Yes – you can find that in Bangkok
I’m not a shopper. Back home, I did 90-95% of my shopping online. If it had been possible for me to do that other 10% online – I would have. Crowds make me cringe, rows of options make me dizzy and decisions are something that I prefer to make behind a laptop screen vs in front of a salesperson…
But… our family found ourselves in Bangkok for four days… and it is almost impossible to truly experience this city without engaging in some way shape or form with the massive culture of commerce that exists here. So experience it we did – as fully and completely as possible. Here are some of our observations about shopping in Thailand.
It may sound like an exaggeration to say “7-11’s are everywhere in Bangkok”… but they are. They really, really are. Thailand has 8334, 7-11 stores – and roughly half of those are in Bangkok. I haven’t decided whether the 7-11 is a comforting presence or not…
The 7-11 is where I went every morning to get our first coffee of the day (before the hotel restaurant was open), use the bank machine, buy toothpaste and Pocky Sticks for Artie.
It is hard to move without bumping into a vendor of some sort in Bangkok. Small vendors and stalls fill sidewalk spaces in both residential and commercial areas selling a wide range of wares. The larger markets are quite an experience though for all of the senses… and no… not all of the sights, sounds and smells are pleasant ones….
We visited a number of different markets in our time in Bangkok. The Chatuchak weekend market is the largest market in Thailand and was one of my favourites because of how integrated the market felt with the adjoining park. Chatuchak Park was alive with families, couples and seniors while we were there during market hours on Saturday. There was something so inherently social and recreational with that market. We spent less than an hour in that market – but several hours enjoying the park while Artie played and made friends at the playground. I don’t typically feel “refreshed” after shopping, but I did after that experience.
There were several markets within walking distance of our hotel that amped up to higher level of activity on Sunday. These smaller (think – size of a hockey arena in Canada) markets were mostly about food, but had a variety of stalls that sold food, clothes and other items as well. I do love sweets – and completely enjoyed picking up boxes of tiny filled pancakes, striped cookies and even little a Pikachu cake to bring back to the hotel room to snack on.
The Floating Market that we visited was definitely geared towards tourists… So we essentially paid for the opportunity to shop at hundreds of vendors selling almost exactly the same thing…
But, it was a lot of fun to ride through the narrow water ways in a boat… and if you HAVE to do touristy type shopping… this would be my preferred way to do it.
Bangkok shopping malls are truly an art form unto themselves. They are big… there are a lot of them… and truly – a lot of effort has gone into making them both beautiful and engaging for shoppers. I wish that I had taken a few more pictures of some of the Malls that we visited (in particular – the ones in the Siam seriese). This one photo below is of Morgan at the MBK center while we were waiting for Marcus as he was hunting on the 4th floor (of a total of 7 floors…) for a USB charger for Artie’s 3DS.
So what did we buy?
We actually didn’t buy a lot here in Bangkok outside of food. The biggest purchase that we made was Artie’s USB charger for his 3DS (because… the Nintendo chargers for some reason… do not get along with the plugs here in Thailand). We got a pair of obligatory Thai baggy pants (with elephants on them) and a pair of sunglasses for Artie (which he has already lost…). So overall, the non-shoppers did pretty well in the shopping mecca of South-East Asia.
About the Author
Professionally, I am an e-learning instructional designer who breaks down the barriers of space and time in learning. Personally, I'm the Mom in the Little-Green Family, and co-planner in our adventures.