Saying that Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 is the largest mall in Bangkok is saying something.
There are so many malls in this town. The big ones are CentralWorld and Siam Paragon. They are eclipsed in size by Central Plaza Grand Rama 9.
This mall has innumerable shopping options, and there are plenty of brand name stores. There is a Columbia Sportswear. Robinson's is the anchor property, occupying several floors at one end of the mall. Pretty much anything that you need can be found. There is a Top's grocery store in the basement. There are bookstores, computer stores, beauty outlets, banks, pharmacies, and weight-loss franchises.
I enjoy cruising past the weight-loss shops, as they often have their uniformed staff standing in front of them offering brochures and promising amazing results. I am a very large man. I am very much their target demographic. When they ask me if I am interested in weight loss, I ask them, "are you saying that I am fat?" I put a lot of mock outrage in the question. It is all in good fun, but it is not obvious to them at the outset. So I play with them a bit. I keep myself entertained. Few things are more enjoyable in life than teasing Thai girls. Ask the chubby ones if they patronize the establishment. You get the idea.
The cinema is on the 6th floor. It is the same, wonderful movie experience offered in all other Bangkok cinemas: reclining VIP couches in the back, reserved seating throughout, plush seats, teetering on the edge of too hot, with alcoholic beverages available. Like theaters worldwide, the nachos, the hot dogs, the potato chips, the popcorn, and the soft drinks and even the bottled water are insultingly expensive, but they are better, somehow, in Bangkok theaters, compared to anywhere else. This mall has digital theaters, and 3D is supported, though there is no IMAX, as can be found at Siam Paragon.
Dining options abound. There are tons of unfamiliar restaurants, all waiting to be discovered. Some are pretty good. Some are bad. The worst that I have experienced is Cucina by CalderazzO. This restaurant purports to offer Italian food. It is invariably vacant. When you eat there, you will know why. The food is terrible. The indisputable champ of Italian dining in this mall is at the Spaghetti Factory. This restaurant is far from perfect, but it is consistent, and as long as you know what to order, you will walk away more or less satisfied. Just do not order a pizza there, and be advised that portion sizes are not generous. Even the meat platter appetizer is barely sufficient for two gourmands. If you are sharing it among a family of four, it will be gone in a blink.
There is a Sizzler's, which can be a relatively affordable option, if you confine yourself to the salad bar. Do not think that this is such a sacrifice, as the salad bar also offers surprisingly good soups, and it has pastas and at least two sauces, usually a cream sauce and a tomato sauce. So you can load up on salad, and scratch your variety itch with either pasta or soup. I do not recommend steak at Sizzler's. If you want a real steak in Bangkok, you have to go to an establishment like the Landmark Hotel, or a Marriott.
If you want pizza, there is a Pizza Hut. Get your pizza there, rather than at the Spaghetti Factory. There is a KFC. There is a McDonald's. You can get sushi and sashimi and Japanese noodles. There are so many restaurants in this mall that a hungry man could easily spend a week just testing the ones that appeal to him, omitting those that look strange, or unappetizing.
The bathrooms are a scandal. For a new shopping mall of this size to have bathrooms that already look 20 years old is perplexing, and I cannot understand why the management believes that there is nothing wrong with sinks that have live electrical wires hanging beneath them. Somebody is going to get electrocuted. When it happens, I sincerely hope that the victims sue the pants off of the owners of this mall. The materials used in the design of the bathrooms at Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 look worn and dirty, and when you consider that this mall is not even a year old, you shudder to imagine how the bathrooms will look on successive anniversaries.
I cannot rail enough about the terrible condition of the bathrooms. Most handicapped bathrooms have doors that cannot be locked from within, with broken latches. There are no sanitary hoses, much less any Japanese robotic toilet seats. I strongly advise taking a pack of baby wipes in with you when utilizing the facilities at this mall. You will need them. I do not want to touch anything in these bathrooms. Not even the door handles. Especially not the toilet flush handles.
Whatever executive made the decisions about the bathrooms in Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 should be ashamed of himself. I sincerely hope that this review percolates up the layers of management to end up on the desk of the CEO of the owning corporation. Someone needs to lose face. Someone went cheap, and you can really tell.
Fortunately, there is a Starbucks on the ground floor, by the main entrance. You can access the MRT Underground there by walking outside, or you can directly walk into the station below ground on the basement level of the mall. This is a real convenience, especially during the rainy season. The only other malls with this sort of convenience are the Emporium, which adjoins the Prom Phong SkyTrain station, and Siam Paragon, which adjoins the Siam SkyTrain station. You can also take a covered skywalk to CentralWorld from the SkyTrain, but it is a long, sweaty walk. For some reason, an underground connection to the MRT at the Esplanade shopping center has not been opened, even though provision was made for it when the mall was built several years ago. There is a blank wall promising access to the Underground, a promise which has not been kept.
There is scads of parking at Central Plaza Grand Rama 9. The people-watching is spotty, for some reason. I do not know why Bangkok's beauties do not flock to this mall, as it has entire floors dedicated to nail salons and hair salons and spas and establishments offering facials and all manner of skin conditioning. There are pretty girls here. But Esplanade has more of them, as does Emporium. Even CentralWorld, perhaps the behemoth of Bangkok malls, is a better destination for girl-watching. There are public benches distributed around the concourses of Central Plaza Grand Rama 9. Hard, plastic benches that are long on aesthetics, and very short on comfort. They look cool, but your posterior will ache if you sit for longer than a little while. If your womenfolk are shopping, find yourself a restaurant to sit in. You will not want to while away an afternoon on the benches in the concourses.
Hope that this helps. Enjoy.
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