There seems to be no end to shopping in Bangkok, and Pantip Plaza is one of the better places to get a retail fix … especially if you’re after computer software, pirated music or DVD movies, computers or parts, computer accessories, computer or mobile phone repairs or modifications (e.g. jailbreaking your iPhone or unlocking your mobile phone), digital cameras, games consoles (including getting ‘mod chips’ installed), computer games and anything else “IT” related.
Although you buy legitimate software here (I actually bought a latest release game for half the retail price at home and it was legit), be aware that most of the software for sale in Pantip Plaza is counterfeit … fake … pirated … not legit, ok?
That being said, this is a fantastic place to lose yourself for a few hours and buy some stuff you might never even see at home. For example, we looked long and hard at the “new mini iPhone” in Pantip Plaza. This device was half the size of a normal iPhone, but otherwise looked and seemed to work exactly the same. The stall holder assured us that it was real and “made by Apple in China” … but we could not find out anything about it on the internet, so we passed up this wonderful-looking gadget (thankfully).
The biggest store in Pantip Plaza is IT City which takes up the entire top floor. But on the mezzanine level there are two other large stores (Data IT and DVDR2U) and there are hundreds of smaller stores scattered throughout the centre. There is also a half-decent food hall on the ground floor and a food court on the mezzanine floor.
One of the delights of Pantip Plaza for me is the small music and DVD stores who will sit with you while you browse their title catalogue and actually play each title you’re interested in on the TV in the store window so you know exactly what you’re buying. You indicated that you like a title and they write it down. When you’re done, they gather up all the titles you liked and you can buy them (100-150B per title), although sometimes they don’t have stock so you have to wait 10 minutes while they consult their supplier or find a competitor who’s willing to sub-deal with them.
Pantip Plaza is located in New Phetchaburi Road in Ratchathewi District, right next door to Platinum Fashion Mall and up the road from Pratunam Market. It’s open from 10 AM to 9 PM every day, but some of the stores open later and close earlier. The easiest way to get there is to take the Bangkok Skytrain to Rachathewi station, turn right as you come out and head down Phetchaburi Road, staying on the same side of the street as the station. It’s about 300 meters walk.
To buy IT in Thailand or not?
One of the decisions I had to make last trip was where to buy some legitimate IT products I wanted to get while we were overseas. This included a new phone, a broadband modem/router and a computer game.
Thailand is not necessarily the cheapest or the best place to buy IT goods. Often the prices here for legitimate goods are higher than in the USA, Europe or Australia. And even when they look cheap, they are probably only similar to the same sale prices you’ll get at home at different times of the year.
Often you will find that the warranty on IT goods bought in Thailand (especially phones and cameras) is not honoured in your home country. Also in some cases the goods are not suited for use at home (e.g different video or mobile phone standards).