If you’re going to be in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the things you may first want to do is to buy a cell phone or mobile phone. Buying a cell phone (mobile phone) in Bangkok is easy and cheap if you know where to go. There are also literally thousands of brand names and types of cell phones to choose from, as well as an enormous market in used mobile phones. So, if you’re looking to buy a cell phone in Bangkok, you’ll find you’re spoiled for choice.
Mahboonkrong (MBK) Mall – The most popular place in Bangkok to buy a cell phone is Mahboonkrong Mall, otherwise known as MBK. MBK is in the downtown area of Bangkok, right next to a sky train station (National Stadium station) so easy to get to, and with very cheap prices. If you’re wanting to buy a cell phone in Bangkok, start out at MBK.
There are several phone shops on the first couple of floors of the mall, but the best place to buy a cell phone at MBK is on the fourth floor. This is the electronics floor, so there are cell phones everywhere. At a guess, here you’ll find at least 50 cell phone shops, plus another 500-plus cell phone stalls. MBK sellers sell everything from Nokia to Sony, LG to iPhones and a lots in between. The stalls also sell many used mobile phones, as Thais love to trade in their phones for better models every few months.
If you don’t want to spend much money on a mobile phone, buy a used phone from one of the MBK sellers. They will all come with a warranty and all sellers will either fix or exchange a phone that isn’t working correctly.
MBK is also an excellent place to buy mobile phone accessories, with a huge selection of cases, rechargers, batteries, and cell phone charms.
Fortune Mall – Just about my favorite electronics/IT mall in Bangkok, Fortune Mall is huge. Every electronic item is available here, including hundreds of shops that sell cell phones (both new and used). At Fortune Mall, you’ll find name brand shops (Nokia, Sony etc) as well as stalls that sell both new and used mobile phones. Fortune has excellent prices and the stall owners there tend to be knowledgeable and helpful.
I bought my latest cell phone there for only 2,700 baht (around $81), which for a new mid-range Nokia cell phone was a cheap price. Fortune Mall also has tons of mobile phone accessories at similarly cheap prices. Fortune Mall is right next to Rama 9 underground station, so exceptionally convenient.
Carrefour – If you’re looking for a cheap new phone and don’t have a lot of time to browse, any Carrefour supermarket is also a good place to shop. They have a limited selection but prices are competitive and sales clerks are helpful. I was in and out recently with another Nokia phone, with the whole purchasing experience from start to finish taking less than 15 minutes. There are many locations of Carrefour supermarkets in Bangkok. Just ask at your hotel, apartment building or local tourist office for directions to one. A few are even next to sky train or underground stations, so convenient to get to.
JayMart – JayMart is a chain of cell phone stores all over Bangkok. You’ll find them in Bangkok shopping malls, as well as at a few of the sky train stations. JayMart has a decent selection of new cell phones (although nowhere near the selection of Fortune Mall or MBK) and, for new phones, on many brands they’re just as competitive as MBK. The first phone I bought in Bangkok I bought at JayMart and it lasted me for three years. You can also buy SIM cards here along with a limited selection of phone accessories.
Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Central World Shopping Malls – If you’re looking for a cell phone store (ie: a brand name store like Sony, Nokia, LG etc), then one of Bangkok’s enormous shopping malls is your best bet, if you don’t mind paying a higher price. These stores, of course, specialize in one brand so the sales clerks are extremely knowledgeable. Sometimes, too, they will have good deals on some of the newer models, but MBK or Fortune Mall would still get you a better price.
For the best selection of name brand cell phone stores, start out at Central World Mall, and then move to Siam Paragon or Siam Discovery if you don’t find what you want. Central World Mall, though, has a lot of shops, so you should find something to your liking. Central World Mall is near Chidlom sky train station and Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon are ne
Buying a cell phone in Bangkok is probably the easiest thing you’ll do in Thailand. Thais love mobile phones so they are absolutely everywhere, and with prices much cheaper than in the west. Models too are more advanced than the US, with a lot more choice, and even more bells and whistles than western models. Just make sure you get a warranty from the shop you purchase your cell phone from, and you’ll have no problems if anything goes wrong.
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