> Shopping 1st timers

14-01-2019 under costruction

Shopping tips 1st timers

Shopping Centres

Beginners Tour

Specific places

back to contents

The retail tourism locations are more than adequate for bargains. The more you venture away from the tourist structure the lower the price but it's harder to communicate.

If you've never been here before, you'll want to know about where to shop and how to get there as well as the amazing department stores and shopping malls such as Siam Paragon and Central World Plaza, Learn about the best and biggest day and night markets as well as where to buy popular items such as silk products, antiques & antiquities, cameras, gems and souvenirs. 

Most people will do some shopping when they come to Thailand and savings can be made. Most shops offer discounts as part of a general sale but most department stores and malls offer their own tourist discount card. Markets in and around the city provide the opportunity to bargain.

We suggest that if you are coming to Thailand, do some research and find out where to shop in Bangkok, you read through this site so you can make savings on some items you buy, but first look up the cost of buying the same item in your country so that you have a price to work from. In the instance of cameras and digital cameras, you might find that you can get the same camera in your home country for the same price as if you were to buy it in Bangkok. This is more likely to be the case for smaller, point and shoot cameras than larger, digital cameras.
You will find that some of the well- known tourist areas are more expensive than markets as most ‘short-term’ visitors don’t have time to look around. Vendor in these areas are often reluctant to lower their prices when they know a less experienced person will pay then. Bargaining does not apply to the purchase of food. 

What to Wear

Most people love to look fabulous, but the key here is to be practical. Bangkok is hot and sticky, almost year-round. Wear cool clothes. You're going to be doing a lot of walking too, which makes practical shoes essential. Watch where you're walking too, because pavements often resemble obstacle courses with exposed manholes, potholes, vendor carts, the odd beggar and garland maker all spoken for.

tip: A small hand towel, face cloth or wet wipes come in very handy, especially if you're going to venture around markets.


timing is crucial
Start by making a list of what you want to buy, and then match it with where to go. Markets are good to visit in the mornings or evenings when it's a little cooler and often less frantic. In the heat of the day, air-conditioned malls are much better. Plan your shopping around specific areas, say, Chinatown (outdoor) in the morning, and Siam (with its many malls) in the afternoon.   
Tip: avoid travelling around the city during rush hours (07:30 - 09:00 and the afternoon 17:00 - 18:30).

Getting around

Options are plentiful. Taxis, tuk-tuks, public buses (not recommended), canal and river boats, motorbike taxis, the Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT). Bangkok's traffic is notorious though, which makes the latter two options by far the most viable.

Though the two BTS lines and MRT don't cover the whole city, you can often work out a route with a combination of the different lines, and leaving just the final stretch to reach by taxi or tuk-tuk. Saving on traveling time will give you more time for shopping. Besides, being stuck in gridlock traffic is no-body's idea of fun.

Tip: Enquire about BTS and MRT all day travel passes at any station.

maps: BTS - MRT - Canal Ferry click here 


Shopping Hours

Most shops open from about 10:00 until 20:00 or 22:00, some even later. So you'll have plenty of time to shop 'til you drop. Small shops, even in large shopping malls, usually close on Sundays, while large department stores are open seven days a week.

Shop around and compare prices

Any seasoned shopper will tell you that to buy blindly could mean having regrets later. If your aim is to get the cheapest possible prices, shop around. Also make the most of Tourist Discount Cards and VAT refunds.


Tip: When you come across a one-of-a-kind item, close the deal right there and then, or  make very sure they have stock of that item and that you can find it (the shop or stall) later.


Quality Check

Look for flaws, especially at markets and pavement stalls. Highly discounted goods are often 'rejects', of highly questionable quality or inferior standard. Inspect items closely for any visible signs of imperfection. Also read our special feature about counterfeit goods.

tip: Tell the shopkeeper or vendor you live in Bangkok and will return the goods for a refund if it doesn't work or break quickly. They're likely to tell you if it's not of good quality.


How to bargain

The only places where prices are fixed are malls, department stores, supermarkets and large retail shops. As for the rest, bargaining is the norm, and it's almost expected. Merchandise at some touristy places like Patpong Night Market are marked-up heavily, and you can often slash off half the asking price. Your most important 'bargaining tools' are a big smile and polite approach. Never raise your voice. Or lose your temper. And don't offer a price unless you're prepared to pay it.


After the seller has offered his price, offer less than you would expect to pay (with a smile of course) and gauge the reaction. A counter-offer will follow, and then it's over to you to make another move, so to speak. Once you've decided on a price, and if there are other items you're interested in, try to get a package price to cut the cost even more for the best bargain you've ever had!

tip: Your ticket to bargain heaven is a big broad smile.


Be street-smart and safe

All the basic traveling rules apply in Bangkok. Be aware, alert and safety-conscious. Look after your personal belongings. Pick-pocketing is common in busy areas like markets. Look left (twice) and right (twice) before you cross the road.  tip: Make sure not to leave any of your belongings and bags behind (in shops or in the taxi).


Don't talk to strangers

Remember your mother's warning? Well, mothers are always right. If a stranger approaches you with any kind of story, be it with tales of fantastic jewels or something unusual only he has privileged knowledge of, chances are good you have been targeted for some sort of tourist scam. Don't even indulge that person with conversation - simply walk away.

tip: If anyone attempts to harass you, reach for your mobile phone or walk to the nearest public phone and tell the scoundrel that you're calling the Tourist Police



Useful phrases


Hello = Sawasdee ka / krub

I'm just looking = Pom / chan kae duu *

Let me have a look first = Kor pom / chan duu kon *

That's pretty = Seuy dee na ka / krub ?



How much? = Tao rai?

Too expensive! = Pang maak na ka / krub!       Can I have a discount? = Lod dai mai?



Do you have other colours? = Mee see eun mai?


Do you have a bigger size? = Mee yai kwaa nee mai?

Do you have a smaller size? = mee lek kwaa nee mai?

Is this from Thailand? = Tam nai pra ted thai rue plao?

No thanks, I'm not interested = Mai aow ka / krub *

Thank you very much = Kob Khun maak ka / krub *

You're so sweet! = Khun na rak maak!


* 'ka' if you're female, 'krub' if you're male
** 'pom' if you're male, 'chan' is used for both sexes


Iphone apps  updated: 2011-07

visit best Iphone app page - see "Language Translators". 
In late 2010 "TAT" (Tourism Asuthority Thailand) released and excellent entry point
Iphone app called "Speak thai EN" .......  see thumbnail right.


  • see section "Language Translators" 


Save time and money!!!   use a P.A. (Personal Assistant).  


The concept uses local Thai people enthusiastic to serve you

They Translate, Orientate and Negotiate

see "Soi 19 PA Concierge"