Where to shop in Bangkok

Where to shop in Bangkok

From glitzy shopping centres housing posh international and local brands to colourful and vibrant street markets steeped in Asian culture and traditions, Bangkok is a shopaholic's dreamland. While night bazaars in Bangkok are the best place to find handicrafts, local items, affordable clothes, and souvenirs in general, quality items and luxurious brands can be found in the huge malls spread out across the city.

The shopping mall culture might have been spreading across Bangkok over the culture but what night markets are still the beating heart of the city. What bazaars lack in posh brands, they make up for in atmospheres. Surrounded by beautiful stalls and live music, it's in the night markets that you will get a glimpse into the real Thai way of life. Whether you decide to do your shopping in mall or a night market, they both offer plenty of opportunities to take a break from the shopping frenzy and get a bite, either at a franchise restaurant or from one of the many stalls offering local delicacies such as Pad Thai and rice soaked in coconut milk and served with mango.

Here is a list of the best night markets and shopping centres in the city:

Roi Fai Market, Srinakarin

Literally train market, Roi Fai Market is a lively and authentic open-air bazaar in the Thai capital where you can soak up the local culture and shop till you drop. From vintage collectables and memorabilia to antique furniture and hippy fashion, Roi Fai Market is a vibrant travel capsule for nostalgic travellers. What really makes the train market stand out, however, is its originality. While other night markets house typical modern fashion, electronic devices and knick-and-knacks that can be found in every most stalls across Bangkok, Roi Fai Market is the place where you can buy one-of-a-kind and exclusive items that are hard to find elsewhere, including vintage leather jackets and Japanese action figures. Paired with restaurants, bars and snack stalls, the shopping frenzy is limitless. Please note that this bazaar is only one from sunset to midnight, from Thursday to Sunday.

Central World (in photo)

Spanning across eight floors, Central World is the world's sixth largest shopping centre. With a floor dedicated to each type of merchandise, shopping here feels visiting 8 malls in one go, and every floor is equipped with cafes and restaurants, so you have can a break from all that shopping, or even go to the mall to see it in its colossal splendour.

If you are looking for sports equipment and clothing, this shopping centre is home Bangkok's biggest sports shop - Super Sport. Central World also houses two huge department stores - the Zen and Isenta - which comprise a large range of brands that have their own specific area, although they are not separated by walls.

Comprising a mall and a night bazaar, Asiatique offers the ultimate Bangkok shopping experience. Housing over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants, you can easily pull an all-nighter in this warehouse complex. When you get tired of browsing from one item to the other, you can watch a Thai puppet performance or even catch a show at the Calypso ladyboy cabaret.

To get there, the easiest way is to take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and then you have to get the free shuttle at the end of the pier. Although boats are the fastest way to get there - it only takes 10 minutes - they only run until 11pm. From the boat you can walk along a beautiful 300-metres long boardwalk. Alternatively, you can flag down a taxi, but beware traffic can be deplorable in this area. Although the decor is meant to be in inspired in the 1900s, it is a bit overwhelming that the illusion gets lost. The design of the place, however, is very practical and there's enough space to mingle with the crowds without feeling suffocated like in other night markets.

JJ Green Night Market is a bohemian kind of night market that perfectly pairs being a vintage flea market with a local drinking hangout. You can browse from built in shops to stalls that house everything under the sun, from secondhand clothes to vinyl CDs, collectables, old car models, artwork, antiques, retro cameras, branded posters, musical instruments, you name it, they've got it. Most of the items are a bargain already, so there is no need to haggle.