For the budget traveller, there are a lot of free things to do in Bangkok and many super cheap things to do too! Today, I thought we would share this guide to the best free things to do in the city for those looking to explore without spending.
Free Bangkok Sightseeing
Pak Khlong Talad – The Bangkok Flower Market is an array of colour and sparkle! There are so many flowers in one place and many Thai’s visit here to buy cheap plastic flowers or the real thing. You can walk around the market for free and flowers are affordable too.
Gallery hopping – For art lovers visiting the big mango, you are in luck. Bangkok is home to some awesome and free galleries such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and WTF Bangkok. You can also head over to the Thailand Art and Culture Centre to see the different exhibitions and galleries.
Temples – Whilst the more famous temples such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho will cost a small amount, there are many temples around the city that are free to visit. We love Wat Saket but you can also see Wat Ratchapradit, Wat Bowoniwent and Wat Ratchabophit.
Muay Thai – Yes, most fights aren’t free. However, every Wednesday from 6 pm to 8.30 pm, MBK hosts a free MBK Fight Night.
Erawan Shrine – Not far from Phrom Phong, this shrine is beautiful and worth a visit whilst in the city. You can also catch Thai dancers and music here during peak season and some weekends.
Museums – There are a collection of museums in Bangkok that are free to enter, including; the Royal Elephant National Museum, Jesada Technik Museum and the Silpa Bhirasri Memorial and Museum.
Wat Arun sunset – This temple has a 50 baht charge to enter, however, head across the river and watch the sunset behind this iconic monument of Bangkok.
Asiatique – Sat along the river, Asiatique is tacky but wonderful. Catch the free riverboat to this pier and wander around the shops, food stalls and rides. Of course, you can pay to try some of the local food or try out the rides, go-karts or Ferris wheel if you wish, but admission to the pier is free and it makes for a cheap, casual and romantic evening in Bangkok.
Lumpini Park – In the centre of the city, this is perhaps Bangkok’s most well-known park. It is massive and offers lots of flora and fauna in the area. There are also a lot of outdoor leisure activities for locals to take part; including dancing, aerobics and yoga. There is a lake that you can rent a paddleboat on and you can even sometimes find a classical orchestra playing on a Sunday afternoon. This is also the park to search for reptiles slinking around the park. BTS Sala Daeng and MRT Silom are the nearest stations to the park.
Bang Krachao – This park, on a man-made island, can be accessed via a ferry from Klong Toei or Bang Na Pier. Known as the green lung of Bangkok, this is one of the best green areas in the city and makes for a perfect day out.
Sanam Luang – Not far from the Grand Palace and also known as the Royal Field, this is a popular park to relax and escape the crowds. Feed the pigeons or check out the kite flying festival in March.
Benjasiri Park – In the Phrom Phong neighbourhood, this park is a popular spot for joggers and skateboarders. It’s a compact park compared to others but gives a great local vibe. Make sure you check out the food vendors at the entrance of the park.
Benjakiti Park – Not far from Terminal 21, this park is often compared to Lumpini Park but is a much quieter option. There is a large lake in the centre of the park, making it a great place to take a stroll and go cycling.
Queen Sirikit Park – This botanical garden is gorgeous; it has been transformed into a series of formal gardens. It is a great place to go for a stroll and provides many photo opportunities.
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The perfect mix of modern urbanity and natural beauty. 🌁🌴🌁 Enjoyed some of the most beautiful views here at this scenic park near Asoke BTS station. There's no doubt that the best way to beat depression is to simply get outside and be so in tune with nature, all you can hear are the leaves singing in the wind 🍃🍃🍃 . . #benjakittipark #queensirikitpark #lakeside #sunset #asoke #bangkok
Unusual things to do in Bangkok
- Terminal 21
Travel around the world in this awesome themed shopping mall. Each floor has a theme of a different country, giving you many photo ops but also a really fun shopping experience.
- Artist’s House – Puppet Show
At 2 pm, every day, the Artist’s House performs a puppet show with delicate and detailed puppets. Call ahead, however, sometimes they are performing in other areas of the city.
