Many visitors to Bangkok, Thailand would love to take one of the city’s thousands of buses when they go shopping but, as most destinations are written on the buses in Thai, if they don’t know the bus numbers, it seems impossible. Actually, taking a bus to one of Bangkok’s best shopping malls is easy — you just need to understand a couple of things, and then know which number bus to take.
Get Bus Information at Your Hotel – Most people in Bangkok, who aren’t hi-so (high society) or wealthy, take the bus. That means, no matter which hotel or guest house you stay at in Bangkok, the staff at the reception desk should be able to tell you where the closest bus stops are, and which ones you’ll need to stand at to get to the shopping mall you’re headed for.
Buy a Bus Map – For added security, if you’re a good map reader, buy a bus map. They’re available at book shops, magazine counters, 7-11s and convenience stores all over the city, and they’re cheap. They also show every bus route in Bangkok and list all the bus numbers that travel on them. With a bus map, when you see a bus arriving at the bus stop you’re standing at, you can quickly check your bus map before you hop on it.
Bus Destination Signs – Every Bangkok bus has all of its destinations written on a sign on the side of the bus, and on the main sign at the front of the bus. In around 25% of cases, bus destinations will be written in English and Thai but, in the other 75% of cases, they’re only in Thai. As Thai uses its own alphabet, unless you’ve studied the language, you haven’t a chance in heck of reading it. That’s why you need to know the bus numbers.
Which Buses to Take to Get to Specific Shopping Malls:
Siam Paragon is one of the two largest and most exclusive shopping malls in Bangkok. It’s a wonderful place for shopping, buying groceries, dining, hanging out in coffee shops with friends, seeing a movie or visiting Thailand’s largest aquarium, which is in the basement of the mall. Although you can get to it by train as the Siam station is right next door, a number of Bangkok buses will also get you there.
Bus Numbers — 15, 16, 21, 25, 40, 48, 54, 73
Central World Plaza — The largest shopping mall in Thailand, and one of the largest in the world, Central World Plaza is a mecca for shoppers with its several hundred stores, more than 100 restaurants and cafes, a mega-movie theater, bookshops, clothing stores, shoe stores, toy shops, electronics shops, a massive grocery store, food courts, and more. It’s easy to get to from Chidlom sky train station but, if you want to take the bus, plenty of buses go there too.
Bus Numbers — 25, 29, 34, 36, 47, 50, 93, 501
Mahboonkrong Mall – One of the cheapest shopping malls in Bangkok, Mahboonkrong (known as MBK) is a massive budget shopping mall, complete with many cafes, restaurants, clothing stores, shoe stores, watch and gold shops, toy stores, Thai and Chinese snack shops, as well as an enormous Thai handicrafts section, a bowling alley and movie theater.
MBK is next to National Stadium sky train station and a three minute walk from Siam station but, plenty of people also arrive by bus, as buses stop outside and they’re cheap.
Bus Numbers — 25, 29, 34, 36, 47, 50, 93, 501
Central Ladprao is the main shopping mall in northern Bangkok and has recently been renovated, so it’s just about the most popular mall outside the main downtown area. To get to Central Ladprao by bus, take any of these air-conditioned buses. All of them stop right outside the mall.
Bus Numbers — 29, 38, 39, 44, 63, 92, 104, 134,145, 502, 503, 509, 510, 512, 513, 517, 518, 545
Central Chidlom – Another of the Central Department store shopping mall group, Central Chidlom is downtown and close to the Chidlom sky train station. The department store/mall is extremely popular with middle-class Thais and families with children, and it’s crowded on the weekends, so get there early. These buses will take you:
Bus Numbers — 2, 17, 25, 40, 48 and Micro Bus number 6 (these are the small mini buses style buses)
Central Pinklao – Located in Bangkok Noi, Central Pinklao is an older shopping mall, but still has things like an excellent food court, lots of restaurants, a movie theater, a Tops supermarket, a Super Sports store, a Marks and Spencer and many wonderful shops. The mall has six floors, so there’s lots to keep you occupied, and is easy to get to by bus. Take the following bus numbers:
Bus Numbers — 28, 30, 40, 57, 123, 124, 127, 146, 149
Transit Bangkok (Bangkok Bus) – Plan Your Trip