Places to visit

Pantip Plaza

Pantip Plaza

Pantip Plaza is a famous and well know for IT shopping mall in Thailand located on New Phetchaburi Road in Ratchathewi district, Bangkok, Thailand. The sale of counterfeit software and DVDs are some reasons behind this mall's success and notoriety.

The mall has two anchors, IT City, which occupies the top floor, and Data IT on the mezzanine level. There are hundreds of small shops specializing in computer hardware, software and accessories, including parts, repair, modifications, networking, second hand, laptops, Macintosh and peripherals.

Legitimate licensed software remains unpopular for the majority of Pantip shoppers due to high prices and the availability of counterfeit versions of the same software. Prices of counterfeit software, DVDs and games range from about 100 (on CD-Rom) to 300 (on DVD-Rom) baht.

A few publishers, such as Blizzard Entertainment, offer licensed "for sale in Thailand only" software with localized Thai packaging and manuals.

The sale of pirated software remains an easy and open practice, mostly on the ground floor of the plaza, despite the occasional shuttering of all shops selling illegal computer software and entertainment CDs, DVDs, and VCDs during police checks. The shop will take your selection from binders full of titles and cash payment, then deliver the goods in 10-20 min, as the contraband is stored off site. (However many shops now store their goods on-site so customers do not have to wait, increasing sales volume.) If they cannot come up with all the titles requested, money will be refunded.

Of note is a wide selection of second-hand business machines from IBM, Gateway, and Dell. Most of these machines come via cargo ship from Western countries.[citation needed] Recently hardware manufacturers such as Asus have reported the stolen hardware and are able to 'lock them down' when a specific peripheral is connected to the Asus website.

Prices on new hardware such as digital cameras, printers, computers, and other electronics can be significantly lower than in Western countries, but products are often factory seconds or refurbished goods. Stores are supposed to add VAT of 7%, which foreign purchasers can get refunded when leaving Thailand at the Bangkok airport. However, stores commonly offer to give purchasers a discount if the purchaser does not take a receipt, thereby allowing the stores to falsify their VAT tax reports. Note that this is often a bad deal for the traveling foreign purchaser, since the purchaser would have been refunded the full amount of the VAT at the airport, and the "discount" is invariably smaller than the VAT tax would have been. Also, for warranty service, manufacturers usually require a receipt to show proof of purchase.

Pantip Plaza excels is in locally made computers โ€“ just read through lists of components, tick what you want, and wander around the shops getting the best quotes. These โ€˜prefabricatedโ€™ computers are probably as good as any brand name but obviously wonโ€™t have the after sales service, especially if you are taking a computer out of Thailand (check customs in your own country first!). There is also a good variety of software at good prices โ€“ thereโ€™s not as much in terms of pirated software here these days and there are regular police checks to ensure things are kept in line. Probably best all round to look for the legitimate stuff. In addition to computers and software, Pantip offers as wide a selection of digital cameras, digital video cameras, VCD/DVD players and PDAs as you will find. In addition, you can buy clothes here, and on the ground floor there are a number of shops selling Buddha amulets and local folk music CDs.

If you are into IT leave your credit cards back at the hotel or you might have to cut your journey to Thailand seriously short!

Details: Pantip Plaza is open around 10:00 to 20:00 daily.

How to get there: Pantip Plaza is on Petchburi Road right next to the Indonesian Embassy. Itโ€™s reasonably close to Ratchathewi BTS station.

The Bus number: 511 will get you there.