We all know that shopping is one the best therapies, especially if you belong to the female of the species. You don’t need to be a shopping fanatic to appreciate the feeling of leaving the shopping centre with a gorgeous dress, pair of well-fitting jeans or a pair of shoes. Even just accessories, such as handbags and jewellery, can be a fantastic pick-me-up. Many men are not averse to shopping either, provided they are browsing through the kind of things that they like; the latest model of a touch phone or a tablet, a palm top PC, that camera with wonderful zoom options, a mother board with some zillion Gigabytes or the latest aftershave from their favourite brand… The lists for both men and women are endless!
Unfortunately, only a lucky few are able to shop to their heart’s content without constantly adding up the totals and mentally calculating whether their bank card has enough credit to cover the bills at the checkout. This is why budget shopping in a shopper’s paradise such as Bangkok may just be what you need (of course there is the small matter of getting yourself there first, but that’s a separate issue).
Why is Bangkok a Good Shopping Destination?
Bangkok is well known for its beautiful beaches and night life, but should not be overlooked for its inexpensive and bustling shopping scene. Anything and everything can be purchased here, from authentic designer labelled clothes, shoes and accessories right through to a range of more affordable items.
To accommodate the millions of shoppers that pour into Bangkok, a large number of budget hotels have sprung up nearer to shopping centres, offering cheap accommodation. Hotel room rates on a B&B basis start as low as $40 per double room in a 3 star hotel, offering decent meals and good rooms.
Bangkok has many shopping malls, such as Siam Paragon and Central World, selling upscale designer items. Alongside these premium outlets, you have the wholesale markets, night markets on the road and plenty of local food stalls to keep your hunger pangs under control; while you shop from morning to evening in the roads of the Patunam area or Byoke square.
Budget Bangkok Shopping Hot Spots
If you are a first timer in Bangkok, it is preferable to know where the best shopping hotspots are before you start out on your shopping fiesta. Decide on how much you intend to spend and on what items, at least roughly. It is quite common for first time shoppers to the area to lose their minds and a track of their bank balance when they find out how cheap the clothes, shoes and bags are; not to mention some of the gems and jewelry as well as electronic goods.
Here are some must visit spots:
- MBK – Budget shoppers will be in shopper’s heaven when they enter MBK. This is a multi-storeyed, legendary, shopping mall packed with both locals and tourists. There are over 2,000 shops that sell anything and everything from clothing, handbags, shoes, to luggage, furniture and mobile phones and accessories. Entire floors are dedicated to handbags and shoes, fashion and clothing.
- Chatuchak Market – Chatuchak was known for wholesale items in the past. Now, however, this has slowly converted itself to a budget shopper’s paradise. Anything from clothing to handicrafts to ceramics, furniture, art, plants, pet items and antiques can be purchased at bargain prices from Chatuchak. Keep in mind that this is a huge area that may be difficult to navigate. Wear flat, comfortable shoes and comfy cottons as you will be hot and tired as you will shop till you literally drop. The bustling alleys of Chatuchak will offer you the widest array of cheap clothing, especially if you buy the designs in bulk.
- Bobae Market – This again is a huge sprawling complex with over 1,000 shops selling various items of clothing, fashion accessories, house hold items, etc. However, to get the best of Bobey market, you need to purchase in 2s and 3s of the same design as the prices are slashed by half.
- Platinum Fashion Mall – This is an indoor version of the Chatuchak market and much more restful to be out of the sun. If searching for wholesale fashion wear and accessories, Platinum is the place to go. Four floors of shopping space are packed with cheap shoes, handbags, clothing and much more. Bargaining is a fun sport in most of the budget malls in Bangkok. You can do this at Platinum plaza too. If you bargain well, you can walk away with your purchase at half or less of the price quoted initially.
- Siam Square – This is a local university area, and hence the place will be crowded with university students. Clothing is extremely affordable at Siam Square as it caters to college kid budgets. If you too are looking for young, hip, fashionable clothing such as shorts, hot pants, t-shirts, jeans and shoes at cheap prices, this is a great place to shop. If you venture further into the alleys in Siam Square, there are local Thai designer shops where clothes are still cheaper.
- Baiyoke Market – The Baiyoke Market is in Pratunam and is a huge area of shops that sell shoes, clothes, lingerie and cosmetics. These outdoor markets and night markets are the place to test your bargaining skills, so go full throttle and see what price discounts you earn. Most often, the items are sold as pairs, but you can also pick up good deals for a single item. An entire day can be spent shopping around buying things at extremely cheap prices at Baiyoke Market. Head up to Baiyoke Hotel tower and enjoy the scenic view and a meal at their chic restaurant on the roof garden.
Travelling in Bangkok
Getting around Bangkok can be amazingly cheap. If you have extra time in hand, taxi cabs will offer you super promotional deals. You will have to visit a shop, or a jewellery centre that he suggests and spend a minimum of 15 – 20 minutes, browsing through (the idea is that you will be persuaded to make a purchase while you are there) and the driver receives free fuel vouchers from that particular shop as a reward for bringing in potential customers. Tuk-tuks, or three wheeler taxis, are another cheap option to consider. A sky train runs overhead, but is not used frequently. The cheapest however, would be to walk, and that is the best way to do your bargain shopping.
In addition to these places, a few lucky souls will find sales at some of the upscale shopping malls. Places such as Siam Centre, Siam Paragon, Gaysorn Plaza, Emporium and Central World open their doors to budget shoppers once a while during the sale season, and you will be buying $100 pairs of shoes at $30 or less. Be sure to visit during the sale season if you are a really serious shopper, planning to get a big bargain from your BK trip.
Bangkok is a budget shopper’s paradise; just make sure to know your way around to get the best deals in town.