Bangkok’s Siam Paragon is World’s Most Instagrammed Location

Written by Mark McElroy

Photo Credit: Flickr user Khun Jarco

The makers of Instagram, the popular online photo sharing service owned by Facebook, announced today that the world’s most Instagrammed location is Bangkok’s Siam Paragon megamall. (As it turns out, I’ve been to seven of the top ten most Instagrammed locations on the planet. And while I’d like to see more of number ten — New York’s version of The Beltline, called the High Line — it’s unlikely I’ll ever be in LA’s Staples Center or Dodger Stadium.)

I have a love/hate relationship with Siam Paragon. For all its pristine whitespace and sprawling vistas, it is, in the end, a mall. And as I’ve written before, Thailand’s mega-malls are like American malls on steroids and speed: bigger, louder, more intense. The noise level alone is an assault on your sanity: chattering teenagers, screaming babies, flickering promotional screens, roaring fountains, buzzing neon, pleading vendors.

But Siam Paragon is also a hall of wonders. More than once, I’ve marveled at the line outside Louis Vuitton, where locals wait patiently for the privilege of being ushered (well, escorted, really, by a fierce-looking security detail) past high-dollar purses and scarves. I’ve seen an elaborate dance routine there,  performed by a small army of Thai people dressed as velveteen dolphins, whales, and manta rays. I saw my first 4D movie there. And I defy you to find any food court like Siam Paragon’s Gourmet Market, where the clattering and chattering are such a force of nature you can barely taste your lunch.

What charms me most about this story, though, are the contents of the Siam Paragon Instagram photos themselves. There are a few inevitable product shots, but, by far, the photos are of people: friends holding hands, young people clowning around, Thai boys flashing the “peace sign,” students mugging for the camera.

I see these photos as a glimpse into the mindset of the people in the world’s most Instagrammed location. Despite being immersed in a gaudy retail environment, what mattered most was the human connection: “I was here. I was with people I love. And someone cared enough about me to take my picture.”

About the author

Mark McElroy

I’ve racked up more than a million Delta SkyMiles exclusively through pleasure travel — earning me the nickname “Million Mile Mark.” Because family and friends planning their own vacations ask for recommendations all the time, I came up with the idea of sharing my suggestions online. For more about me and my mission, please see "Who is MillionMileMark?" on the main menu of this site.

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  • Wow. I’ve got to say, Mark, that being Deaf definitely helped me have a much nicer (and quieter) experience at Siam Paragon. I loved the visual displays at all the shops, especially those with simple wood slabs that were put together to resemble a very blocky tree. This was also where Wes and I had one of our many random meetings of other Deaf people, and spent at least two hours talking with an older man whose wife was a pastor, and a lady who was from Jamaica (I believe).

    • I imagine your experience of Siam Paragon *was* much more tranquil than ours. I hadn’t thought of that, actually — and I appreciate the comment, which opened a new window on your experience for me.

      Next time, I’ll take my trusty earbuds and pipe in calming music while strolling through the mall! 🙂