people visit each day and navigating the labyrinth of packed stalls, it certainly feels like it. The best advice is to go for it! Jump in and bag yourself a bargain. You can get just about anything; local handicrafts, souvenirs, cheap fashion, ceramics, silks, flowers and plants, mobile phones…even live animals. Stalls selling food and drink and snacks abound on the perimeter so dip-in and buy or dip-out and sit watching one of the biggest retail operations in Asia!
The sun never sets on Bangkok’s shopping potential. When the moon is up take a cab, (or even a tuk tuk if you’re feeling brave) to Pat Pong. While you will not be able to avoid the hawkers trying to sell you Bangkok’s most famous commodity, there is plenty to see and buy in the bustling neon-lit streets. Despite its long reputation, the area is tourist friendly and offers the more open-minded traveller a non-threatening glimpse of the city’s more renowned retailing operations, as well as enough merchandise to fill that spare suitcase you bought.
Bangkok has something for every type of shopaholic and every size of wallet. One thing is certain; your baggage will be heavier on the way out than on the way in. Shopping by river, by road or by “air”, Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok is ideally situated in Bang Rak on the east bank of the mighty Chao Phraya River and immediately adjacent to the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station.
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I plan to go to your hotel at Bangkok from 25 July to 28 July 2012.
But I heard that all of my family cannot stay in one room. My two children ages are 11yrs, 13yrs.
Can you do me a favor for staying in one room? Room size doesn't matter.
Would you send your response mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org"?
If you do that for us, I can't forget your favor and kindness.
Have a nice day.