The latest Bangkok mall is making waves with its impressive Thai aesthetics and dizzying array of dining options.
Text & Photography by Dr Patrick Soh and Jan Yong
What’s striking about IconSiam, Bangkok’s latest shopping
mall is its creativity and the abundance of food. Aside from its opulent interior and exterior, the truth is a lot of the food and goods offered are affordable for the Thai middleclass and tourists.
That said, the mall has been making waves of sorts since its opening in November 2018 – it has been compared to a Crazy Rich Asian mall due to its collection of luxury shops displaying goods that only the high net worth can afford. Another factor that adds to its luxurious and exclusive image is the cost of building this mammoth 750,000 sq meter mall – a mind- boggling USD1.65 billion.
THAI AESTHETICS IN DISPLAY
What makes IconSiam stand out from other modern buildings is that it cleverly integrates the rich Siamese culture into the very fabric and design of the mall. From the reenactment of the river market theme on the lower ground floor arrayed with a dizzying variety of mouth- watering Thai street food to the countryside thatched pavilions and the island-inspired shops, IconSiam celebrates the culture of Thailand joyfully in vivid colours.
A replica of the front of the golden temple is even displayed. Elephant statues and other iconic Thai objects are displayed consistent with the Thai famed creative flair. Indeed, it is way prettier than the staid shopping malls in Singapore or the glitzy new casinos cum malls in Macau.
IconSiam also boasts of the latest gizmo in the colourful raindrop waterfall and the free virtual reality games provided at the Toyota showroom.
In some crazy way, the mall reminds me of the humourous Crazy Rich Asians movie, particularly the river and padi plants which remind me of the flowing water scene and padi plants at the wedding of Nick Young’s best friend. Well, you need to be crazy rich to be able to buy the Rolls Royce, Porsche cars and some of the super expensive items on display.
For the rest of us, we can just soak in the impressive decorations on the ceiling, the floating islands for the tech showroom or indulge in more than 100 dining options – from the street food on the lower ground floor, the scenic outdoor restaurants overlooking the Chap Phraya River to the tranquil island and water pods on the 6th floor.
And of course, we can window shop over 7,000 Thai and international brands, including Thailand’s first Apple store, Thailand’s first Takashimaya — a well-known Japanese department store — and Asia’s largest Adidas Original store.
When the conference halls and exhibition centers are completed, it would become THE place for conferences. Move aside, Marina Bay Sands Singapore. After all, how many times can we go to Marina Bay Sands and not get bored? Perhaps, a casino will complete IconSiam to compete for the crazy rich…
1. Go with an empty stomach – I guarantee you will not be able to resist dining there.
2.Watch a movie at the movie theatres which are equipped with all the latest high tech entertainment features.
3. Travel there by Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain and hop off at Saphan Taksin station and catch a complimentary shuttle boat. The view of Iconsiam as the boat approaches the pier is quite pretty especially at night.
4. Catch the musical fountain at night.