Shopping is a big deal in Bangkok. The city offers nearly every type of merchandise for selective shoppers, whether they are looking for world-class brand names, the latest electronic devices and equipment, or handicrafts created by skilled craftsmen. Shopping zones in Bangkok include wellknown department stores, weekend markets, night markets, and fresh markets, sometimes together in one neighborhood.

Among the major shopping destinations in Bangkok are modern shopping malls, such as Siam Paragon; multi-story electronics malls including Panthip Plaza; expansive local markets, such as the JJ weekend market. Bangkok’s night markets on Patpong and Sukhumvit Roads are ideal places to pick up souvenirs or gifts for those back home, while more impressive gifts can be procured from retailers such as certified antiques dealers, gem and jewelry shops, or Jim Thompson, the famous silk pioneer. In regards to gems and antiques, it should be noted that there are numerous occurrences of scams involving antiques and gems, and restrictions on the export of Buddha images. Otherwise, with the right guidance there are genuine opportunities to make some brilliant shopping discoveries.

Getting clothes tailor made in Bangkok is a top priority for many, though boutique shops in Siam Square feature the latest ready-to-wear designs from the city’s chic young designers. Meanwhile, in Chinatown, almost every conceivable knick-knack and trinket is for sale in the myriad mazes of back alleys, while those shopping for gold can do so along the district’s Yaowarat Road.

Siam Square is one of the main shopping and entertainment areas of Bangkok and one of the largest shopping areas in Southeast Asia. It encompasses Siam Square, Mahboonkrong Centre (MBK), Siam Centre and Siam Discovery Centre. River City Shopping Plaza openly display sculpture that are purported to be Khmer originals. Most are fakes but the fact hat even some are real is very troubling.

Jim Thompson Factory Outlet sells discounted Thai silk and fabrics manufactured under the name of Bangkok's best-known American, Hui wrote. The building's first three floors offer fabrics for curtains, couches and other upholstery, while the top two are filled with ready-made cushion covers, bed linen, and gift items such as sarongs, tote bags, silk ties and scarves. It's at 153 Sukhumvit Soi 93. To get there, take the BTS Skytrain's Sukhumvit Line to the terminal On Nut, then flag down a taxi. It's useful to get your hotel concierge to write down the address in Thai on a slip and show the driver. [Source: Sylvia Hui, Associated Press, September 3, 2006]

Art Galleries are located in and around the major hotels and along New Road (Chareaon Krung Road). Otherwise they is not a concentrated art arena and the city's galleries are scattered all over town. The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, opposite MBK shopping complex, is the city's latest effort to create an all-integrated art experience. But still, if you would like to immerse yourself in Bangkok's contemporary art scene, plan ahead and be prepared to do a bit of exploring in the maze of Bangkok streets.

Bangkok’s art scene is small but vibrant. Since most of the city's small private or commercial galleries promote Thai and regional artists, a day of gallery hopping is a great way of getting a taste of the local scene. Operating in a relatively unresponsive environment, artists and gallery owners in Bangkok have become quite innovative in their attempts to attract domestic crowds. For more on art in Bangkok and a list of galleries check

Shopping Areas in Bangkok

Shopping Areas in Bangkok include 1) Bang Lampphu (near the Grand Palace), good for clothes shopping; 2) Chinatown and Ban Mor, full or stalls and interesting shops and a night becomes an open air food market; 3) Sukhumvit, know for its tailor shops; 4) New Road (Chareon Krung Road), a touristy shopping area; 5) Wat Po, famous for its temple rubbings.

6) Shops selling rubies, sapphires, and items made from silver, bronze and nielloware are scattered throughout the city. The Gem Superstor (Skytrain Surasak Station) is one one of the largest of its kind in the world. It has a wide selection and good prices. In house experts can advise you. All purchases are fully guaranteed.

