When Paul and I were looking to stay in a different area of Bangkok, one of the areas we were narrowing it down to included Ratchada.
Now, the full name of the Ratchada area is called, Ratchadaphisek. But, imagine saying that 10 times fast, especially if you’ve had several alcoholic beverages! Thus, many people call it Ratchada.
So, Ratchada definitely has a different feel compared to the popular touristy areas like Sukhumvit. Yet, it still does have a lot of your mod cons that a tourist would appreciate.
Thus, Ratchada can be a great place to stay, for a break from overwhelming touristy areas.
But, don’t expect signs in stores to be translated in English… Or for many of the stall owners to understand English let alone speak it.
Yet, we did notice that some of the Thais in Ratchada could speak Chinese, especially in the markets. And, that’s probably due to the high influx of Chinese tourists in the area.
When we were searching for accommodation… we saw that there was a range of accommodation from hostels through to 5 star hotels. And, the prices and amenities were reasonable.
Our Accommodation In Ratchada Bangkok
So, when we decided to stay in Ratchada, we chose the Prom Ratchada Residence and Spa. And, we were staying here for a little while, thus we had time to explore the area.
You can read our review about Prom Ratchada Residence And Spa HERE.
So, you may be wondering why would someone want to go out that way? Yet, there are some interesting things to do in Ratchada, especially if you like to shop and eat.
And, if you’re going to make a special trip out this way… then you may as well make the most of it!
Plus, it was a nice break from the touristy areas for us.
It was surprising for us that one of the shopping centres had a feature we don’t see often on our travels. And, I’ll run through that later.
So, in this blog post I’ll go through some shopping meccas in Ratchada Bangkok. Thus, if you do make the trip out this way… there are other things you can check out and do.
And, for your convenience…all of these places are within easy walking distance of each other.
So, let’s get into it!
Getting To Ratchada Bangkok
Now, there are many ways to get to Ratchada including… tuk tuk, taxi, walking or motorbike. Yet, we often prefer catching the MRT, because regardless of how bad the traffic is on the roads… it won’t affect the running of the trains on the MRT.
Plus, the MRT and the trains have air conditioning, which is a welcome relief in Bangkok’s hot and often humid weather!
If you’d like to know more about how to use the MRT, CLICK HERE.
So, the best MRT stop to get off at, for what I’ll be going through in this blog is… BL19, Thailand Cultural Center on the Blue Line.
Then, take Exit 3 which leads to the main street of Ratchadaphisek Road.
And, the main attraction in Ratchada is this…
Talad Rot Fai Train Night Market
The Ratchada Rot Fai Train Night Market is a popular spot for tourists.
Now, we’ve been here before, and the last time we went before this blog post, was over a year ago. And, back then it was a pleasant, relaxing environment to wander through the laneways of stalls.
Yet, nowadays the Talad Rot Fai Train Night Market is over-run by tourist groups. But, in saying that… since the corona virus outbreak, the number of people visiting has dramatically decreased.
So, at the Rot Fai Train Market, there are plenty of stalls selling clothes, trinkets, accessories, and more. Plus, there are heaps of places to eat and drink. And, there’s a separate blog post about the Rot Fai Market, which you can read about HERE.
Now, next to this market is a huge building, which is a shopping center. And, this leads onto the next place to shop…
The Esplanade Ratchada
The Esplanade is a massive shopping complex as you can see from the photo.
So, if you’ve come out from the Thailand Cultural Center MRT exit 3 for Rot Fai Train Market… then, on the other side of that road is the entrance to The Esplanade Ratchada Shopping Center.
And, this is what the outside of the building will look like…
Yet, if you accidentally take exit 4, that’s fine too… as it’ll be a short stroll to the other main entrance. And, this is the entrance that I took, as it was closer for me from the Prom Ratchada Residence And Spa accommodation.
So, at this entrance was a Starbucks and a Sizzler restaurant. Wow, amazing that they’re still around after all these years! And, I took this pic of the directory…
Yet, let me assure you that there are plenty more places than what’s shown on this directory.
