Bangkok shopping budget: $$
Average clothes prices: 100 – 300 baht
Asiatique is a charming riverside market in Bangkok, very similar in layout to the designer shopping villages found across Europe. With it’s wide range of entertainment, bars, restaurants and unique boutique shops, Asiatique attracts a mixture of both local Bangkok Thais and tourists from all over the world.
Not only do the shopping arcades of Asiatique provide a romantic setting of quirky decorations and creative shop exteriors, but the riverside market also offers Thai cabaret shows and deluxe ferris wheel rides for 250 baht a go. As for the food at Asiatique, there is a huge choice of ice cream parlours plus pizzerias, kebab vans, chicken spit roasts, French gourmet and Japanese restaurants to choose from.
When it comes to the shops of Asiatique, the shopping experience is rather similar to that of Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Weekend Market – plenty of cool, indie clothes and accessory shops; cute hand made jewellery boutiques; and numerous textile and souvenir shops. The only difference between the two markets really, is that Asiatique is considerably smaller than Chatuchak and therefore less frustrating. On top of this, the charming style and pretty lights also add to Asiatique’s more chilled out ambience.
Asiatique Market is conveniently divided into different sections: the first section closest to the Bangkok riverside is dedicated more to unique boutiques and fashionable clothing. Here, you can find cool dresses, casual tops, funky fedora hats, punky caps and cute, handmade jewellery. You can pick up a unique pair of elegant, hand made earrings from 95 baht; a pair of denim shorts for 99 baht; or a cool, printed men’s t-shirt from 150 baht a piece.
The other half of the shops at Asiatique, nearest the roadside of the shopping village, cater mainly to tourists. Shops in this section tend to sell a repetition of bohemian style clothing, ethnic jewellery, colourful bangles, soft furnishings and Thai trinkets.
There are a particularly high number of pashmina shops which sell beautiful scarves and wallhangings in this area. The only drawback with these, is that the salesmen are unpleasantly over-keen and, although the pashminas are high quality, the prices aren’t so cheap. Pashminas will typically sell for around 400 baht while wall hangings will cost from 1200 baht for an elaborately embroidered small size.
Do make sure not to accept the first price offered in these shops though, as the salesmen working in this chain of stalls tend to start at an extremely high amount – expect to haggle the price down a lot. They’re very greedy! You can’t really innocently have a nose and window shop at these stalls either – they’ll pounce on you as soon as you stop to take a sneaky peek. Shame, I do love to have a nose at pretty things…
Anyway, this roadside section is highly useful for souvenir shopping or buying home furnishings – there are some lovely ornaments, lights and soft furnishings kicking around. In this part, expect to pay from 20 baht for the cheapest pair of earrings, 150 baht for a standard scarf and from 60 baht for some of the wooden bangles. There is also a decent range of better quality, ethnic jewellery at a higher price too if you prefer – around 400 baht for a hand made leather and charm necklace, for example.
How to get to Asiatique Riverfront
Asiatique is open from 6pm until midnight, 7 days a week. The weekend gets super busy at Asiatique, however week nights at the riverside market are pretty quiet. The easiest way to get to Asiatique Bangkok is to take the free shuttle boat; this leaves from Sathorn Central Pier which also happens to be attached to the Saphan Taksin BTS station.
So, you can either take the BTS to Saphan Taksin or, if you’re staying near the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, you can catch a ferry to the central pier. The pier is very clearly signposted for the free shuttle boat – it runs from 6pm until 12pm.