Bangkok Shopping Saturdays – Guate Leather Bags

There are so many great shops and stalls in Chatuchak that it can be hard to pick my favourites. Sometimes, let’s be honest, I can hardly find them amongst the maze of fluffy kittens and second hand denim jackets. Thankfully the fabulous leather bags at  Guate are easy to find, make sure you pick up a map at the entrance and head to soi 33,  section 24.

The shop smells fabulous and they stock a range of wallets, purses, rucksacks and handbags in a wide range of colours. My friend picked up a oversized shopper in brilliant turquoise, but I am lusting after the fawn or peachy coloured kit bag pictured below. At only 4,500 baht it really is one of those pieces that would look fabulous under the Christmas tree…

Best Shops in CentralWorld

CentralWorld is a great mall in Bangkok. It houses all the brands that I miss from home including:

• Accessorize

• Topshop

• Dorothy Perkins

• M&S (for biscuits)

• Ted Baker

• Body Shop

• Zara

• Mango

• Boots

It’s huge (550,000 square metres huge) but easy to get around, unlike most shopping venues in Thailand. As well as the above shops it has many more cool places that I love to browse. When it rains Central World is the perfect entertainment centre under one roof, with a fancy cinema, many restaurants and an ice-rink! Below are some of the places I like to spend too much time in when I visit this shopping mall, hey, it’s tough finding clothes in Thailand if you are tall and like cookies.

Uniqlo

I used to buy the occasional item from Uniqlo in the UK, but with Gap being so frigging expensive I needed a new place for my basics. Their t-shirts are the best, especially when they have worked in collaboration with designers and other brands. I got quite addicted to the Laura Ashley ones and purchased (ahem) three of them. Their jeans are an amazing fit and my bum looks great in them and at only 1,500 baht they are not too dear. They also seem to have offers on every week. Beware of the creepy folk who greet you though, they are programmed to say ‘Watdiii Uniqlo!’ every five minutes or they implode.

Forever XXI

Who needs Primark when you have this awesome Aladdin’s cave of cheap goodies! I’d been a few times when I was in the US but I didn’t appreciate the awesomeness till I came here. There is so much cheap n good stuff that you can’t help but find something you love, even if it is just a pair of PJ shorts with the Eiffel Tower on them.

Jaspal

Just when I thought Thailand was failing me in the shopping department a friend introduced me to Jaspal, a great Thai brand with a good range of accessories. Think Asian Zara and you’re almost there. It can be a bit pricey on occasion, but come during sale time for some great bargains (Big sales are in January and June/July). My favourite item from Jaspal has got to be my green and navy sun hat I got as a special gift last Christmas, protects me from the strong Asian sun!

Bangkok Shopping: Rubber Rainy Season Shoes 2012

When I was about seven my friend Karen had some amazing glittery jelly shoes that I lusted after, but was never allowed. Fast-forward 22 years and my dreams have finally come true with my 2012 rainy shoes. I purchased them at Chatuchak Market for 199 baht but you can pretty much find them on any street corner because every Thai lady owns a pair. There was a great selection of colours, but I decided to keep it simple (ha!) with a pair of silvery sparkly rubber shoes. They pretty much go with anything, but beware of getting pavement water in them, it’s pretty icky. My next item on the rainy shopping list is frilly umbrella. There is a stall in Asoke station which I am sure will provide.

Bangkok Shopping: Aristotle Rose Bag

The weather is Bangkok has been dreadful and it doesn’t look set to improve over the weekend, so I am engaging in the laziest kind of shopping: online. Things always look far nicer in the carefully composed pictures , and I am less tempted to buy them if I can’t be in the same room as them as for me shopping is an experience, I like to smell the leather and touch the silk.

I know I go on and on about bags, but I have a new crush this week: the Aristotle Rose bag. Some of them have a waiting list of over 3 months and priced at around 7500 baht (around 150 GBP), so I think it will just stay on the fantasy wish list, but if I had to choose, I would go for a classic leather in bright pink or cherry red.

The brand was created in 2008 by the PR guru and accessory designer from Kloset. It’s taken them a good few years of strangling to reach the top, but now every Hi-So girl in Bangkok is lusting after them. They’ve recently branched into bags with feathers and sparkles but this takes things a bit too Thai for me! Check out their collection on Facebook.

