In Defense of Bangkok’s Malls…Mostly

It's hard to escape the hubbub around ICONSIAM, Bangkok's newest mall. For those who aren't too familiar with Bangkok and may be laughing at the fact that a shopping mall is worthy of hubbub, need to live in Bangkok a bit longer. Shopping malls are a big business here, to chagrin of many who think Bangkok has way too many malls as it is; to those people, opening a new one is just a needless waste of money and space. Well, in my opinion, those people are not wrong...but they're not right either. I think ICONSIAM is a great addition to the area that it's in (with some caveats that I'll discuss below). I also think that the "mall question" is much more nuanced than simply saying "too many malls", so let's look at some of the issues at play:

Bangkok’s Malls Lack Slogans, So I Made Some

There’s a very tired joke I like to make whenever some friends and I are oot and aboot in Bangkok. If we see a construction site, I always say “Maybe it will be a museum or library!” and everyone laughs and I get high fives, because 99% of the time it will either be a mall or a condo. Or both. Some love it, some hate it, but you can’t deny that Bangkok’s efforts to overtake Singapore as Asia’s shopping hub are ambitious and persistent.  […]