Jennifer Gampell
868/75-76 Soi Vanich 2
Songwad Road
Bangkok 10100 Thailand
Tel/Fax: (66) 2-237-3362
Mobile: (66) 1-925-7187
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March/April 2008


Towering above Bangkok's busy streets, these malls sell cool, modern goods by local designers
by Jennifer Gampell

Bangkok has a daunting array of merchandise for sale, jumbled in street carts and piled high in chaotic markets. But a more serene shopping alternative does exist: The four large buildings between the Siam and Chidlom BTS (above-ground metro stops) offer an air-conditioned mecca of fantastic stores, from Thailand’s oldest candlemakers to hip local clothing designers, all accessible via the pedestrian “Skywalk” running from the eastern end of Siam BTS to Chidlom.

Since it’s easy to spend an entire day in the malls, you’ll be glad to know that several good eateries share the space. Orangery (on the 4th floor of Siam Paragon; 011-66-2-129-4548) serves signature dishes from nine top local restaurants, including an incredible green papaya salad from the famous Blue Elephant. The seventh-floor Loft@ZEN offers 10 self-serve food stations along with views of the skyline.

And if you’re still intrigued by those chaotic Thai markets, check out Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok (, which highlights the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Suan Lum Night Bazaar and many other great spots.

1. Panta
A retail showroom for four award-winning local designers who create
contemporary furniture and accessories from Thai plants and trees—like a liana (dried root) living room chair ($585) and silk cocoon table lamps ($290). Colors are as natural as the materials. 411-2 Siam Discovery Center; 011-66-2-658-0415;

2. Fai Sor Kam
The staff at one of Thailand’s oldest candlemakers know how to keep a three-inch candle ($10) burning for 40 hours. The shop’s candles, in solid colors and layered pastel shades, are scented with oils from Thai flowers. The pretty coral-like models burn down the middle so they can be refilled. 424A Siam Discovery Center; 011-66-2-658-0449;

3. The Golden Triangle
An exquisite collection of clothing, home accessories and jewelry crafted from used materials—like an embroidered coat made from antique Yao hill-tribe trousers. Hand-woven textiles are based on Hmong hill-tribe designs. 417 Siam Paragon (Paragon Passage section); 011-66-2-129-4516;

4. Harnn/Heritage Spa
Black and red walls lined with wooden dividers evoke an old-fashioned Chinese apothecary—an appropriate setting for these all-natural body products, now sold in 30 countries. Harnn uses rice-bran oil for soaps ($4) and derives its many subtle scents from natural herbs like Thai kaffir lime and lemongrass. Book ahead for the chakra-stimulating Thai Heritage massage (90 min; $59) in the cozy spa. 433 Siam Paragon (Paragon Passage section); 011-66-2-610-9715;

5. It’s Happened to Be a Closet
This oddly named two-story shop, in one of the alleys opposite Siam Center, sells Thai-designed girly goods: multicolored zippered sweaters, slinky sequined dresses ($475) and Chinese silk shorts ($96). The fashions are stacked in color-coordinated piles, hung from ceiling rails and draped on velveteen sofas. Also miraculously crammed into the space: an Italian restaurant, a mani-pedi alcove and a hair salon. 266/3 Soi 3, Siam Square; 011-66-2-658-4696

6. Zen
DJ’ed tunes rock through seven floors in Central World, each flaunting its own lifestyle theme via color and architectural style but linked by the overall concept—"The Real Cool Brands Are All With Us.” Boutique-like shops showcase the best Thai fashion, accessories and houseware designers (plus select international brands). Central World; 011-66-2-100-9999;

7. Modern East
Thanks to the shop’s monochromatic color scheme, you won’t be overwhelmed by the abundance of ceramics, shells, lacquered boxes, decorative tassels and beaded placemats. Most Westerners probably won’t fit into the diaphanous white apparel, but check out the jewelry, especially the striking necklaces with large jade or stone pendants ($170). Shop 09-3F, Gaysorn Plaza; 011-66-2-656-1127

8. Lamont
For his illustrious international clients, Alex Lamont designs elegant accessories and furniture using pan-Asian materials and craftsmanship. This small outlet’s carefully curated selection includes singular vases and vessels of various shapes and sizes, made from copper, glass, rock, ceramic, lacquer, silver and brass. A marble salad bowl goes for $295, while a contemporary bronze pot fetches $1,580. Shop 23-3F, Gaysorn Plaza; 011-66-2-656-1392;



Copyright 2008 Jennifer Gampell