Bangkok is synonymous with amazing shopping and fabulous malls. Think of yourself as a hardcore shopper? Then put on your comfy shoes, because this mile of shopping incorporates over 4,300 shops and stalls and covers around 1.2 square kilometres. That is a lot of shopping!
Checking out this mile could easily take a whole day. We recommend you start early at MBK to get there before the crowds. From there it is only a five minute walk to Siam Discovery, which is right next to the funky Siam Center. Pop across the road to Siam Square for some new fashion from unknown brands, then cross back to experience ultimate high end luxury at Siam Paragon. It’s a 7 minute walk past a pretty temple complex before you arrive at the mammoth CentralWorld, so big that you can easily spend half a day here. Don’t get too distracted though, as on the other side of the intersection you will find more designer brands at Erawan and Gaysorn. Amarin Plaza is great for end of line deals and seconds. Central Chitlom, Embassy Mall and Mercury Ville complete this shopping extravaganza.
Starting from West to East
This famous Bangkok shopping mall sells everything from clothes, leather bags, accessories, mobile phones, cameras, laptops and so much more.
THE STATS: 2000 shops – covers 89,000 square metres - 8 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: Great bargains on original leather goods and electronics, fantastic one stop shop for gifts and souvenirs to take home and two tasty food courts. With so much stuff on sale they always seem to have in in multiple colours and sizes.
WHAT WE DON'T: A little grubby and worn around the edges and crowded at the weekend, with an average of 100,000 visitors a day. Well-known for reproductions and fakes, so be careful!
HIGHLIGHTS: Bangkok biggest professional photo shop choice and huge smartphone section. There are enough phone covers to give the entire planet a new case for the phones, with some pretty wacky designs.
2) SIAM DISCOVERY
Sometimes overlooked, Siam Discovery is medium-sized mall that sells an interesting mix of luxury fashion brands, sportswear, design, beauty and gadgets.
THE STATS: 98 shops – covers 22,000 square metres – 6 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: The cool interior design and home décor shops on the 4th and 5th floors, with Japanese brand Loft and Thailand’s own Doi Tung Lifestyle. It’s never crowded, making browsing so much more fun and guaranteeing a seat at the coffee shops on the ground floor.
WHAT WE DON'T: Only a small selection of shops, some that can be found in other malls.
HIGHLIGHTS: Home of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, where you can check out celebrities ranging from Brad Pitt and Michelle Obama to famous Thai stars that we sometimes don't recognise. Feeling the heat? Head to the huge ice rink.
3) SIAM CENTER
Renovated in late 2012, this is where the cool kids come to check out the latest and greatest fashion from Thai and International labels, with a sprinkling of fast fashion, nice restaurants and cafes and a glass ceilinged food court.
THE STATS: 300 shops - covers 20,000 square metres – 4 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: Checking out the new and up and coming designers, enjoying delicious cakes at Mr Jones’ Cake Shop, and the mall’s quirky design that includes art displays, virtual changing rooms, wooden horses and an LED screen on the ceiling. They also have plenty of velvet couches and bar stools to lounge upon whilst you check your online world.
WHAT WE DON'T: There are a lot of shops in a small space here, it can feel cramped, and the grey walls can make it feel like a cave.
HIGHLIGHTS: The shops are the real highlight at Siam Center, with enough designers to keep even the most demanding fashion lover content.
4) SIAM PARAGON
Designer fashion and luxury goods are the order of the day at Siam Paragon Mall, whether you are looking for a Chanel handbag, Gucci loafers or perhaps even a Lamborghini. Even if you can’t treat yourself to most of the goods, it’s a fun visit, with Siam Ocean World in the basement, IMAX cinema and a 30 lane bowling alley.
THE STATS: 270 shops – covers 400,000 square metres – 10 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: A visit to Siam Paragon is entertaining even if you come home empty handed. Beautiful clothes accessories and a shop filled with super cars, it needs to be seen to be believed. Go to the fourth floor for some chic souvenirs such as aromatherapy oils, silks and quality handicrafts.
WHAT WE DON'T: That our credit card limit isn’t large enough to leave with armfuls of goods.
HIGHLIGHTS: It seems mad that the 10,000 sqm water world of Siam Ocean World is under all these shops. A great family activity, there are plenty of sea creatures to see, as well as an underwater tunnel and a huge panoramic tank.
5) SIAM SQUARE
Just opposite Siam Center and Paragon you will find an amazing maze of boutiques than runs along several lanes and alleyways. The shops here sell vintage clothes, one off designs and the latest trends from Japan and Korea but you will also find small indie cafés and restaurants.
THE STATS: 500+ shops - covers 10,000 square metres – Mostly 1 level
WHAT WE LOVE: Before any great Thai designer makes it, they open a store here to test their goods on a small scale. This makes Siam Square the perfect place to pick up cutting edge clothes and accessories at great prices. We also love that established Thai brands such as ‘It happened to be a Closet’ have stuck around too.
WHAT WE DON'T: Getting lost and feeling hot. There’s good no map of the place and the narrow passageways get stuffy on sunny days.
HIGHLIGHTS: Creative and casual young fashion, and some brilliant vintage shops. If you love vintage be sure to also check out Scala cinema, a beautiful relic from the 60s and the poster shop for unusual editions of your favourite movie posters.
