Bangkok is a shopaholic’s paradise. The shopping opportunities are endless.. you can shop at big malls such as MBK, Terminal 21, River City, or at the myriad of local boutiques in the Sukhumvit area not to mention the weekend flea markets. The new kid on the block in Bangkok’s thriving shopping landscape is ICONSIAM.
ICONSIAM opened as recently as Nov 2018 and I was lucky that I visited Bangkok soon after. I fell in love with ICONSIAM within a few minutes of being there. The riverside location, the luxurious decor, and above all – Sook Siam, the indoor floating market, made ICONSIAM stand out among all the malls I’ve visited in Bangkok. Here are 7 reasons why I think ICONSIAM is the best shopping mall in Bangkok.
1. Sook Siam – Indoor Floating Market
The prime attraction for me in ICONSIAM is the indoor floating market city, also known as Sook Siam. The amazing thing about Sook Siam is that it’s so well done that you’ll soon forget that you’re inside a mall. Instead, you’ll feel as though you are out for an evening stroll in a traditional Thai city/town. While on the stroll, you’ll have a chance to buy street food from vendors in street-side stalls. Some vendors are also on boats moored on a make-believe river, which is nothing but a shallow pool of water lighted by tiny bulbs which look like stars in the night sky when seen from the balcony.
The ambiance inside Sook Siam is that of a night scene. So you’ll find soft lighting throughout which makes it difficult to capture the grandeur of the surroundings in photos, as you can see in the photo above, but it makes up by providing a warm and cozy atmosphere while you are there.
Sook Siam has two floors. The ground floor has a floating market and other street vendors. Wooden stairs lead you to the first floor where you’ll find quaint Thai style restaurants. You can sit down for a meal or just roam around and admire the floating market from above.
The street food at Sook Siam includes typical Thai food favorites such as pork barbeque, Pad Thai, fried chicken and noodles. There were also some dishes I had never tried before. For example, I tried Khanom Krok, a small coconut and rice flour crêpe topped with mango, sweet corn, taro or other toppings. It was delicious.
Another Thai dessert I discovered in Icon Siam was a gelatinous gooey dessert, whose name I don’t know, presented in various colors and flavors. Generally, I’m not a big fan of gooey things, still, this one wasn’t unpleasant to taste. In fact, I tried one of every color and flavor.
ICONLUXE in ICONSIAM is the epitome of luxury stores in Bangkok. Here, you’ll find some of the biggest names in fashion like Chanel, Versace, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Prada, Fendi, Bvlgari to name a few. Each luxury brand enjoys a dedicated store and space. If you don’t have big bucks to spend, even window-shopping in this glamorous setting is a delight.
3. Motor Vehicle Kingdom at ICONSIAM
If you are car fanatic, then you’ll enjoy the ultraluxe car display in the Motor Vehicle Kingdom at Icon Siam. This is the first time I had a chance to inspect a Rolls Royce up close. Other high-end cars that grace this display are Maserati, Porsche, Mini, and BMW. Motorcycle lovers don’t need to feel left out. There’s a display of BMW Motorrad on the 3rd and 4th floors for you.
4. River Park
ICONSIAM is on the banks of the Chao Phraya river right opposite the Sathorn Pier. This river-side place not only makes for gorgeous scenery but also ease of travel. To get to ICONSIAM, you can take the BTS to Sapan Taksin Station. Then, from the Sathorn Pier, take a free shuttle to the mall. Alternatively, the Chao Phraya express boats (orange flag) that run along the Chao Phraya river also make a stop at ICON SIAM on their way to the Sathorn Pier.
The River Park at Icon Siam features a 10,000 sq. m. space in front of ICONLUXE where people can relax by the river and enjoy the Bangkok skyline and the multimedia fountain display, which is said to be the longest in Asia. The River Park also plays host to various events and festivities during special occasions, so it may be a great time to visit then.
5. First Apple Store in Thailand
The first Apple store in Thailand has opened its doors in ICONSIAM. The store features huge floor-to-ceiling glass walls which makes the outside blend seamlessly with the inside giving it an airy and open feel. Whatsmore, the glass doors open to an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy views of Bangkok’s skyline and the river. Inside the store, you can sample a plethora of Apple products or get help from Apple geniuses if you need assistance.
6. Siam Takashimaya
Siam Takashimaya is a collaboration between the well-known Japanese departmental store, Takashimaya, and ICONSIAM. Just like the Apple Store, Siam Takashimaya is the first store of this brand in Thailand. The store represents both Japanese and Thai cultures and as such offers high-quality products from both Japanese and Thai brands.
Each floor of Siam Takashimaya also has a café or dining options. My personal favorite was the Q-Pot Cafe on the 2nd floor. The decor and ambiance of this café, with its pastel hues and cute decor, reminds me of the cafes that are characteristic of Harajuku, Tokyo. The menu also matches the decor – they offer coffee, snacks, and milkshakes which are elaborately decorated.
7. ICONSIAM restaurants and dining experiences
ICONSIAM offers a variety of dining experiences. Apart from the street food in Sook Siam, there are added dining options throughout. Try one of these dining spaces and restaurants when you visit ICONSIAM.
Alangkarn on Sixth Floor
The Alangkarn dining space on the 6th floor of ICONSIAM, modeled after a Thai farm, is more than just a dining space. It’s a work of Art! Thai artists have semi-handcrafted the different pavilions in this area to represent different facets of the Thai farming industry. So, you’ll see greenery, art installations, cocoon-shaped enclosures meant to represent the silk-farming industry and farming equipment. This dining space also has one of the most spectacular artificial waterfalls I’ve seen. The waterfall is 15m high and as the water cascades down, it creates patterns and shapes in the water as you can see in the video.
The Veranda is an exquisitely decorated space right next to Sook Siam. The decor of the Veranda is unique; it has an upside down hanging garden and artificial waterfalls throughout giving it a forest vibe.
Veranda has 24 different eateries of varied cuisine to choose from. My personal favorite restaurant was TAPAS by NAN Charcoal Grill that serves Spanish cuisine. If you visit, try the seafood Paella – it’s divine.
At the Veranda, some restaurants also take advantage of the scenic views of Bangkok by having a patio space in the River Park facing the Chao Phraya river. This is perfect for a romantic dinner on your night out with your partner.
Cafes at Siam Takashimaya
As mentioned before, Siam Takashimaya has a cafe on each floor. There’s Van Hart Cafe and Ganon Florist Cafe on the ground floor, UCC coffee shop on the 1st, Q-Pot cafe on the 2nd, Stand Alone Revolution on the 3rd and Elle Cafe on the 4th floor.
Apart from the Cafes, there’s also the Rose Dining zone on the fourth floor which has fine-dining restaurants that serve authentic Japanese cuisine.
All in all, no matter where you are in ICONSIAM, delicious food and amazing experiences are never far away. Go visit and have fun exploring!
*Featured Image Picture Credit: Tris T7 [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons