Most people probably don’t find their way to Chiangmai for the huge variety of incredible malls! But if you live here, you soon realize that this is city is mall heaven. And each has its own personality, whether it is a small older location or one of the huge new sprawling megamalls that seem to be opening weekly. In the last two weeks alone, two major new shopping centers opened, the Promenade Resort and the Central Festival. We checked out the first one a couple days ago and were invited to the official launch party of the latter.
You never know what email you will find in your box when you have a blog! Last week I received a note from Krittana Khurana in Bangkok, the International Marketing Executive of Central Pattana Public Co, the owners of the new Central Festival Mall. She had run across my blog, enjoyed some of the postings and thought I might be interested in attending the official launch party of their new Central Festival Mall that opened November 14. So we received an official invitation to attend as “press” representatives! Having been here only several months, that was very cool!
On Thursday, we dug out some stuff other than t-shirts and shorts, jumped on the scooter, hung a left at Nimmanhaemin and headed out along the ring road to the mall. We had no idea what to expect. We soon saw the huge building in the distance and, at about the same time, the traffic slowed to a standstill. Little did we know that all these vehicles were headed for the grand opening at 4:00. It was nuts!
One of the adjacent fields had been turned into a temporary parking lot and it was totally inundated with cars, SUVs and motorcycles. Luckily, it had been a dry week or navigating this rut-filled dirt pile would have turned into pushing my scooter through a mud-hole. We soon joined the hundreds of people heading for the entrance and found our way to the official area, where the grand opening was going to take place.
At 5:00 pm we registered as “press” and were ushered to our seats inside the taped off area. There were lots of goodies provided and drinks were constantly being circulated. Of course, we didn’t know anyone there but we soon realized that there were many well-known locals in attendance. Apparently, there were many superstars, models, and important business people that had been invited to this event. With celebrities such as Pope-Thanawat Wattanabhuti, Meen-Pichaya Wattanamontri and Chin-Chinawut there, how could you go wrong? There were lots of speeches, a fashion show and some great entertainment. However, the reason for all this hoopla was still yet to be explored.
After two or three hours, we left and walked about the new mall. It is a huge place, the biggest mall in Northern Thailand. Most large global brands are represented and we recognized many of the names as we walked around. Somebody in the PR department did a great job because the place was teeming with thousands of people. Of course, you couldn’t hear yourself speak with all the noise, but after six years of living in China we are kind of immune to that!
The food choices that are available in these new places are also pretty incredible. They now include extras such as oyster bars, wine shops, gourmet foods such as fresh caviar and lobster that is flown in, and a large variety of cheeses from around the world. Of course, we can’t afford much of this stuff on a regular basis but at least we know it is there if we want it!
Central Festival has a 10-screen cinema complex, plus IMAX 3D and 4DX. Wednesday is “cheap day” when you only spend 100 Baht to get in. You can really splurge and get the plush arm-chair love seats for 350-450 Baht (still only the equivalent of 10-12 bucks), which we will definitely have to do some time! We do love going to movies so the more the merrier as far as we are concerned. To top it all off, there are also a fitness center and an ice-skating rink to burn off all the calories from the more than 60 restaurants in this new complex.
Central Festival Chiangmai will be open from 11:00 – 21:30 on Monday through Thursday, and 10:00 – 22:00 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.