Destination: Thailand: Bangkok
Shopping is a major sport and pastime in Bangkok, though unless you selectively stick to the hotel galleries (the one at the Four Seasons is nice) or major department stores, expect bouts of exhaustion along the way, as the city’s layout does not lend itself to neighborhood window-shopping. Like almost everything else in Bangkok, stores worth visiting are spread out, and a shopping spree requires some foresight and planning.
The major department stores and Siam Square (a collection of side streets where young designers have minuscule stores) are clustered around the Siam Sky Train station, making it an easy one-stop-shopping destination. For the most part, however, these megamalls feature a lot of Western brands, so you have to hunt for local finds. Another popular shopping “neighborhood” is the Sukhumvit area, but frankly, the stores worth visiting, like Almeta and Quattro, are a couple of miles apart (making the Agalico and other restful cafés the more important).
Of course, one of the best ways to stock up on local crafts, design and fashion is the markets, notably the Suan Lum Night Bazaar and the sprawling Chatuchak weekend market, known locally as JJ, which should be at the top of any passionate shopper’s list. Unless you’re a market veteran, however, consider going to the latter in the company of Robert McCarthy, a guide specializing in helping visitors navigate the impossible labyrinth of tiny alleys, which dwarfs fabled markets like Paris’s Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.
If you have only one afternoon or evening in which to find some unique pieces to take home, consider:
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