Bangkok Shopping – Three Bag Shops to check out at Asiatique

Asia has cured me of my obsession with shoes, leaving me wearing flip-flops for a large part of the year. It has however fuelled my love of bags. I just can’t stop, and there are so many on offer, from brilliant fake Mulberry at Platinum Mall to vintage stores around the city and so much in between. I visited Asiatique the other day (Bangkok’s new riverside mall, grab the free shuttle boat from the pier near Sapphan Taksin BTS, open from 17:00) and was surprised to find so many fantastic bags to buy. Here are my three faves.

By Myself Handcrafted (Town Square District Warehouse 5)

This great boutique sells the perfect beach bag – stripy with leather handles. I’ve been lusting after one for months, but after seeing the craftsman in action in the Asiatique store, the bags have moved to the top of my wish list. Set up in 2005 by Tanawat “Ouu” Kuansuwan, the focus was first on wallets and keys chains, but he has now branched out. The leather comes from Argentina and Australia and is as soft as butter. Check out their Facebook page here

ELE Bags ( Charoenkrung District, Hip Zone)

Everyone needs a weekend bag and with the chances of flooding coming, the whale design of ELE (or Everyday Life Elements) would be perfect. Started in 2002 as a Interior Design company, they have now branched out into bags and accessories. As well as sporting a pretty funky design these bags are functional too, with the right amount of pockets and zips to help you not lose things. Check out their website here.

Icanita

I really liked their casual totes in bright colours and their envelope clutch bags. They also had some well made leather shoppers. They seemed to be pretty new and I haven’t managed to track down a website yet, but will go back to Asiatique soon to track down the store location!

Bangkok Shopping – Qualy at Asiatique

I stumbled across Qualy last night whilst visiting Asiatique. This great homeware store sells everything a girl like me could wish for:

  • A toilet brush shaped like an oversized cherry (in the left hand corner of the picture above)
  • Jib-Jib salt and pepper shaker in the shape of a small chick. You turn his head, black eyes for pepper, white for salt
  • A Piccky boy toothpick holder who promises to be your personal teeth cleaner
  • Log and Squirrel self watering plant pot
  • They’ve even turned an ice tray into a game! Save the polar bear by making him some icebergs

I already have two lights shaped like dogs, so any of these purchases would add to my happy plastic family. Qualy’s tag line is Living with Styles. That is exactly what I am trying to do.

Check out their website here. The animal seasoning shaker is on my Christmas list.

Bangkok Shopping: Terminal 21 Mall

Whoever designed Terminal 21 at the Asoke junction on Sukhumvit certainly knew their audience. There is nothing Thais seem to love more than snapping pictures of themselves and this mall is perfectly designed to maximise photo opportunities.

From the outside it looks like a modern airport and that theme is continued inside with 9 floors themed around different cities. They have taken the airport theme to its very limit, with the signs above the escalators signalling your departure to a new city.

Hollywood hosts the cinema with an huge and rather skinnier than usual Oscar statue (worth noting that on Wednesday’s tickets at SFX cinemas including this one are half price). San Fransisco welcomes those in need of refreshment, with a selection of restaurants and a food court. The restaurant selection isn’t the most exciting, but the view of the miniature Golden Gate Bridge, a cable car and the famous San Fran Heart certainly makes up for it.

The well known brands are situated on the Rome and Paris floors and although there is no Eiffel Tower or Tower of Pisa, the guards are dressed in the cities’ police uniforms. The attention to detail is impressive, with even the bathrooms themed around that city – Paris has some very opulent black and gold mirrored restrooms. It’s on these floors that you can find places such as Nike, Jaspal and CPS (both decently priced Thai clothing stores).

The only floor that let’s it down for me, at least theme wise, is the basement Caribbean floor. However there are some great snack options down here including crepes and a mini Chu. I tend to spend most of my time exploring the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors which are where the local independent labels are situated.

Tokyo (floor 1) houses women’s clothing as well as a gigantic waving cat. London with its double decker bus, tube train and bobby is mainly men’s clothes, including two of my favourite T Shirt shops: Bang Bang whose designs are cartoon images of famous people and A Pick Me Up which is all rubber duck themed t shirts. Istanbul on floor 3 is accessories, with some great costume jewellery and fabulous leather bags.

Bangkok Shopping: Vintage Leather Bags, Ekkamai

My vintage saddle bag from pretty much my favourite vintage laether store in Bangkok, (Un)fashion Vintage Collection. I have a few bags from here but the latest is all my all time favourite. Check out their facebook page to lust after more beautiful bags. They get new stock every Wednesday and the bag below set me back 1400 Baht.

Ekkamai Soi 10, Next to Happy Monday, Tel: 02-726-9592. Open Mon-Sat noon-9pm