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Mahboonkrong (Mbk) information
This unbelievably immense shopping mall is quickly becoming one of Bangkok’s top attractions. Half of the city filters through the glass doors on weekends, stutter-stepping on the escalators, stuffing themselves with junk food or making stabs at individualism by accessorising their mundane school uniforms with high slits or torturous heels. You can buy everything you need here: mobile phones, accessories, shoes, name brands, wallets, handbags, T-shirts. The middle-class Tokyu department store also sells good-quality kitchenware.
The 4th floor resembles something of a digital produce market. A confusing maze of stalls sell all the components to send you into the land of cellular – a new phone, a new number and a SIM card. Even if you’d rather keep yourself out of reach, do a walk-through to observe the chaos and the mania over phone numbers. Computer print-outs displaying all the available numbers for sale turn the phone numbers game into a commodities market. The luckier the phone number, the higher the price; upwards of thousands of dollars have been paid for numbers composed entirely of nines, considered lucky in honour of the current king, Rama IX, and because the Thai word for ‘nine’ is similar to the word for ‘progress’.
MBK is also one of the more convenient one-stop shopping destinations for photo equipment. Foto File , on the ground floor, has a good selection of used gear, though be sure to inspect the quality closely. The shop’s sister venture, Photo Thailand , stocks all manner of new photo-related gear on the 3rd floor. Sunny Camera , also on the 3rd floor, contains shelves of gleaming new Nikon and Mamiya equipment.