Fortune Town – Bangkok’s Replacement to Pantip Plaza
Pantip Plaza, known to many as the main IT mall for Bangkok, used to be my go-to destination whenever I needed hardware, software or something repaired.
However, in the last couple of years, Pantip has become a shadow of its former glory days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great place to search for any IT related gear, but many of the handy little stores that used to be there have either closed up or moved, making sections of Pantip feel a little deserted.
The more popular mall for IT these days is Fortune Town. Although not that much newer than Pantip, Fortune Town was always a little isolated as it was originally a little harder to reach for those used to being in the main faring ghettos (ie Sukhumvit Road, Ploenchit etc). However, the area around Fortune Town is currently going through a real building boom, given it is now accessed not only by the MRT, but also the Suvarnabhumi skytrain line. There is also a glitzy new Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 across the road, making this area prime shopping real estate.
Fortune Town is an interesting mall in that it is a long and very narrow six storey shopping centre (but the top floor is office space rather than shopping). It’s a little dated, but to be honest, I am more than happy to make that sacrifice if the location has the stores I want. Unlike many of the mega malls, finding things in Fortune Town is quite easy as there is only the one shopping corridor, rather than a maze of them, and there are escalators conveniently located at either end (plus stairs and lifts elsewhere). If you come in through the main entrance (at the centre of the store) you will also find a large directory showing each floor plan with a detailed listing of all shops. Alternatively, visit fortunetown.co.th. Please note that these directories are not fully up-to-date. However, my description of what is available later in this article is based on my visit last week.
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As with Pantip, Fortune Town is not an exclusive IT mall. In fact, it is actually a lot more diverse than most locals think, and perhaps labelling it as an “IT mall” is a little short-sighted. Instead, Fortune Town is filled with all sorts of harder to find and specialty items. To make life even easier, the centre has organised stores into different categories. For instance the ground floor (basement) comprises the hobby, food, education, and health and beauty zones. Some of the highlights of the stores located in Fortune Town include Tesco Lotus, Kumon, Super Rich money exchange, Yin-Yang Cartoon, Pro-Plugin, Banana IT, Alpha Com Service, CAP, I.T. Book House, DCom, D-Life Photo, Home of Maker, Cyber Care Service Centre, Epson Service Centre, Dell Store, Jet Computer Plus, Lenovo, IT City, and Ericsson.
I love to fully explore shopping centres, and get to know everything available in each store. For me, its always handy to know where to go when you need something. For your benefit, I will set out below in much more detail what you will find on each floor of Fortune Town.
Ground Floor – Food, Education and Beauty
The ground floor is probably better described as a basement as it is largely below ground. This section is dominated by food and education. There is a health and beauty section at the southern end that includes a lot of hair, skin, spa, dental and pharmacies. After this, the food avenue begins, with a good mix of name brand food chains (like MK Suki), and also some independent stores. The food avenue stretches through most of the store, but at the mid point there is a small cluster of shops that were dedicated to hobbies and toys. Unfortunately, most of these are no longer here and have either closed or been replaced by massage venues (with competitive prices). I suspect most of the toy places have moved to Mega Plaza in China Town. There is one hobby store left, called Yin-Yang Cartoon, but it has moved to the education zone at the northern end. For those that don’t know, Yin-Yang Cartoon is actually a model paint supply store (they do also have some comic books). They are also the main distributor of Vallejo model paints in Thailand.
The northern section of the basement is the education zone, and comprises many different tutoring and extra-curricular activities for kids, such as Kumon, Robot 4 Kid, Siam Kolkarn music school and Global Art.
First Floor – Food, Supermarket, Banks and Jewellery
The first floor continues the theme of food that the ground floor had, with a lot more of the brand chains, such as Pepper Lunch, Chester’s Grill, Kobune Japanese, KFC, Subway, Swenson’s, Mister Donut, McDonalds and Yamazaki. In addition, there are some cafes here such as Cafe Amazon, Suzuki Coffee and Solano Coffee. At the northern end is the first floor of Tesco Lotus. Also food related, there is a CP Fresh Mart at the mid point of the centre (CP Fresh is pretty good for frozen meals and ingredients such as meat balls). The southern end is a combination of jewellery stores, tailors, watch stores and banks.
