Shop Lan La
Shopping trips to Bangkok are becoming more popular and for good reason. To start with there are over 20 shopping malls in the city, and that’s not counting the world-famous Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is essentially another mall. Chatuchak covers 35 acres, contains 15,000 stalls and hosts 200,000 shoppers every weekend, so it’s best to get there early. It may seem impossible to navigate at first but basically a main walkway circles the market with alleyways that branch into sections, from 1 to 27. Or, if you prefer, you can get Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok (www.nancychandler.net) which has a color-coded reference of the stalls.
This is the place to find variety and bargains, from silk to antiques to artwork to Levi’s. It is customary to negotiate or ‘haggle’ and don’t feel bad if you don’t get the price you want. Chances are you can find the same item somewhere else in the market. You’ll want to plan at least a half-day of shopping here so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring cash…most vendors don’t accept credit cards. Plan to eat at the Aw Taw Kaw food market. Here’s a quick look at other notable malls: For computer hardware and accessories, check out Pantip Plaza. You have to know what you’re looking for but the bargains are there. Mah Boon Krog (MBK) offers cheap clothes and electronics and boasts a bowling alley. You’ll find high-end shopping at Peninsula Plaza, including imported labels and jewelry.
There are many other specialty shopping choices. King Power International has a 24-hour duty-free shop at the airport. You’ll need a passport and an airline ticket. For leather shoes and jackets try Siam Leather Goods. Peng Seng is your best bet to find proper antiques. That’s just scratching the surface of what Bangkok has to offer. Rest assured, it’s a trip worth taking.