River City Shopping Mall

River City
The River City shopping mall, as seen from the river.

River City is Bangkok's oldest 'antiques' mall, and still the best destination for serious Asian art lovers to go. When I first came to Bangkok in the late 1980s, the mall had a lot of shops selling cheap souvenirs, tacky French Empire reproductions, and some rather dodgy 'antiques'. Over the years, the mall has been updated several times. Newly remodeled inside and out in 2010, the latest re-work seems to have seen the last of the tacky and dodgy stuff cleaned out. There are still a few souvenir shops and too many tailors for my taste, but once you get past these, there's an absolutely stunning array of Asian art on display for sale.

The really fascinating shops are on the third and fourth floor. There's a wide variety of Asian art, from old maps to Buddhist works to more recent everyday items from the last century. River City is a really great place to browse, but if you're going to buy you better know what you're doing, or have enough money for it not to matter that you ended up with an expensive reproduction rather than a real antique.

Not everything on sale is an antique. There are also some shops sell good quality Benjarong as well as other Thai handicrafts. The large central atrium plays host to regular events, and there is also an auction house with monthly sales.

River City is open every day from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. The easiest way to get there is to take their free boat from the Taksin Bridge pier, below the Skytrain station. Most riverside hotels will also take you to the mall in their boats. See the River City web site for more information.