BANGKOK-SHOPPING

Well , if you have read my previous blog where I have mentioned the modes of travel and food specialties in Bangkok, this one’s interesting for girls and guys who love shopping. Like I have said Bangkok is one of the most happening city for shopping. Cheap & affordable shopping…

After a 2 hour drive from Pattaya, we checked in at a Hotel in the Pratunam area of Bangkok. The Pratunam Market was just a few minutes from our Hotel so that was our first stop to explore Bangkok

Shopping : Pratunam Market is a major market selling clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories at wholesale prices. There are small alleys and jam-packed small streets selling clothers ,T shirts , suits , winter jackets . Prices are very cheap, and most shops offer retail prices for single pieces. There are shops and tiny stalls flowing over to the sidewalks also selling clothes, souvenir items etc. Ofcourse bargaining is allowed and they reduce the prices considerably.

A vendor selling his wares

Across from Pratunam Market, Baiyoke Tower I offers five floors of similar clothing and a good handful of shops selling accessories such as leather totes, belts, faux jewelry, women’s shoes and baseball caps. The building is air-conditioned, thus making it a nice escape from the midday heat. We found an Indian tea vendor selling masala chai in small plastic cups just outside Baiyoke Tower. Indra Square or Indra Market is also situated in the same vicinity

Late evening we decided to visit the MBK Market which is in the PhayaThai area . The market is quite far from Pratunam area where we were staying. We could have taken a Tuk Tuk but the rates quoted were quite exorbitant . Plus since it was evening, there were traffic jams and congestion in most parts of the city. Hence we decided to travel by train to reach MBK. We boarded a train from Ratchaprarop station (which was 5 mins walk from Pratunam market area ) to PhayaThai station and from there we took a Tuk Tuk which dropped us at MBK market.

Waiting to board a train to PhayaThai station

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A Tuk Tuk experience

MBK Market is probably Bangkok’s most famous shopping mall.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. 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. There are food courts also on the fifth and sixth floor. However , most of the merchandise is often copy products but if authenticity is not an issue then this market is apt.

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MBK Market- A Shopper’s Delight

Some shopping tips to be followed are – MBK market is very huge with multiple entrances and multiple lanes on each floor. So it is better to note down the entrance number from which you enter or click a snap of a landmark shop near the entrance so that if you are shopping in a group and decide to split for shopping this landmark becomes a reference point for assembling in one place later.

Do not buy in the first shop if you like a product. There are many shops selling identical goods ,so you may find the same product a bit cheaper in the next lane on the same floor plus the owner may negotiate the price too. Half a day is required for shopping at this mall.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest weekend market in Thailand. It is open only on Saturdays & Sundays from 9 am till 6 pm. It has more than 15,000 stalls and is a shoppers delight. It takes time for a first time visitor just to comprehend from where to start shopping given the huge size of the market with its innumerable alleys which are numbered.Like MBK market, the numbered entrances are useful as reference points while navigating through the market. Clothing and Accessories,Pet Accessories, Plants and Gardening Tools, Books,Art,Antiques and Collectibles,Handicrafts,Ceramics Furniture and Home Décor, Food and Beverages are the innumerable items for sale in the market.

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One of the entrances leading to Chatuchak Market

Bargaining is a must since the rates quoted are high. Again do not buy at the first available shop. It is advisable to browse through some other shops selling the same item and then decide on the final purchase. Meanwhile note down the Shop No which you have shortlisted in case you don’t get a better bargain further. At least half a day is required if you wish to visit majority of the stalls.

Shops in the outer periphery of Chatuchak market

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The road leading to Chatuchak from Mo Chit station

If you are coming to Chatuchak by Skytrain (BTS) you should get off at Mo Chit Station and exit the station by exit number 1. From here just follow the crowds to the market entrance.

Another highlight of Bangkok are its Floating Markets . Floating Markets serve the purpose of shopping and also can be marked in the sightseeing itinerary of a tourist. There are other floating markets near Bangkok but we chose the Damnoen Saduak market which was 1 1/2 drive from our hotel . The curiosity of what a floating market looked like was killing me . And when I saw it , I could not contain my excitement and happiness. We got into a small boat and the boatman took us down the winding waterways to get a brief glimpse of those who live on the river plus the various hawkers vending their food stuff ,souvenirs and clothes.

The houses along the winding waterways enroute to the Floating Market

The journey takes around 20 minutes and it’s great to enjoy the ambience of the floating market. A lot of Thai fruits are sold on the boats, while parked boats and fixed stalls alongside the waterways serve deep fried snacks, dried seafood and noodle dishes. If you want to buy a snack or coconut water / soft drinks or even bargain for a souvenir,you instruct your boatman who parks it near the stall. Drinking coconut water while gliding in a boat through the waterways was an exotic experience .

It’s ‘parking’ your boat at the side to buy food items
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Lady vendor selling Thai fruits in the Floating Market
Stalls alongside the Floating Market

After the boatride , the boat halts aside and you get down at a market on stilts which has many stalls selling all touristy stuff like T shirts , souvenirs,Thai artefacts etc. But we found the items quite expensive at the floating market than down town Bangkok.

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The market on stilts alongside the Floating Market

Traffic jam of boats at the floating market

The unique way of shopping in the canals is a wonderful experience.

After a shopping spree, the next item on our itinerary were the famous Thai Temples and the Safaris which will be covered in the next blog.

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