A shopping mall on the Bangkok riverside
ICONSIAM is Bangkok’s latest, largest, and most luxurious shopping mall. How many times did you read this sentence in Bangkok? When you thought there was enough mall and the latest would be the last for at least another decade, a bigger one would open.
At least, ICONSIAM is not on the ‘shopping miles’ that stretched from Siam to Sukhumvit but filled a void on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. In case you don’t yet know, Thonburi is the quiet side of the capital, where the only known landmark is Wat Arun (the temple of dawn). This new shopping monster covers a staggering 50 rai (750,000 square metres)
Most tourists or even expats don’t understand why Thai people love their malls so much. Malls are bright and colourful places to meet your friends, eat together in a fun place and eventually, shop a little. Since online shopping is so trendy in Thailand, malls have changed their focus to food and entertainment rather than just shopping. The number of restaurants and the choice of goods in IconSiam are staggering.
The location on the Chao Phraya riverside makes ICONSIAM pretty unique and, not accidentally, very Instagram-friendly. The little boat ride to cross the river from Saphan Taksin BTS Station add a nice touch. As the direct BTS is not yet ready at the time we write, you will probably use that free shuttle boat.
You might be a little confused about the mall’s layout if you enter the front door by the riverside. The riverside doors give access to the luxury floors, and since it’s not for all budgets, it looks relatively empty and quiet. Don’t stop here and walk to the back of the mall, where all the ‘normal’ stuff is.
The lower floor
The lower floor is the most popular and the busiest, designed like an old Thai village and floating market. It’s quite charming and a great photo playground. Try some local food; it’s excellent, fun and affordable too. It’s big, so expect to spend some time there. It also connects to an attractive food gallery with many Japanese sweets. Takashimaya runs the department store, so it does have a lot of Japanese products on sale, as well as many Japanese restaurants. Thankfully, many of them are Japanese, not the usual franchises found in every single mall in Bangkok (Fuji, Zen etc.)
ICONSIAM is a maze made of the usual shops you can find in other shopping centres. It’s not original, so don’t expect a big surprise here; because they tried a creative layout, the surface is enormous, and it requires a lot of walking to find anything. Since online shopping has taken over, they mixed shops with many snack and sweet shops.
The floors above are all about food, immense terraces and panoramic restaurants and bars overlooking the river, probably the most attractive part of the mall. Remember that the balconies are very hot during the day, and the sun sets on the other side, so don’t expect to get a sunset photo. However, the view at the blue hour is superb, especially with the heritage buildings on the other bank.
The last floor hosts a massive movie theatre and, of course, more restaurants.
Siam Takashimaya is a luxury department store from Japan occupying seven floors in the back of the building. Here you will find tins of real Japanese products and restaurants for all budgets. For us, Takashimaya may be the most valuable addition because this famous brand adds a lot of unique products. Without it, it probably would just be the same shops and restaurants as in other malls in Thailand.
How to get there
Unless you are one of the rare travellers to stay on the Thonburi side of Bangkok, the most comfortable and most convenient way to reach ICONSIAM is to take the BTS Skytrain and get off at Saphan Taksin station (the station just before crossing the broad river). From there, it is relatively easy to reach the well-indicated ICONSIAM pier and ride the free shuttle boat for a short 5 min ride.
Address: 299 Charoen Nakhon Rd, Khlong Ton Sai, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Open since: 9 November 2018
Size: 750,000 sqm