Bangkok is a city bursting with excitement, fun, and activity. It is known for its exotic personality, spicy flavors, traffic jams and kind-hearted people. But for any traveler on a budget, every penny counts so how do you go about experiencing Bangkok while on a budget? Well, you’re in luck as we’ve done the planning for you. As “locals”, we’ve scoured the city to find a few insanely cheap things to do in Bangkok which proves that you don’t have to be loaded to fully experience its craziness.
- 1 MONDAY (Skytrain and Night Markets)
- 2 TUESDAY (Temple Hopping Chao Phraya River)
- 3 WEDNESDAY (Parks and Muay Thai)
- 4 THURSDAY (National Museums and Khao San Road)
- 5 FRIDAY (Thai Massages and Chinatown)
- 6 SATURDAY (Chatuchak Market)
- 7 SUNDAY (Street Food and Rooftop Bars)
- 8 The Verdict: You Said Cheap…What Are We Talking About Here?
MONDAY (Skytrain and Night Markets)
It’s your first day in Bangkok and you are excited to get the trip started. Hold on a second there cowboy. Let’s talk about transportation. With constant traffic in the city, most taxi drivers will negotiate rates or avoid charging the meter which is why we recommend taking the BTS Skytrain. Bangkok’s clean, air-conditioned Skytrain is an efficient form of transportation that will save you money and more importantly — time. However, if you want to experience a tuk-tuk here and there, go for it! Just don’t take one across the city or your pockets may become emptier than expected.
By the time you settle down, unpack your bags and rest, the sun should be slowly setting. This is your chance to visit Pratunam Market. Pratunam is an indoor market but there are plenty of booths laid out in the alleys and streets around the buildings. You will find bargains for clothes, shoes and accessories and odd knick-knacks like Thai amulets and simple street food. Just don’t blow all your spending money on one day, there is plenty to see and do. Night markets in Bangkok are not only iconic for the shopping but even for the overall vibe. So even if you don’t shop until you drop, the exotic food, the electrifying vibe, and the local interaction are reasons enough to go.
Pratunam Market – FREE!
TUESDAY (Temple Hopping Chao Phraya River)
One cheap thing to do in Bangkok is to go around and soak up some culture. Dedicate a day to the art of temple hopping, all of which you can follow using the google maps pins below. Bangkok has over 40,000 Buddhist temples (in Thai called “Wats”), that are scattered around the city. Taking the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station where you can experience a boat taxi up Chao Phraya river. The first stop is Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). It consists of five prangs (towers) and is decorated with ceramic tiles and colorful porcelain.
Wat Pho is the next stop down the river and is the oldest temple in Bangkok (not to mention the most famous). It is home a 46-meter long, 15-meter high Buddha that sits at this temple’s core. You can also stop for a soothing massage at the local massage school in the temple.
If you aren’t sick of temples yet, Wat Saket is worth checking out but it is further in the city. This temple sits atop an artificial hill where you will get breath-taking views of the city. It is famous for the Golden Mount that rises above the clouds. Just a heads up, it is a bit of a climb but admission is free.
In the evening we recommend taking the free shuttle boat back down the river to Asiatique mall. The ten-minute boat ride will stop at Bangkok’s night bazaar, boasting countless shops, yummy restaurants a gigantic Ferris wheel and a long riverside boardwalk.
Wat Arun – 50 THB
Wat Pho – 100 THB
Wat Saket – FREE!
Asiatique – FREE!
Boat Trip Up The River – 100 THB
Related: 10 Awesome Things to Do in Bangkok
WEDNESDAY (Parks and Muay Thai)
So you’ve done a ton of walking and your legs are killing you. Now is the time to give yourself a break. Why not relax at Lumpini Park which provides the people of Bangkok with 500,00 sq. meters of green space. Don’t be surprised when you see older Thai generations practicing their Tai Chi. The best time to go is mid-week as the weekend it is full of families. If you want an alternative, Benjakitti Park will have less people and includes a boating lake, a cycling track, and a hidden monument just behind the gates.
Once the sun reaches its peak, you’ll need to escape to something cooler. Head over to the National Stadium station and visit MBK Shopping Mall for some cheap shopping items or the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre for the latest exhibitions in photography and art.
As if finding cheap things to do in Bangkok isn’t good enough, well, how about something free?? Kill some time until the evening when MBK hosts its free Fight Night. Get a real taste of Muay Thai boxing with about eight fights. It is held in front of the shopping center in a ring with announcers, ring girls, lights, and live commentary; all to the backdrop of the live band playing their drums and pipes.
