All the pictures on this page were made with a Sony Mavica® FD71 digital camera.
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First the two maps of Bangkok:
View or download a much more detailed map in PDF format
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(The .PDF map was taken -with permission from the author- from http://home.pacific.net.sg/~bmagic/), a site that no longer exists.
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If you are on this spot, you are more or less lost. Although you will pass the Victory Monument several times during your tours to explore Bangkok, there are no major attractions or major shopping centers near this spot, but of course there are shops and there is a market, like everywhere else. It is also a major bus station, so it can be a good place to change bus or to get into the skytrain.
If you have reached this place anyway, the nearest places to go would be Jim Thompson's House (not the shop!), The World Trade Center with lots of shopping opportunities around, or you could go to Petbury Road to visit Pantip Plaza, in order to do your shopping for computer supplies, but none of these attractions are on easy walking distance. In short, look around and take some means of Public Traffic to get elsewhere.
Now you are at a very centrally located spot! You are standing on Ratdamnoen Avenue. If you turn around, you will see the Golden Mount with Wat Saket. Opposite Wat Saket is a Buddha Image and Amulet market, where you are welcome to look around, but not really welcome to buy a Buddha Image. The Thais don't like you to take one home as a souvenir. Buddha Images are Religious objects! Also near Wat Saket is a small bird market (a bit difficult to find., but it is there).
If you walk along Ratdamnoen Avenue (Westbound) you will come at Sanam Luang, or the Royal Cremation Grounds and there you will be near the "Royal City" with the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. There you are also near the City Pillar Shrine (near the wall of the Grand Palace, at the side that is farthest from the river), the National Art Gallery with pictures by Thai artists and by HM The King, and the National Museum, with many Historic Treasures (worth a visit), and the National Theatre.
If you walk Westbound from the Democracy Monument, but not as far as Sanam Luang and you turn right before you reach Sanam Luang, you will arrive in Banglampoo, a district of Bangkok with a nice market (mostly sweets and clothing), lots of guesthouses and several tailors. (The Thai ones, not the Indian ones!)
You could also walk to the South from the Democracy Monument and go to the Giant Swing and Wat Suthat, which is a Temple you should not miss. In that area you find lots of shops for Buddha Images. For buying them the same applies as I said about the Buddha Image and Amulet market: You are not really welcome to buy a Buddha Image, but it is possible. Do not forget to get an Export Permit if you but one. That is, if you want to take it with you beyond the Airport! You have to go to the Fine Arts Department, along Sanam Luang, for that.
This is another very centrally located point. But remember: Bangkok does not really have one center or a real "downtown" area. It has several important centers, and this is the one to do your shopping. Furthermore, as you might expect, the Erawan Shrine is close to the Erawan Hotel. You may find the hotel too expensive, but why not have a meal or a cup of tea there? If you are acceptably dressed, you will be most welcome. Another hotel in this area is the beautifully situated (but also expensive) Siam Intercontinental Hotel (or simply called "Siam Inter"). Here too you can have a good meal. And right opposite World Trade Center you find the Felix Arnoma Hotel. Also near is Novotel.
But now the shopping opportunities around the Erawan Shrine:
You find the World Trade Center here. There you have many shops and two department stores (ZEN and Isetan). One shop you might want to visit is a branch of Jim Thompson for the best quality Thai silk (but the most expensive too). There is also a branch of Tower Records on one of the upper floors. Furthermore you find several movie theaters inside the World Trade Center. There are lots of restaurants too, exclusive restaurants as well as fast food places.
Opposite World Trade (that is what the Thais call it) you find Narayana Phand, mentioned elsewhere on these pages too. It is the Paradise for Thai Handicraft and an abolute must to visit. And, if you did not read all my pages yet, pronounce this name as "Naraiphan". Otherwise nobody will understand you!
If you walk a few minutes from the Erawan Shrine along Rama I Road (in such a direction that you keep the side (not the front) of World Trade on your right hand side and pass it, you will go to Siam Square, another shopping area. There too there are some good restaurants and you will find the Hard Rock Cafe near Siam Square. Opposite the large movie theater you will probably pass, you find Siam Center, another large collection of shops in one building. A bit expensive, so you have to bargain. Siam Square is also the main station of the skytrain. Both lines of the skytrain come together here.
