Asiatique – Riverfront Experience

  • Posted onFebruary 11th, 2013

Asiatique: the Riverfront Experience

asiatiqueBangkok is literally bursting with shopping centres from state-of-the-art mega malls to bustling markets, with more constantly under construction, fast earning a reputation as Asia’s premier shopping hub. One of the city’s latest shopping projects has successfully managed to combine a contemporary mall experience with an outdoor bazaar, all set by the tranquil Chao Phraya riverside.

Already proving to be a huge hit, the Asiatique riverfront mall is a welcome replacement for the sadly missed Siam Night Bazaar, offering an evening shopping experience along this once-thriving commercial port. Making the most of the awesome riverside location, the large area of wasteland as been transformed into a promenade with over 1500 boutique shops and 40 eateries, housed in a village of replica warehouses.  Between the large warehouses are wide, paved streets scattered with maritime sculptures, including plenty old marine and dock items given a second life as art installations. Along with lots of retro posters and decor, there are plenty of Kodak moments ans opportunities to test out your instagram photo filters. While the decor itself can seem a little kitsch and even OTT in places, this is a very clean and well organised bazaar, and one of the few malls which has an easy to navigate map.

Shopping

asiatique_shoppingAsiatque is more than a late night market or just another mall, this is a shopping experience all about alternative and hipster fashion, handicrafts and jewellery, and a smattering of gadgets. It might not have the same power punch as the Chatuchak Weekend Market in terms of sheer size and number of stalls, but condensed into roughly 1000 boutiques, in what is known as the Chareonkrung District, you’ll find loads of clothing and accessories to please most 20 to 30-somthings, including lots of affordable local designs and brands. Here you’ll also find some excellent gift shopping, with all the classic Thai take-home items and a few alternative gifts and unique handicrafts.

Across in the Factory District you’ll find all the latest gadgets and tech gear, including an Apple store.

Dining

asiatique_diningEating options at the Asiatique are both impressive and plentiful, with a mix of cheap street stalls selling fried finger foods and tasty snacks, food court style booths covering all the Thai and Asian classics, and a collection of air conditioned restaurants from branched of MK, KFC, and Pizza Company, to more upscale bistros specializing in Italian and Thai, with lots of fresh seafood. The posh nosh can be mostly found around the Waterfront District, while the Town Square is where you’ll find cheap eats, cafes, bars, and space for the open air events and street performers.

Entertainment

Away from shopping and eating options, what really makes  any successful night bazaar is the entertainment, and Asiatiaque has got this covered with two big draws in the Joe Louis Theatre, a much loved Thai puppet show, and the Calypso Cabaret, one of Bangkok’s most famous ladyboy cabaret shows. Both attractions have relocated here from elsewhere in the city and come with a large following and a reputation for a fun night out.  The change of location has not only helped both shows to give their long running performances a fresh mew look, but the large theatre space and attractive new locale is only helping them to grow even more popular.

How to get there:

asiatique_gettinghereThe easiest and most fun way to get here is via boat. Asiatique run a free shuttle boat from the dock at Saphan Taksin BTS station. Boats run at around every 20 minutes from 17.00 pm until 23.00 pm, and the boat ride takes about 10 minute, it’s without doubts the easiest way to avoid the heavy traffic which often haunts the roads leading to the street entrance. From the boat dock you’ll also get to tread along the romantic boardwalk, which can be best experienced at sunset.

Open from 17.00 pm until around midnight , the Asiatique offers a fun selection of unique and alternative shopping, gift buying, eating, drinking and entertainment. Popular with both tourists and locals it is not over run by either, partly due to a slight lack of advertisement, though this venue will sure only grow in popularity over the coming months.

Asiatique Bangkok (Official site)

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