Whenever I travel, half the time is spent visiting tourist sights while the other half is spent shopping and eating. Shopping in Bangkok is a must when visiting because there are literally markets everywhere! There are two different kinds of malls: outdoor street markets and indoor shopping malls. I had the chance to visit both and was pleasantly surprised with each experience.
Chatchuchak is the largest outdoor street market in the city. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays (check hours before visiting), the market has over 8,000 vendors. Each section is dedicated to a theme. For example, one section has home goods, another antiques, another clothes and so on. Even if you spent the entire day here, I doubt you will be able to visit the entire market.
At least half of the market is outdoors so make sure to bring water and a hat. Products were much cheaper than back at home with bags priced at 150 baht, clothes at around 200 baht and hats at less than 300 baht. With majority of the vendors, try to haggle for a lower price. Part of the charm of shopping in Bangkok is fishing for a cheaper price. Many vendors will give in since they are aware that there are multiple stores that sell the same goods as they do.
If you’re visiting Chatchuchak during lunch hours, be prepared for a wait at most restaurants. There are street vendors but I found the food to sub-par, especially compared to other markets.
If you need to escape the heat, I highly recommend visiting one of Bangkok’s indoor shopping malls like Terminal 21. I wasn’t originally planning on going to a shopping mall but when I heard of Terminal 21, I was intrigued.
The mall has at least 6 floors, each floor designed to look like a specific country or city. You can find large retail stores like H&M, Adidas, and American Eagle as well as small booths and vendors. I will say, Thai people sure do know how to utilize every square inch of space efficiently. I have never seen so many stores in one mall before.
Clothes and other merchandise aren’t as cheap at Terminal 21 as Chatchuchak but there are still plenty of stores to browse.
In addition to the myriad of stores, you can find many, many restaurants. Japanese food, Chinese, even Mexican is located throughout Terminal 21. On the San Francisco level is the Michelin Star Hawker Chan featuring Hong Kong soya sauce chicken rice and noodle.
For only 88 baht, you can order a plate of their soya sauce chicken and rice. Although I heard this branch is nowhere close to the quality of the original Hawker Chan, I loved every bite.
After stuffing yourself with the endless amount of food found in Terminal 21, head on over to the desserts. It was difficult to choose one sweet but this lava cake with Thai iced tea filling was definitely unique.
If you’re looking for more shopping malls, check out MBK, Central World, or Siam Paragon.
Next up, exploring street markets.
Check out the rest of “A Bite Out of Thailand:” series:
Part 1: Bangkok Highlights
Part 3: Street Markets
Part 4: Soei and Thip Simai
Part 5: Gaggan
Part 6: Elephants World
Part 7: Krabi