Someone suggested to me the other day I write about something very close to my Thai home, which got me to thinking. After all, I go to these places so regularly it hadn’t occurred to me to write about any of them. After all, they are so familiar as to be mundane….but not for those living many miles hence.
A good place to start was the Amarin Plaza. The third floor, to be precise, what with its astro-turfed flooring and boutique craft village set up. Now, there are better “villages” in Bangkok – Asiatique is one of them (see a previous blog) or perhaps a trip up to Chatuchak market if you want to sweat profusely in a craft city – but this one is nearby (convenient), in a mall (air-conditioned), and accessible (right on the Chidlom BTS stop).
It is quite a good place to do a combination of shopping. The mall possesses the finest dentist in the locale (check out this blog), always has a ground floor factory-outlet sale on, is on the corner of the Central World/Gaysorn junction (Ploenchit crossing Ratchadamri), and is a haven for plane-lovers. Yes, there’s even a shop selling model airline paraphernalia.
Three floors up is the Thai craft market where you can get almost anything crafty. Thai silk of the same quality as Jim Thompson, but half the price. Tatty elephants, ornate interior ornaments, beaten stainless steel cutlery and vessels, pictures, T-shirts with vaguely humorous, often crude, phrases on them, gem stones, beads, minerals, glassware, spa treatments.
What I like about it is that is quiet; neither are the vendors in your face, nor are you dodging a steaming gaseous cloud of MSG from a food vendor. One can browse leisurely, then grab a drink/bite to eat at one of the many outlets. Given the mall powerhouses right next to it, I am not surprised it’s not hit by the tourist rabble, but that means local expats tend to favour it. If you’re looking to fill a holdall with small Thai-specific trinkets for loved ones expecting some return for your three week holiday in the sun then you can do so for about 5000Baht. That’ll cover 15 people easily. All of it mainly authentic. Of course, you can sweat your way to Chatuchak on a Saturday for the “authentic” experience, but you’ll pay the same price. Or you can pay triple prices at the big malls ( I exclude MBK in that assessment) or at Suvarnabhumi airport.
Here’s some photos of the place:
I also spotted this artwork – uniquely Thai; admittedly, not to everyone’s taste but it gives an idea….
if you are in the area pop in. As they say in their marketing “it’s definitely fun shopping”. You’ll have some solitude away from the mayhem that is Siam/Central World and you might just find a crafty bargain.
BTW, #BangkokShutdown – things are definitely looking more serious. Limphini Park has had its gaily coloured tents replaced with army camouflage styled one, the people look harder, more serious. Rather than a whistle-blowing free-for-all, groups now move as a pack; there is intent and purpose. The election looms and things may be about to move away from being a festive, pride-in-a-nation, atmosphere to one of political intent. Dice are being rolled, so to speak. This chap in Amarin Plaza seems to be conserving his energy for something…
Is this what diplomacy is all about?