Charoen Krung Road is full of goodies: antiques stores, jewelry wholesalers, and funky little galleries. Keep your eyes open, and you might stumble on a gem as you browse shop windows, especially at such places as Lek Gallery, at number 1124–1134 (https://www.fb.com/pages/Lek-Gallery; tel. 02639-5871), near Soi 30, which has attractive decorative items such as table lamps and some fine antique furniture. On that same soi, look out for Warehouse 30 (www.fb.com/thewarehouse30), a string of World War II-era warehouses reimagined by Duangrit Bunnag, Thailand’s most famous architect. The shops offer something for everyone: co-working spaces, cafes, home décor, fashion, and art by Thai designers. P. Tendercool (across from Warehouse 30; www.ptendercool.com) is a bespoke furniture studio that makes exquisite tables and chairs. The art and antiques shops at the low-rise mall known as River City (www.rivercity.co.th; tel. 02237-0077), on Charoen Krung Soi 38, have a great selection of porcelain, wood carvings, jewelry, and silk, but some outlets are overpriced (avoid the tailoring shops here, as the low standards of craftsmanship do not warrant the big bucks). If you’re in the market for antiques, you need to know your stuff, as there are many fakes on sale.
The streets around the Mandarin Oriental are rich with family-run boutiques and make for a nice afternoon of wandering and window shopping. Start inside the hotel where you’ll find exquisite one-off jewelry pieces at Lotus Arts de Vivre (www.lotusartsdevivre.com) and a Jim Thompson (www.jimthompson.com) shop for splendid silks. Outside and around the corner is the famed O.P. Place (www.opthai.com; tel. 02266-0186) with a heap of high-end shopping venues, from stores selling expensive designer luggage to jet-setter jewelry stores and amazing antiques, carpets, and fine silver tableware (much of which is Tiffany-like quality). Several of the shops, like Ashwood Gallery (3rd floor), sell museum-like pieces that are pre-certified by the Fine Arts Department, so you know you’re getting the real deal. Thai Home Industries (35 Soi 40) sells upscale Thai goods, like baskets, mother-of-pearl napkin rings, knives, and temple bells. T.R. Gift Shop Limited (2-4 Soi 40) specializes in hammered stainless steel homegoods, like trays, water pitchers, candlestick, silverware, and more; much of it is reminiscent of American designer Michael Aram’s work. If you’d prefer bronze to stainless steel, Siam Bronze (www.siambronze.com; 1250 Charoen Krung) is one of the country’s original producers of shiny woks, silverware, and more.
Bangkok’s downtown looks more and more like urban Tokyo these days. The size and opulence of Bangkok’s many malls and shopping areas are often a shock to those who imagine Bangkok to be an exotic, impoverished destination. Sipping cappuccino at a Starbucks overlooking a busy city street may not be what you’ve come to Asia to do, but to many, it is a comfort (especially after long trips in more rugged parts of the kingdom). The truth is that malls are focused on today’s consumer-obsessed Thai youth; these hallowed halls of materialism are (sadly) much closer to the pulse of the nation than the many temples foreign visitors are keen to experience. Malls are where wealthy Thais hang out, meet friends, dine, and shop. Individual malls, with their addresses, are listed in the listings section of this site.
This area bursts with shops from one end to the other and Bangkok’s biggest shopping malls (see below) have addresses on this road. For fine silk, stop in at Almeta, a rival to the Jim Thompson brand.
SILOM, SATHORN & SURAWONG ROADS
Tucked away in the basement level of the MahaNakorn CUBE (96 Naradhiwas; www.donsfootwear.com; tel. 092264-9647) is Don’s Footwear, a bespoke men’s shoemaker. A 3D scanner is used to ensure an ideal fit and 15 styles, from casual loafers to wingtips, are available; they also have a great shoeshine. The Patpong Night Market, which runs between Silom and Surawong roads, sells traditional souvenir tchotchkes and counterfeit goods.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.