- Kelly Iverson
Budget travelers in Bangkok are faced with a big dilemma. The city is teeming with top attractions and must-see things to add to travel itineraries, but these can be daunting for those trying to travel on the cheap. Fret not, as the City of Angels caters to all tourists, even those who are down to their last baht. Here, 20 free things to do in Bangkok.
Explore Bangkok’s Many Green Spaces
Surprisingly enough, there are more than a handful of parks scattered around the city. From Lumpini Park littered with monitor lizards to Benjakiti Park with one of the best backdrops of the entire city, one could spend hours traversing the winding trails of these lush green spaces. Some of the best parks in the city include Sanam Luang, Benjakiti Park, Benjasiri Park, and Queen Sirikit Park.
People Watch On Khao San Road
Khao San Road is already fairly cheap, with alcohol-ridden buckets starting out at as little as ฿150 (about $4). That being said, one does not need a bucket in hand to enjoy the ample amount of people-watching and live music this notorious road has to offer. From drunken foreigners chowing down on scorpions to one particularly old man who never stops dancing outside one of the clubs for spare change, this particular road is sure to keep you enthralled all evening.
Browse The Flower Market
Pak Khlong Talad, otherwise known as the Bangkok Flower Market, is a bright and colorful spectacle unlike what most tourists have ever seen before. So many flowers in one place usually means you have stumbled your way into a garden, but this overflowing flowery scene is actually a market. Many Thais visit this stretch of foliage to purchase the cheap, plastic bundles of multicolored roses, orchids, and more, but for those traveling on a budget, this is a great place to meander and kill some time without killing your bank account.
Explore Ko Kret Island
Ko Kret, an artificial island just outside of Bangkok, is equipped with everything one needs to be entertained on a low budget. From a thriving weekend market filled with strange and intriguing goods to its plethora of local pottery, this island is definitely worth visiting.
Photograph The Ministry of Defense
The Ministry of Defense might not necessarily make the itineraries of all those tourists traveling to Bangkok. That being said, the old architecture is impressive, and visitors can definitely utilize it for a free photo op or two.
Get Lost At Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest markets in Asia. Whether visitors are planning on breaking their banks or just want to explore the over abundance of stalls that call this market home, this is one way to kill time without spending a dime.
Attend A Free Concert At Lumpini Park
In addition to being home to a plethora of monitor lizards, it is here visitors can also find free concerts held almost every Sunday evening during the cool season. Bangkok Symphony Orchestra holds ‘Concert in the Park’ at Lumpini. These performances usually begin at 5:30 pm.
Go To A Gallery
Art lovers will be pleasantly surprised to know that Bangkok is teeming with free galleries chock full of stunning pieces of work. Some of the galleries around the city that do not charge entrance fees include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok (MOCA), WTF Bangkok, and Bangkok University Gallery (BUG).
Get The Creative Juices Flowing At Thailand Art And Culture Centre
Visiting the Thailand Art and Culture Centre is completely free, and it is made up of a number of different galleries and exhibitions at any given moment. In addition to stunning photography, paintings and more, feel free to browse its eco-friendly shops or bookstores.
Utilize A Workout Class Or Equipment
Many of the parks in Bangkok are equipped with makeshift gym equipment throughout. In addition to weights, benches, and more, many parks in the city will have free aerobics, yoga, and other fitness classes in the evenings.
Meander The Grounds Of An Ancient Temple
While the famous Wat Pho and Wat Arun have small entrance fees, some of the most impressive temples in the city are free of charge. Be sure to check out these inexpensive historic wonders, including Wat Ratchabophit, Wat Ratchapradit, Wat Bowoniwet, Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount), and the Giant Swing (Sao Ching-Cha) that sits just outside Wat Suthat.
Grab A Good Book And Settle In
Bookstores are always good places to kill some time for free. The Neilson Hays Library is no exception. The library is home to the Rotuna Gallery and the Garden Cafe Gallery, both of which are spaces for artists to display their work, including textiles, paintings, ceramics, and more. The Neilson Hays Library is a great place to pick out a new read and curl up or browse the exhibit being held at the time.
Walk Down Soi Cowboy
This is one street visitors may not want to linger on for too long, making it a perfect, seemingly free, place to check out in the City of Angels. Visitors strolling down this street may want a drink or two after having seen the debacle that is Soi Cowboy, however, one walk down the infamous stretch of road and visitors will have seen enough.
Watch A Muay Thai Fight
Many visitors of Thailand hope to see a muay Thai fight or two before departing the Land of Smiles. Tickets can be costly, however, leaving hopeful ringside fans left to imagine what it is these fights actually look like. Fret not, as MBK Fight Night holds free fights at MBK every Wednesday from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.
Take Photos Of Erawan Shrine
There are shrines all over the city, but certainly the most noteworthy one is the Erawan Shrine. Located conveniently right off the BTS Skytrain station Phrom Phong, this shrine, for one reason or another, is always busy with both foreigners and Thais alike. With live Thai dancers and music, visitors should not miss out on visiting this historical shrine.
Get Schooled In One Of Bangkok’s Museums
History buffs will be happy to hear that there are a handful of museums without entrance fees in Bangkok. One of these is the Jesada Technik Museum, which is chock full of old forms of transportation. Other free museums include the Royal Elephant National Museum and Silpa Bhirasri Memorial and Museum.
Meander In Historic Chinatown
From stunning temples to delicious food and more, Chinatown in Bangkok is one of the most thriving ones in the world. Visitors to this historic area in the city can spend hours weaving down its crowded, shopping streets, as well as gawk at the gaudy gold making an appearance in many of shop windows.
See Bang Krachao
Otherwise known as the lungs of Bangkok, Bang Krachao is a great place to visit for those pinching their pennies as well as for those who want to escape the urban jungle of Bangkok for a few hours. The island is made up of more than a handful of cycling paths, of which visitors are welcome to meander and walk through while exploring its green foliage, for free.
Watch The Sun Set at Wat Arun
Wat Arun, or Temple of the Dawn, is one of the most beautiful temples in all of Thailand. Its five towers consisting of mosaic tiles and textiles overlook the Chao Phraya River and make for one extraordinary view. While the entrance fee into the temple is ฿50, anyone can find a good spot across the river to enjoy this temple as the sun sets.
Window Shop At Siam Discovery
There are plenty of Siams to go around, but by far the best one is Siam Discovery. The mall just reopened in May 2016 after some major construction, and Bangkokians couldn’t be happier with the end result. From incredible toy stores to furniture outlets that would make even the most diligent interior designer want to give their home a makeover, simply walking around this mall is a great way to spend the afternoon and beat Bangkok’s heat.