Bangkok shopping: Inside Terminal 21, the city's newest mall
If you're a developer with a prime piece of land right smack in the middle of Bangkok's busiest retail zone, it would appear you have only three obvious options. Build a condominium, a hotel or a shopping mall.
Sure enough, filling in one of the few remaining stretches between the Phrom Phong and Siam BTS stations without a retail outlet is Terminal 21, which opened earlier this month.
One might think the last thing Bangkok needs is yet another shopping mall. Fortunately this isn't just another shopping mall.
Named for its resemblance to an airport terminal and its location at Sukhumvit 21, Terminal 21 is right next to the busy Asoke intersection, connected with the BTS Asoke and MRT Sukhumvit stations.
Each floor of this Bangkok shopping mall has a different theme based on various cities around the world, so it's like traveling to a new shopping venue when you hit each floor. And the designers placed gorgeous statues and icons of each city in their respective sections.
For example, the bottom level, a Caribbean-themed supermarket floor, has some beach decor and a huge lighthouse right in the middle of the floor.
If you enter the mall from the street or BTS skywalk, you will be in Rome and Paris, two floors dedicated to fashion brands.
Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary when it comes to international brands. It's all the same stuff found in the other city malls. The real highlight is the local designers' section, where you can find 44 outlets featuring clothes by Thai designers.
More on CNNGo: A complete guide to Bangkok's growing fashion scene
Up in the Tokyo and London sections, smaller brands can be found in compact spaces. Ladies can hit Tokyo for more than 100 beauty and clothing stores, and men can go up another floor to London for their own fashion needs.
On the third floor shoppers are greeted by a sign saying “Welcome to Istanbul City," a floor filled with trinkets, gifts and accessories shops.
Dinner and a movie
San Francisco, on the fourth and the fifth floors, is where all the restaurant chains can be found, including some local favorites like Sunrise Tacos, Baan Ying and Canton House. Like most Bangkok shopping malls, there's a heavy dose of Japanese-themed restaurants as well. Click here for the full list of eateries.
There's also the "Pier 21" food court, aimed at office workers in Asoke. Each dish is priced around 25-35 baht, though they come in slightly smaller portions than what's sereved out in the streets.
Lastly, up on the top is, of course, Hollywood. There's no replica of the iconic sign, but you know you're there because of the giant Oscar statue. On this floor Terminal 21 has its own SF Cinema City, although we're not sure why SF added one here when they have SFX Emporium one BTS station away.
Apart from the city themes, what really makes Terminal 21 stand apart from the other cookie-cutter malls are its 21st-century utilities such as free Wi-Fi (bring your ID/Passport to one of the information counters), toilets with heated covers and bidets -- amazing! -- and an impressive 36-meter escalator.
All in all, even though Bangkok needs a few more green spaces far more than it needs another retail outlet, it's difficult to deny that Terminal 21 is indeed a pleasure to stroll though.
Terminal 21: Asoke-Sukhumvit Intersection, BTS: Asoke. MRT: Sukhumvit. +66 (0)2 108 0888. www.terminal21.co.th