7) Gaysorn (in the city center Ratchaprasing district) featured 80 luxury fashion, lifestyle and home accessory stores as well as some first rate antiques shops, silk stores, jewelry shops and art galleries. 8) Pantip Plaza (Skytrain Rachthew Station) is an arcade with Bangkok’s highest concentration of computer hardware and software and electronic gadgets. 9) Phahurat is Bangkok’s Little India. It is a good place to shop for textiles, fine fabrics and clothes. 10) Future Park is a huge suburban shopping mall.

11) The Emporium Shopping Complex features a major Thai silk outlet. Nearby Rasii Sayam is a good place to shop for handicrafts. 12) Saphan Lek is known for electrical appliances. 13) Pak Khlong Talat is famous for flowers. 14) Pratu Nam specialize in textiles and garments.

Silom Road (Skytrain Sala Daeng Station) is a major shopping and business district. Regarded as Bangkok’s Wall Street, it contains many gem and jewelry shops, souvenir places, cinemas, trendy restaurants, book shops, T-shirt stores and handicraft centers. Major landmarks include the Central Department Stores, Robinson Department stores, Galleria Plaza, and a Hard Rock Cafe. Silom Road and the Indian district of Pahurat are good places to shop for Thai silk. Stretches of the road are pedestrian only on Sunday.

Phloen Chit-Ratchadamri District (Ploenchit Road) is glitzy shopping area with department stores, shopping malls, a Giorgio Armani boutique and other designer shops. Located here are the World Trade Center, Narayan Phand, Siam Center and Naraipahn Pavilion (good selection of handicrafts but the prices are high). The Tourism Authority of Thailand Duty Free Shop is at the seventh floor of the World Trade Center. There are also duty free shops at Central, Sogo and Tourism Authority of Thailand. The Thai Hill Crafts Foundation (at Scapathgum Palace, behind the Siam Center on Ploenchit Road) is great place to shop for crafts. There is an amulet market behind the Chalem Thai Theater. Jim Thompson's Thai Silk Co. on 9 Surawong Road is a good place to shop for silk. Many of the best shops are located in and around the large hotels. The River City Shopping Center (next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Bangkok) is known for its quality antiques. Gysorn Plaza also boasts trendy boutiques and department stores.


CentralWorld is one of Bangkok’s main shopping malls. Among the items for sale are wine and spirits. watches, toys, textiles, sports equipment, sports wear, souvenirs, gifts silverware, accessories, shoes, musical instruments, luggage, handbags, travel items, lingerie, home furnishings, home appliances, herbs (non-food), gourmet products, gold, jewellery, food beverages, flowers, plants, fabrics, electronics diamonds cosmetics, perfumes carpets, books, maps, guides, art, crafts, women's apparel, men's apparel, children's clothes, antiques and collectibles.

Welcoming as many a 150,000 customers a day, CentralWorld has 18 different entrances, 7,000 parking spaces and a six lanes road (CentralWorld Avenue) running around the Shopping Complex. Leading to it are two main road, RAMA I Rd. and Rajdamri Rd. Central World is situated in the heart of Bangkok’s business and shopping area and was the center of the 2010 protests (See History). It has direct Skytrain (BTS) access and home to the two famous shrines, Erawan Shrine and Trimurti Shrine. American Express, Diners Club, ,JCB, MarterCard and Visa cards are accepted. It is open every day from 10.00am to 10:00pm. Central World is located at 999/9 Rama I Rd. in Patumwan, Tel: +66 2667 5555.

Occupying some 550,000 square metres of retail space and a total area size of 830,000 square metresm CentralWorld is 30 percent larger than any other shopping centre in central Bangkok and encompasses more than 500 stores, 100 restaurants and cafes, and 15 cinemas. In addition there is a Kids' Zone and Learning Centre (Genius Planet Zone), two anchor department stores, as well as a trendy food court, an expansive supermarket and an outdoor square for large-scale events like Bangkok's official New Year countdown party.

CentralWorld's retail layout is influenced by the shopping street concept, allowing shoppers to check out several storefronts at a glance, whilst its overall design has placed a lot of emphasis on natural light. Daylight filters through the many skylights and open wells. Sculptures by famous artists are used as decoration features, and a glass mobile consisting of 3,500 glass balls hangs in an open well.

