Vacation Dispatch: Bangkok’s Best Kept Indie Shopping Secret (Air-Con Included!)

Artist ColorS Bangkok Art and Culture CentreWow, it’s been awhile, huh? I figured I should start this puppy up again and not stress myself out about it so much. So going forward, I’m just going to write about interesting things that I think are worthwhile to share. So I’ll start with a serious nugget of shopping information that the hubs and I stumbled upon while we were vacationing in Southeast Asia in May.

This was probably one of the best vacations EVER. Our itinerary: Bangkok — Siem Reap, Cambodia (which I need to write about later because I miss it so much!) — Phnom Penh, Cambodia — Koh Samui, Thailand — Bangkok again — Hong Kong.

On our last stop into Bangkok, we tried to partake in last minute gift (and for-myself) shopping and it was an utter fail for most of the day. We attempted the tourist-heavy, cheap tchotchke-filled MBK, but it was overwhelming and not what we’re interested in, so we pretty much gave up. But we weren’t about to forgo air-conditioning (and we resigned to take in some culture), so we walked along a thankfully-covered skywalk right into the Guggenheim-esque Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. We entered and both exclaimed at the same time, “OH MY GOD, I SEE STORES.”

Like cute, boutique-y, indie stores with three-floors of GOOD stuff to shop. When I travel, I like to go to the “Brooklyn-y” neighborhoods and check out small edited boutiques that offer unique, but fashionable items—especially by local designers—and this place had it. I bought two bags, tons of gifts for my dad and fairly discerning Auntie in Hong Kong, and pretty ring for myself. Everything was SO reasonably priced and all the shops are so new, they’re not in any guidebooks yet. So yes, this was true shopping kismet. And, of course, I took pictures to spread the word. Here are the highlights:

Happening Shop, Room 308, 3/F

Happening Shop, Room 308, 3/F

Happening Shop: This was the first spot we hit and it was sort of Project No. 8 in the Ace Hotel-ish. It was the perfect gift shop—my hubs bought his bro an oversize cork watch and I snatched up a nautical stripe tote bag with leather handle and strap (around US$30, seriously). They also had a really good selection of stationery type gifts and accessories, plus books that looked really interesting, but sadly, I don’t read Thai. Happening Shop/Facebook

Artist ColorS, Room 307, 3/F, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Artist ColorS, Room 307, 3/F

Artist ColorS: This was hands-down THE best place to find eye-catching (and functional) hostess gifts. I bought my aforementioned Auntie a really cute cherry blossom emblazoned tote bag and my dad a cool bamboo print wine holder. We treated ourselves to an arty throw pillow case, too. A view of the totes below—I got my Auntie the one on the right.

Artist ColorS Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Pretty, right? Artist ColorS

Shannta, Room 306, 3/F

Shannta, Room 306, 3/F

Shannta: I loved how all the shops had an arty theme and some even had a DIY educational element. This contemporary jewelry shop featured classes on how to make your own pieces and featured a guy demo-ing in the window. I ended up buying this crystal-encrusted sugar snap pea-shaped statement ring with fresh water pearls inside. (Sadly, I left it at said Auntie’s place in Hong Kong and she Fed Exed it back to me, but the pearls came dislodged. I need to find a jeweler to fix it! *sadface*). Here are the matching pendants:

Shannta Bangkok Art and Culture Centre necklacesThe peanut one is so cute, too, right? Shannta

Dress Me Up Bangkok art and Culture Centre

Dress Me Up, Room 302, 3/F

Dress Me Up: I totally fell in love with this spot. It’s half Thai café and half handbag and accessory store. I mean, I love food and I love bags. … I had a hard time deciding between the woven patterned mini-duffels, but eventually checked out with a minty green and pink hued one with leather handles and a detachable cross-body strap (around—yeah, seriously). They also had really cute animé panted totes and duffels, but that was a bit young for me. Someone else should go and pick one up though!

EAT ART by Hof Art Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

EAT ART by Hof Art, Room 202, 2/F

EAT ART by Hof Art: I’m sorry, but there was a mother freakin’ food cart in the middle of this café. I mean, how much more at home could I possibly feel?! Sadly, we ate already so we didn’t get to sample the culinary offerings here. But the next time I’m in Bangkok, I’m definitely dropping by for lunch.

There was tons more (including ice cream!), so check out the an entire list of shops and restaurants in the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre right here.

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC),939 Thanon Rama I, opposite MBK, official website

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