I’ll admit it – shopping is not my thing. In my world, shopping is a targeted activity, where you decide you need something, figure out where to get it, then go get it. Piece of cake. No loitering around “window shopping” (did you know that the word in French – lèche-vitrines – literally means window licking) and no dilly-dallying around.
Malls just don’t do it for me, but if I have to trudge around in one – a situation I found myself in recently in Bangkok – I’d rather it was Terminal 21, one of Bangkok’s newer malls. In Terminal 21 you can shop around the world.
In a nutshell, the shopping center is designed with an “airport” theme, though loosely interpreted, with nine floors each featuring their own design theme, from the thematic restrooms on each level to the very last decor detail.
The ground floor is Rome. There were a handful of sports shops, including Nike, Adidas, Puma, and some fashion boutiques such as Jaspal and G2000. So far so same, save for the décor.
The M floor is where the walkway from the skytrain and subway stations connect with the shopping center, welcomed by the local punk-y fashion boutique CPS. I presume M stands for “Main” (rather than Mezzanine); it’s also “Paris” on this level, though I must say seemingly less thematic than other floors, save for a few cut-outs of French-related items (lamp posts, etc.) The massive H&M shop – complete with a guy’s section – was absolutely thronging with shoppers.
From Floor 1 – Tokyo upwards, the layout of the mall reminded me of a cleaner, air-conditioned version of the beloved (though sadly now defunct) Suan Lum Night Bazaar.
While the first floor is quite girly in its offerings, the second floor – styled after London – has more men’s fashion. Zones are named after famed London landmarks such as Burlington Arcade. In terms of theme elaboration, this floor is probably my favorite.
By the time we arrived on the third floor, I was nearing the end of my shopping enthusiasm tether. The swarms of shutterbugs seem to thin out noticeably by this altitude as well. The Istanbul floor was less fashion, and more about fashion accessories and home décor.
The fourth and fifth floors are dedicated to food – food court, restaurants, fast food joints, coffee shops – and designed with a San Francisco theme.
After a quick bite in San Francisco, we went upstairs to have a poke around on the top floor. It was the movie theater floor, and the theme? Los Angeles of course.
We made our way back down to LG basement floor, more to see what the theme was than anything else. The basement floor, a.k.a. The Caribbean, was anchored by a supermarket, a Mos Burger, and some other bits and bobs.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m by no means a mall convert, but I have to say Terminal 21 makes the retail experience easier (and dare I say enjoyable) for non-hardcore shoppers. It was very inspiring to see local designers and talents having a space to showcase their work alongside the traditional branded boutiques.
What: Terminal 21
Where: Asoke intersection (with covered entry from both BTS skytrain Asoke station and MRT subway Sukhumvit station); within the same complex as Grande Center Point Hotel
When: Daily, from around 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.