Specialised anchor 'mega-stores' – measuring between 2,000 and 8,200 square metres – include SuperSports, PowerBuy, B2S, Central Food Hall, SB Furniture and Toys 'R' Us. The department store Zen (closed until further notice) spans seven floors, while Zen World (closed until further notice) on 13 floors offer a fitness centre, spa, yoga, beauty centre, as well as an educational and tourist promotion centre. Among the 500 world-class stores count 35 flagship brands like Zara, Miss Sixty and Timberland, and 36 'first stores' – the likes of the Japanese brand Uniqlo and the English brand Next.

Entertainment options include The Rink, an open ice skating rink, Toys 'R' Us and 15-screen SF World Cinema. Genius Planet Zone (kids' zone and learning centre) and Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park) offer specialised supervision and 'edutainment' for kids. Parents can drop their kids off here while they shop.

Siam Paragon Shopping Mall

Siam Paragon Shopping Mall (Ratchaprasong Intersection, opposite Gaysorn and Erawan, BTS: Chidlom, Siam) is one of Bangkok’s main shopping complexes. After entering through the impressive glass-and-steel atriums one is welcomed by Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Versace are clustered in the prime positions around the main escalators. Many rich people shop here. When a new product is launched, people sometimes wait in long lines to be the first to get it. Brand Shops found on the Main Floor include Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Burberry, YSL, Salvatore Ferragamo, Jim Thompson, Rolex, Bvlgari, Mont Blanc, Marc Jacobs and Emilio Pucci.

Among the shops in the First Floor ‘Fashion Venue’are Zara, MNG, Massimo Dutti, Paul Smith, Armani, Hugo Boss, The Gap, Jaspal, Mikimoto, Swarovski, Greyhound, Coach, D’Mond, Prestige, Code 10, Footwork, H&M. On the second and third floors – ‘Lifestyle and Leisure’ section you can find a Lamborghini display, and the biggest and best stocked foreign-language bookshop in Bangkok (Kinokunia). Sony, Samsung, Bose, Blackberr, Bang & Olufsen and Toshiba have shops here. Aston Martin, Lotus, BMW, Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini have showrooms. There is also a Starbucks.

The Fourth Floor features ‘I.T. World’ and a large number of restaurants and shops selling silk products, handicrafts, top-of-the-range aromatherapy oils and other souvenir-type goods. Somewhat confusingly, the level attached to the skywalk is called the Main Floor, despite it being one above the ground, and the floors above that are then the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, up to the 5th, which is taken up by the Cineplex and its 15 large size theaters including IMAX, Blue-O Rhythm and Bowl, and the Royal Paragon Exhibition Hall. It's advisable to ask for a map at one of the numerous information counters to quickly gather your bearings.

A relatively new addition to the already world-class movie theatre up on the top floor is the Nokia VIP Ultrascreen. It takes the traditional cinema experience to a new level of luxury. Think of it as an upgrade to first-class on a long-haul flight. 700 baht gets you deep-seated leather sofa booths with motorized reclining footrests, complimentary snacks and drinks, and a blanket so you can snuggle up close to watch the latest movie releases on a stunning digital screen. The two-person sofas are well spaced out and are designed to keep your experience private and romantic. The enormous IMAX screen is especially recommended for 3D action movies. There are a range of ticket prices, starting from 300 baht.

The emphasis of Siam Paragon is fashionable, luxury living. Remember to take your credit card along as some items come with a large price tag. Twice a year there are large end-of-season sales, but don't worry if you miss these, as there are always deals to be had and there are a variety of monthly promotions all year round. For a 5 percent discount on most purchases, you can apply for a Tourist Discount Card at the information desk on the ground level. Paragon is larger than life and no Bangkok shopping experience is complete without a trip here.

MBK Shopping Center

MBK Shopping Center (near Siam Paragon) is one of Bangkok's oldest and most legendary shopping malls. Popular with both tourists and locals, it has eight floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electric appliances, cameras, stationery and DVDs. Launched in 1986, the complex is especially crowded on the weekends when Bangkokians like to shop for bargains. It's not as up-market or stylish as neighbouring Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and the glitzy Siam Paragon, but it offers a mind-boggling range of goods spread over 89,000 square metres and is considerably less expensive.

