The typical shopping choices for travellers in Bangkok are Platinum Fashion Mall and MBK for the variety they offer at wallet-friendly prices. You can literally load a suitcase with new fashion goods here at the same price as a couple of dresses from a retail brand in a luxury shopping mall.
However, there is more to Bangkok’s shopping scene than the typical go-to tourist venues. Another area that has been popular among the local youth for the longest of time is Siam. And no, we don’t necessarily mean Siam Paragon or Siam Centre but the conglomeration of boutique shops right opposite these malls. Here, you can get both quality luxury items as well as some budget options within the same vicinity. Here are our picks for a shopper’s guide to Siam!
A popular trend among the middle class locals are Instagram stores. These are boutique stores that generate most of their sales online – particularly on Instagram and Facebook – offering unique items that are distinct from retail designs and subtly mimic the style of high end Thai designers.
Although many of these shops are not exactly Pratunam prices, they do offer high quality production that aren’t half as outrageously priced as the Thai designers that seem to inspire their designs (mark the word “inspire”, these shops aren’t producing tacky replicas).
Previously, you would have to rely on online orders to shop for these items. However, Siam now offers many shops that collaborate with these stores so that customers can actually see the items and try them on before making a purchase. You can get items ranging from clothes, exercise outfits, shoes, bags, jewellery to even some cosmetics and accessories.
The most popular of these is SOS – Sense of Style. Owned by a local celebrity called SonYuke, all 3 branches of SOS gather groups of popular local Instagram stores, some stores at mid-range prices but most would admittedly be on the more “luxury” scale with items priced at approximately a THB 1,500 – THB 4,000 range. Their first branch was in Siam Soi 1 which is their smallest, the second one at Siam Soi 6 which is their largest (two storeys) and their most recent at another hot spot for the local bourgeoisie youth – Thonglor, opposite J-Avenue.
Another option is Toppage which is located in Siam Soi 2 and is a lot smaller than SOS. However, they do have some interesting Instagram stores collaborating with them which offer comparable quality to the items you would see in SOS. Within Siam Soi 2 is also another small establishment called HOF – House of Fashion. Another option would also be Matchbox in Siam Soi 11.
Just an addition, although this is not directly in the Siam zone, another shop mirroring this Instagram store concept is FABLAB on the second floor of CentralWorld which is even closer to Amari Watergate Bangkok.
Siam Square One
A brand new community mall directly opposite Siam Paragon (connecting to the same BTS skywalk) is Siam Square One. It is an outdoor shopping mall with many restaurants, cafes, useful stores and of course, shops selling both boutique clothing and imported street brands – most of these shops are in their own air-conditioned rooms so you don’t have to worry about desperately sweating in Bangkok’s heat while shopping.
Although the community mall itself looks quite small due to the layout, they actually have 7 floors with more than 200 shops from Floors 1 to LG. Floors 2 – 3 would have slightly higher end brands and floors 4 – 7 would have all the other shopping mall essentials such as beauty products, restaurants and banks.
You can conveniently enjoy a nice meal or take a break with some drinks and desserts in the middle of your shopping spree.
Siam Square is basically how this area originally attracted young locals. This shopping and entertainment area was actually constructed during the second half of the 1960s on land belonging to the nearby Chulalongkorn University.
Siam Square is basically an open-air shopping complex that offers a variety of fashion items and dining options at very reasonable prices. You can expect to see a lot of university students for their close proximity to a university and for the economical options on display.
Of course, you will also find highly priced boutiques based on the quality of clothing at Siam Square but among this, there are so many great bargains that have been satisfying the fashion needs of students on a limited budget for many decades.
That is pretty much a shopaholic’s guide to Bangkok: Siam in a nutshell. If you ever want to gain insight on the local city culture and explore new things beyond Platinum and CentralWorld, Siam is definitely a shopping hot spot you must see for yourself.