Asia’s vast shopping malls have become somewhat iconic in the modern-day. From the dinky hidden plazas of Hong Kong to the sprawling luxury malls of Singapore. Maybe shopping isn’t a top priority for you on a trip – but there are certain cities where I think you’d be missing out on a real slice of culture by not indulging. Bangkok has to be one of them.

Mall-culture in Bangkok may be very much new-wave. But it’s a valid part of what makes modern-day Bangkok the heaving, brash, sweaty treat that it is today. If you’ve travelled to Thailand chances are you’ve spent a couple of days in Bangkok as most of the countries international flights arrive into Bangkok’s Survnami Airport. And while it might be tempting to jump on a short, direct flight to the beach or a train to the mountains, I think Bangkok is an ideal first stop off on any South East Asian adventure.

While stopping off at the mall might not be first on your to-do list, you might want to make an exception for the quirky joys of Terminal 21 in Asok, Bangkok. As someone who gets major thrills from travel-themed anything the first time I stumbled into this mall (without even realising what it was), I was nothing short of delighted.

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TERMINAL 21 – BKK

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While you won’t be at a shortage of malls in Bangkok, not all were created equally. Luxury malls like Siam Paragon and EmQuatier offer designer goods. In contrast, MBK offers to just about everything under the sun and Pantip Plaza looks akin to the inside of an IT technicians toolbox. Terminal 21, on the other hand, is more of a mixture. Set over nine floors, Terminal 21 is a mixture of chain brands like H&M and Watsons. Still, it is also host to hundreds of tiny boutiques featuring independent brands. Not to mention a worldly offering of International cuisine.

In case you hadn’t guessed it – Terminal 21 is designed like a faux-airport terminal with every floor being themed to a different city. And they haven’t skimped on the theme – from a mini golden gate bridge to winding alleyways of Harajuku – and even a cute red double-decker bus!

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So, what’s on each floor?

Lower Ground Level – Caribbean

Home to a lighthouse, plenty of plastic palm trees and super cute ship-themed bathrooms. It is also home to a gourmet supermarket, sweet souvenir stalls and ice cream shops. Try yummy Thai tea flavour soft serve and shop for popular dried seaweed snacks.

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Ground Level – Rome

Ah, the glorious streets of historic Rome! With plenty of faux plinths, statues and even a roman fountain, the Ground level is one of the highest class levels – home to an array of designer shops in keeping with the classy feel.

 

Main Level – Paris

Oui, the bijou streets of Paris await on the main level. Of course, it wouldn’t be Paris without a mini Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Although home to many a dinky Parisian street, the main level is also home to many classic “high street” chain stores like H&M and Starbucks.

 

First Floor – Tokyo

This cutesy Asian floor that resembles the winding market roads of old Tokyo has to be my favourite. It encompasses what Japan has become synonymous with: cute, quirky, edgy. Check out this floor for ladies wear in affordable boutique and vintage stores set within little alleyways filled with paper lanterns, perfect for idling down and plenty of window shopping.

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Visited Bangkok recently and have so much to tell you all about my trip! It’s a place that you must visit, during a short break or long weekend. I was there for just 3days and could almost cover everything important. I think I’m going to start with the first and actually one of my most favorite places that I happened to visit during my stay. Terminal 21, it had a unique feature in which each floor of the mall was designed as different cities. Which was quite eye catching, cause it’s hard to find a mall with 8 floors and that has endless stores to shop in(well that’s every girl’s dream!). If you are planning to go down to Bangkok anytime soon. I do recommend this place! #dubaiblog #bangkokblog #terminal21bangkok #dubaibangkok #traveldiaries2017 #dubaitravel #bangkoktourist #dubaiblogger #vacationbangkok #2017vacation #longweekend #shorttripsdubai #touristbangkok #travelexperience

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Second Floor – London

One of the most visually interesting floors has to be the quintessential London experience: tube cars, double-decker buses and red phone booths. The only thing they were missing was the rain! On this floor you will find menswear boutiques and local brands; so a good place to drop off the man in your life: funky tees, quirky Asian fashions and some small local chain stores. And once you’re done, take a seat in the tube carriage cafe for an all-round more relaxing experience than you could hope to find on the real London Underground.

Third Floor – Istanbul

Not sure why but I always thought this was kind of a funny one to add into the mix as it doesn’t have the obvious landmarks of Paris of London – but it still has plenty of style. Similar to Tokyo, Istanbul is set around a market-maze type set up. Here you can find more ladies-wear, cosmetics, shoes and small knick-knack type items.

 

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Fourth Floor – San Fransisco

It’s hard to miss San Fransisco as it’s home to one of the most iconic installations of Terminal21 – a giant Golden Gate Bridge replica that crosses from one half of the mall to the next. Sadly it’s purely an installation and cant be walked on, but it sets the scene perfectly for this food-based floor, with a Frisco pier vibe. Choose from private restaurants or opt for the classically Thai food court. Not gonna lie; Bangkok food courts are like 50% of what I do whenever I go to Bangkok! But, hear me out, it is cultural. You won’t find Maccy D’s here or the colonel. Nope, here you find the classic Thai set up with coupon station and several booths all selling a different type of dish usually. Load a card with money at the coupon station and spend at any of the stalls. And when you’re done simply cash out. Simples!

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Standing alone with my own

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Sixth Floor – Hollywood

Right at the top sits a little town called Hollywood. Here you can find a cinema and a huge selection of electronics stalls – perfect for picking up that cable you left at home or a new phone after you submerged the last one in a bucket of Thai whiskey last night. The decor is Hollywood glam, and a slither of silver-screen glory days, which is perfect for a visit to SF Cinemas where you can see movies in both English and Thai. I went to the movies a lot when I lived in Thailand; it’s a great way to escape the heat and movie prices are much more reasonable than the west. I still wince when I pay £16.00 for a ticket in London.

So, there you have it – around the world in seven floors! Although my personal fave addition to Terminal 21 has to be the themed toilets on each floor – so make sure you chug enough iced coffee to visit them all!

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How to Visit Terminal 21:

Take a taxi or Skytrain to Asok station in Bangkok – from here you can walk straight into the mall. It’s worth mentioning – there are now a chain of Terminal 21’s in Thailand so even if you can’t hit the flagship in Bangkok you can always check out the Korat, Rama 3 and Pattaya locations.