Our Shopping Guide - Computer Software and Hardware
Computers : Hardware and Software
If you want to check out computer outlets in Central Bangkok, we can recommend two major centers :
1) Pantip Plaza
Pantip Plaza is located a 5 minutes walk from Ratchathewi skytrain station. It can be really busy in there, and the airconditioning can not really cope with a lot of people. Annoying is also that there are numerous 'touts' that bother you to buy pornographic material.
2) Fortune Town
Fortune Town is located at the Subway station called Rama IX. It is where we bo to buy the computer goods we need. It may be just a bit more expensive than Panthip Plaza, and not quite everything will be available. But shopping is much more convenient, because it is less crowded, and really a lot is on offer anyway. First and second floors have lots of mobile phones and equipment, computer hardware and software are on the third and fourth floors. On the third floor is a True Internet Cafe outlet. True Internet Cafes are easily the best in town, offering speedy connections and priced at 40 baht per hour, and you can order good freshly brewed coffee.
In both centers, you will find lots of computer hardware and accessories, as well as supplies of software and games. Both centers are famous for having pirated computer software of about everything, but the last year or two, there has been a well intended crackdown on pirated software. Nevertheless, while we certainly do not recommend buying it, there seems still to be a regular supply of software at 150 baht a disk. The best deals may be the compilation disks of mostly freeware and shareware, that can contain tens and tens of useful items on one CD. We recommend fullheartedly to buy the games that are available for instance at Zest. Popular computer games (legal version, only to be sold in Thailand) can be had for 350-600 baht, a real bargain.
Both Pantip Plaza and Fortune Town are also good locations to find numerous shops that sell digital cameras, lenses and equipment.
At both Fortune Town (4th Floor) and Panthip Plaza (upper Floor) we recommend a visit to IT City outlets, where you can find most things you are looking for (except software) under one roof. Personally, we feel more secure when dealing with a major shop (that also is listed on the Thai Stock Market), than relying on one of the many small little computer outlets.
3) Commart Thailand
Computer hardware exhibitions and sales are scheduled by Commart Thailand regularly, but exact dates of the exhibitions in advance are a bit difficult to come by. You can buy computer hardware at cut-rate prices there. A main event seems to take place in March each year at Queen Sirikit Convention Center, but events are also scheduled in other cities in Thailand. In Bangkok the usually 3 or 4 days lasted exhibition can be an extremely crowded event. We regularly buy computer accessories there or have a quick look around to see what is available with the current prices.
When you buy a computer or other hardware, you have to be mindful of one thing. Lots of boots will be manned by personnel of different computer shops in Bangkok. For example, we bought an HP computer at Commart. Later we discovered the shop that actually sold us the computer was located at the outskirts of Bangkok. We never had any problem with the device, but possibly the location of the shop might create some hardship if you need to have repairs done etc. A good advice would be to make sure you check the name of the shop (get a name card). The staff will usually wear T-shirts with the name on it. A good idea is to buy from shops that have a location at Pantip Plaza or Fortune Town, so you know where to go if problems arise. Alternatively, you may try to locate the local head office, and take it from there.
4) Mac Computers, iPods, IPhones, iPads
In the last few years, a lot of iStudios and iBeat outlets have appeared in Bangkok and around Thailand. In effect, they are ubiquitous around Bangkok. You can find in most fancy department stores and at IT centers. There is a large one at Siam Square, adjacent to the skytrain station (opposite Siam Discovery). The shops are bright and attractive, apparently run under licence by different Thai companies. It seems also to be possible to buy certain Apple products at other locations. Mobile telephone operators also sell IPhones and iPads, with monthly packages (Wifi access and 3 G) attached to your hardware purchase.
iStudio website : in Thai, but at least you can check out all the locations.
5) Electronic Repairs
Not really very related to computer purchases per se. Anyway, if you have problems with any electrical appliance or equipment, we recommend you contact Amorn Electronics Center. There is one very large outlet (repairs, accessories) on the 4th floor of Fortune Town. Our personal experience tells us that they are quite willing to repair your equipment, regardless of where you bought it. We recommend it.
Our personal experience : We bought a Tivoli Network Radio (wireless internet radio), which became inoperational just a few months after its warranty expired. We waited for months (!) after we brought it back to the store where we bought is (a CopperWired outlet, the product supplier is Mahajak Development). While this is an expensive item that we hardly wanted to throw away, the local distributor was unable to repair the unit. On advice of a friend, we delivered the unit at Amorn Electronics, and they were able to fix it in less than 2 hours, price agreed upon before repair.