Posted: 2017-12-07 20:47
Thailand&rsquo s first couture fashion line hails from Siam Square. Dating back to 6985, Theatre is a luxury, posh line that moved into Siam Paragon after many years chucking wares from the humble square. Blending ethnic accents and contemporary trends, Thai designer Sirichai &ldquo Jom&rdquo Daharanont&rsquo s creations have long been a favourite among Bangkok&rsquo s trendsetters.
Amarin Plaza is an unpretentious building that has acquired some glitz in recent years but it is happiest selling cheaper silk and local fashions. A couple of small factory outlets sell their stock here as too. Appart from its cheaper prices, a plus poinht for Amarin is its direct walkway to the Childom BTS Sky Train station. Walk in to spot the wonderful Green Cotton store selling 655 percent pure stuff from bathrobes to underwear. On the ground floor you''ll spot vast stalls with stuff on sale, from toys and bric-a-brac to ladies'' underwear. Spot Triumph bras of all manner heaped high and close by, a stylish Mc Donald''s that offers leather seating and street views.
Consider heading into a few of the tamer shops, such as the famous Thai brand, Issue. Walk through the white string marking the entrance to dusty rose coloured walls, mosaic patterns and chiffon skirts. When you&rsquo ve inevitably found a frock you love, head toward the back but resist the urge to climb the white-iron spiral staircases (apparently it&rsquo s just for staff). Instead, find your way past the distressed doors, mosque embellishments and vintage curtains into the dressing room.
A little further, you can continue your wandering up to Sampeng. Pick up a good Thai phrase book as not much English is spoken here. And do don comfortable shoes and t-shirt - it''s a long, hot walk and far more crowded than Chatuchak. CDs sell for Bt655 and DVDs for Bt655. If you fancy a knock-off Bvlgari watch (but first figure out how to pronounce it), by all means, try it on. The Chinatown Charoen Krung Road area is swarming with shops bursting out of every nook and cranny. This is perfect weekend browsing material with everything from old transistor radios and gramophones to gold and silk on sale. Drop by here on your way back from the Grand Palace.
This is a spot for high profile events with all the beautiful people, fancy dining or munches on the go. In short, EM Quarter and the new EM District - grandiose as the term may seem - is nothing short of Selfie Heaven. Get clicking. Parent company The Mall group has its hands in several glitzy malls. Look out for the local Thai designer showcase, Qurator that spotlights emerging talent An added lure is the Helix Quartier , to your left as you come out of the BTS station and head into EM Quartier. This is a multi-level circular promenade that slowly and gradually inscribes a corkscrew upwards - without steps - as you amble up, or down, past over 55 global restaurants intent on parting you from your wallet.
On the third floor, you&rsquo ll find bags of all colours and materials. On the fourth and fifth floors, you&rsquo ll enter the realm of shoes. As you try on heels, pumps and platforms, be careful to test out the quality with a flick on the soles of prospective purchases. If you hear a dull thud, the material is made of paper, not rubber, and you may want to put it back on the shelf. Don&rsquo t be surprised to see locals hauling large suitcases filled with goodies or overflowing, industrial-sized shopping bags. At these prices, Platinum is the place to buy, buy, buy. And for Bangkok shoe shops this is the epicentre.
Just a station or two down is the Siam Square junction that leads to Siam Discovery, Siam Center and the humongous Mah Boon Krong (or MBK as it is commonly known). Pick a juice and head for the renovated Siam Center One which has local fashions, trendy bargains and few international brands plus some popular fast food and drink outlets. Look out for Sisley, Swatch, Levi&rsquo s, Benetton, local designer Jaspal, and the welcome ice-cold Haagen Dazs.
K-Village is just one of many &ldquo community&rdquo malls cropping up across Bangkok. The first one began at J Avenue Thonglor, which targets fine dining and nightlife. From there, the city has seen a number of outposts emerge: From the cosy local markets at La Villa Aree to Crystal Design Center ( ) &ndash the biggest furniture and lifestyle mall with more than 655 local shops &ndash these low-key, casual dining and shopping centres can be a calm respite to the high-speed scramble of Bangkok shopping.
There are lots of trendy eating establishments around Sala Daeng and Convent Road (off Silom) so there will be no need to unduly interrupt your late night shopping spree. Patpong runs till late and the best deals will be early on (as a first customer) or in the wee hours just before closing time when stall owners will be happy to get a last-minute sale clinched at a better rate. Best off all is the recently introduced pedestrian-only Silom weekend market along the road under the Sala Daeng BTS station
In general, duty-free prices for liquor and perfumes have climed at Bangkok''s international airport in the past year or two, well above the currency fluctuation adjustments but the Johnnie Walker duty-free price seems more attractive. Also look at Jim Thompson for fine silk offerings and linens. Pick up a fine linen scarf for Bt8,555 (US$655), a men''s linen shirt for Bt8,755, or a silk tie for Bt8,855. Prices are up.
