IKEA at Bangna-Trat highway, Bangkok
IKEA opened in Thailand on 3 November 2011. In the midst of the worst flooding in recent history the opening was a soft one. The large Ikea store is located at Km 8 on the Bangna-Trat road. In is in the southwest corner at the intersection of the Bangna-Trat highway and the Outer Ring Road Expressway Nr. 9. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is quite closeby (about 7-8 kilometers).
A lot of visitors (certainly those without a car) will come down Sukhumvit Road, then following Bangna-Trat eastwards. This is one of the more dreary parts of Bangkok. Not much for leisure seekers to enjoy. Just the concrete of the highway, with lots of small and large businesses along the road.
IKEA store at Bangna-Trat km 8. Notice that taxis are available.
Before you reach Ikea, which is located behind a new supermall under construction (Mega-Bangna), you will pass Apina (furniture), Central Bangna, Big C, SB Design Square (furniture, interior decoration), Index Living Mall (furniture), Tisco-Lotus. Including the new Ikea store, this seems to have become the area to find your furniture and home decoration.
You can find a lot at IKEA. First decision to take is when to go. We noticed that during the weekends the shop is teaming with customers, while during the weekdays it is not that crowded.
Ikea provides a shuttle bus from Udomsuk skytrain station towards the store and back. The bus also stops at Central Bangna while on the way. During the weekend there are large queues to get on the bus! It takes about 20 minutes to do the trip, the bus can not go faster than 50 kilometers an hour, and of course there are the traffic jams on Bangna-Trat, especially in front of Central Department Store.
Collection of arm chairs at Ikea, Bangna.
The store operates on two levels. On the upper level you will find the large Showroom, with lots of furniture for all your living quarters. Follow the arrows if you want to reach the exit, or check out directions on the map displays around the floor.
Ikea provides you with a pencil and form to fill out what items you want to purchase. You will have to pick them up yourself in a large warehouse section on the lower level before check-out. And by the way, you should know that most furniture purchased will have to be assembled at home. So is the business model of Ikea. You are encouraged to take things with you and then you are on your own. However, you can ask for home delivery, and also for assembly at home by Ikea staff. But you will have to pay for it. As Bangkokians will know, home delivery in Thailand is usually free.
Children's section at Ikea.
Most items are cheap to reasonably priced. That said, we noticed some upmarket kitchens on display. In between the attractive and colorful items, we found also quite some riffraff. Especially the storage and other cabinets are not that appealing. We also did not notice any attractive working desks.
On the same level as the Show Room you will also find a food outlet. Ikea offers a selection of European (Swedish inspired, we guess) food at reasonable prices. No Thai food court stuff. When we visited during the weekend, there were large queues and the area was quite busy.
On the lower level is the Market Place. Here you will find all kinds of home decoration. Colorful pillows and rugs, cutlery, plasticware, stuffed animals for kids, glasses, lighting equipment, you name it. A big section is devoted to quilts! Surely, Ikea is not the only store selling quilts, but it has the largest collection and a big variety of the stuff. It has always puzzled us who uses quilts in tropical Bangkok. Anyway, we could not resist to finally try it out, and bought some 'summer quilt'. We spend a really 'hot' night trying it. Maybe one has to let the airconditioning bring down the temperature to 15 degrees or so. Just sleeping with a bedsheet seems to be a more logical solution to the warm Bangkok nights.
When checking out, do not expect any free bags for your purchases. In another first, if you want a bag, you have to pay for it (and you will get a really big one).
Entrance to the Market Hall at Ikea store, Bangna, Bangkok.
After checking out, you can find a small section where Swedish dry food is sold. Some interesting jams and Swedish biscuits on sale.
IKEA certainly is an interesting place to go to and check out if your want to (re)decorate or (re)furnish you home. On the downside, the store is located quite outside town. It basically takes almost a whole day to get there, do your shopping, and get back into the traffic. IKEA plans to open two other stores in town, but if they have the same size, we figure they will also be located somewhere in the far away suburbs.
Ikea is located behind Mega-Bangna, a large low-rise shopping mall under construction.
Buying at Ikea :
Remember that you are supposed to assemble your furniture yourself at home. This may be a challenge sometimes. We elected to have our dining table assembled at home, and in retrospect were happy to have done so. Fixing the chairs together ourself, took about two hours. Of course, not everybody is unaccostomed to handyman work. Having your furniture assembled at home, adds another 7% to the cost.
Transport and Delivery, Home Assembly :
When you can not transport your purchases yourself, transport is provided. You will receive it in one or two days (experience with Bangkok's department stores is quite different). However, you have to pay for it. Ikea has outsourced this service to a company called M-World Logistics. Delivery charges vary according to location and volume of the goods.
Cost of delivery in Bangkok starts at 650 baht, but will be more expensive if you want large items (like two-seat sofas) transported. We paid 1300 baht for the latter.
One final note : After checkout, you are directed to the logistics service. It is important to make sure before you leave, that you have been understood well, and that all the goods purchased are recorded as needing transport. We had some furniture delivered, but the delivery was incomplete, and we had to wait another few hours to get all the goods arriving.
Your goods are delivered within one or two days, which is VERY fast by Bangkok standards. The downside is that M-World Logistics does not work according to made appointments. They don't seem to even attempt to arrive at your place around the scheduled time. Contrary to common practice, they often arrive much EARLIER than expected. Expect to get quite a few phone calls in the process.
When your furniture is assembled by staff, be sure to claim all the little tools and utensils provided in the assembly kit. They may come in handly later, especially when you have to fasten screws again and the like, as Ikea suggests. M-World Logistics staff main 'inadvertently' take all provided tools with them. Be also aware of 'souvenir hunters' among the assembly crew.