Buying electronics in Southeast Asia: Bangkok Vs Singapore

This post is mainly about Bangkok's electronics mega-shopping mall, Panthip. First off, I compare Panthip to a similar megastore in Singapore called Sim Lim Square.

Singapore Vs Bangkok
- Overall, I've had better experiences shopping for electronics in Bangkok compared to Singapore. I find I am not quite so likely to get ripped off at Bangkok's Panthip. Some of the salesmen you will meet at Sim Lim in Singapore are outrageous scampers -- some will not hesitate to cheat you, often by selling you an old model at a new model price.

- Bargain, but in Thailand be sure to do it nicely (same rule holds for Indonesia and some shops in Malaysia). Thais can get offended if you are harsh -- keep smiling. Generally bid no more than 30-40% lower than the marked price. Expect further discounts for multiple purchases. You can be more theatrical in how you bargain in Singapore. To their credit, they won't don't get offended. Singaporeans are unflappable.

Bangkok's Panthip Plaza
- Cameras, mobile phones at good prices, but do not expect a wide selection of the latest, most expensive models.

- Good place to buy computer memory and hard drives. But I prefer name brand drives like Maxtor -- which are available at Panthip, but you have to hunt for a store that sells them. Singapore is a bit better for finding the latest models.

- Laptops: I could not find a store that would sell me an extended international warranty. Best place to buy your laptops is the US.

- Software and videos, generally pirated: If you go this route I suggest you find someone willing to install it. It doesn't always work, and can stop working. If you are male, you'll know your in the pirate video zone when a guy walks up to you and whispers "sexy movie."

- Beware of fake name-brand hardware products. Scrupulously inspect labels that identify a product as genuine when buying name-brand. This rule applies whether you are in Singapore or Thailand.

- A few stores specialize in Apple, but Panthip's mostly PC.

- Thailand's Panthip, especially is a great place to buy cables, notebook cases, keyboards, mice, LCD monitors, and other accessories.

- Don't spend too long in Panthip. The quality of the air is bad. For a break there's a decent well air conditioned Thai restaurant by the entrance.

- Shipping. You can ship something you buy at Panthip anywhere in Thailand overnight delivery for about $1.00. Ask where to go for the shipping office.

- Panthip's Floor Plan: 1st) mobile phones and phone accessories; 2nd) cameras; memory sticks; software and movies; 3rd) laptops, printers 4th) accessories, hardware, used computers, repair services. Warning: that's a rough outline of the floor plan -- the reality is far more haphazard.

- There's one department store on level 2. Limited selection, but good place to check the 'real' price of an item.

- It pays to shop around. Today I saw that one store was selling my digital camera for 12,000 baht, another has it on sale for 8,000 baht.

- Hard drive recovery services. I highly recommend Joseph on the forth floor. He's rescued me twice and his prices are reasonable. I once met a customer who had flown in from Israel to see Joseph.

- How to get to Panthip in Thailand: Its a few blocks off the Skytrain line (not far from Siam). Take a taxi. They all know it, and the roads leading to it are too polluted for healthy walking.

- How to get to Sim in Singapore: It's across the big street from the Little India neighborhood, smack between Bugis MRT Station (green line) and Little India MRT (purple line).

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I wanna purchase a Canon 500D,
    It's cheaper & better to get it in Singapore (and Where) or should I buy it at Bangkok. I am living in Thailand and i don't know how much would be the difference. thanks