An alternative to luxury mega malls, community malls are casual and generally very child-friendly. Each features the usual array of shops, as well as unique boutiques, cosy cafés and great eateries. Here are 7 of our favourite community malls in Bangkok.
1. J Avenue
Located at the front of Thonglor soi 15, J Avenue is among the earliest community malls (that spurred the trend?). Here, you’ll find branches of Villa supermarket, Mothercare, L’Occitane, Au Bon Pain, Daiso (the Japanese 60-baht shop), Boots, iStudio and more. Enjoy a meal or snack at Greyhound Café, Mousses & Meringues, iBerry, and Nanohana, among other good restaurants.
This community mall in Sukhumvit 26 offers lots of variety, with a supermarket, pharmacies and cafés, as well as fashion accessories, clothing, children’s products, and pet supply stores. Great places to eat include Water Cress, with healthy organic fare; King’s Palace Chinese restaurant; Len Zen Thai boat noodles; and T House Vietnamese restaurant. There is also a small outdoor playground, and free arts and craft activities for kids every Saturday.
At the front of Sukhumvit soi 47, this little mall features lots of Japanese dining options, as well as a Wine Connection, small supermarket and some cafés, including Pacamara, the boutique coffee roaster from Chiang Mai. Also, the top floor houses several education centres/schools, such as Babies Genius, Thai for Kids, and Zoo-phonics.
On Ratchapruek Road, The Circle is one of the first community malls to sprout up across the river in Thonburi. Set up like a little village, this mall features over 200 stores, including kids’ clothing and accessories boutiques, as well as activity venues such as Juno Park Ville learning centre, a music school, a ballet school and more. Restaurants range from international to a variety of Asian cuisine.
Tucked away at the end of Soi Aree Samphan 11, this hip little community mall features a handful of eateries, cafés and shops (and a DJ school, Siam Scratch) amidst a lush garden setting, replete with lawn and winding carp pond. There are no dedicated kids’ businesses but it’s still a great place to have lunch and/or hang out. Aree Garden also occasionally holds outdoor markets on Saturdays, featuring handmade goods and secondhand accessories, among other things.
A modern and open structure that contrasts with the dingy shophouses long associated with the Samyan neighbourhood, I’m Park mainly draws students from nearby Chulalongkorn University. As such, the mall offers a variety of interesting and inexpensive Asian eateries, such as Mario Chow Bao, serving Taiwanese street food; Ya Kun Coffee & Toast from Singapore; and Saigon Vietnamese restaurant. There are also lots of Japanese restaurants. All in all, this is a good alternative for food, drinks and snacks if you’re in the MBK area.
Across from Wat Mahathat in the old part of town, Tha Maharaj consists of around 50 shops and restaurants with great riverside views. We suggest Savoey Thai and Zaab Eli Isaan restaurants for meals; and Creamery, Stick House and Jaenee Puek Hima for sweet treats. Getting here is part of the fun — take the Chao Phraya Express Boat or Tourist Boat from Sathorn pier at the foot of Saphan Taksin BTS station to Tha Chang, Tha Prachan or Tha Maharaj. Kids may also enjoy exploring the famed amulet market nearby, where vendors set up stalls between the river and Maharaj Road.