Here’s a review of the new Megabangna shopping complex. I went yesterday with a few Singapore Cabin crew I know and who have not been yet either.. So we all decided to go together..
It’s located out in the Samut Prakan area, not far from the airport.
The ‘anchor’ tenants are IKEA (the Swedish home store) store which opened their doors over a year ago, before the Megabangna complex; Big C Extra, Homepro, Robinson and Mega Cineplex (to include Blu-O bowling)
==> To reach Megabangna:
** By Bus: Both IKEA as well as Meganbangna run free shuttle buses (large 48+ seat intra-city like buses) that operate from the BTS Udom Suk station (next the 7-Eleven) and terminate literally at the front doors of IKEA and Megabangna.
The IKEA bus is in the signature yellow, and the Meganabgna buses are in an all white design.
The shuttles do make a one or two planned stops en-route TO the mall, and will, upon request, drop you off along the planned route when back to the Udom Suk BTS station. Overall, it was an easy, stress-free journey.
Customer shuttle buses start at about 0930 and the last shuttle leave the mall at 23:00. So it’s possible to catch a late movie, and still make the last bus back to the BTS (do note that travel time is about :15 to :20, so with a 23:00 departure, you are likely, but not guaranteed, to make the last evening BTS train from Udom Suk).
There is neither a cost nor a minimum purchase requirement to use the shuttle, and you use either the IKEA or Megabangna shuttle- regardless of where you intend to shop or visit. Both shuttle buses depart from the same point at the Megabangna complex as well as BTS Udom Suk.
** By Car/Bike: Megabangna has plenty of parking, most of it is uncovered, but some is under the building itself. You can also park under the IKEA store or in from the IKEA store as there is no ‘dedicated’ parking, unless it is a designated pick-up, drop-off or other special use zones.
The IKEA parking does tend to fill up early as their café opens for breakfast at 09:30- which is :30 before the store and mall itself open.
It’s huge… Unlike Terminal 21, it lacks a distinctive standout “theme” per se, and unlike Siam Paragon, the stores are not of the uppermost niche of their specialty… There is no Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Prada..
But.. What I did like…
1) It’s wide and very walk-able.. mall space is wide and it’s easy to move around. Even yesterday, during their initial launch period, with all kinds of specials and exhibits and other promotional activities going on, it was still very easy to get around and move around.
2) Families.. There are PLENTY of places to stop and sit.. and in many of these sitting places, there are kid-friendly things like kids toys, small rides, games and toys. So it’s very well set up with thought to families.
3) Stores and placement. The mall itself has some 800+/- total vendors of all shapes, sizes and retailing.. but how they are laid out, to me, was very intuitive.
Not ALL the ladies focused shops are in one single area, but there are pockets of ‘concentration’. So if you are interested in XYZ merchandise, you can head directly to that area, but you also have reason to stroll other parts of the mall itself.
4) Range of stores.. I was impressed that it covers not only the “basics” like men’s and woman’s clothing, jewelry, electronics, banks and the like; but there are also hobby stores, sporting goods, Office Deport, Power Buy, Triumph, several camera shops, a billiard supply, etc..
So a very wide range.. Not every store will appeal to every shopper, but the range of retailers here really is diverse and can appeal to not only the visiting tourist but also the local resident.
5) Eating.. Of course, all the usual suspects are here: McDonald’s, Pizza Company, Yum Saap, MK, Fuji, CoCoCury, etc.. but there’s also some places that are unique, like Bangkok Burger Company as well as places that are more to the sophisticated adult palette, younger crowd and kid-friendly places.
Food court.. I love their Food Court—called “Food Republic”
It’s well laid out, signage is clearly written in Thai and with easy to read English underneath it. Like most food courts, the shops are small so you can see what’s offered and in most cases, see your dish being prepared.
Food Republic #1:
Food Republic #2:
It operates on a stored value card system, so you get your card and load whatever balance you want.. Payment is electronically deduced by each merchant and you get your balance back (if any) when you return the card..
Two issues- and is common to these systems, IF your card does not have enough value to buy/pay for what you want, the individual store/shop cannot take cash for the difference; you need to go back to the cashier and ‘top up’ and you cannot retain the card beyond that day.. Any valued not used on the day of issue expires.
There’s a rather wide range of foods-- hence the name Food Republic—but naturally it tends to be heavier on the Thai/Asian side, but there’s also western, Italian and the like.. There are even kids options at some shops too. and like Terminal 21, the price point for where and what it was, I thought was more than acceptable.
The other thing I like about it is the placement of it in the mall.. It is RIGHT across the hallway from the Cinema.. and from most vantage points in the food court you can see—thus keep an eye on and not be far from—the theater itself.. So it’s very easy to buy your movie ticket, then go have dinner at the food court; then walk across the hall in time for your showing.
We all ate there.. We all chose different stalls and shared our entrees.. All told for 5 five people and drinks (water, diet coke, etc) it was about B525..
I do think that it’s very well laid out- one point I really liked.. has a good selection of merchants—not just your typical stuff.. I think its primary draw will be the middle to upper-middle class locals (non-visitors), but I don’t think a visitor would be wasting there time there at all.
It’s also one of the few places that is clearly kid-friendly, but also has more than ample atmosphere and options for the childless adults, couples or young adults.
Yes, it’s not ‘central’ to what we know as Bangkok,, being in Samut Prakan, but the free shuttles (both IKEA’s and Megabangna’s) makes access really quite easy..
All in all, I really liked this place.. While Bangkok as NO shortage or malls or retailing options, this is a nice alternative and as some things I really liked about it..