Bangkok is known the world over for its amazing shopping venues. From multi-winged, multi-leveled malls to floating street markets on canals, Bangkok offers the avid shopper a wide spectrum of shopping delights.
In normal circumstances, I avoid these high traffic areas like the plague because they are of no use to me. I cannot buy souvenirs to take home because there’s simply no room in my backpack. But, since Marilyn was heading to India for a visit home, she wanted to buy some presents for her family.
One night we walked over to a local lady’s market near our guest house. I wasn’t sure what to expect at a “lady’s market” (this is Bangkok after all), but it turned out to be a market geared toward women. There were a heap of stalls selling clothes, accessories, handbags, make up and underwear. They also had a row of food stalls selling a variety of convenient finger food, noodle dishes and soups.
Another day we visited Siam Paragon, Siam Central and Ma Boon Khrong (MBK) Center, all of which were humongous, air-conditioned malls. The first two places were geared toward foreigners and wealthy Thais and contained name brand items. Because of the high price points, we didn’t see many locals aside from the shop workers. There were no crushing waves of people pushing and pulling to move about. The experience was relaxing and could have taken place in any mall inside any other major city around the world.
MBK was slightly different because it offered name brand reproductions and allowed you to bargain with the shopkeepers. Essentially, it was an indoor street market with products and stalls crammed together under one room. There were different levels and wings, all color coded and numbered, to help you find suitcases, leather goods, electronics, clothes, souvenirs and many other items.
One major difficulty that I think average shoppers may encounter are the consistently smaller sizes available at all the shopping outlets. Thai people are extremely petite, and the malls only seem to import smaller sizes. Even if you’re of average height and weight, you may find it hard to find clothes or footwear that fit you. For those of you who do, consider yourself lucky because the price for most items are considerably cheaper than you can find at home. Bargain hunters will rejoice!