Other shopping centers near the Erawan Shrine are Gaysorn Plaza and SOGO Plaza. And if you walk a bit further (with SOGO Plaza on your right hand side, away from World Trade) you come to one of the branches of Central Department Store. Another problem to pronounce, because you should say centran (as explained elsewhere on this site).
If you are not yet tired of shopping, walk about 10 minutes from the Erawan Shrine, keeping the front of World Trade on your left hand side and you will walk to Pratunam market, where you can buy the cheapest clothes in Bangkok. You might even walk into Petburi Road, to find Pantip Plaza for your computer supplies.
As you see, this area is ideal for shopping and has (too?) many shopping opportunities as well as several good (but relatively expensive) hotels.
When you see these towers above you, you are in the heart of the Pratunam market, the best place for cheap clothes in Bangkok. You can walk around and around. It is very large. There are some popular hotels in this area too, like First Hotel, First House Hotel (not the same!!) and Opera Hotel. These are relatively inexpensive hotels. If you are looking for an expensive hotel, you can go to the Indra Regent or Amari.
Pantip Plaza is also very near Pratunam Market. In fact the above picture was taken in front of the door of Pantip Plaza.
There is not much more than the (very worthwhile) market and Pantip Plaza here, but you can walk to the Erawan Shrine and World Trade area from here (see above) and do the things mentioned above.
This is an oasis of rest in the middle of the hectic traffic of Bangkok! Walk around to find some fresh air. When you walk out of Lumphini Park (at the Southern side; in the direction in which this picture was taken) you are near to Silom Road and Suriwong Road. Both are shopping streets, but Silom Road is the major one. However: on Suriwong Road you find the main branch of Jim Thompson's Thai silk shops. And at the other end of Suriwong Road you find some popular (inexpensive) hotels like New Fuji Hotel, the New Trocadero Hotel and the New Peninsula Hotel.
But, as I said, Silom Road is a major shopping as well as business street. You find several very large offices there, some department stores (although not the largest ones) and when you walk through Silom Road you pass Patpong. Beware of pickpockets (and other nasty things) there! At the end of Silom Road you come in Charoen Krung Road. This is a long walk from Lumphini Park, so you might want to take one of the buses that pass through Silom Road or the skytrain, that also passes there. In Charoen Krung Road you find the General Post Office, several (Thai) tailors, antique shops and jewelers (see also below). You are also near the Chao Phraya River and River City Shopping Center (see below).
Returning for a moment to Lumphini Park, you can see the Dusit Thani Hotel on the picture. If it is above your budget to stay there, have lunch or dinner in one of their restaurants, They are very good.
If you are looking for Thai boxing, go to Lumphini Boxing Stadium, also at the Southern side of Lumphini Park.
And finally, you can walk from Lumphini Park to the Erawan Shrine. If you want to do so, leave the Park at the side where Silom Road is, then turn around almost to the opposite direction into Ratchadamri Road. You can't miss it. It will be something like a 15 minutes walk.
The picture above shows you the inside of River City Shopping Center. If you are staying in one of the riverside hotels, this is the place where the shuttle boat of your hotel will bring you. Speaking about hotels, almost next to River City is the Royal Orchid Sheraton and very near is the Oriental Hotel, still one of the best hotels in the World. It is extremely expensive, but a very good Chinese lunch in their Chinese Pavilion is affordable and an experience in its own way.
If you have read the above part, you know already that River City is close to Charoen Krung Road with the General Post Office and the International Telephone Center, next to it. Outside the GPO you will find a small stamp market (where I have seen stamps for sale that were not even released at that moment....), but inside the General Post Office is a Philatelic Counter, so take a look there first if you want to save money! Also in Charoen Krung Road are quite some antique shops, specialized in brass objects and several jewelers. These jewelers can be trusted as far as there quality is concerned, but be sure you know something about prices before you buy!
As follows from the above paragraph (about Lumphini Park) you are very close to Silom Road and Suriwong Road and you could walk to Lumphini Park.
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This page was last uploaded: January 27, 2005 at 15:31