MBK Center is probably Bangkok's most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals, and busy with shoppers every day. There are 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, MBK Center is a beehive of activity, especially on weekends, when half of Bangkok converges 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.
MBK Center is particularly easy to reach thanks to a direct walkway linking to National Stadium BTS Skytrain Station. Literally every taxi driver knows this most famous of shopping malls in Bangkok too, so you can hail a cab from anywhere but traffic can be intense.
On the ground floor of MBK you will find lines of stalls selling fashion, shoes and handbags, fast food outlets and a Tops Supermarket, with an open space dedicated to sales offering prices discounted by 30% to 50%. As you move up the levels you will find enclaves of products almost-randomly placed. Part of the fun of MBK is exploring the long straight paths looking out for things that take your fancy. As a rough guide, fashion can be found on the lower floors, a mass of electronics on the third and fourth floors, with home furnishings and souvenirs on the fifth and sixth.
Like every shopping complex in Bangkok, there are plenty of options when you get hungry. There are two food courts - one local (sixth floor), one international (fifth floor) - with lots of choice. The top floor comprises of an entertainment complex boasting a multi-screen cinema, karaoke, a computer games arcade and plenty of other restaurants. MBK have also added a 3D Trick Art Museum, which is a fun family activity just perfect for a rainy day.
Bargains galore – and free air-conditioning!
To start with, fashion outlets cover everything from jeans, outsized clothing (for the 'larger' Western frame), shoes, handbags, accessories, jewellery, trendy apparel and famous-name brands. The bargain prices of many of these items mean that merchandise is often copy products or from questionable origin. It's important to take a closer look at the quality and craftsmanship.
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 – head straight to MBK. 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; MBK is probably the only mall in Bangkok where you can put your bartering skills to the test. You'll be surprised how much a big smile can knock off the original asking price. If you're shopping wholesale, prices get even more competitive.
Heaven for Electronic Goods and Mobile Phones
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 what have you...
A flagship tenant is the four-storey Tokyu Department Store, the only one in Bangkok and a leading department store in Japan, which 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 from all over Thailand – a lot of it though the typical souvenir-type items targeted at tourists.
Hotel Connected to MBK Mall
Pathumwan Princess Hotel scores high points for location, facilities and service, making it a savvy choice for guests who want a five star, award winning stay in central Bangkok.The location will have shopaholics grinning from ear to ear, with direct access to MBK shopping mall, and only a five minute walk via raised walkway to Siam shopping district, but it also within walking distance of Jim Thompsons House, with other famous sites being a short sky train or taxi ride away.The nearest sky train stop is National Stadium, which connects directly to Spahan Taksin in 15 minutes where you can take the river boat to visit Bangkoks famous temples and the Grand Palace. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Location: Pathumwan Intersection, diagonally opposite Siam Discovery Centre
- BTS: National Stadium
- Tel: +66 (0)2 620 9000