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Mall Wars Casualty : Siam Night Bazaar

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Bangkok opens new shopping malls at a frantic pace. So frantic I can barely keep up with the mall openings. But there's isn't an infinite number of shoppers and some casualties are inevitable.


View Siam Night Bazaar in a larger map

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Between the new Udom Suk and Punnawithee BTS stations you'll find Siam Night Bazaar, this is a night market, that's never had enough visitors to grow. The owners clearly had grand plans, zoning all the stalls that would be there, clothing, home decor, handcrafts..., adding a music venue and Karaoke at the front, a food court in the middle and room for expansion further back. The Skytrain was due to grow here, perhaps it would bring new people in to enjoy the night life and market.

But the reality is far from the dreams.

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This is the first few rows in from the street, you can see there are very few stalls opened, and they are scattered. Do you see any shoppers? It's a long walk for only a few stalls.

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As you go further in, so the number of open stalls gets fewer and fewer. It's really not inviting to walk down aisles with so few shoppers. You feel like the eyes are all on you. Is this a game of 'hunt the open stall'???

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The deeper you go, the more abandoned the place becomes, why turn the lights on when nobody is there? At the food court, the frogs are taking over, the croaking fills the air:

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Rather than bring visitors into the area, the new Skytrain stations take them out. The locals are now free to travel into the center of Bangkok, without braving hours of traffic jams on Sukhumvit road. At Udom Suk BTS, a free bus takes them away to Mega Bangna mall, the giant super mall South East of the city.

The most 'bazaar' thing about this market, is that every open stall is spread out throughout the market. If there's only enough stalls to fill two rows, why not put them all in the front??? Nobody will walk through this market to find the one or two stalls that are open.

With so much competition even moving the stalls to the front is unlikely to work. New thinking is needed here, a new direction, if it's to ever become a success.

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