Ask an otaku – Where do I buy Kpop in Bangkok ?

I’ve had quite a number of people email me and ask me questions about stuff in South East Asia. One of my favourites was a person whose wife was obsessed with a particular Thai rock singer who “always wears a bandana and often dark sunglasses”. Well, that was an easy one, because while I am not an expert in Thai music, I knew immediately that it could be none other than the famous Karabou !

One other person has emailed me a few times with some questions about Thailand, and this morning they asked me “Where can I buy Kpop dvd’s in Bangkok ?” Well, I guess it’s time for a new segment on my site – “Ask an otaku”. (I know that word is supposed to apply to Japanese geeks, but it’s the best word to describe it I think). So anywhere, here’s a somewhat edited version of the email I sent him, just in case anyone else wants to know this as well.

In the city centre, known as Siam, there is a huge shopping centre called MBK. It is probably the most famous of its type in Thailand, and it is absolutely massive and it is like a geek’s paradise. I personally went there looking to get my phone repaired. Now I don’t KNOW if MBK has a section that sells DVD’s, but I would be very surprised if it didn’t because it pretty much has EVERYTHING, and especially caters to foreigners.

I guess they have a floor with kpop and stuff there too, I just didn’t visit it. I actually got my dvd’s from two places. One was a much smaller mall in the suburbs near where I lived called Fortune Town. It’s an IT mall like MBK but the stores are more permanent rather than the “market style” of many of the MBK stores (at least in the phone section). They had some great DVD and software stores there, and while the prices weren’t that cheap (except for the pirate software which was great), I picked up a lot of good Korean music. Japanese music was harder to find, but it’s worth asking because sometimes it’s hidden away in a corner. Fortune town is at stop Phra Ram Gau on the train line, not far from Sukkhimvit.

The other place I got a lot of dvd’s was at the audio markets near the tourist area and the King’s palace. If you take a trip up the river at any point (and I recommend you do because it’s beautiful and only costs $1 the whole way), the tourist boat that takes you stops at stop 13 for the last stop, which is the Khao San Road stop. There is a small canal in between Rama VIII and Phra Pin Kiao bridges which has musical instrument stores all along one side and on the other side of the canal they have night markets. But, in the streets just about a block back from the waterfront between that canal and the Phra Pin Kiao road/bridge, there are these amazing audio markets where they sell huge speakers, mixing desks and other sorts of pro hifi-gear. They’re incredibly busy and it’s packed with people, but there are absolutely shitloads of stalls selling kpop.

The dvd’s are all pirated of course, and poorly (just on blank dvd-r’s), but because it’s an area for the locals more than the tourists, you will just find thousands upon thousands of cheap kpop dvd’s, and they will always give you a discount for bulk, so it’s easy to spend $20 and end up with 30 kpop dvd’s. I bought heaps of great dvd’s there. After School, SNSD etc. But also they have heaps of these collections of YouTube videos, like “Best of Kpop Girls vol 11” etc. I discovered quite a few cool new groups from some of those.

Basically try MBK and surrounding malls, but they are expensive and mostly geared towards westernes, but if you can’t find what you want and need more miscellaneous electronics or pirated music or software dvd’s, try Fortune Town, or look for the markets near Khao San Road. I don’t like going to Khao San area much because it’s just full of tourists and makes me feel like an outsider, but there’s still some good stuff there (and some nice restaurants) and if you just wander around asking where you can buy Korean music dvd’s, someone will surely direct you to the right place.

So now you know. That’s where *I* buy Kpop dvd’s when I’m in Bangkok. If you have any other questions about any place I’ve visited, please feel free to email me at pawzlion@gmail.com and if it’s something I can help with, I’ll be sure to respond. For smaller or simpler questions, just leave a comment on the blog and I’ll respond there. This has been pawz, for “Ask an Otaku” !

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