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If you are on this spot, you are more or less lost. Although
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!), Central World with lots of shopping opportunities around, or you could go to Petchabury 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 Ratchadamnoen 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 Ratchadamnoen 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 (Banglamphu), 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. Right opposite Central World you find the Felix Arnoma Hotel. Also near is Novotel.
In early 2006 a mad person destroyed the Brahma statue at the Erawan shrine. The man was lynched by the public on the spot!
An overview of some shopping experiences near the Erawan Shrine:
You find Central World here. It contains many different shops and two department stores (ZEN and Isetan). It is one of the largest shopping centres in Asia! One shop you might want to visit there is a branch of Jim Thompson for the best quality Thai silk (but the most expensive too). You will also find there a branch of Mangpong and a large branch of Asia Books. Furthermore you find several movie theatres inside Central World. There are lots of restaurants too, from exclusive restaurants to fast food places.
Near Central World you find Gaysorn Plaza for fancy articles of foreign expensive trademarks (all real there!). Around the corner on Ploenchit Road in President Tower Arcade is 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 "Narai Phan". Otherwise nobody will understand you! On the other side of Central World you find a very large modern shopping centre called Paragon. It also has a good choice of small restaurants.
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 Central World 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. Next to it is Siam Discovery Center, also a shopping mall. 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.
If you walk further from the Erawan Shrine, past Siam Square , you will come to - the very popular - MBK shopping mall, consisting of lots of small shops (see the left hand side picture below).
Other shopping centers near the Erawan Shrine are Gaysorn Plaza (see the right hand picture above) and SOGO Plaza. And if you walk a bit further (with SOGO Plaza on your right hand side, away from Central World) 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
the Erawan Shrine, keeping the front of Central World 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
Petchaburi Road, to find Pantip Plaza for your
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, one of the best places 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. (Please note that hotels come and go. Some of the ones mentionesd may suddenly appear to have gone!)
These are relatively inexpensive hotels. If you are looking for an expensive hotel, you can go to the Indra Regent or the Amari.
(This picture was taken from some distance of the Bayoke towers!)
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 Central World area from here (see above) and do the things mentioned above.
This is an oasis of rest in the middle of the hectic traffic
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. (You will also find small branches in most of the expensive hotels). 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. (Personally I find that the street lost most of its attractiveness since the arrival of the skytrain above it too all the light away). 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 (especially in the evenings) 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.
In Lumphini Park at night you will find the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, a large and cosy market. Somewhere there, you will alsofind an interesting puppet theater.
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 are the Shangri La and 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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