Lumpini Park – FREE!
MBK Shopping Mall – Up to You
Muay Thai Fight Night – FREE!
THURSDAY (National Museums and Khao San Road)
To get a real taste of Thailand’s history, make your way over to the Bangkok National Museum which offers tours in English only on Thursdays. Home to a large collection of artifacts, this museum was first opened by King Rama V as a token of appreciation of all the gifts his father gave to him. Inside you will see Chinese weapons, precious stones, puppets and even Khon masks; drawing the line to Thailand’s rich history.
In the afternoon, to give yourself some excitement and celebrate at Khao San Road. This street is where East meets West where you can meet people and find yourself open to random conversations. A popular destination for backpackers, Khao San Road provides cheap food, cheap booze and …well a memorable night out.
National Thai Museum – 200 THB
Khao San Road – Depending on how many beers you can drink!
Editor’s Note: Still looking for where to stay in Bangkok? Check out our guide for a complete list of hostels and hotels.
FRIDAY (Thai Massages and Chinatown)
Chances are during the last few days you’ve seen a Thai massage parlor or two. Experience a wonderful Thai massage in the country that created it. Not only is it physically beneficial, but you will leave feeling invigorated especially from all of the activity the last few days. There are places absolutely everywhere so just ask around and someone will point you in the right direction.
Insider Tip: If you want a decent massage, stay away from the sleazy red light district areas! While there are plenty of great massage parlors in Bangkok, there are also a few shady ones…if you know what I mean!
When your batteries are charged again, make your way to Chinatown. Packed full of street stalls and restaurants, this is an endless place to eat where you will you get to try as many different kinds of Chinese food as you can. Did someone say dim sum??
Thai Massage (90 minutes) – 400 THB
Chinatown – Up to You
Editor’s Note: After Bangkok, whether you’re heading to the Thai Islands or up to Northern Thailand, save time by booking your bus, train, and ferry schedules ahead of time. Click here to see transportation schedules.
SATURDAY (Chatuchak Market)
If you like shopping or even if you hate shopping you need to visit the Chatuchak Market (Check directions here). Only open on the weekends, this 27-acre space boasts 8,000 stalls making it one of the largest markets in the world. You will find everything imaginable here from clothes, food, and house goods. Make sure to grab a map before going to avoid getting lost for hours. There is a connecting park as well just note a lot of people flock there on the weekend. Honestly, you can spend even the whole day at the Chatuchak Weekend Market so we will let this one sit on its own.
Chatuchak Market – Up To You
SUNDAY (Street Food and Rooftop Bars)
As you spend the morning slowly packing your bags and reminiscing about the blast you had the last few days, you’ll probably remember that you needed to buy a few last minute souvenirs or two (in case you haven’t bought enough at the Chatuchak Market). Do a quick stroll around your hotel and chances are you’ll find a vendor selling what you need. This is also a great time to finish off with some local street food (can we recommend some Pad Thai…mmm).
Insider Tip: Thip Samai Pad Thai is rumored to be the best Pad Thai joint in town. So go ahead and try it for yourself to see if it is worthy of the hype!
If you’ve been good and saved your money for the last few days, Sunday is the time to splurge. There are various rooftop bars to grab a drink. We recommend newly opened CHAR (Hotel Indigo), Octagon Bar; if on a budget. However, if you want to spend a little extra, Vertigo is also a good option.
Rooftop Bar – 1000 THB
The Verdict: You Said Cheap…What Are We Talking About Here?
Focusing on activities that are not too far and provide an all around experience is the objective. We weren’t lying when we said cheap. Roughly, here is how much the week will set you back:
Please note that if you are taking theSkytrainn, the price varies depending on how far you are going. If you are residing in the city, your trip may be anywhere from 30 to 80 THB. However, t he BTS also offers a day pass with unlimited travel for 140 THB.
So with all the activities listed above, the total cost is for a week of galavanting around Bangkok
TOTAL: 3,700 THB OR $105 USD (for all activities)
Are you f&%%$&% kidding me!??? Add around 300 THB per day for food and transportation and you’ve got yourself an awesome (and insanely cheap) week planned out. Who says travel and exploration have to be expensive?
Looking for more inspiration on visiting Thailand? Check out our other articles below!
- Ultimate Guide to the Best Places to Stay in Thailand
- Reasons Why Not to Visit Thailand
- Best Beaches in Thailand