WITH so many visits to Bangkok, I can’t remember when the last time was that I stepped foot in Emporium. The mall was the most luxurious at that time carrying international labels in its floors.

That was years ago for sure. Larger malls have sprouted since more luxury brands entered the scene and more shoppers were swiping their credit cards.

But in 2015, all eyes were gazing back to the Phrom Phong district with the opening of the new shopping giant-the EmQuartier. This kicks off The Mall Group’s ambitious move to turn the area into Bangkok’s biggest retail hub.

Across the Sukhumvit road, modern towers join the 1997-inaugurated mall Emporium, which went through a recent facelift, as Phrom Phong’s newest shopping destination.

The location is set apart from the popular shopping cluster in the busy central business district where CentralWorld, Siam Paragon and Gaysorn are. But getting to EmQuartier is only a few BTS Skytrain stops away from this cluster.

Believe it or not, even with the hype, recommendation and easy to reach feature, it took me almost a year before I made it to this mall. The only reason I can come up with was the schedule I had when I visited Bangkok.

It’s always tight.

It is indeed a breeze to reach EmQuartier and Emporium. The malls are accessible from the road level or via a more convenient means of approach, the BTS Skytrain (my preferred mode of transportation in the Big Mango).

The Phrom Phong station provides a direct link to the two malls flanking the Sukhumvit via a skywalk, a concourse spotted with greens that offers a view of a verdant oasis, the Benjasiri Park.

My first visit was at sundown. I was met with house music playing on the concourse (the area also hosts a pop-up art gallery exhibiting huge installations), bright lights on an LED screen that flashing mall news, huge signage with D-&-G and C-h-a-n-e-l spelled on it at the forefront of futuristic glass edifices. It was exciting that I can’t wait to explore what was beyond.

And beyond opened up to more luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, Dior, and Valentino on the ground and second levels, plus affordable fashion labels-Zara, Uniqlo, H&M, and homegrown brands like Greyhound and Fly Now on the upper floors. These are just a few of the 400 brands EmQuartier holds in its halls, along with dozens of restaurants, offices, event halls and an atrium garden with a waterfall, no less.

Three zones make up the EmQuartier: “The Helix Quartier” holds almost 50 restaurants in its spiral walkway; “The Waterfall Quartier”, aptly called as such with its waterfall feature; and located in a separate building accessible through several walkways is “The Glass Quartier”.

I felt very much at home at The EmQuartier. Not because I went gaga with a favorite Japanese brand or feasted on its gastronomic offering. Why? Because it’s a selfie paradise.

Soon a third and final feature will rise on the same site—the EmSphere, which will be architecturally treated to suit its name. With a completion target date this year, the Em District will have over a thousand international and local retail stores in its premises covering 600,000 sq.m. of downtown Bangkok.

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com.