Shopping malls in Bangkok come in all varieties, from the high-end fashionista malls spread across Sukhumvit Road to the old and dilapidated supercenters that are dotted along the outskirts of the city. One of the best malls in the city for a good balance is MBK shopping mall.
MBK center is considered as the tourist’s top choice when searching for bargains. It is packed with deals in it’s over 2000 shops and stalls across it’s 7 floors.
Getting to MBK is quite easy as it is connected directly to the National Stadium BTS sky train station and less than a 10-minute walk from Siam BTS station. Most every taxi driver in the city would know the mall’s location as well, so getting a taxi or tuk tuk to bring you is not an issue; the issue is traversing Bangkok’s notoriously bad traffic. When leaving the mall be prepared to cross the street to get a taxi that will use it’s meter. Most of the taxis that are on the road in front of the mall simply drive around the mall in circles just waiting to pick up that unwitting tourist who would be willing to shell out 3 to 5 times the amount of cash it would cost if the driver used their meter.
When you are in the shopping center it could be a bit daunting due to it’s sheer size, so stop into one of the many information booths. As with all information booths in Thailand, there may not be anybody working it, but the main information booth on the ground level near the KFC usually has two or three helpful staff members on duty.
On the ground level, you will find lots of shops selling fashion items as well as fast food. Routinely the ground level hosts a discounted sale with prices reduced by 30 to 50%, so be sure to stop by to see what is on offer at the time. On the first three floors, you will mostly come across shops hawking clothing and accessories as well as footwear. In these shops, you will be able to purchase quality items, both real and knockoffs. Be careful when purchasing and inspect your items to determine their authenticity.
On the fourth floor, you will find what most consumers come to MBK shopping mall for, the electronics. Here you can find everything from mobile phones, cameras to stereo equipment. The fourth floor is packed with stalls selling all kinds of new and used mobile phones, some real some knockoffs. Any of the electronics you buy here could potentially be a fake, so make sure to ask about your items authenticity and the warranty. While hunting for the best price check with multiple vendors and always tell them somebody else was willing to sell the same item for less.
The other main reason MBK is so popular is for the food. On the sixth-floor there is a huge food court with options from around the world. The sixth-floor food court provides plenty of choices at reasonable rates. When you enter the food court area locate one of the desks to purchase a card that is used for buying your food from the vendors as no vendor accepts cash payments. The other food court on the fifth-floor also hosts vendors hawking meals from various parts of the globe, however this food court attempts to be a bit more upscale and therefore pricier. Our experience is that the fifth-floor food court could be bypassed and head straight to the sixth-floor for better bargains.
MBK center also hosts a bowling alley, movie theatre and video arcade on the top floor. There are also a host of chain restaurants on the top floor such as Sizzler, a variety of Japanese restaurants as well as Thai cuisine. The top floor could be a great choice for cheap entertainment on a rainy day. Don’t forget Wednesdays the movie ticket prices are slashed and you could get to see a Hollywood blockbuster on the big screen for 80 to 100 baht.
As with all shopping choices throughout Bangkok, MBK shopping mall hosts lots of choices. No matter what you are after, you are sure to find it at MBK. While shopping in Bangkok, and at MBK especially, bring your A-game for haggling as most vendors, even in some shops, are willing to bargain to make a sale. After you have purchased all your items, bring your receipts to the information counter on the ground level to get your paperwork to receive a VAT refund when you depart the country.