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. Pantip Plaza is the best known IT related center. We used to visit frequently in the past, but lately we prefer to go to Fortune Town, which is a bit easier to reach. Pantip Plaza we understand has also moved away from being solely an IT center.
2) Fortune Town
Fortune Town is located at the Subway station called Rama IX. It is where we go 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. 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 (we think they are the only remaining now), offering speedy connections, 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 were famous for having pirated computer software but there has been a well intended crackdown on pirated software the last few years. The days of pirated software are basically over. You still can find the odd shop selling copies of recently released movies and TV series though. But having a subscription with Netflix or Amazon, is a cheaper way than buying the series on DVDs.
Both Pantip Plaza and Fortune Town are also good locations to buy 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.
The odd thing at Fortune Town is, that when walking around you will find few shop owners doing a lot of effort to attract customers. Most people working there spend their time watching whatever appears on their mobile phones. This is also striking at IT City. Here quite a few of the staff, seem to checking out games on the available laptops etc.
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.
A very expansive Apple store has opened at the new shopping destination along the Chao Phraya River : IconSiam.
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.