Siam - Bangkok's Shopping Heaven
By far the greatest concentration of shopping malls and boutiques in Thailand can be found in the Siam area of Bangkok. With a vast array of large internationally renowned, high end brand stores and small locally renowned designers, the Siam area offers the widest variety of shopping available in the capital. Once there you can head to the air-conditioned comfort of the various malls or take a stroll around the extremely chic Siam Square.
Siam Square is the place to go to see the latest designs from Thailand’s brightest designers. Thailand’s newest clothes, jewelry and music are all readily available in the small boutique shops that are spread out over the side streets around the square. There are many local and foreign restaurants to choose from, the most famous of which is the Hard Rock café.
Across the busy main road you will find Siam Paragon, one of Asia’s biggest shopping malls. With its luxurious atmosphere Siam Paragon has continued to attract large crowds since it opened in 2005. It features a wide range of international and local department stores and retail shops, a wide variety of local and international restaurants, a multiplex cinema boasting the largest screen and seating capacity in Asia, an exhibition hall, an art gallery, an opera hall and Siam Ocean World, home to the largest aquarium in South East Asia. Siam Paragon remains Thailand’s premier mall.
MBK (Mahboonkrong) is a large mall famous for its many small mobile phone retailers and merchandise of dubious origin. Over 100,000 people pass through the mall each day, a third of which are foreign visitors. At first glance it may appear that many bargains can be found here, however the high number of tourists mean that the prices are not always the most reasonable to be found in Bangkok. There are also many stores that sell authentic goods, the largest of which is the four story Tokyu department store.
A much smaller mall which is home to Madame Tussauds wax museum, Siam Discovery can be reached from both the Siam Paragon and the Siam Center malls. Siam Discovery features a smaller collection of sophisticated shops aimed at families and young Bangkokians. Local and international fashions are on display on the lower floors, whilst a wide array of home décor and specialist shops can be found on the fourth and fifth floors. As well as Madame Tussauds the mall contains Ice Planet, an Olympic sized ice rink next to an English Tea Garden.
One of Bangkok’s oldest malls, Siam Center is now targeted towards the younger, teenage end of the market. Fashion, jewelry and cosmetic salons are nestled in between skate and surf shops. As is often the case, the best way to reach the area is via the BTS sky train system. You can choose to head to the Siam station for the majority of attractions in the area, or the National Stadium station if you are heading to MBK. Once there you can easily walk from one area to the other, via the walkways suspended above the very busy road junction at MBK or the air-conditioned pedestrian overpass.