A Budget Traveler’s Guide To Bangkok

Floating fruit vendor | ©  Joe deSousa/Flickr
Floating fruit vendor | © Joe deSousa/Flickr
Photo of Kelly Iverson
9 February 2017

Those traveling on a budget might find themselves avoiding major cities in hopes of bypassing high, urban pricing. That is not the case with Bangkok, however. It is here visitors will find some of the most budget-friendly attractions, food, and more. Here, a budget traveler’s guide to Bangkok.

Eat Street Food

Even those travelers who are not on a budget should eat street food at least once during their visit to Bangkok. Some of the best food in the city can be found lining its crowded, polluted streets, being cooked up right before your eyes. Whether you opt for a sizzling pork stick or pad Thai, some of the most delicious eats are also the cheapest.

Street food | © J Aaron Farr/Flickr

Stay In A Hostel

Staying in a luxury, 5-star hotel for cheaper than anywhere else in the world is doable in the City of Angels. Those travelers ballin’ on a budget, however, should steer clear of these flashy accommodation options. Instead, make your way to one of the many budget-friendly hostels in the area. Whether you want to be in the heart of the city or along the rowdy streets of Khao San Road, there are plenty of hostels to choose from, some from as little as $5 a night. There are plenty of cheap hostels located on Khao San Road, but those travelers looking to stay away from this hectic area might want to check out De Talak Hostel, Sivalai Place, Take a Nap Hostel, and Lub D Siam Square for some budget-friendly accommodation.

Khao San Road | © Guillén Pérez/Flickr

No Meter, No Taxi

Tourists often find themselves in the back of expensive taxi rides because the driver would not use the meter. Other times, the driver is seemingly lost or the meter is running unsettling fast. That is most likely because taxi rides are the biggest way in which foreigners get ripped off when visiting the city. Even when armed with WiFi or a GPS, taxi drivers still find a way to toy with their passengers. Visitors should save themselves some grief (and money) by utilizing more affordable means of traveling. Whether you jump on the BTS Skytrain, a hot bus, or utilize the canals by hopping on a khlong boat, there are much more affordable ways to explore the city than by taxi. Only take a taxi if you are traveling with a group, as this cuts the price down.

Tuk Tuk (Taxi) | © Colin Tsoi/Flickr

Pregame On The Streets

The cheapest place to purchase drinks is at any one of the many 7/11 convenience stores found all over the city. Beers are incredibly cheap, and a group of friends can purchase a bottle of Thai whiskey for about $9 and split it among one another. That, in addition to a few chasers, is about the same price as one drink at any one of the hottest nightclubs in town. Save more than a handful of baht by drinking prior to taking on the nightlife in the City of Angels.

Bus bar | © Heiko S/Flickr

Drink At A Beer Garden

There are more than a handful of beer gardens around Bangkok. What these restaurants lack in air conditioning, they make up for with cheap beer and good vibes. Whether you are at Beer Garden Ekkamai or the W District off BTS Skytrain station Phra Khanong, visitors can have a few drinks without breaking their banks.

Good beer + good company = happiness | © eric molina/Flickr

Hit The Clubs (Without Entrance Fees)

There are plenty of nightclubs in Bangkok without entrance fees. Sure, the lack of cover fees means no free drink either, but if you pregame at the local 7/11, club-goers shouldn’t need a drink to take on these luxurious dance floors. Some of the clubs in Bangkok that do not charge entrance fees include Levels Club & Lounge, Beam, Sing Sing, and Demo (free during the weekdays).

Green bottle | © pittaya/Flickr

Go Window Shopping

Some shoppers cannot step foot into a mall without splurging a little. There is so much to see in do in the malls in Bangkok, however, shoppers might find themselves exploring for hours before ever whipping out their wallets. For example, Siam Paragon is filled with luxury vehicles. EmQuatier is home to a 40-meter high waterfall and indoor garden. Terminal 21 is made up of several different cities from around the world, designed to look like an airport. There is something for everyone at the extravagant malls in Bangkok.

Mall | © Picaidol/Pixabay


Bartering in Bangkok is a must, even for those travelers who have money to blow. It’s a challenge of sorts, as a potential buyer and vendor go toe-to-toe in hopes of both getting the best deal. Do not take this overboard, however. Be aware of when it is you are getting a deal and move on to the next one.

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok | © Sumeet Mondal/Flickr

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