Tag Archives: Pantip Plaza

Best Bangkok Bargains

fruit

There is a growing perception that Bangkok and Thailand is becoming an expensive country. There has been a surge in inflation that has accompanied the continued expansion of the economy since the 1990s. Tourists often seem to get the brunt of the high prices as many hotels base their profit margins on inflated food and beverage prices. There is also a massive ‘middle-man’ sector to the economy that organise tours, tickets and rental vehicles for prices that include a 20% profit margin.

All is not bad, however. Thailand still remains a country with man fabulous bargains for shoppers, culture vultures and foodies. Here is a list of some of the best bargains in Bangkok

Bangkok Metered Taxis

If you make the effort to walk out of your hotel and around the corner you will soon find a taxi prepared to go on the meter. Don’t get a taxi on the main road in Khao San. Walk towards the river and you will soon secure the services of an honest taxi driver. The meter starts at 35 Thai Baht. If you share a taxi it is cheaper than the sky train or underground. For just a few dollars you can get to all the major shopping and tourist spots in Bangkok. If you speak a bit of Thai the drivers are often keen to chat; some turn out to be real characters. You could base a blog around the bizarre conversations to be had with Bangkok taxi drivers.

Street Food

There are thousands of small places to eat on the pavement. They vary in quality. Hygiene might be an issue for those with delicate stomachs. I have, however, never been poisoned by street food. You can get a great phad Thai for 40 Baht. I have also had some brilliant massaman curries from street vendors. They are a fraction of the price of restaurant dishes, and often just as good. For more information about street food in Bangkok see the articles on this page.

Shakes, Juices and Fruit

Thailand has some of the best fruit in the world. The tropical climate produces bumper crops of fruit that you can buy very cheaply from street vendors. For 10 Baht you can get a bag of pineapple. You can also get cold and freshly squeezed orange juice on the street. It is better than any juice in a carton you will get in a supermarket. Another great experience is coconut juice. It has a distinctive taste and is a great way to re-hydrate.

Software

Forget fake watches and replica football tops at night markets like Patpong. The real pirate bargains in Bangkok are found in MBK and Pantip Plaza. Don’t fancy giving Microsoft $300 for Office? Then pick up a copy for $10. For high –end professional software as well as PC games you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. You just have to read the installation instructions carefully. You could always get a knowledgeable friend or a computer shop back in your own country to help you with installation if you run into difficulties.

Hotels

At the budget end of the accommodation market you get few bargains in Bangkok. Cheap rooms are generally small and very basic. This is especially true around Khao San. For those prepared to spend $30 a night there are some real bargains to be found. Areas such as Silom and Sukhumvit have plenty of good mid-range hotels. The intense competition means they often offer discounts. For $30 a night you can get an air-con room with satellite TV and fridge in a hotel with a swimming pool.

If doing Bangkok on the smallest possible budget possible then you can find hostels near Khao San as well as along the river and in the suburbs where they have beds for as little as $4 a night. A good place to search for such dorm beds and cheap guesthouses have a browse of www.bangkokbudgethotel.info

Medical Procedures and Dentists

Bangkok is the number one destination in the world for medical tourism. For those who want a breast enlargement, eye improvement procedure, sex change etc. Bangkok is the place to go. There are several reputable clinics in the city as well as the excellent Bumrungrad Hospital in Sukhumvit. Bangkok also has a number of firsdt class dentists that offer implants at a fraction of the cost in Europe, the USA or Australia.

Getting a feel for Bargains

As you explore Bangkok you will discover the bargains to be found in this great city. You will also get a feeling for places that have inflated prices.

Pantip Plaza


If you are looking for an interesting cultural experience while you are in Bangkok and you feel you have done enough of temples and museums it might be worth your while making your way to Pantip Plaza (also spelt ‘Panthip Plaza’) on New Phetchaburi Road.

It is a place that is famous for all the wrong reasons. There is a famous Thai pop song where the chorus is ‘I don’t want to go to Pantip’. It’s a love song and the male singer repeats these words to his lover because his ex-girlfriend works in the infamous plaza. The real infamy of Panthip Plaza comes from the fact that much of the giant indoor shopping mall is devoted to selling illegal copies of copyrighted material. There are not only DVDs, CDs, computer games and software but also incredibly cheap iPods, smart phones, tablet computers and lots of other gadgets in the giant indoor mall on offer. It is all available for purchase at very cheap prices. There are also cheap computers made by people such as Acer. Any software program can be added for a few dollars. Pantip is undoubtedly a place that exists due to the hacking abilities of Thais and the genius of Chinese reverse engineering.

The morality of such a place is very much open to debate. It is very curious to observe the Thai authorities persistent blind eye to the money making plaza.

However, it is not the illegality of Pantip Plaza that makes me find the place fascinating. Rather it is the experience of wandering down the rows taking in the sight of buckets filled with computer parts. Any part for any type of computer can be found in Pantip Plaza. If you searched hard enough you could probably find a ZX81.

In hundreds of tiny workshops are to be found Thais dismantling computers, building computers and repairing computers. Much of their work seems to be data retrieval from damaged hard drives. They work methodically as the customers watch in hope that their photos, music collections and other valuable data can be recovered.

In another section it is great to stroll through the stalls that sell mobile phones and spy on saffron robed monks that are studiously looking at the phones. Although these men have sworn an oath to shun materialism they are obviously seduced by new touchscreen technology.

If you need a business card, a brochure printed, a T-shirt designed or any other type of printed media the stalls in Pantip Plaza offer great value for money. Care, however, should be taken as quality dramatically varies from shop to shop.

For anyone remotely interested in technology, seeing another side of Buddhism or in need of the latest version of Photoshop, Pantip Plaza is the place to go. Unlike the singer in the song I am more than happy to spend a few hours taking in the sites of Pantip Plaza.