For those of you who've visited Bangkok, the name Pantip (or Panthip, if you like) probably rings familiar. If you've never traveled to Bangkok and wondered what shopping for gadgets, computers and electronics might look like, here it is: one part modern shopping mall, another part chaotic Asian street market.
But first, an explanation of why we chose this image.
Bangkok, the hub of Southeast Asia — for us, it's like a magnet. We've visited or transited through the city about a dozen times in the last few years. Bangkok is like our home in Asia. There's a level of familiarity and comfort.
We have certain rituals when we first arrive. We revisit our favorite street food, fruit shake, and iced coffee stands. Then there are the errands: stocking up on passport photos (8 pics for $3), replacing our river sandals ($8), visiting the dentist and stopping by the palace of all things computer, Pantip Plaza.
At Pantip, almost everything electronic you can imagine is under one roof, jammed in — from memory to camera gear to mobile phones to DVDs to software to plug adapters. It's not the sort of place to peruse and enjoy the process of shopping. It's more a functional shopping experience — the type of place you go when you have a specific need. Get what's needed and get out.
On Friday we made our ritual visit to Pantip Plaza. Open up the panorama below and move around it to find out what it's like. Note: this is what you can see. Underneath and behind it all are the nooks, crannies and secret warrens that are key to the old world-meets-new world Asian shopping experience.
360-Degree Panorama: Pantip Plaza in Bangkok
A question for you: If you're a frequent Bangkok visitor, is Pantip Plaza part of your ritual? Or is MBK more your speed? Or do you avoid them both like the plague?