I’ve lived in Bangkok, Thailand for eight years yet, up until two weeks ago, had never heard of Chamchuri Square. Then, a Thai friend suggested we meet for lunch there, and I learned what a wonderful place it is for eating as well as shopping for books and educational materials. Chamchuri Square, in fact, is one of those places westerners and tourists don’t often get to, but more of them should.
Where is Chamchuri Square? – One of the best things about Chamchuri Square is the location. Chulalongkorn University was smart enough to build it right above Samyan MRT underground station, withone of the exits opening up right into the ground floor of the mall. Wonderful when it’s rainy season and it’s pouring cats and dogs outside. Chulalongkorn University, Thailand’s top university, is also right next door.
What is Chamchuri Square? – It’s what Chulanlongkorn University calls an “Edutainment Gateway”, which means it consists of restaurants, coffee shops, banks, many bookstores and education service centers (English language schools, music schools, children’s math centers etc.). It’s also a mecca for Thai parents on the weekends, as they bring their children to various extra-learning classes and then can relax at coffee shops or restaurants, while they wait for their kids’ classes to be finished.
Restaurants and Cafes at Chamchuri Square – I always fall in love with shopping areas that have many cafes and restaurants and Chamchuri Square definitely has those.
In the basement level of the mall, there are several small restaurants serving Thai food as well as a massive food court. Here, you’ll find stalls selling authentic Thai food cooked to Thai taste, so none of the made-for-tourists cuisine popular in many other malls. Noodles, curries, Som Tam, rice dishes, vegetable dishes, Thai desserts – this area is chockfull of some incredible food stalls at cheap prices. If you’re looking for a tasty meal in the $1-$1.50 range, here’s where you’ll find it.
On the first floor of Chamchuri Square is where the main restaurants and cafes are. A large Starbucks is here, as well as a Thai coffee chain, Doi Tung, and a True Coffee internet cafe.
Restaurants include several Japanese restaurants, an Oishi noodle place, Pepper Lunch (a Japanese steak restaurant, which is incredible), KFC, Pizza Hut, Cafe de Tu and, for dessert, Mister Donut, Dairy Queen, Dairy Queen, Red Mango (healthy frozen yoghurt) and Eskimo Bites.
Bookstores at Chamchuri Square – For teachers in Thailand or anywhere else in Asia, Chamchuri Square is a must-visit if you’re looking for English language text books, English fiction or non-fiction books. There are several bookstores, beginning with a large branch of Asia Books, where you can buy fiction, non-fiction, architecture and interior design books and many business books. The shopping center though is mainly popular for the enormous Chulalongkorn University bookstore on the top floor. The store takes up almost the whole floor, with half of the store being text books, fiction and non fiction in Thai and the other half of the store books in English, Chinese, Japanese etc.
If you’re looking for a non-tourist place in Bangkok to do a little shopping, book browsing, coffee sipping and eating, you must try Chamchuri Square. Plus, if you’re looking for a unique, upscale, cafe/private club, The Water Library on the second level is a truly unique experience – with the best bottled water in the city. Seriously.