From Bangkok to San Francisco to London to Rome . . . all in the space of 30 minutes and with no passport and no jet-lag. That’s the prospect that awaits visitors to the unique Terminal 21 shopping mall located adjacent to Asoke Skytrain station in central Bangkok. Opened in October 2011, Terminal 21 is an airport-themed shopping mall with each floor assigned to a different city around the world. It’s a clever idea and one which sets the ultra-modern Terminal 21 apart from the other shopping malls located in Bangkok.
When you enter Terminal 21 you may be asked to clear ‘airport security’. No frisking involved, just an airport-style scanner and a man dressed in a white airline uniform who salutes ‘passengers’ before they enter the main Terminal 21 area. Escalators take you to each different departure level with its own destination theme. Floor 1 is Tokyo with an oversized maneki-neko cat and giant figurines of sumo wrestlers in case you were in any doubt. From there, head down to the Caribbean-themed basement and the huge feature lighthouse or depart to Floor 2 and London where you will find a replica double-decker bus and an underground train complete with shops inside. If Tokyo and London don’t float your boat, fly off to Istanbul, the luxury stores of Rome and Paris or the streets of San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the central atrium. It’s all very sanuk and all very Thai.
After all that travelling you may be feeling hungry so head up to Level 5 where you will find Pier 21, a collection of international restaurants and eateries. Seafood, burgers and steaks, Japanese, Thai, fusion; you name it and Pier 21 probably has it. Prices are reasonable at the restaurants, but there is also a vast Thai food-court where local office workers and savvy shoppers will come to eat cheap and tasty Thai food starting from around 30 Baht per dish. And after you have had your fill of shopping and eating, move up to Level 6 for Los Angeles and Hollywood (you won’t fail to miss the huge Oscar statue) to catch the latest movies in comfort. Remember to stand up for the Royal Anthem which is played before films at Thai cinemas.
Terminal 21 is home to a number of independent boutique outlets as well as major international brands, but you can easily fill an afternoon or morning here just wandering around and window-shopping. Air-conditioned comfort and lots of fun photo-opportunities make it a good place to bring children who may also appreciate a taste of home from the international food outlets. A nice touch is that complimentary strollers/pushchairs are available for use within the mall and for those who intend to do lots of shopping you can use Terminal 21’s ‘wheeled baggage’. I don’t like shopping, but I did enjoy the unique Terminal 21 experience. Highly recommended.
Terminal 21 is open daily from 10.00 to 22.00. The mall is adjacent to Asoke Skytrain station (Exit 1) and the closest Metro station is Sukhumvit (Exit 3). See the touch-screen information desks or ‘check-in desks’ at Terminal 21 to get your free Wi-Fi password and to view the full directory of stores on each level.