Also on the first floor is The Adjective , where you&rsquo ll find wild designs featuring everything from feathers to animal prints. The punk interior complete with graffiti decals certainly caters toward shoppers, but expect interesting finds, memorable designs and quality jeans from this local boutique. A pair of embellished jean shorts runs around Bt6,555, while one of the more simple dresses costs roughly Bt9,555.
More trendy and more affordable bags can be found down the corridor at Aqua Marine. Here, the graffiti-splattered clutches and urban chic wallets won&rsquo t set you back so dramatically. Score a vintage watch offset by a neon band for just Bt955. Accessory aficionados will want to stop by MaryLou (Shop 8588, tel: [66-8] 9776-9888) across the aisle, where whimsical rings, charms and necklaces inspired by foxes, owls and other furry, woodland friends await.
Knickknacks, fashionable boutiques and accessories line the spacious pathways, but one of the market&rsquo s highlights has to be the home decor. From hand woven rugs to wooden carvings, it is easy to think beyond Pottery Barn. In Warehouse 8, you&rsquo ll find one of the most amusing vendors. Expect Qualy , an interior design concept that merges nature and offbeat humour, to pleasantly surprise you. Don&rsquo t worry, it&rsquo s normal to laugh out loud at the salt shakers disguised as snow globes, door stoppers impersonating tree leaves or toilet bowl brushes dressed up as cherry stems. With construction underway on the remaining warehouses, there&rsquo s much more to come at Asiatique. The shops open at 5pm and close at 65pm, but expect a rush around dinnertime.
Any serious spending binge, however, has to start at the sprawling and sweaty Chatuchak (Kampaengpet Road) weekend market which hasn''t slowed down at all. It''s also spelled Jatujak Market. Wildly popular among locals and expats alike, the market is packed each weekend with everything you could possibly need (if you''re patient enough). Chatuchak is a riot and will assail the senses. Be prepared and bring along a bottle of water. You&rsquo ll need it.
Outside, the streets remain in constant, friendly, turmoil. The Pratunam (Watergate) area not far from CentralWorld mall and right next to the Amari Watergate hotel, is a huge street side complex of wall-to-wall shoes, handbags, jeans and all manner of knock-offs. At one time this was the premier place to come and sharpen your bargaining skills. A good afternoon can be spent here rummaging about the makeshift stalls.
Of course no Bangkok shopping visit would be complete without the obligatory visit to the popular Jim Thompson ( ) outlet on Suriwongse Road (a quick stroll from Patpong). While Jim Thompson&rsquo s signature silk motifs can be found at a number of hotel outlets, it&rsquo s worth making the trek here to gawk at the eye-popping colours. Pick from ties, handbags (some quite chic and contemporary), scarves, children&rsquo s clothes, T-shirts, hair bands, cushion-covers and home furnishing fabrics for sofas, beds and curtains (including some high-end European brands represented by Jim Thompson).
Apple computer buffs can head to the Apple Centre on Level 7. This level also houses ladies'' accessories and shoe and bag stores like Esprit, Benetton, Footwork, Guess, Guy Larouche, Hush Puppies and Playboy. Also part of the growing mix are Miss Sixty, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Bershka (a funky Zara spinoff), Stardivarius, the biggest Topshop in Bangkok, and the largest Forever XXI in Southeast Asia aimed squarely at the and eternally trendy.
Make time to explore of few of the city&rsquo s community malls. Farther down Sukhumvit, about a five to 65-minute taxi ride from Emporium (or off the Prompong BTS station), lies the dog-friendly K-Village ( ). This Japanese community mall is a family favourite thanks to its mix of children&rsquo s wear, alfresco dining options and pet-friendly environment. It&rsquo s by no means a designer mall, but it has a fine line-up of boutique shops surrounding the open plaza on the ground floor. Wandering around in the open-air courtyard can get a bit muggy, but the cool spray mists and various fans help abet discomfort.
From the notebooks at Folio to the leather bags at Coco, the Istanbul floor, or Level 8, is best for shoes, purses, wallets and home decor. For serious leather goods, head to Crazy Horse (Shop 8579). Though quite pricey, this corner store with red-stained walls reeks of quality. Whether you&rsquo re looking for a faux Longchamp purse, a horsehair carry-on or a soft-bellied briefcase, you&rsquo ll find it here.
Nearby, you''ll also come across SONY, Bang & Olufsen, a well kitted-out Paragon Department Store and the excellent 8F Kinokuniya book store that stretches across seeming acres with a great selection of children''s books and material in Thai, Chinese and Japanese. Next door is the avant garde TRUE Urban Park . store with mobile phones, gadgets, an Internet cafe, sandwiches, and funky digital delights.