Second Floor – Cameras and Mobile Phones
The second floor is the start of the IT related theme of the store, with the main central part of the store being dedicated to mobile phones and mobile phone accessories. This includes a few name brand stores (eg Jay Mart, TG One, Huawei, Samsung, Telewiz and a Samsung customer service centre. There are also plenty of small stores offering more interesting offerings and some harder to find or unique parts.
At the southern end, there is a combination of camera stores and business services such as document print, business cards and sign stores. From a photography perspective, this floor is amazing as there is a large collection of stores selling a massive range of not only cameras and lenses but accessories. Examples include studio lighting, photo booths, gyroscopic stabilisers, tripods and backdrops. There are also outlets of the main Thailand camera chains such as Big Camera and World Camera. This is also a great spot if you want to run off any photo prints or get film developed.
Mixed in with these stores are a few cafes and alternative stores that don’t quite fit the zoning. For example, Boomerang (DVDs and music), Mezzo Coffee and Cafe Amazon have outlets here. Finally, the northern end is the second/final floor of Tesco Lotus.
Third Floor – IT and Audio Visual
The third floor is where the real IT mall starts, with the entire northern half dedicated to all things computer related. You will find various Thai chain stores such as Banana IT, Remax and DCom. In addition, there are a lot of independent stores, that either sell computers, peripherals, games, software, movies, or specialise in computer servicing or repairs. There is also a big True mobile shop and coffee shop towards the centre. If you need some computer books, there is an outlet of I.T. Book House towards the north.
At the southern end, there are a lot of specialty stores concentrating on audio visual, and in particular on high fidelity sound systems and vinyl record players. To accompany these stores, there are a lot of stores selling vinyl records. Basically, if you are into vinyl then this section has the biggest selection of records that I have seen so far in Bangkok. There is also an outlet of CAP, which I consider to be one of the best DVD/CD chain stores in Thailand.
Finally, at the northern end, there is a large outlet of Pro-Plugin. For those that don’t know, this is one of the most popular outlets in Thailand selling DJ equipment and music composing hardware, such as synths, keyboards, microphones, monitors, audio-digital converters and the like. They stock all the major brands (and for most brands are the main dealer for Thailand).
Fourth Floor – IT and Service Centres
The top floor is a continuation of the IT theme, with more stores selling computers, peripherals, gaming systems, printers, projectors, software, movies and the like. There are some additional chain stores here such as IT City, Acer, Lenovo and Ericsson. In addition, this floor is where many of the service centres are located (mainly at the southern end). Service centres include for many of the main brands (Lenovo, Samsung, Apple, Ericsson, Epson, Dell, Seagate and more.
There is also an interesting store called Home of Maker, which is dedicated to Maker Bot and 3D printing.
In the northern section, around the circular centre mezzanine area, a few toy shops have set up, selling super hero figures, Japanese anime sculpts and some Gunpla kits. At the furthest northern point, there is a decent sized Bangkok Bank branch that is usually really quiet and perfect for your banking needs should you want to avoid queues.
How to Get to Fortune Town
Very easy. Get on the MRT and head to Rama 9 Station. Look for the exit with the Fortune Town sign. You can also take the Suvarnabhumi skytrain line and get off at the Asoke station. From there, walk north about 500 metres. Alternatively, if you are somewhere slightly off the BTS/MRT lines, you can easily get a cab there. All taxi drivers should know Fortune Town. Pricing is approximately B50 from Pantip Plaza.
Fortune Town is one of my favourite centres. As many readers probably already known, I am a bit over the usual glitzy malls that have the same luxury brand stores over and over again. How many YSL and Gucci outlets do we really need? Although a little cramped and not as luxurious, Fortune Town offers great browsing as there is always someone selling something I haven’t seen before, or some hard to find item that I have been seeking.
Fortune Town – Bangkok’s Replacement to Pantip Plaza
Fortune Town – Possibly the best place in Bangkok for IT, audio visual, DJ gear, camera equipment and model paints.
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