There are entire floors dedicated to shoes and handbags, fashion and clothing, mobile phones and furniture. There’s an area with outsized clothing (for 'larger' Western frames). The enormous food court is world famous. It has tons of affordable and delicious Thai and International food to choose from. The top floor is an entertainment complex with cinemas, modern karaoke facilities, a computer games arcade, more restaurants and fast food outlets. MBK is also famous for knockoff goods. Bargain prices for brand name good that seem too good to be true generally means their copies. But if your idea of a shopping bargain is to pay a few dollars for an Adidas T-shirt or a Gucci belt –– and authenticity is not an issue — MBK is the place for you. Many of the products that can be found here are similar to that at markets, but the convenience of shopping in an air-conditioned environment beats hot and sticky markets – especially in the hot season. And, just like the markets, all prices are negotiable and bargaining is practiced.

The fourth floor is dedicated to mobile phones, DVDs, CDs and all kinds of related gadgets and paraphernalia in a market-type environment with stalls crammed into every available space. New phones, second-hand phones, starter packs, the latest (copy) DVDs, PC games and games consoles, MP3 players and the like can be found here. A flagship tenant is the four-storey Tokyu Department Store, the only one in Bangkok and a leading department store in Japan. It offers a wide range of quality merchandise like clothing, apparel, cosmetics and household goods at reasonable prices. On the fourth level is has a supermarket too. There's also a TOPS supermarket at MBK (ground level) and a mini indoor craft market (on the sixth floor) with a range of arts and crafts and souvenirs from all over Thailand. MBK is opening daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm.


Patpong Night Market (near Silom Road) draws huge crowds of tourists. Vendors sell things like cheap clothes, silver jewelry, pirated CDs and DVDs, wood carvings, lacquerware, ceramics, Burmese tapestries, silk items, embroidery, cotton appliques, knickknacks and handicrafts set up on tables and racks.

Amulet Market (Ko Ratanakosin several small soi off Th Maharat, near Wat Mahathat near the Chao Phraya River) according to to Lonely Planet features “pendant-sized to medallion-sized, prá krêuang (amulets) in various classes, from rare objects or relics (like tusks, antlers or the dentures of abbots) to images of Buddha or famous monks embossed in bronze, wood or clay. Itinerant dealers spread their wares on blankets along the broken pavement across from the temple, and more-―permanent shops proliferate in the sunless alleyways along the river. Taxi drivers, monks and average folk squat alongside the displays inspecting novel pieces like practised jewellers. Mixed in with certain amulets are pulverised substances: dirt from a special temple, hair from a monk or powerful herbs. When the serious collectors aren’t perusing the market, they are flipping through amulet magazines that discuss noteworthy specimens. While money changes hands between vendor and customer, both use the euphemism of ‘renting’ to get around the prohibition of selling Buddhas.

Suan Lum Night Bazaar is another shopper's paradise, Hui wrote, and a good place for a leisurely post-dinner stroll. This market is more touristy and prices are slightly higher than what Chatuchak offers, but it's cleaner and easier to navigate, and you don't come away as sweaty. Like Chatuchak, the Night Bazaar is a grid of stalls selling local artists' paintings, souvenirs galore, plenty of home decor, and decent quality T-shirts from just $2.65 each. There's also a beer garden and plenty of food stalls. The market is right outside the MRT (underground) station Lumpini, open 6pm to midnight daily. [Source: Sylvia Hui, Associated Press, September 3, 2006]

