Siam and Pratunam
Bangkok's Siam and Pratunam districts, the mecca for all shopaholics regardless of how much you money you have in your wallet. If you want to know where the center of all activity in Bangkok is than Siam and Pratunam is your answer.
To the local Thais Siam Square is a main focal point for group gatherings, not only shopping for the latest styles and cell phones, but for eating and general 'sanuk' (Thai word for fun) with friends.
To wide eyed tourist, Siam Square is as fast paced as it gets in Bangkok. A real culture shock to the gut if they've just come back from a sleepy beach side island side trip.
The epicenter of Siam is packed with with the best shopping experience beginning with Siam Paragon, Bangkok's flagship shopping mall. It's the one few places in the world where in one spot you can buy a Ferrari while your children can watch penguins in the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia.
How to Get to Siam and Pratunam:
The best way to get to Siam is to hop aboard the Sky Train and head towards BTS Siam station, which is the only station with a transfer point to the Silom Line. Siam station is the biggest but since signs with directions are everywhere it's not easy to get lost.
Getting to Pratunam requires quite a bit of walk. The nearest BTS station is Chit Lom. From there you can either walk north towards Pratunam or take a tuk tuk or taxi. Walking there will take about 15 minutes. Tuk Tuk or taxi will take about 10 minutes because of traffic.
Vehicle traffic in both areas is very bad especially when it rains. So it's best to get to these areas by taking the Sky Train.
Points of interest in Siam:
1. Siam Paragon Mall - Ticket price: Adult B850, Children (80 - 120cm) B650
Only the best luxury items and goods are sold here, whether it be electronics, jewelery, leather hand bags and condominiums. You definitely won't find knock offs here. In the lowest level you'll find Siam Ocean World, Southeast Asia's largest aquarium. Your food options at Siam Paragon Mall is huge with many foreign fast food chains especially from the Unites States. Check out the food court here for a primer on Thai food.
2. Siam Square - A trendy corridor of Sois where talented and entreprenureal young Thais set up shop to sell their fashionable clothes and custom made jewelery. You'll often find young Thais here with there new fashion sense come here to see and be seen.
3. Siam Discovery / Center - Basically two malls in one, connected by a bridge on the 4th floor. Siam Center is another popular hangout for young Thai University students craving and adorning the latest fashions and trends. Siam Discovery is more upscale with many stores dedicated to home furnishings and decorations.
4. MBK (Mahboonkrong) Mall - A popular mall for the common working Thais with down to earth prices for everyday goods including mobile phones (Thais love their mobile phones). There are many clothes shops at MBK that sell Western size clothes even though the brand name labels may be dubious. There are also many excellent restaurant choices here aimed for the tourist crowd. MBK is one of the biggest malls in Bangkok. There's even a popular hotel called Pathumwan Princess attached to the mall.
5. Gaysorn Plaza - Even though Gaysorn is the smallest mall you'll only find upscale luxury goods and small boutique shops carrying the finer things in life.
6. Central World Mall - Also one of the newest and largest malls in central Bangkok. Check out Zen Department store for the latest fashions. There are many popular foreign shops such as Nike, Toys' R Us and North Face stores. There's so much to do at Central World; watch a movie on a well cushioned reclining lounge chair or go bowling in a disco/club atmosphere. There's also another popular family friendly hotel 4 star hotel called Centara Grand inside Central World Mall.
Hotels in Bangkok's Siam District:
Most of the finest hotels in Bangkok are located in Siam. With that said prices here are higher but for a good reason. Most of the hotels in this area are in the 3 to 5 star range and the location is the best. All of these hotels are also family friendly, meaning if you're traveling with children you won't come across the red light districts.
Bangkok's hotel rates are dependent on season; High Season is October/November to February/March | Low Season is March/April through September/October.
$ under B1,000 | $$ - B1,001 - B2,000 | $$$ B2,001 - B3,000 | $$$$ B3,001 - B4,000+
Hotels in Bangkok's Pratunam District:
As you can see on the maps Pratunam is just north of Siam district. And there's actually one of the few remaining canals dividing the Pratunam and Siam. Ever so often you'll see a cross canal ferry boat darting through. Pratunam is so close to the MRT or BTS. In most cases it's probably best to walk to the stations rather than take a taxi or tuk tuk since vehicle traffic is a nightmare most times of the day.
Pratunam is rapidly changing and you'll find many hotels here that are much more affordable then in Siam. Though some of the hotels require some navigation through narrow busy lanes Pratunam overall is quite a safe area.
Bangkok's hotel rates are dependent on season; High Season is from October/November to February/March; Low Season is from March/April through September/October. Room rates are based on standard or superior rooms.
$ under B1,000 | $$ B1,001 - B2,000 | $$$ B2,001 - B3,000 | $$$$ B3001 - B4,000+