So you plan on moving to Southeast Asia, and you think you need to do all of your shopping at home because you won’t be able to find what you need overseas. Think again. Street markets won’t be your only option. Many parts of SE Asia have the same types of malls with many of the same stores you are familiar with in North America and Europe. Here is an example of a Western style mall that opened up in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The week before the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Festivities began in Chiang Mai, the Central Festival Mall opened up on the north side of town right next to the Super Highway.
Many of my friends and family seem to think that I gave up the comforts of living in America for living in an old “Third World” country. This is simply not the case. I am not going to get into whether it is a “Developing” nation or “Developed” nation either.
Well, apparently, the categorization of whether a country is “Third World” or not is outdated, based on what I’ve read. However, Thailand does have a “Developing” economy, according to the IMF. Jamaica also has a “Developing” economy, but poverty is evident and unemployment is high.
In any case, I have seen many places in America, that you might think was “Third World”. If someone blindfolded and left you there you wouldn’t know that you were in the “Greatest” country on earth. Ahem.
The same goes anywhere you are in the world. There are impoverished neighborhoods and wealthy neighborhoods usually within close proximity of each other .
I have noticed that even where there is poverty in Thailand, people work, they work a lot, and make a living, and they are very proud. In other countries, I have noticed there are many more people begging then even trying to make a living.
Ok, we can discuss those issues in another post, now, let’s talk about the Central Festival Mall!
I just want to share a few pics so you can see that many of the comforts of our Western civilization are readily available even in Northern Thailand. This mall even has an IMAX with the latest 4D theater!
Six floors of glorious shopping indulgences. Food, clothing, electronics, etc. it’s all here. I was not lacking at all for conveniences of home in this regard.
I realize now that I should have taken way more pictures. The Central Festival Mall puts the malls in my hometown to shame. I will say no more about that, because I love my hometown.
America is not the only place where consumerism, mass marketing and capitalism are a priority.
You can take the family out to see a movie for a very reasonable price and they show current Hollywood movies, usually in English with Thai subtitles.
The marketing of the Christmas Holiday season was in full force here at the mall. This is Robinson’s department store. So, if you are an expatriate living in Chiang Mai, and you want to decorate for Christmas, you can meet all of your shopping needs here.
Seeing the Christmas lights outside made me feel like I was back home. Even though I am eager to experience some new cultures and new traditions, I am still nostalgic when it comes to old familiar traditions.
You don’t appreciate the little things until you’re away from home.
There were so many sweet shops with cakes, donuts, ice cream, cookies, etc!
I had just finished eating donuts and drinking coffee when I started salivating over these cakes!
Room with a view
Tyson told me a few years ago, how he found it interesting that in many of the places he traveled throughout Asia, the Men’s Bathrooms(Toilet) many times would be outdoors and or have a view of something spectacular nearby. Whether, it was cliff side or along a rushing river, the urinals leave nothing to the imagination.
I will have to agree that this is true, and it seems to be done on purpose, because why else would they place a large window here in this bathroom, when I saw no other windows anywhere else inside the mall?!?!
It would have been great if I had made my own video to show more details of the mall, but recently I found out that one of my colleagues and inspirations Jubril Agoro has done just that.
No need to re-invent the wheel.
In the video below Jubril reviews the Cineplex at the Central Festival Mall. It had to be right around the same time I was there.
Brian Dennis is a full-time software engineer, some-time traveler and location-independent entrepreneur.
Chasing his passions in addition to travel in recent years has become a little challenging but even more fulfilling with his wife Betina and 1-year old son Divine.
Currently he is located in S. Florida and continues to share what he's learned with travel tips, guides and some motivating inspiration to encourage others to do more and experience more outside of their comfort zones.