Explore the Malls
Shopping, cinemas, bowling, ice rinks, food.. the malls have it all!
Where East really does meet West
Sure, the markets hold their charm and they're also a great place to pick up bargains, but Thailand's world-class shopping malls won't exactly break the bank either. And there's a whole lot more to do than shopping inside them.
There are 3 major malls on Ratchada (that's what the locals call the road we're located on) and a bunch of smaller community malls. Once you've visited all of these, the MRT train running under the street can whisk you away at least 10 other malls in as many directions in as many minutes.
What really strikes newcomers visiting these malls is how impressively modern they manage to be while being very local and diverse at the same time. Each mall feels like a village unto itself, having it's own unique mood and heartbeat.
Mall staff are endlessly accommodating and you'll get personalized service with a smile even if you just dropped in for a mobile phone charger.
This is the closest major mall to the training centre. Most people take the MRT or a taxi, but it's only 2 stations away so you can also walk if you feel like it. All the usual suspects (including McDonald's and Starbucks) are at street level and the basement has a ridiculously huge choice of Japanese restaurants and snack bars. Go down there and buy a tray of Takoyaki Balls, you will not regret it.
Upstairs you'll find banks, mobile phone shops, more restaurants, bowling lanes and a multiplex cinema. There's also a tutor zone with schools teaching everything from piano to karate to computing and lots of different languages including — yes, you guessed it — English!
You'll hear this place mentioned quite a bit. Computer broken? Fortune! New phone? Fortune! DVD or BluRay movies? Well, you get the idea!
Fortune Town is basically what's known as an "IT Mall". It certainly isn't the only one around (Pantip, Pantip 2, Zeer Rangsit all spring to mind) but it does have the luxury of an MRT station right outside. That means that you can get there from the Chichester College training centre (or any other place in Bangkok with an MRT or BTS station) very easily.
You can buy new and used tech of pretty much any description, and there are also several repair shops specializing in different things such as laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras and even model railways.
Fortune Town has the benefit of being slightly outside the usual tourist circuit, so expect honest prices and sincere retailers looking to build their reputations and repeat business.
Central Rama 9
Right opposite Fortune Town, this is the latest addition to the mall scene. Home to the Robinson department store as well as a plaza sporting brand name clothing and other goods as well as restaurants representing just about every part of the world you can think of. Even the food court in the basement has delicious Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Lebanese treats all under 100 Baht!
You'll notice that several malls in Thailand have very literal names. So, when someone asks you to meet them at "The Walk" or "The Street" just pretend that you understand and then look it up on Google Maps.
The Street just opened in 2016 and is about 10 minutes on foot from the Chichester College training centre. You can also take the MRT for 2 stations if you're feeling lazy or simply want to conserve your energy to jump up and down on the largest trampoline in Asia!
The trampoline isn't all that The Street has to offer, it's just part of it. The Street is also a mall within it's own right with a good selection of food & drink outlets and other shops.
If you've done any research about Bangkok malls so far, then you've probably read that MBK (Mah Boon Krong) is the bargain mall where you can pick up anything and everything for a bargain price. The problem is that the traders there know about this reputation and how it attracts foreigners, so the "bargains" aren't quite as good value as they were in the past.
Think of Union Mall as the slightly more chilled-out and stress-free version of MBK. The traders won't speak English quite as well as their MBK counterparts, but they're also a lot less pushy. Foreigners don't visit Union Mall as much, so sellers will be happy to see you and enjoy the chance to practice their English. You're likely to have a much more pleasant shopping experience and get better prices too.
Just get on the MRT and head north for 2 stations. Union Mall is connected to the MRT by a bridge which you can see in the photo above.