The Museum-Like Experience of Going to the Papaya Studio
Bangkok/Fashionista/Shopping

Papaya Studio: A Museum Experience of Vintage Shopping

Papaya Studio PIC01 Photo by Papaya Studio

A collection of oddities can be that, odd. You never know if people are going to receive it well, knowing that weird stuff can rub people the wrong way. It’s not that way in Papaya Design and Furniture Studio, a vintage shop that has become kooky rather than crazy in its nearly 50 years of existence.

Before we get into what the place sells, which is hardly a secret, it’s worth mentioning that this place has a soul. Whether you’re looking at it on a picture or breathing in that musky scent that the store emits, this store tries to welcome you. It wants to point you in the right direction, to where the vintage doodad that you’re looking for is located.

To that point, it’s almost an injustice to call this place a store. What’s in showcase here are tall racks of objects that have fascinating histories behind them. The podcast “Everything is Alive” comes to mind, because if these things could talk, Eastern European ceramics and beatnik bureaus, they would have stories to last for days.

Papaya Studio BKK
Photo by Website/Papaya Studio

Nonetheless, Papaya Studio is four floors of collectibles and curiosities, ranging from furniture and tabletop pieces like vases and figurines, to stuff that you can’t even categorise. There’s so much variety in what you can buy in this place that you would fill up your living room by the time you come out.

If you really can’t make it to their store, Papaya Studio’s website is surprisingly helpful. It’s hard to believe, but they have an impressive online catalogue, considering the insane variety of items in here. But, and this is not typical of any physical store, you’re missing out on a lot by not going there directly. Honestly, this is the one place Amazon cannot and will not replace.

It’s also not preposterous to say that this place may probably remind some of you about your grandparents’ place. A bit old, maybe a little too packed with stuff, but kind and warm.

One thing that Papaya Studio manages to do better than most furniture and antique shops is that there’s always something new. That’s a little strange to say about a store that specialises on vintage things, but for some reason, there’s always some new doohickey to obsess about every time you step inside the store.

Bangkok is all the richer because of one man’s love of old things. The owner, Mr. Tong, started collecting at the tender age of 14 and hasn’t looked back since. He even held of selling his prized possessions because they considered these things as teachers. Each thing has something worth knowing about, a history to tell. This is why you can feel that this place is a labour—and product—of love.

Get the latest curated content with The Beat Asia's newsletters. Sign up now for a weekly dose of the best stories, events, and deals delivered straight to your inbox. Don't miss out! Click here to subscribe.

This Week's Events In Bangkok View more