Suvarnabhumi: Bangkok’s newest shopping mall

and one hell of an airport!

Suvarnabhumi has been open for a month now, and undoubtedly tens of thousands have passed through it already. What are your thoughts?
Mine, well, Don Muang was old, in fact it was the oldest airport in Asia, in one of the busiest hubs. It had to go. When I went through Suvarnabhumi things went very smoothly, so I don’t have many complaints save the trip back. The taxi ride took an hour and a half and cost 500Baht, including five tolls just to get to Phayathai (where, ironically, a new metro transit line was supposed to connect the airport. Officials seem to have stopped even pretending this will happen).
Thais love superlatives. Unfortunatley, Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd airport is the largest in the world. But don’t worry, because entering Suvarnabhumi, you are promptly welcomed to “the LONGEST airport in the world.” I thought that was pretty desperate, and frankly Suvarnabhumi doesn’t need a superlative, it’s spectacular enough. It’s very avant-garde. Roof trellis rap around the tubular terminal which has almost 360 views. There is lots of exposed cement beams. But I didn’t understand all these volcanic formations in the middle of the airport’s courtyard…
But the most apparent thing about Suvarnabhumi, is that it looks and acts like a shopping mall. Passing customs, you walk through shopping areas the way gift shops are placed after rides at Disney World. There will even be (of course) karaoke bars. But this is no surprise for Bangkok, a city abnormally obsessed with malls. …Did you know a few months ago the UK sold its Phloen Chit embassy to Central Group for the development of yet another mall? This along a strip that is already lined back to back with malls (west to east: MBK, Discovery Center, Siam Center, Paragon, Central World, Gaysorn, Central Chitlom)

3 Comments so far

  1. oakley (unregistered) on October 18th, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

    Gosh. As one of those Soi Langsuan permanent residents (since a few Kings ago), from what my grandmother had told us, the quiet “suburb” of the city suddenly became THE center of town. I personally have watched all the buildings go up around us. US and British Embassies are the only 2 patches of greens left outside of Suan Lump.

    Of course, there are room for malls! Always! What are you talking about?!? >:-P While Central is at it, wanna take down all the “Gamm Bpu” trees along Wireless Road with you to make room for mall traffic? Oh wait, you can’t touch that because of the US Embassy… *sigh*

    UK Embassy. The locals will miss your peace and your green. Trust us. We will.

  2. Nui (unregistered) on October 20th, 2006 @ 3:48 am

    The volcanic formations seems to me like modern representations of the jedi (temple forms) layed out in what looks like a buddhist cosmological mandala, the 10 directions.

  3. Mark (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

    Since 99% of signage in Thailand is incorrect, I suspect that the use of the word “longest” is actually a spelling mistake – they meant to say “largest”. If it was intended to be “longest” then it’s quite funny, since this is not a compliment for an airport.

    Thais may like superlatives, but they enjoy lying even more: How about “Bangkok fashion city”, or Thailand as the “ICT hub of Asia” or even “Siam Paragon – The Global Entertainment Phenomenon”?!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.