Hedonism for me is quite simple – mindless shopping at bargain prices, and great food.
(of course there are other things that could live on this list but for the sake of an intro to this piece…)
And when you throw in having to search for bargains – well, I couldn’t be any happier.
When you need a bargain orgy, head to Platinum Fashion Mall in Bangkok.
“Mall” in the sense that it’s an airconditioned building with retailers. But here’s the difference – each tiny outlet doesn’t boast a big range – because primarily this place exists as a wholesale outlet.
You see people lugging wheelie bags – generally they are retailers who are buying stock to resell – whether online, other parts of Thailand, Africa, wherever.
And because it’s not fancy-shmancy, prices are crazy low, with bulk buy incentives.
For example – a T-shirt maxi dress (great quality) was B320. Buy 2 or more and it’s B290 each. (B32 = US$1; B25 = S$1)
White cotton shirts and blouses from the white cotton shirt shop – B250, with reductions for every one more you buy (you can mix and match designs)
Accessories for B200. Shoes for B250.
Primarily the stuff you find here is oriented towards women/fashion/trends – forget it if you are looking for suits, proper office attire. But if you’re in the market for more casual stuff – men too, but on a much smaller scale – then give in to the madness.
There’s stuff for fatties, thinies, skankies, aunties, fashionistas – if you have the patience to look.
The prices are so low your filter for ‘do I need it’ disappears. And when the bulk buy options get crazy (I picked up a cool angels wing enamel ring – buy one for B250. 2 for B300 – see how that happens?) the shopping fever is impossible to resist. I was giddy.
There is a vague sort of grouping -1-3 floor for women’s fashion, 4th floor for men’s, 5th for accessories, 6th food court. (old wing) But really it all becomes much of a muchness. If you see something you like, either buy it immediately, or take a note of the shop number, or you may never find it again.
The ‘old’ part of the mall is dedicated to clothes, and the ‘new’ mall extension, shoes and bags. The new mall is smaller and much more manageable, and the older mall is a mad muddle of stalls – there are over a couple of thousand stalls so after a couple of hours it all melds into one mass of crazy. From pyjamas to underwear to slut dresses to jeans to ethnic gear to funky dresses to shorts to … you get the picture.
A lot of stuff. And a lot of ladyboy sales assistants. I don’t know why.
And – CASH only. Don’t bother bargaining – the only bargaining they do is about bulk buy.
Food – the food court on the top floor is awesome (and of course, super cheap). Somtam (green mango salad), crab omelette, curries, noodles – you name it. (and in case you’re wondering, the boiling water at the cutlery stand is to dip your cutlery in to sanitise). You need to buy a stored value card which you can refund if you haven’t used it all up. The beef ball noodle is really good, as is the fry-up stall, and the rice – well actually it’s all good!
I spent most time on the 3rd floor, and don’t miss this great original tshirt store, Oleeah, moving to the 4th floor in December – the guy designs the funniest tshirts (funnier than Threadless) and the shop is run by he and his mom.
I won’t even confess how many pieces I came away with. Suffice to say, I have a whole new wardrobe of harem pants, shirts, tshirts, and accessories – enough to open my own blogshop – for money that would buy a couple of things in Zara.
What you need to know
- The basement smells of drains but the rest is OK!
- Cash only – there are ATMs everywhere, and moneychanger outside
- Make a note of the shop number if you see something you like
- You can’t try things on – but some places have measuring tape
- They generally don’t care if you are happy or not – it’s hardly worth their while
- Pack extra luggage!
- The toilets are OK! But bring wet wipes and tissue
- Nearest BTS – Ratchadewi and a walk. Taxi from Ratchaprasong is about B50 and 10 mins (depending on traffic)
- When the cab queue is too long, try a tuk tuk – but settle on a price before you get in
- Missing – foot massage (there’s something in the basement but it didn’t pass muster)
- If you’re serious, plan a couple of visits, over a few days – or you’ll flag (there are Black Canyon Coffee outlets dotted throughout to keep you going)
- It shuts down by 7pm
- There’s a McDonald’s outside if you must