Narayana Phand, Bangkok
This area, east from the top of Sukhumvit road, is a modern and fashionable shopping district with several large shopping centers. This includes the 8-storey World Trade Center, which houses the Zen and Isetan department stores, Central Chitlom department store, a branch of Bangkok's largest chain of department stores, Tokyu department store, Sogo, Narayana Phand - a store for Thai handicrafts, and the expensive and very upmarket Gaysorn Plaza, Peninsula Plaza, Promenda Decor and Amarin Plaza.
Siam Square is a large modern shopping area is not really a square at all. It has a collection of cheap to mid-price fashionable clothes shops, a lot of which cater to teenagers. Also around here are book shops, internet cafes, fast food restaurants etc...Not far from here - next to the Tokyu department store - is the massive and very popular MBK (stands for Mah Boon Krong) shopping center. This has a huge range of goods and many varied, inexpensive shops and facilities (including restaurants, cinemas, games arcade and a bowling alley). Nearby shopping centers include Siam Center, also with fairly inexpensive clothes shops, and Siam Discovery, which has more upmarket clothes shops, restaurants and various other shops, including a branch of Asia Books.
If you want to order youself (if you are a man) a good suit and couple of shirts then you must visit Narayana Phand. There you can find all kinds of handicrafts and souvenirs. There is a very good basar downstairs where you can find the tailors too.
Directions: It's the opposite of the World Trade Center in Ratchadamri.
If you're looking for a nice souvenir, it could be worth your while stopping by this gift and handicraft store. It has a wide range of high-quality goods and it's conveniently located across the road from the World Trade Center. It's not completely easy to spot as it's inside a small shopping arcade, but look just north of Gaysorn Plaza and you should find it.
Items include hand-carved wooden items, ceramics and fabrics. You'll probably get better bargains at Chatuchak, but if you're looking for something specific and/or it's not the weekend, this could be the place to go.
Open from 10am to 8pm daily.
Address: 127 Ratchadamri Road
Directions: A short walk from Chitlom skytrain station.
Phone: (02) 252 4670
If you want to shop for Thai stuff without having to deal with the heat at the markets and do it in airconditioned comfort, check out Narai Phand. Their prices are very reasonable and you don't have to guess and haggle with the salespeople. I know that's half the fun of shopping in Bangkok, but sometimes, it just isn't if you have to deal with throngs of people or worse, if you don't know how to bargain.
What to buy: I picked up some thai silk shirts, a handpainted thai silk robe, some of those comfy triangular pillows, and a friend bought 3 statues for half the price our other friend got it at chatuchak.
Clothes are cheap in Bangkok but what I would really go back for would be oriental pieces for the home...especially one of those smaller versions of a thai teakwood house.
What to pay: I spent $200 for a lot of good stuff.