Other Markets include 1) Phahurat Market (corner ofTh Phahurat & Th Triphet), with its impressive array of colorful textiles; 2) Jatujak market, a sprawling indoor market near Mo Chit, the last stop on the Skytrain, a labyrinth of narrow alley and small stalls; 3) The Market Organization for Farmers (MOF), with a large selection of food and fruit; 4) Asiatique The Riverfront, a night market by the Chao Phraya River, opened in 2012; 5) Khlong Lod Market, a night market near Sanam Luang, with new and second-hand cheap clothes, shoes, jeans, toys; 6) Pak Khlong Talat Market, by the Chao Phraya River, with fresh flowers and vegetables; 7) Pratunam Market, tourist oriented; 8) Sripaisit Night Bazaar (Siam Paradise Night Bazaar), Sukhumvit 101/1, trendy clothes, shoes, handicraft, souvenirs); 8) Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchadaphisek, new mall and open air market; phase 1 opened in 2012; 9) Talat Rot Fai, a (night market close to the Chatuchak weekend market; 10) Tha Chang Market, next to the Grand Palace, new and second-hand small goods, amulets, traditional medicine; 11) Tha Pra Chan Market (by the Chao Phraya River, amulets); 12) Nonthaburi Market, a short walk from Nonthaburi Pier, a huge and atmospheric produce market that sees much of its business before 9:00am.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest open flea markets in the world. It features 8,000 stalls grouped into 26 sections with good buys on silk, ceramic, toys, jewelry, handmade paper, hill tribe stuff, leather goods, puppies, batiks, fighting fish, herbal aphrodisiacs, antique whisky bottles and shoes. The market is huge and confusing, it even has its own map. It is open from 5:00pm to midnight Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday until 10:00pm. Next door is the Aw Taw Aw food market. Here you can find a large variety of fruits, vegetables and seafood, including four kinds of crab. To get there take the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit station, go down the stairs at Exit 1, walk straight ahead for about 5 minutes and you'll arrive at the market's main gate after going under a footbridge.

At Chatuchak bargaining is the norm. The plant market is held every Wednesday and Thursday. The weekend is when the 8,000 vendors from all over the country converge. The 26 sections including areas for antiques, books and magazines, fashion, food, furniture, handicrafts, jewelry, paintings, pets, plants and miscellaneous items. Nancy Chandler’s famous map is invaluable for sorting it all out. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. Many of stalls open for business on Friday.

Chatuchak market is held on the grounds of a park donated to the people of Thailand by the State Railway at the behest of King Bhumibol on his birthday in 1976. Inside the park there are many gardens of various themes, an herb garden, and a garden devoted to flowers in literature. Also of interest in the Prestigious Train Hall—a transportation museum— located near Gate 2.

On shopping at Chatuchak, Sylvia Hui of Associated Press wrote: There's so much on sale - clothes, jewelry, handicrafts, ''antiques,'' orchids, pets and even army surplus - that you could spend all day here and still not hope to have explored everything the market offers. As for those who aren't that keen on bargain-hunting, gawking at the mayhem and jostling with the locals is reason enough to visit. All the goods come at low prices that could go much lower, provided you bargain hard and prepare yourself for the claustrophobic sauna that the tiny inner alleys typically become after noon.[Source: Sylvia Hui, Associated Press, September 3, 2006]

Chatuchak is a nightmare to navigate, so don't plunge in without looking at a map of the market first. Animal-lovers should steer clear of the central section where they keep puppies and squirrels for sale in shabby conditions. Food stalls selling cheap Thai food and refreshments are everywhere in the market... And here's a tip for good quality clothes and fashion accessories. Turn immediately left from the main gate. Heading farther left will take you to the corner of the market and the new Kamphaemg Phet MRT station. From there you should see central stalls labeled Sections 24 to 26, which offer silks, fabrics and lots of other home decoration choices.

Floating Markets in the Bangkok Area

Floating Markets in the Bangkok Area can be touristy places dominated by pushy hawkers that locals stopped using long ago with that are considerably higher than those offered at souvenir shops in downtown Bangkok. The best ones are located some distance from Bangkok. For early birds in the Bangkok area, the Khu Wiang floating market, near the Royal Barge Museum, operates between 4:0am and 7:00am. For information on ones off the beaten track that see few tourist check the Lonely Planet Guide for Thailand and look through the Central Thailand section.

