Travel Tidbit #7: Siam Square
In the sprawling metropolis of Bangkok, packed tight and randomly like an adolescent’s closet, it never feels like you are far from someone selling what you’re looking for. Every corner offers a mini-market of food, odds and ends, souvenirs, and electronics. But, if you are looking for malls and a place to call the center of Bangkok commercialism, Siam Square is the place to head.
Siam Square is actually an odd, disfigured polygon carved our by massive malls on every side. Every possible desire can be found in this bastion of western commercialism- from clothing, to books, to electronics, to food and cars. Each mall is 5 levels high and contains several wings of shopping and access to at least one or two department stores. The walkways are lined with western shops and periodically dotted by cheaper stalls offering jewelry, electronics, or clothing. There are even corners on the outskirts that are open for merchants to open street style market stalls.
There is so much demand for shopping at Siam that some stores have a location in adjacent buildings. KFC and Swensons, for example, are available in all four malls. Other food options include Sizzler, Outback, and a variety of other western food institutions. There is also a Thai food court tucked away on the fifth floor of several of the cheaper malls that blankets shoppers with the smell of chillies and oyster sauce.
redundancies aside, each mall has its own identity. There is the expensive mall, complete with Armani, Coach, Lamborghini, Lotus, Bentley, all English book stores, and a very ornate outdoor beer garden. Across from that is the cheaper, more busy, electronics mall. Then there is the bargain mall- packed with college students and teenagers looking for fashion merchandise, and finally the fourth “mall” is a collection of local vendors and purveyors of local goods. In all, the conglomeration has 3 cinemas, 11 schools, and more stores and food options than can be counted (crowned of course, but the notorious Hard Rock Cafe).
Siam Square also serves as an important center of transportation within Bangkok. It is a hub for the BTS skyline with access to both the popular Silom line and busy Sukhumvit line. The station is an arachnid like structure with legs spreading to each corner of the square, providing a raised artery for travel between the different malls, and between its two light rail lines and all the busses that stop there, Siam Square station can get you to any destination in Bangkok.