Ocean Plaza Bangla in Patong Beach has something of a history: once a bazaar-like labyrinth selling fake guns and not-so-fake combat knives, binoculars, and the like, shoppers could have been forgiven for thinking it was some sort of a wannabe military outlet. Nowadays Ocean is far more benign and the renovated shop has closed the dusty upstairs café and bowling alley and is restricted to one, cheerily lit ground floor.
Viewed from outside, Ocean Plaza is framed by two ATM machines and just inside the mall you’ll find a neon-lit tattoo and hairdresser combination next to a stand selling cosmetics and jewelry. Over to the right is a colourful pottery and tea-set stand that looks decidedly more Chinese than Thai but is a good place if you’re looking for Chinese tea.
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- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
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- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Frankly speaking, even though Ocean has lost a lot of its bazaar atmosphere, there still doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it as you’ll see ethnic northern Thai hats right next to a stand selling Scholl health shoes which is right next to a Seiko watch outlet, and so on.
Do remember to bargain here as the prices are a mere suggestion rather than set in stone and the more you buy from the same ‘shop’ the more you can get knocked off the price. Items further into the mall include name-brand handbags, cameras, pewter jugs and mugs, humorous T-shirts (‘No I Don’t want a F*?k’n Tuk Tuk, Suit or a Massage’), remote-controlled toy helicopters, cars, adapters, deadlocks, binoculars, army helmets, cheap sunglasses, coconut oils, beachwear, coconut skin oil, the ubiquitous ‘wife-beater’ beer vests, the usual carved soaps, thousands of wooden elephants and Buddha images, and more.
Further on in the mall stands a permanent eyebrow tattoo shop – which is a neat idea if your hair is black you and happen to be female but blond males should seriously consider before entering.
All in all, Ocean Plaza Bangla Shopping Mall is a pleasant experience and is well lit with agreeable background music piped in. Go in the morning and you’ll have the place to yourselves – all the better for bargaining.
Ocean Plaza Bangla
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10:30 – 23:30
- Location: Under Illuzion Disco, Bangla Road