Now, before I even got into this shopping center, on the entrance doors were signs stating that no photos could be taken.
Then, when I went inside, a security guard was standing nearby the doorway. And, I wasn’t allowed to take photos when I was inside the complex.
So, no joy for getting photos for you!
Even so, when I was inside the complex… I immediately felt the cool air conditioning, which was much needed!
So, there are heaps of shops… with a mix of popular Western brand names like Geox, Adidas, and Rip Curl. Plus, there were several local market stall style shops… selling an array of clothes, accessories, make-up and more.
There are several banks and money exchange places too.
And here, there’s also a Cineplex, with movie theaters that show films in English.
Plus, for an extreme contrast to the Bangkok heat… you can head on over to the ice skating rink! Yet, if that doesn’t take your fancy… then there’s also a Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl bowling center with karaoke!
And, for something a little different, you can head on over to Art In Paradise. So, this is the First 3D Art Museum in Bangkok, which would be fun especially for families.
Then, after all this, if you’re feeling hungry… there are many eateries to choose from. Plus, there’s also a Tops Supermarket, which sells a variety of food… as well as your everyday grocery items and needs.
And, if you’ll be staying in Ratchada for a little while, you may like to check out the WE Fitness Center. Yet, I’ve heard that the prices can be crazy expensive!
So, at the time of writing this, The Esplanade opening hours are from 10am to 11pm.
Then, once you’re done at The Espalande Ratchada, you can wander through here…
Outdoor Thai Street Market Stalls
So, after your time at The Esplanade Ratchada, continue wandering down Ratchadaphisek Road… away from the Ratchada Rot Fai Train Night Market.
Then, as you go past, you’ll see this big Korean supermarket on your left. I never went in there as I didn’t have a need at the time.
Then, as you keep walking there are a few street carts selling some food during the day. And, during the evening even more stalls set up… selling more Thai street food, clothes, and accessories.
You’ll then see on your left above in the sky, signs for Big C and Home Pro like this…
And, before you get to this mega shopping complex, is a local market.
So, I recommend you stop by and have a look, even though it’s small. And it’s here, where we found a Pad Thai stall.
So, a plate of this vegetarian pad thai cost 40 baht (about 1.20 USD / Euros).
Plus, they have meat and seafood versions, which I believe was about 80 baht per serve. Thus, still cheap!
So, there are several other eateries in this market where you can get a feed.
Then, you can check out the market stalls, which won’t take that long.
And, it was surprising that there was an optometrist out here! Plus, during the day I’ve seen ladies getting their legs waxed in the open air stall… OMG! Not much privacy, hey. Hopefully just legs only… LOL!
Even so, you may pick up a few bargains at these stalls… which sell an array of clothes, accessories, phone products, household items, and more.
And to me, with the prices I’ve seen there, you won’t need to bargain much! So, once you’ve finished here, you may as well check this out…
Big C Extra Ratchada And HomePro
Now, for those of you who don’t know what Big C is, think of a massive hypermarket. Yet, within this complex is more than the Big C superstore.
So, if you’re in the market for some home goods, then there’s a HomePro. And here, it’s a mecca for home goods, electricals, and entertainment goods.
Now, we’ve bought some excellent products here back in the days. So, if you’re living in Thailand it’s a great place to go to furnish your home. Then, as a tourist you might pick up some bargains or products, you can’t get back in your home country.
A sneak peek inside…
So, for this Big C Extra Ratchada shopping center, there are several entrances. Yet, if you’ve come from the local market stalls… the main entrance will look similar to this.
Then, when you enter the complex, you’ll notice a lot of little stalls and restaurants.
Plus, there’s a food hall with an array of places to satisfy your appetite. Yet, if you’re vegetarian, a warning that there aren’t a lot of options.
So, on the ground floor are more stalls… selling clothes, make-up, mobile phones, accessories, jewelry, and more.
In fact, after I bought my new Apple iPhone 11, I bought several of my accessories here.
