This one-stop lifestyle and shopping destination combines all the essential elements that define Bangkok: what it was, is, and will become in the near future.
by Percy Roxas.
When it opened some three years ago, Asiatique The Riverfront – www.thaiasiatique.com not only promised Bangkokians another world-class trendy shopping center in the capital. It also promised a unique, “haute” lifestyle destination landmark for the city’s growing cosmopolites and increasing number of tourist visitors.
Today, Asiatique—as it is fondly called by both local and foreign visitors—is exactly that. A non-pareil lifestyle and shopping destination that has become a must-visit destination for any shopaholic and a must-include program on anyone’s Bangkok bucket list.
Set in an area spanning more than 29 acres, Asiatique capitalized on a unique concept from day one. Built on one of the city’s most historical sites enhanced by its vibrant Chao Phraya riverfront location, Asiatique aimed to redefine the urban Bangkok shopping experience by attaching it with the glamour and romance of a bygone era—the Roaring 20s transported onto Thai soil.
The location was perfect. It was built on a riverfront land that once belonged to the royal family during the reign of King Rama V, and that was in fact the first port in Bangkok to welcome the first foreign ships in Siam. Buildings and warehouses from that colonial period were re-created, providing that piece of Thai history that makes the Asiatique shopping experience fashionably distinct from others. Indeed, walking around Asiatique, one can almost imagine what life was like in the good old days.
But it was not all retro. Traditional Thai and modern culture elements are everywhere. Asiatique, in fact, is very cosmopolitan as can be easily proven as one goes through the modern global lifestyle essentials—shopping, dining and wining, sightseeing, activities, and joining events. Asiatique has something for everyone.
It’s not just shopping, although there are more than 1,000 retail shops selling Thai handicrafts and souvenirs here. Tourists from every corner of the globe can enhance their visit with experiences at such establishments as the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre and Calypso Cabaret, if not with the “Muay Thai: The Legend Lives” show at the very popular The Stage. One of the relatively newer attractions of course is what the locals call the Bangkok Eye, which might as well be the largest Ferris wheel in Asia.
Visitors can also just explore the numerous restaurants, bars, and similar fun outlets, many of which carry familiar names of some of the trendiest, hippest F&B places in downtown Bangkok. They can join in the regular entertainment now provided at Asiatique, ranging from exclusive jazz concerts to pop-up performances by visiting artists.
Indeed, with the variety of offerings that can now be enjoyed at Asiatique, it has become a one-stop fun destination, whether you’re a local looking to get away from your daily routine or a foreigner in town to enjoy a true-blue Bangkok experience.
Even going to Asiatique can be an adventure by itself. You can choose to immerse yourself in Bangkok’s traffic madness by taking a taxi or tuk-tuk to get there, or you can opt to get on the nearest Skytrain and get off at Saphan Taksin station, where a shuttle boat at the nearby pier can take you to Asiatique—after a scenic 10-minute boat ride—for free!
As one of our friends describes Asiatique: “It combines all the essential elements that define what Bangkok was, what it is, and what it will become in the near future.” To which we can only say, “Amen!”