Budget Bangkok: Our guide to the best of Thailand’s capital on a budget

Home to loads of great budget hostels like Awards for Excellence winner Udee Bangkok, Bangkok is one of the cheapest travel destinations on the planet making it a great place to go if you’re on a tight budget.

With the spirit of helping save you some of your hard earned money in mind, we’ve come up with a list of ten things you can do for next to nothing which we think proves that you can spend a little and still live a lotto in Thailand’s capital!

1. Get some fresh air in Lumpini Park

Lumpini Park is a rare patch of green in Bangkok that provides a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of Khao San Road, crazy tuk-tuk drivers and the general madness of the city.

The best thing about it is that it’s absolutely free, so you can stroll around amid the green and peaceful surrounds at your leisure.

If you get tired of walking, you can grab yourself a massage or take part in an aerobics or Thai chi class for free.

If you do have a few baht free, you can hire a paddle boat for just 60 baht an hour or work out in the park’s outdoor gym for just 30 baht.

Alternatively, you can head to the sanctuary of the Butterfly Enclosure and Insectarium in the Roftai Gardens to get your green fix. The Insectarium has a fine collection of butterflies and beautiful flowers and, again, won’t cost you a penny!

2. Explore Bangkok’s temples, shrines and spirit houses

Bangkok has a wide array of temples, shrines and spirit houses waiting to be explored. Many don’t charge a fee, but those that do charge no more than a small entrance fee or welcome donation which can be as generous or stingy as you want it to be.

The only exception is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha which will cost you 200 baht. However, when you consider that this is Thailand’s most treasured shrine and the fee also gets you admission to the Grand Palace complex and gardens, it’s really not a big price to pay.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the temple fairs too as these are also great fun, with traditional music, dancing and plenty of cheap things to eat to keep you going.

The city’s numerous shrines and spirit houses are also well worth a visit. Shrines are dotted all over Bangkok and are free to look at but Erawan Shrine next to Erawan Mall is probably as good a bet as any.

3. Hunt for bargains at second-hand stores

Bangkok’s pretty cheap for clothes in general- unless you’re shopping in one of the city’s ultra trendy shopping malls- but if you’re after real bargains you need to get looking at some of the stalls on the open markets.

Here, you’ll find some real second-hand gems in amongst some of the more dubious items.

There are plenty of open markets to choose from in Bangkok that are good for a browse but Chatuchak Weekend Market and Lad Prao Night Market are two of the best.

4. Eat for free at the supermarket

After all that walking round temples and scouring of markets for clothes, the chances are that you’ll be pretty hungry. Food is never far away in Bangkok and you don’t have to spend much dosh for good food if you know where to go.

Street vendors are nearly all good value but if you’re feeling particularly tight on cash you can eat for free in many of the bigger shopping malls. Supermarkets regularly have free food tastings- especially at weekends- where you’ll be able to chomp on enough free samples to render lunch unnecessary.

Many of the top of the range hotels and supermarkets also have their own in-house bakeries serving a large range of pastries and tasty snacks. At normal prices you wouldn’t go anywhere near them if you were on a budget, but about an hour before closing, prices plummet as they try to get rid of the day’s produce. Be sure to scavenge hard to find the tastiest varieties.

5. Head to Cheap Charlies for a cheap drink

Classy it most certainly isn’t, but Cheap Charlies does do exactly what it says on the tin- cheap drinks at cheap prices. With an extensive menu that has something for everyone, Cheap Charlies is a favorite amongst backpackers and worth dropping in for a cocktail or five during your stay in Bangkok.

Rumor has it that Cheap Charlies is the cheapest place to drink in Bangkok, this may or may not be true but we’ve certainly yet to hear of anywhere cheaper!

6. Climb Bangkok’s Tallest Building

It’s a total of 2060 steps to make it to the top of Bayoke Tower but all the physical exertion is worth it for the 360 degree views of the city when you reach the viewing deck on the 77th floor.

You could ride the elevator of course but where’s the fun in that?!

From the 77th floor you can take a second elevator to enter the outdoor revolving deck on the 84th floor, however this will cost you 120 baht.

7. Learn the tango for free

Bangkok might not be the first place you think of when it comes to tango dancing but it’s getting pretty popular amongst Bangkokians. Offering fee lessons every Friday, La Rueda in the BTS Asok is the place to go.

If tango’s not your thing you can give salsa a try at Brazilian Restaurant Fogo Vivo in the President Tower Arcade. Every Friday and Saturday night the restaurant offers free lessons between 20:00 and 21:00. These are always very popular and well worth a visit of dancing is your thing.

Alternatively head to Benjasiri Park at 16:30 on a Sunday and give the 500 year old self-defense of Capoeira a go!

8. Meditate at Wat Mahatat

Meditation is central to Buddhism and plays an important part in most Bangkokians lives. Now, obviously, you can meditate anywhere you like without spending a penny, but if you want to learn how to meditate properly you can take part in classes run by the resident monks at Wat Mahatat.

Classes are free but you are expected to pay a small customary donation.

9. Get a bit of culture at the National Museum

Bangkok’s museums and art galleries are an underrated commodity and are overlooked resource as most tourists head to the Grand Palace and the temples for their cultural fix. This is a shame as they miss out on an equally as interesting (and cheaper) option in the National Museum.

The National Museum is Thailand’s oldest museum and is dedicated to the country’s cultural and historical heritage, art and archaeology.

Entrance to the museum is just 40 baht and this is a great option if you want to escape the heat of the day for a few hours.

10. Go on a day trip to Ayutthaya

Ok so this one isn’t technically in Bangkok, but this is still a great, low cost thing to do when you visit Thailand’s capital.

Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Siam and features spectacular ruins that date back hundreds of years.

A trip on the train to Ayutthaya will cost you just 150 baht return and is worth every penny.

The day trip to Ayutthaya concludes our round-up of things to do in Bangkok on a budget. If you’ve got any extra tips or advice on places to go then join us as a friend on our facebook fan page and leave us a message- we’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to permanently scatterbrained, Hanumann, side guacamole, avlyx, rpeschetz, longtrekhome, emilio labrador & RussBowling for the fabulous flickr images.

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