There’s always more shopping to be done in Bangkok. New night markets appear seemingly out of nowhere. A new mall is built, only to be overshadowed by another within a matter of months. The Malls of Bangkok series began at quirky Silom Complex, home of Orchid Books, and moved on to the oh-so-young Siam Center and its Asian designer boutiques. It’s time to downshift and head over to Century the Movie Plaza, where video games rule, makeup is applied, the cheap jewelry stalls sometimes tempt, and Hello Kitty dominates a little shop.
From Skytrain to Low-Budget Jewelry
There’s an entrance to Century the Movie Plaza from the Victory Monument Skytrain stop that lets visitors onto the second floor. Once inside, they’ll soon be greeted by little carts with costume jewelry, stuffed animals, and incense. The jewelry often closely resembles what’s for sale outside on the street, both in style and price. But the intrepid shopper of Bangkok knows that there’s always something out of the ordinary lurking around the next corner. Most recently in this case, it would be peacock feather earrings for that 80s rocker burn-out look. An uncommon find, and they’re only one dollar.
Like many malls, the three levels above the ground floor are open at the center, courtyard-style, creating balconies that look down to the activity below. This is where the weekly sales happen. But up on the third floor, it’s all about video games. Because of this, a constant drone permeates the mall. Unpleasant? Yes, it can be. Many natives of Bangkok are accustomed to a never-ending assault on their eardrums, so this is nothing to them. Aside from the noise, it can be fun to watch people play out-of-the-ordinary games like Percussion Freoks (sic), a video drummer game, or EZ 2 DJ, with two turntables and music to follow. Speaking of music, there are also five karaoke booths lined up along one wall, where people can practice in (relative) privacy – the booths are plexiglass so passersby can watch but not hear.
Also on the third floor near the ticket booth for the cinema (the mall IS named Century the Movie Plaza), there is a shop called Winnies, as in Winnie the Pooh. But inside, Hello Kitty rules. Some people are obsessed with the cutesy cat. Some people can’t stand her. Some people are both obsessed and disgusted. However anyone feels about it all, the gamut of Hello Kitty bric-a-brac boggles the mind. Winnies also has a nice sticker section for all the 10-year-old girls out there.
Don’t forget the makeup! Like Los Angeles or Miami, Bangkok is heavy on it. The second floor has a row of shops solely dedicated to makeup: Cosmeda, Cute Press, Oriental Princess. There is almost always someone powdering, lining eyes, or applying mascara, either to herself, a friend, or a client. It can get pretty busy in there. Join the party. Or sit at the coffee shop out front, where you can catch glimpses of the primped primping.
The Cinema, the View
Movie-goers are treated to a great, panoramic view of Bangkok on the way up to the theaters. There are couches where people sit and chat, with the Skytrain tracks just below them. This cityscape is oriented southwest, toward Banglampoo and the Chao Praya River.
Century the Movie Plaza is dwarfed when compared to heavyweights like Siam Center. But the pleasure in Bangkok’s shopping is the limitless variety. The shopping will not stop in Bangkok. For that reason, the Malls of Bangkok series must continue. Installment four is coming soon. Where oh where will we go next? Panthip Plaza, a tech-head’s paradise.