If you're looking for shopping - from upmarket brand names to high quality handicrafts - jump off at Chitlom BTS (Skytrain) station. It's the battleground of the city's finest malls and, with its abundance of upmarket, trendy and expensive things to buy, comparable to London's Knightsbridge or Singapore's Orchid Street.
Elevated walkways from the station link directly to where you want to be. The seven floors of Central Chidlom Department Store offer all you'd expect from a store of its illustrious ilk; it’s especially good for fashion labels, shoes, cosmetics and homeware. You can also reach Gaysorn Plaza, a sleek, cool white marble and chrome interiored complex housing high-end luxury goods and designer labels like Hugo Boss, Emporio Armani and Prada. You'll find much the same sorts of ultra chic shopping in Erawan Bangkok, located at the Ratchaprasong junction.
And don’t miss CentralWorld - a vast, sparkling shrine to modern consumerism, offering 500 shops and a wide range of products to suit most tastes and budgets. Formerly known as World Trade Centre, it has eight state-of-the-art floors of shops, several cinemas, restaurants and bistros. Highlights include trendy lifestyle store Manga, and fashionista-friendly department store Zen. With 550,000 square metres of retail space, its 30% larger than any other shopping mall in Bangkok.
Big C Superstore
Although conveniently situated opposite CentralWorld, this store is a world removed from it - it has a very local feel to it somehow and attracts different customers. You will find lots of discounted items at Big C, as well as services in the building that might make it a worthwhile stop. On the second floor, look out for discount jewellers, a vitamin centre and massive supermarket and a bank. There is a postal service, hair salon and a kiddies amusement centre on the fourth floor, so you can feel good about letting the brats play while you get things done. On the third floor stock up on budget babywear, clothes and stationary and the fourth floor houses the Food Park. Movies are on the top floor, if you want to kick back. It's pretty big, but we can unfortunately not encourage you to take your rollerblades along.
If you have been to Tokyo or Kyoto, you will know Isetan. It is an institution of fine taste in Japan. The name has an expensive sounding quality to it, and if you have visions of Louis Vuitton showpieces, you are you not far off. If there are brands the Japanese go moggy for, LV and Anna Sui are definitely among them. Louis Vuitton handbags are the mark of desirability in modern day Japan. While Isetan caters to a specific Japanese clientele, it does have an incredibly attractive supply of international as well as local products too. No-nonsense cosmetic counters stock the solution to your every imperfection.
Here is an uber-trendy interpretation of the department store as a 'lifestyle speciality store'. ZEN epitomises living in the moment - and their frolicsome accessories of the moment reflect that outlook. Come here if your definition of shopping equals fun. There are six floors to explore and afterwards you can sit in one of those leather-meets-machine massage chairs. Shoes by Naughty Monkey and fashions from Fly Now, Nagara and Koi are sensations to look forward to. The grooviest jewellery, watches and accessories under the sun redefine the meaning of cool. As for stationery, you could spend a day oohing and aahing. And if you ever had a sticker fetish, you may just regress.
Central Department Store Bangkok
Central Department Store is one of the best places to go if you need something specific, and don't want to be distracted along the way. Everything is where you would expect to find it, and you can feel confident it is of pedigree quality. Outsized clothing for towering Westerners can also be found. Pretty much everything covered here is tasteful and sensible - nothing too risqu-. This is where you come to repair your watch, or get an alarm clock that will wake you and won't land up in the heap of all those who have gone before.
Erawan Bangkok, the graceful mall with direct access to the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok right in the heart of the Ratchaprasong shopping district, has an air of exclusivity about it. A five-storey space covering about 13, 000 square meters, it's a boutique mall that offers a selection of only the most elegant lifestyle brands. And the shoppers who frequent the polished hallways and eateries here are equally suave...
Gaysorn is a luxurious, upmarket white marble and gleaming chrome complex housing exclusively high-end luxury goods and designer labels. Its contemporary design and an innovative retail concept create a very exclusive shopping experience. Expect to find a wide range of highly desirable international brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hugo Boss, to name but a few, as well as a selection of Thailand's most innovative designers such as Fly Now, 'Senada Theory and Kloset Red Carpet.
Amarin Plaza Bangkok
The stylish Amarin Plaza is linked to Erawan Bangkok via a skybridge. The five-storey shopping plaza has an almost festive aura to it, drawing in a mixed crowd - from affluent Thais to expats and business travellers - with highly desirable brand names such as Guy Laroche, Valentino and Crocodile, to name but a few.
CentralWorld Shopping Complex
The battle of Bangkok's mega shopping malls to be the biggest and the best has a new outright and undisputed winner: the supermodern, newly launched, revamped and rebranded CentralWorld.
With 550,000 square metres of retail space and a total area size of 830,000 square metres that is 30% larger than any other shopping centre in central Bangkok, CentralWorld is now officially the largest lifestyle shopping complex in Southeast Asia.