And, when they know you’re a “farang,” some will increase the price. Thus, best to have an idea of what you’re willing to pay, before you go shopping!
Now, the Big C is HUGE! And, as we were staying at the Prom Ratchada Residence And Spa… we were grateful for the location as it was next to the hotel.
So, there aren’t any security guards at this shopping center… compared to many others in the more touristy areas. And, as I was taking photos within the complex, I was getting several “looks.”
And, it wasn’t until later, I realized I wasn’t allowed to take photos within the complex! Oh well, too late now.
So, on the second floor is a currency exchange and bank. Yet, if you’re going to change money in Ratchada in this area, I’d suggest doing it at The Esplanade.
Now, it says on the sliding door of the complex that it’s open from 9am to 2am. Yet, based on what I’ve seen… you won’t find much open after 10pm.
But, if you still feel like more shopping and eating, there is another place open!
The Street Ratchada
So, a couple of minutes walk away from the Big C Extra Ratchada shopping complex is… The Street Ratchada.
Now, this shopping center was a surprise… as apparently it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And, on the entrance doors it shows the hours of 10-22:00!
So, if you’re still keen for shopping, drinking or a feed in the wee hours of the morning… then put this on your list.
Now, The Street building interior is the most contemporary out of all the places I’ve gone through. And, it even has chandeliers!
There are many eateries from your well-known brands like… Burger King, KFC, and Starbucks. Then, there is local cuisine, through to a Japanese sushi train restaurant… to Korean and Italian. And, there are food courts too.
So, there are HEAPS of places to eat to satisfy your belly any minute of the day or night… on different floors of the complex!
And, if you prefer to buy your own supplies, there is a Foodland Supermarket. So, the prices are a little more expensive than other supermarkets. Yet, that isn’t surprising considering it’s open 24-hours.
The Street Has More Than You’d Expect
Then, after eating all the food, there’s a Muay Thai Center if you want to release or burn some energy.
And, if you want a gym, there’s Jett’s 24 hours fitness center.
Yet, if you want to chill out, there are lots of seating areas.
And, if you want some pampering there are massage parlors, beauty salons, hairdresser and more.
And, if you have kids, there’s a section where they can let loose and have fun…
So, you can get free wifi here. And to get it, you go to the Information Desk at the entrance.
Yet, you have to write details like your name and ID / passport number. But, I didn’t have ID on me so I was guessing!
Then, you get given a piece of paper with a username and password.
So, this only allows 2 hours of free wifi, which is painfully slow! Then, I suspect you would have to go back to the information desk to get another login.
Yet, if you eat or drink somewhere… they’ll most likely give you free access to their wifi.
So, if you want a dedicated space to get some work done, there’s a WorkWize.
I’d never heard of this brand before. Yet, this is a co-working space, which may be great for digital nomads seeking certain features.
And, it’s said that the price starts from 60 baht per hour for a hot desk style set up. Then from there, the options and prices scale up.
Now, I only ever went to The Street between the hours of say 10am and 6pm. So, I’m not sure what it was like outside these hours. Yet, when I went each time, there was hardly anyone there.
Yet to me, it’s not the best place for clothes shopping.
But it is convenient, being open 24 hours a day, and if you want something different from 7-Eleven food!
Shopped Out In Ratchada
So, there you have it! If you’re in the Ratchada area of Bangkok near the Thailand Cultural Center MRT… you’ll most likely be going here because of the Ratchada Rot Fai Train Night Market.
Yet, if you’re staying for a little longer… there are other places to explore for shopping and eating.
Plus, with the Thailand Cultural Center MRT being so close… it’s an excellent gateway to other parts of Bangkok and its amazing sights.
And, accommodation options can be cheaper. Yet, they can still be quite good or even better value, compared to the touristy areas of Bangkok. But, because of this location… be patient as English or your first language may not be spoken well.
Even so, have a great time in Bangkok and Ratchada. We’d love to hear about your experiences or traveler tips, so get in touch :)
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