Whether it’s your first time in Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok or one among many visits, the thing that is bound to make a lasting impression on you is the incredible shopping to be had in the amazing City of Angels. Shopping is an integral part of Bangkokian life like nowhere else in the world, and shopping in Bangkok is hands down the city’s most all-time popular pastime.
The first thing about all this that you will notice, of course, is that within the many streets and side-streets (called “soi” in the Thai language), a bit of shopping is to actually available in so many different forms. This is true particularly in the heart of the city and its bustling commercial district, known as the Bangkok Siam area.
Around the Bangkok Siam area, you will certainly encounter first of all some street stalls. This would consist of carts, or even standing racks, offering clothing or jewelry or other kinds of items, from telephone cases to belt buckles. Sometimes the goods for sale are on a table or even just spread out on a cloth on the sidewalk. Most of these items will be quite trendy and not at all expensive — though you might have to do a bit of bargaining if it is obvious that you are tourist. You will find that these street stalls multiply after the sun goes down!
However, any discussion of all the fabulous shopping in Bangkok during the night time would not be complete without at least a passing mention of the famous night markets of Bangkok, such as the vast Chatuchak Weekend Market or the trendy Ratchada Train Market. These offer supposedly a taste of more traditional Thai culture, and that is true to a certain extent. These days, though, they do tend to be brimming with tour groups which swells their often already capacity almost to the breaking point. This can make the experience some degrees higher than warm and sticky, though it is true that they are still quite unique destinations in Thailand as well as being a great place to pick up Thai souvenirs in Bangkok. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is right of the Mochit BTS Skytrain station and the Ratchada Train Market can be found at the Thai Cultural Center Station of the MRT Subway.
But to dive into another and more modern (and more comfortable!) experience of the authentic Thai and international fascination with shopping in Bangkok, the immense shopping centers demand your attention. And you will be happy to give it to them. The main reason is that, beyond all the shops, restaurants and other kinds of entertainment venues each one of them contains, every one of them is comfortable air-conditioned, and sometimes that can be the sweetest feeling in the city — and it certainly makes hunting around for Thai souvenirs in Bangkok all the more pleasant!
A degree of fanfare and press always surrounds the very high-end shopping malls in the Bangkok Siam area and beyond, such as Paragon. But for the real deal and a wealth of bargains that comprises all the great aspects of shopping on the streets of the city, and the charm of an outdoor market feel, but with the marvelous air-conditioning of a mall, MBK Shopping Mall is king.
With a grand total of eight storeys and housing over 2,000 different shops, you know that you are getting into something big at MBK Shopping Mall!
If you enjoy shopping at all, this is a place which it is absolutely necessary to pay a visit to. And in this case, double checking that you make a booking at a hotel near MBK, such as VIE Hotel Bangkok, is going to make your whole trip and experience all the more convenient and happy.
First opened as far back as 1985, when it was the largest shopping mall in all of Asia, MBK Shopping Mall nowadays gets around 100,000 shoppers every single day, though larger malls have since been built. Generally cheaper than the name-brand luxury malls, it is extremely popular with locals as well as travelers. And within its at times chaotic labyrinth you can find just about everything you will ever need! In fact, you can probably find everything on every floor. Beauty clinics, banks, coffee shops, phone shops … It’s all in MBK Shopping Mall.
That said, there is a rough organization to it all, from the bottom up.
On the ground floor, just in past the entrance, you will usually find a kind of clothing market. There are actually several such markets attached to each other on this floor, namely Rama Hall, Payathai Hall, and others such as, simply, The Market. Lots of light and summery clothing is available here among the many rows, as well as some interesting Thai souvenirs in Bangkok. Though you should be aware that most of the clothing brands will be knock-offs. Here you will also find a bit of an international food court, offering takeaway, in addition to a Tops Market supermarket.
Moving up to the second and third floors, you will encounter a number of fairly nice looking shops selling gold, jewelry and other accessories, alongside some electronics.
The fourth floor is renowned for offering the most fantastic range of electronics in the Bangkok Siam area, and perhaps in the entire city, or even country! You are going to find absolutely everything here related to mobile telephones, tablets and even notebook computers — but more telephones than anything else. You will have never before seen so many options and styles of not only phones but chargers, cases, screens, cords, microphones, earphones and everything else included. Plenty of repair shops are also located on this floor.
The fifth floor is interesting not only for the gamut of camera shops, among which you will find all the name brand cameras, from Nikon to Samsung. There is also a defined food court here, The Fifth Avenue MBK, offering international cuisines, which are delicious but pricier.
On the sixth floor you can find more fashion clothing and accessories. Many of these items are quite creative. Another food court is here, with much cheaper prices.
Finally, the seventh floor explodes with action once again. A bowling alley and a large cinema are the main attractions here. The cinema is very cheap compared to most Western standards and a full complement of flavored popcorns are for sale to munch while you watch the latest releases. A long string of chain restaurants is here as well, with KFC, Swensens, Sizzlers, Starbucks, MK, Fuji and every other Bangkok standby! The seventh floor also houses pool tables and a huge kid’s arcade zone.
Although not rural or dating centuries old, and so on, MBK has a unique Thai flavor that is a true experience of the culture — and also more than satisfies your shopaholic cravings! It never disappoints, and a hotel near MBK is essential. VIE Hotel Bangkok fits the bill perfectly.
MBK Shopping Mall is located right at the National Stadium BTS Station. A bridge from the station will lead you right into the Tokyu department store which occupies a few floors of that corner of MBK. Simply take the Skytrain from Ratchathewi station, just outside the door of VIE Hotel Bangkok, and it is two stops away. Or, if the weather is doable, just walk it. MBK Shopping Mall is only ten minutes away!
A luxury and designer hotel near MBK, VIE Hotel Bangkok offers you the most comfortable stay closest to the greatest shoppers’ paradise in the country.