Terminal 21, Bangkok

OK, this is just total eye candy for travel geeks. I don’t even like malls. But Bangkok is a mall kind of town, and when Rod (yes, he met us in Bangkok again this year) told me that there was a new airport-theme mall, I of course had to go.

It’s at the Asok BTS stop (aka Sukhumvit Soi 21). You can enter from the SkyTrain level, but we arrived on foot.

At an airport-theme mall, the security setup even makes sense!

The info-booth girls wore adorable outfits. Two, in fact: At night, the stewardess uniform was black with green trim.

Airport-style signage was everywhere.

Each floor is a different “destination.” The London floor had a red double-decker bus. The floor with the movie theater was Hollywood, of course.

The Istanbul floor had a lot of booths selling crafts. They had some font confusion. Unless perhaps Terminal 21 also enables time travel back to pre-Atatuturk days of Ottoman Turkish script?

I also felt vaguely uncomfortable on the ground floor, the Caribbean.

They seemed to put the most effort into the San Francisco floor.

Just when I started to feel like I was in an even cheesier version of Fisherman’s Wharf, we found the food court. Ah, maybe that’s why there’d been so much care put into the SF floor. The food court–aka Pier 21–was an assemblage of some of Bangkok’s best-known street-food people, in spiffy mall style. But not too spiffy style–I like how everyone still operated out of plastic tubs.

We grazed and gorged.

Afterward, we stopped at the bathroom. The theme-ness started getting a little confused here, because the bathroom apparently had its own theme.

It was all set up inside like some rustic pizza joint, with brick everywhere and a wood oven (yes, in the bathroom), and a gargantuan rolling pin hanging from the ceiling over all the toilet stalls. I was a little lulled by the fancy Japanese toilets with the warm seats, so I didn’t take any pictures.

As Rod pointed out, they didn’t go quite as far over the top with the airport/travel theme as we would have liked–I mean, that woman dusting the San Francisco trolley was wearing a random French maid outfit, when she could’ve been wearing a depressing powder-blue polyester jumpsuit!

Why didn’t they consult the real experts before building? An army of frequent fliers could’ve over-designed the place. The Thais just have to focus on the food. Now that’s synergy.


  1. Amélie says:

    The bathroom sign is amazing. I would have loved to be at that brainstorming meeting. “Ideas for bathroom themes?” “Pizza joint!” “Brilliant!”

    I mean, why?

  2. Zora says:

    Maybe they just had an overflow of theme ideas. “Porntip [real Thai name], I love that pizza-joint vision… Let’s see where we can squeeze it in.”

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