If shopping in Bangkok is on one’s mind, two adjoining areas that cannot be missed are Ratchadamri (Rajadamri) and Pratunam. A walking distance from Siam and Chidlom BTS Skytrain stations, these areas are not only home to the world’s third largest shopping complex – Central World, but also have some of Bangkok’s other most loved shopping destinations – Pantip Plaza for electronics, Platinum Fashion Mall for clothes and accessories, a huge Big C for groceries and durables, Bangkok’s best money changer (Super Rich Thailand), and last but not the least, countless street shops. One can get down from the Sky Train at either Siam or Childlom station and ask for directions to Big C. It is walking distance from both the stations. The Big C here, in addition to the groceries, durables, hardware, plastics, and electronics, has a lovely food court with very reasonable pricing. Central World is right opposite Big C. Platinum Fashion Mall is ahead of Big C and can be seen in the picture below. On the way to Platinum, a right turn takes one to Super Rich Thailand, a money changer that offers best exchange rates in town. Platinum and Pantip Plaza are located left of the road after crossing a bridge that is built on Saen Saeb Canal’s Pratunam Pier.
Central World and Big C, Ratchadamri, Bangkok
There are three beautiful temples outside Central World Mall where devotees can be seen offering prayers all day. The scene is particularly mesmerizing in the evening. One can return to this place to spend a few peaceful minutes after a hectic day of shopping.
The pavement outside Big C has several stalls selling drinks, snacks, ready-mades and all types of other roadside shopping stuff that is seen all over Bangkok. The above picture was taken on a rainy day, otherwise a sea of people is always passing by from here.
Super Rich Thailand Money Exchange, Ratchadamri, Bangkok
After Big C and before the waterway bridge, one can take a right turn to find two of the popular money changers, Super Rich 1965 and Super Rich (Thailand). Both offer very good exchange rates but Super Rich Thailand’s rates are better of the two.
Pratunam Pier, Saen Saeb Canal, Bangkok
Pratunam Pier is used by an express boat service for public transport on a portion of the Saen Saeb Canal. This picture was taken standing on a bridge that is on the way from Big C towards Platinum. Turn left after the bridge to go to Platinum and Pantip Plaza.
Platinum Fashion Mall, Petchaburi Road, Bangkok
Platinum Fashion Mall, as the name suggests, is the place to shop for the latest fashion in clothes and accessories in air conditioned comfort. The mall is always very crowded. There are separate wings for men’s and women’s shopping. Prices are not fixed but only moderate haggling is encouraged. Buying three or more pieces of a similar variety qualifies for a “wholesale” price that is about 33% lower than the one-piece price. Platinum Fashion Mall is the air-conditioned alternative to hot and sweaty street shopping for clothes and accessories in Bangkok, so one should expect to pay about 5-10% extra over the street prices.
Pantip Plaza, Petchaburi Road, Bangkok
Pantip Plaza is Bangkok’s electronics and IT destination. If you can’t find something in electronics and IT here, you probably can’t find it anywhere else in Bangkok too. Both locals and tourists come here to buy computers, laptops, cameras, MP3s, cell phones, memory cards, TVs and what not, and not to forget spare parts for everything. Both prices and quality of products here vary from shop to shop and one can get cheated easily in terms of both. Never buy anything here before checking the price and quality in 5 different shops. If you find the quoted price in one shop lower than what you pay back home, don’t hurry your purchase. The next shop or may be the shop one floor above will charge another 10% less for the same thing. Some of the things like memory cards are costlier here as compared to their prices in India, but digital cameras are cheaper. Tablets, particularly the Chinese lot are very cheap. But do some research online before buying one in this place. Most shops offer manufacturers’ or dealers’ warranty. Don’t forget to ask for a warranty card. It is a good idea to take a picture of the shop from where you buy something. It will be easy to locate it when you need to go back there.