Don Wai Floating Market (near Don Wai temple on the banks of the Ta Jeen River, Tambol Bangkratuek, Amphur Sampran, Nakornprathom) is centered around a Thai style cottage at the bank of the Ta Jeen River that still preserves the old style of living from the reign of King Mongkut. Don Wai is the center of growing area for many agricultural products especially organic vegetables and Thai desserts. Popular dishes include boiled carp in salt, pot-stewed duck, and boiled bamboo shoots with chili sauce.

At Don Wai Floating Market, there is a jukebox for visitors to make merit at the Rai King temple. All the songs are from Yordluk Salakjai (a famous Thai singer). There is also fan palm, a rare fruit that crops only every 50 years. Another attraction of the market is the floating restaurant and a boat cruising tour to see the both sides of the river. The market is open daily from morning until evening.

Taling Chan Floating Market (west of Bangkok) attracts both Thais and foreigners. Many people that live here on the Chakphra Canal still retain the lifestyle of river and canal dwellers. This market, which operates on Saturdays and Sundays 09.00 -17.00 only, is located in front of the Taling Chan District Office in the west of Bangkok. The market is accessible by air-con bus No. 79. After visiting the market, long-tail boat trips along the canals are available.

Wat Sai Floating Market ( in the southwest of Bangkok) used to be famous but now is regarded as a rip off and a disappointment. Most of the boats have been replaced by shops on the banks of the canal. To get there, hire a long-tail boat that leaves the Oriental Pier, Tha Chang Pier, Rachini Pier or Saphan Phut Pier. (06.00-14.00 hrs.) The fare must be agreed before departure.

Ko Ratanakosin (next to the Chao Phraya River) describes an area within a large bend of the Chao Phraya River that embraces many of Bangkok’s most famous sites: the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Suthat and Wat Mahathat. Although Ko means island, the area is not an island. Back in old days it may have seemed like an perhaps as was sided by two large canals—Khlong Bangla,phu and Khlong Ong An—which run parallel to the river.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (40 minutes by boat from the town of Nakhan Pathom, 104 kilometers southwest of Bangkok) is Thailand's most vibrant floating market, intimately better than the ones located closer to Bangkok. The best time to visit is in the morning. Most of the sellers are old women who paddle their boats to the market before dawn. The market is located along the 32-kilometer-long Damnoen Saduak canal, which in turned is surrounded by more than 1,000 other channels.

Some boats are filled with fruits such as durians, rambutans, bananas and lychees. Others are packed with flowers. Yet others contain woodcarved elephants, hill tribe hand bags and other souvenirs. Some have stoves and gas cylinders and can cook up a noodle dish for you in a couple of minutes. Altogether there are more than 100 merchant boats stretched along an 800-meter stretch of canal. Sightseeing boats weave through them. Behind the boats are stilted buildings with yet more stuff. Louise Palmberg wrote in the New York Times: “vendors paddle past in wooden boats overflowing with goods: fruits, vegetables, noodles, spices, flowers. One vendor, now in her 80s, said she’d been serving noodles by boat here for 60 years.” [Source: Louise Palmberg, New York Times, June 1, 2020]

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is in Ratchaburi province. Photos of this vibrant market featuring many small boats laden with colourful fruits and vegetables and paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats, are among the most often published in travel magazines and brochures of Thailand. The Damnoen Saduak canal was built in 1866 under King Rama IV to facilitate boat travel between Ratchaburi and Samutsakhon Provinces. It was finished and opened to the public in 1868.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is quite popular with tourists. There is even a portion of it set aside for them, featuring souvenir-laden shops and souvenir-laden boats. The main 100-year-old market is at Talaat Tom Khem on Khlong Damneon Saduak Canal. Talaat Hia Kui, to the south on a parallel canal, Khlong Hia Kui, gets the most tourists. A third, less crowded market, called talaat Khuan Phitak, is on a smaller canal south of Damnoen Saduak. It can reached by water taxi. Taxis and rented boats can also be used to explore the canals and klong life.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books and other publications.

Last updated August 2020

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