Supermarket and Grocery Stores in Bangkok (Sukhumvit Road)
There is ample choice for grocery shopping along (lower) Sukhumvit Road, from cheap supermarkets to upmarket 'gourmet' outlets.
Ranked from less to more expensive, you can find along lower Sukhumvit Road :
1) MaxValu Tanjay
3) Tops market
4) Gourmet Market
5) Villa Market
[ 6) 7-Eleven convenience stores ]
We just recently discovered an outlet of MaxValu Tanjay. It is located in the basement at Jasmine Executive Suites Hotel, at the entry of Sukhumvit Soi 23 (below the Starbucks). MaxValu Supermarkets (which are larger) and Maxvalu Tanjay are operated by Aeon Thailand. Aeon is a major Japanese retailer. The Maxvalu Tanjay on Sukhumvit Soi 23 is small and you could call basic, but it can provide a lot of groceries and daily necessities at the cheapest prices in the neighborhood. It opened around the middle of 2013 and even most Thai people have not yet discovered it, that is, it is not all that busy. Interestingly, you can find prepared fruits at prices just 10-15 baht higher than what you pay 'on the street'.
MaxValu Tanjay outlet in the basement of Jasmine City, entrance soi 23, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok.
[Fruit vendors in a lot of sois in Bangkok sell small packages of fruits like pineapple, guava, melon, apples, mango at prices of about 15-10 baht. Similar packages, chilled, are sold at Tops, Gourmet Market, Foodland, for around 60-80 baht, while offering (if any) only marginally better quality]
MaxValu Tanjay here is open around the clock.
Foodland long was the place to go. It is located about 100 meters from the main road in Sukhumvit Soi 5. While operating a long time at a basic level, the store was completely renovated a year or two ago, and looks quite fancy now. We think prices have gone up a bit too. It operated 24 hours a day. You will find a larger selection of goods here than at MaxValu Tanjay.
Vegetables for sale at Foodland, soi 5, Sukhumvit Road.
On entering you will find a quite popular and busy restaurant corner before you enter the supermarket.
One thing against it, is that the local environment is not optimal, that is, there are prostitutes and a lot of people loitering around (doing what exactly?) around the Sukhumvit Soi 5 area, giving it the appearance of a semi-criminal scene (with no police to be seen), especially in the evening hours and at night.
Tops market (at Robinson Department Store, soi 19 ; connected to the Asoke skytrain station) is more fancy, has a foodcourt, but prices inside the supermarket are more than you would pay at Foodland, even when discounts or promotions are given. Of course, you are at Robinson, and can do some shopping inside the department storea also.
You can get a membercard at Tops and will be asked to present it each time you buy things and check out (or give your phone number instead). There are regular discounts for members only (some discounts are borderline, but sometimes there are some really good deals).
Tops market fruits on display, at the basement level below Robinson Sukhumvit, soi 19, Sukhumvit Road.
Furthermore what you spend is tallied, and with the points accumulated, you can get cash coupons and discounts (we are not quite capable of telling how it works exactly). Besides that, you get coupons (sent by mail) which entitle you to discounts. For example, if you buy goods worth 1,000 baht, you can get a 65 baht discount, etc.
Tops offers a top quality shopping environment, and certainly it is up to international standards. Lots of good quality fruits and vegetables, bakery products, lots of cosmetic products, and standard supermarket fare. A lot of the non-food items you certainly will not find at smaller supermarkets like MaxValu Tanjay.
Close to the original Villa Market, on the upper floors of Emporium Department Store (connected to the Phromphong skytrain station) is a fancy supermarket (Gourmet Market) offering lots of attractive wares, especially a large collection of fruits and vegetables. Prices are a bit upscale (in view of its location at Emporium) and this Gourmet Market must have been built as an afterthought, since getting your things from the upper floors to street level and Sukhumvit Road is a chore, if you do not have a car parked in the basement.
Salad Bar at Gourmet Market, Terminal 21, Sukhumvit Road.
At the end of 2011 a new Gourmet Market opened at Terminal 21. While it offers goods in the same price range, the supermarket is much smaller and can feel a bit cramped at check-out (that is : long queues). Gourmet Markets, in our opinion, offer the best salad bars in town. The one located at Siam Paragon Gourmet Market is the most outstanding.
Villa Market around soi 33, is the original supermarket in the area, and popular especially with foreigners. It is expensive though, but you can find some items here that are not easily found at other supermarkets, even though the store itself is not large. Large wine collection on the second floor. There is another Villa Market outlet on Sukhumvit Road, soi 49 (at least 3 km away from the main road), just opposite Dental Hospital (close to Samitivej Hospital) which is somewhat larger, and less cramped, and which we prefer.
Another Villa Market branch is located in Sukhumvit Soi 11. It is not far away from main Sukhumvit Road. As other Villa Market outlets, there is also a large wine section here, and the store is not very busy.
The reason why mostly foreigners shop at Villa Market, is that a lot of imported (expensive) goods are available. For some reason a lot of foreigners seem to prefer imported broccoli or strawberries over local produce.
Villa Market also has a VPlus card for its customers, tallying purchases. It allows for accumulating points which add up to a discount of 0.5%, for example, after buying 20,000 baht of goods, you can get a 100 baht discount.
7-Elevens are ubiquitous in Bangkok and can be found at the beginning of most sois, and on the main streets. At present (end 2013), there are close to 7,000 7-Elevens in Thailand, with more than 3,000 in Bangkok alone, and they are doing a good trade. While the shops are convenient, beware that prices are higher than in supermarkets, but the shops are quite convenient. They offer beverages, pre-prepackaged and pre-cooked meals, cosmetics, cigarettes (!), snacks, candies.
7-Eleven outlet are located around Bangkok, usually at the entrance of sois coming off main roads. This 7-Eleven is located in soi 23, Sukhumvit Road.
Hypermarkets, offering cheaper goods, sometimes in bulk, and also cheap clothes and other necessities can be found from Sukhumvit when taking the subway. Closeby are Tesco-Lotus, located at Rama 9 station, and Big C (and also a Robinson Department Store) located at the next station, at Thailand Cultural Center. Tesco-Lotus is adjacent to Fortune IT Town, so you can browse through hardware and software available in Bangkok at the same location.
Prices in different supermarkets for Chang beer (Classic) and Singha beer. Not the best example, since beer prices are possibly kept as low as possible to draw a certain clientele. Anyway, these beers are locally produced and widely available.
7-Eleven is most pricey. Villa Market and Tops are a bit cheaper. Gourmet market (at Terminal 21) is quite reasonable, as is MaxValu, while Foodland offers the lowest prices.
These price differences are up to the 15-20% range, which we think applies also to most other goods for sale.