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Bangkok is a city of shoppers, and the Thai capital’s landscape is dominated by skyscrapers packed with some of the most impressive shopping malls in the region – and the world. Whatever you’re looking for in your quest for retail therapy, these are some of our favourite shopping centres in Bangkok.
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Long since one of Bangkok’s stalwart shopping malls, Siam Paragon is perhaps one of its most famous, and certainly one of its biggest (and indeed one of the biggest in Asia). It’s home to an extensive selection of high-end shopping, an exhaustive international supermarket, an IMAX cinema, and even an aquarium.
Daily, 10am-10pm; (directly connected to BTS Siam); 02-610-8000; www.siamparagon.co.th
Just as well-known as Siam Paragon, Central World is a massive retail enclave where it’s easy to get lost. As well as the countless luxury shops, a supermarket packed with imported food and drink, and a cinema, Central World is well known for the pedestrianised event space at its front entrance, which is host to a variety of popups, as well as some of Bangkok’s most photographed Christmas decorations.
Daily, 10am-10pm; (BTS Chit Lom or Siam); 02-640-7000; www.centralworld.co.th
The pick for backpackers and other travellers looking to score a bargain on everything from street fashion to mobile phones and electronics, MBK also boasts a cinema, an excellent Thai food court, and another, higher-end food court focussed on international dishes.
Daily, 10am-10pm; Phaya Thai Road (directly connected to BTS National Stadium); 02-620-9000; www.mbk-center.co.th
Asok’s Terminal 21 is a relatively new arrival on Bangkok’s shopping mall circuit, and it’s a trendy-feeling, airport-themed mall, with each floor themed around a different world city. As well as the usual cinema and luxury chain stores, there’s a particular focus on smaller traders of goods made in Thailand, plus an expansive food court – it’s also famous for being one of the first Bangkok shopping malls to introduce Japanese-style electronically controlled toilets!
Daily, 10am-10pm; Sukhumvit Road (directly connected to BTS Asok); 02-108-0888; www.terminal21.co.th
The latest addition to Bangkok’s collection of shopping centres, EmQuartier is also easily its glitziest and most luxury. Designed to complement the longer-standing Emproium that’s just across the road, together forming what’s dubbed the Em District around Phrom Phong BTS station, there’s just about every international designer brand you could imagine, plus attractive outdoor spaces, extensive eating and drinking options, a cinema, and a gym.
Daily, 10am-10pm; Sukhumvit Road (directly connected to BTS Phrom Phong); 02-269-1000; www.emquartier.co.th
Emporium was one of Bangkok’s first modern shopping malls, and these days its role has been elevated now that it’s part of the Em District together with EmQuartier just across the road. It might be older than most, but it’s still an impressive shopping centre, with everything from designer stores to restaurants, a food court, and a cinema.
Daily, 10am-10pm; Sukhumvit Road (directly connected to BTS Phrom Phong); 02-269-1000; www.emporium.co.th
Billed as Southeast Asia’s first and biggest low-rise super-size shopping centre, Mega Bangna is perhaps most famous for being home to Thailand’s first branch of the IKEA flat-pack furniture store. Home decor aside, its close proximity to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport means it’s also the perfect place to break the boredom for those with a few hours on the ground between flights. There’s also an extensive selection of everyday retail outlets, plus a supermarket, food court, cinema, and bowling alley.
Daily, 10am-10pm; Bangna-Trad Road (take a taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport, or the free shuttle bus or a taxi from exit 5 of BTS Udom Suk); 02-105-1000; www.mega-bangna.com
Another new addition to the Thai capital’s shopping scene, Central Embassy takes its name from the fact that it occupies an expansive strip of land that was previously part of the grounds of the British Embassy just next door. You can get views of the Embassy’s gardens from the fifth-floor outdoor terrace at Siwilai City Club coffee shop and restaurant. Elsewhere in the mall – which is slowly overcoming the ‘Central Empty’ nickname it garnered for struggling to attract customers for a long while after its launch – you’ll find extensive designer choices, the Diplomat Screens ultra-VIP cinema, and even the brand new Park Hyatt Bangkok hotel on the building’s upper floors. On the basement level, the Eathai food court offers an impressive array of dishes from across Thailand’s numerous regions.
Daily, 10am-10pm; Phloen Chit Road (directly connected to BTS Phloen Chit); 02-119-7777; www.centralembassy.com
Which is your favourite shopping mall in Bangkok? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Mark Fischer; Adam Lai; Transformer18; Dushan Hanuska; Ninara; central_vietnam; Takahiro Yamagiwa; Nonth!!!
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