The Best Shopping in Bangkok
Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport, but shopping might be its national pastime. Bangkok has some of Thailand’s best shopping, if not all of Southeast Asia. You’ll find high-end designers, international brands, and Thai labels at megamalls like Siam Paragon. Or enjoy the ever-so-Thai shopping experiences of a floating market or night market. For handicrafts and and a wide range of souvenirs, stroll the thousands of stalls at Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Khwaeng Lat Yao, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand
The mother of unique Bangkok retail experiences is undoubtedly Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand’s largest outdoor bazaar. Known as Jatujak or simply JJ, it has 15,000 stalls spread over 35 acres and sells almost everything under the sun. This is the place to buy a Beatles cushion or shop for a new pet cobra or a hand-carved Buddha icon. With 200,000 people descending on the market every weekend, it’s best to come early, and perseverance can uncover a veritable treasure trove of collectibles ranging from beautiful ceramics and handicrafts to exquisite jewelry.
714/4 Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Tan, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
There’s no better place in Bangkok to browse for books than Dasa Book Café. While Kinokinuya (deservedly) holds sway in the malls, this cute seller is the pick among the city’s independent book retailers. The shop itself boasts around 17,000 titles over three floors and the regularly updated ‘Dasabase’ list of stock makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
All kinds of antique, art and retro items can be found in Bangkok’s huge array of vintage stores where shoppers can pick up anything from old-fashioned cameras to lovingly reproduced Thai movie posters from the 1950s and 1960s. Prime browsing locations include Papaya Vintage, a treasure trove of vintage items that has become a favoured shooting location for professional photographers.
991 Rama I Road
Considered by many as Bangkok’s de facto city centre due to its location by the teeming Siam skytrain station, Siam Paragon has established itself as one of the most popular of the city’s temples of consumerism. With its easily navigable layout and tremendous range of shops, its elevated status comes as no surprise. Premium brands to be found here include Jimmy Choo, Versace, Hermes and Rolex while high street fashion is represented by the likes of Uniqlo, Gap and Zara.
Lotus Arts De Vivre, 41/21, Rama III Rd., Chongnonsi, Yannawa, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
The family-run Lotus Arts de Vivre specialises in bespoke items and one-of-a-kind objets d’art. Lotus famously sold a one-off scarab-beetle-winged parrot clutch to Michael Jackson, who gifted it to his friend Elizabeth Taylor. Their esoteric design style is perfect for those with an eye for conversation pieces, as well as handmade jewellery. The brand has several retail ventures around Bangkok on the premises of luxury hotels including the Mandarin Oriental and Anantara Bangkok Resort.
30/1 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
Among the most loved and respected purveyors of fine antiques and Thai art is OP Place. Built in 1908, OP Place features a plethora of art galleries and shops offering a spectrum of wares ranging from Asian handicrafts to jewellery, fabrics, antiques, artworks, Thai silk and carpets. Even if you’re not in the market for antiques, the building itself deserves a visit. Neoclassic architecture and a manually operated lift add to the sense of grandeur.
989 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
A purveyor of luxurious aromatherapy spa products and natural skincare, Thann is recognised as a global leader in its field. Set up in 2002, it is the most famous of the Thai spa brands; their sleek-looking candles, diffusion oils and naturally perfumed skin care products gracing spas around the world. With collections that are usually inspired by Asia, the brand is known for its seductively scented showrooms, dotted around Bangkok. For a special shopping experience combine some retail therapy with a spa treatment at the brand’s Thann Sanctuary spa at CentralWorld.
สุขุมวิท 11 1 155/1 Sukhumvit 11/1 Alley, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
One of the most respected tailoring operations in the Thai capital, Narin Couture counts prime ministers, ambassadors and Hollywood stars among his client list. Suits and dresses – especially cocktail or formal dresses – don’t come cheap and take around two weeks to finish, but Narin’s wide range of mostly imported cashmere, cotton and wool as well as his schooling at a French fashion school makes him a premium choice for discerning dressers.
Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
Taking inspiration from a long stint in London, Disaya Sorakraikitikul burst on to the city’s fashion scene in 2004 with her lingerie line Boudoir by Disaya. Her main collection – simply known as Disaya – has expanded to include ready-to-wear and costume jewellery. The designer’s collections are known for their couture artistry, delicate embroidery and careful craftsmanship and can be found at upscale malls around Bangkok.
51 Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Bangkok, of course, is very much its own city. But New York districts, specifically Brooklyn, are exerting a strong influence in certain quarters. These Williamsburg stylings are, for the most part, mercifully unaffected with little of the self-consciousness often associated with hipster culture. One such vibrant enclave is located on Sukhumvit Soi 51 near the Thong Lor skytrain where ZudRangMa Records and WTF sit cheek by jowl up a small side alley. ZudRangMa specializes in retro Thai sounds and releases excellent compilations on its own imprint. Next door, WTF Gallery and Café has a winning combination of potent cocktails, eclectic sounds and occasional art happenings and events.
Famous throughout Thailand, Nittaya is the perfect place to pick up some takeaway curry pastes for an authentic flavour of Bangkok. Located in the Banglamphu area of the city, the shop is easy to find - just follow your nose. Photo by LexnGer/Flickr.
1 Sanam Phra, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Thais are a very superstitious bunch. This colourful market near the Chao Phraya River is where collectors, monks, taxi drivers and other people in dangerous lines of work go to pick out lucky amulets that will protect them from harm or bring them good fortune. Photo by Gerry Popplestone/Flickr.