For many years, the area around Siam Square has been the place to be, for the young and trendy crowd in Bangkok, but after Asiatique opened in 2012, Siam Square is facing some serious competition. Asiatique is a huge outdoor shopping mall, with more than 1000 shops and a great selection of restaurants.Furthermore, it is beautifully located down by the river, so even though none of us had room in our suitcases for more purchases, we decided to go and have a look.
I love markets and Asiatique’s combination of great location and cheap, but still negotiable prices, is just too good to be true. Despite all good intentions we therefore somehow ended up buying each our huge suitcase from one of the merchants, who won us over with a promise of ” good quality and special price”.
We had dinner at the Japanese restaurant Kacha Kacha, which is primarily known for yakitori (skewered food). Right after we entered the restaurant, Trine and my mom went to the restroom, so my dad and I ended up in the awkward situation that the waiters thought, we were on a date. When my mom and Trine came back to the table, it was clear to see how it suddenly dawned on them how things were, and they smiled apologetically.
Trawling through all the shops took quite a while, so when we finally were ready to leave, the ferry we came with didn’t sail anymore, and we had to take a taxi back to the hotel. We should probably have taken one of the big taxis with a large trunk, as we needed room for all the new suitcases, but the taxi driver that pulled over in his little pink cab ensured us that it wasn’t a problem at all to make room for all of us, including the suitcases, so we jumped in and let him squeeze in the suitcases in our laps.
It was a really long ride home through Lumphini’s small and winding roads, and every time the taxi needed to make a turn, we had to move the suitcases, so the taxi driver could look out for traffic. I’m not sure how many traffic regulations we violated, but it was an experience, I’ll never forget.
Asiatique is an outdoor shopping mall dressed as a night market and one of the newest and hippest spots for shopping and entertainment in Bangkok. There are more than 1500 shops, most of which are very small and more like market stalls, and the large majority sell clothes, accessories and jewelry.
The shopping at Asiatique is generally very affordable, but there’s always room for negotiation, and if you buy several items from the same shop, you will often get a discount. Unfortunately, most of the shops primarily cater to the regional market, so unless you’re a size 0, you might have difficulties finding clothes that fit. Some of the shops will not allow you to try the clothes on, and most of them do not have changing rooms, so bring a measuring tape to make sure that you get the right size.
Asiatique has a good selection of restaurants and sometimes there is entertainment or outdoor concerts on the area in front of the Ferris wheel, so one evening is hardly enough to explore the entire area and all the shops.
The easiest way to get to Asiatique is by the shuttle boat that leaves from Saphan Taksin. Also, please try not to miss the last boat back, as the ground traffic gets chaotic in the area around closing time, and it can be very difficult to find a taxi driver, who will accept turning the meter on (instead of demanding a higher, fixed price).