CentralWorld is huge and offers so much more than just shopping, with a 15 screen cinema, ice-rink, edutainement centre for kids, two department stores and some great dining options. Leave yourself plenty of time to explore, it can take a while!
THE STATS: 500 shops – covers 550,000 square metres – 7 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: It’s bright and spacious, there are all different kinds of shopping here: international brands, gadget shops, unique boutiques. Zen department stores boasts some of the best local designers, from established names to new kids making their mark on the scene and they also have a fabulous rooftop bar for a post shopping cocktail.
WHAT WE DON'T: It’s so big that it can be tiring trying to see it all. We get lost sometimes as the layout is the same on every floor and the bathroom signs are a little confusing.
HIGHLIGHTS: The department store Isetan is a must-visit for anyone who wants to find genuine imported goods from Japan. Two floors of the mall are dedicated to restaurants and cafés, with a range of cuisines from around the globe. There are two rooftop bars here as well, Red Sky being one of our favourite's in Bangkok.
This contemporary mall is the ultimate in chic shopping: five floors of luxury products and high end fashion from both Thailand and overseas. One of the most popular stores is Cloud 9, a multi-label boutique with amazing items from the likes of Charlotte Olympia, Louboutin and Roberto Cavalli.
THE STATS: 100 shops – covers 12,600 square metres – 5 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: Getting to check out the new collections from Thailand’s designers including Fly Now, Kloset, Senada Theory, Zenithorial and Disaya. The service here is also worth a mention, they really go above and beyond to make sure you enjoying your shopping.
WHAT WE DON'T: There aren’t many food options here and prices are on the high side.
HIGHLIGHTS: The services of the free lifestyle consultant, a cool advisor who loves fashion even more than us, and knows Gaysorn’s collection like the back of her hand and is a pro at mix and matching. Be sure to book an appointment though.
Small but almost perfect, the Erawan Bangkok is a mall with discerning taste, focusing on exclusive brands and elegant restaurants. On the top floor you will find beauty and spa centres, perfect for a little pampering.
THE STATS: 20 shops - covers 13,000 square metres – 3 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: This is our perfect stop off for a food break. The Erawan Tea Room serves delicious dishes and a Thai take on afternoon tea, Crystal Jade steams tasty dim sum and Nara is the place for classic Thai dining. Club 21 is split into 3 sections: menswear, womenswear and accessories and is a multi-label high fashion and designer store selling brands such as Mulberry, Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith and DKNY amongst others.
WHAT WE DON'T: There just isn’t enough of it...
HIGHLIGHTS: This is the best way to combine shopping with a little bit of culture. Outside the mall you will find the Erawan Shrine, an important place for Thais to pay their respects. Enjoying Thai dancing to honour the gods in a cloud of incense is pretty amazing.
This muddle of high end fashion stores, tailors, end of line boutiques and craft shops is worth a browse. Amarin Plaza also has a great value food court.
THE STATS: 300 shops – covers 19,000 square metres – 5 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: It’s a different brand discount heaven at Amarin Plaza every few weeks with amazing discounts on brands such as Nine West, Karen Millen, Nike and Roxy. It’s also a great stop off for a massage if your feet are getting a little tired.
WHAT WE DON'T: Amarin Plaza is in need of a bit of a facelift compared to the other malls along the mile.
HIGHLIGHTS: Thai craft centre on the 3rd floor is perfect for picking up all your souvenirs in one go.
10) MERCURY VILLE
This new mini mall promises high end delights to shoppers visiting the Chit Lom area. It is due to open in mid 2013.
THE STATS: 46 shops – covers 12,000 square metres- 3 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: Its cheery red design will bring some colour to the grey blocks here.
WHAT WE DON'T: The delays with the opening. The Bangkok.com towers are nearby and we want something new to explore!
HIGHLIGHTS: A lot of new dining options!
11) CENTRAL CHIDLOM
This one stop shop houses everything from the latest fashion and beauty products to homeware and gadgets. It’s just right size wise – you won’t get lost trying to find things, but there is a good range of good and brands, some stand alone and other incorporated into the main department store.
THE STATS: 100 shops - covers 68,000 square metres - 7 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: If we are in a rush or feel tired, Central Chitlom is our favourite place to shop. We enjoy the variety of clothes stores ranging from Thai designers and cool labels for men and women to affordable local brands. They spend time on cool themed decor throughout the mall, including an amazing week where they decked it out with orchids and trees.
WHAT WE DON'T: Don’t waste your time with the elevators here. They take ages and are usually full.
HIGHLIGHTS: The Loft at Central Chidlom has one of the best food courts by far, it’s more like a restaurant that an actual food court, with different stands selling a variety of international and thai dishes that are delivered to your table.
12) CENTRAL EMBASSY
Opened in 2014, this sleek and shiny silver mall has added another set of boutiques, a cinema and a new experience to Bangkok mile of shopping. It is the city's first ultra-luxury lifestyle mall, so expect high profile international design brands with prices to match.
THE STATS: 100 shops - covers 70,000 square metres - 8 floors
WHAT WE LOVE: Premium brand international fashion, and an exclusive VIP cinema. It’s going to have an internal garden too, which sounds pretty awesome if it lives up to our magination.
WHAT WE DON'T: The mall is not completely finished yet so we will wait until it is to make up our minds.
HIGHLIGHTS: Park Hyatt, a 6 star hotel with a very unusual architecture