- PTT Reforestation Project
Head towards Pa Nai Krung to visit this metro forest in the middle of the city. Walk among and above the trees on the skywalk and escape the busy city noise and air.
- Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Not far from the Chatuchak Weekend Market, in the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden, is this dome. Full of 500 butterflies and species of insects, this is the perfect place to get a nice photo and experience a different side to Bangkok.
- Chang Chui Market
Sat under the wing of an aeroplane, this market is a unique, new and creative place to hand out. There is even a Taxidermy museum here! Besides that, check out the local handmade items, artworks and of course, eat! Heading to markets like this is one of our favourite things to do in Bangkok at night.
- Leafy tunnel
Head towards Chom Thong Railway Station and visit the arched tree tunnel near the canal bridge. Visit between 10 am and 12 am to get the perfect shot of the sun shining through the trees.
- Airplane Graveyard
Head to this graveyard of old and abandoned aeroplanes for a random but interesting experience. Head to Phra Khanong and get a taxi to Ramkhamhaeng Soi 101. Note, you may be asked to pay 10-200 baht to the ‘security guard’; this is a family that lives near and are cashing in on its growth in popularity.
There is more to this shopping mall than meets the eye. Visit EmQuartier to see the hanging gardens, with different flora decorations on different floors. Make sure you check out the Escape Bar for a true escape from the city.
- Wat Pariwat
Yes, it is another temple but this one gets its own spot on the list. Also known as the David Beckham temple, this temple has not-so ‘hidden’ characters among the decorations and walls; try and spot Donald Duck, Superman and Pikachu!
- Papaya Vintage Shop
For a treasure trove store, head to the Papaya Vintage shop to explore and take some awesome photos. This is a pretty random free thing to do in Bangkok but definitely worth a visit if you love seeing trinkets.
Cheap things to do in Bangkok
- Dusit Zoo – This zoo in the old city is the perfect place to visit in Bangkok with kids. Home to over 1600 animals including giraffes, tigers and bears, the zoo is fun but affordable way to spend a day. Catch the BTS to Victory Monument then jump in a taxi.
- Ko Kret Island – This artificial island is the perfect way to get out of the city but not spend too much. You can take a bus or taxi to Koh Kret and get off at Wat Sanam Seua Temple, then take the 2 baht ferry across to the island. Explore the island and enjoy affordable and tasty food on offer.
- Cinema – Sounds like an odd option but, if you are staying in Bangkok for a while, make sure you check out the cinema experiences. Tickets are as cheap as 100 baht but you can also upgrade to VIP experiences; think sofas, pre-film lounge and even butler service. This is the perfect way to spend an evening if you are looking for local things to do in Bangkok.
Cheap areas to eat and drink in Bangkok
Khao San Road – Known by backpackers worldwide, Khao San Road offers cheap food and drink as well as affordable hostels and guesthouses. It is the most visited stayed in area by those looking to travel on a tight budget.
Chatuchak Weekend Market – This market is free to enter but you can’t visit without wanting to try some of the food and cold smoothies and drinks on offer.
Chinatown – There are some amazing temples and sites to be seen in Chinatown but don’t miss the food here too. From street stalls to hole-in-the-wall vendors, the food here is incredible and must be tried on a trip to Bangkok. Plus, it is cheap!
Ratchada Rod Fai Market – This open-air train market actually has two locations; both are equally fun and unique. They both offer a wide selection of tasty treats that you have to try; the Ratchada market is known for having modern twists on traditional Thai dishes and MASSIVE portions.
Food courts – Whilst in Bangkok, check out the food courts in the major shopping malls. We love the food court in Terminal 21 and Central World but every mall has a floor, full of food vendors of all different types of dishes and snack options for as little as 20 baht.
Street vendors – Everywhere you go in Bangkok, you will find street food. From grilled meats to pancakes, pad thai to fruit, every street corner has a cart of food sat on it. Other than Chinatown, you can find popular collections of stalls on Silom road, Soi 38 Sukhumvit, Victory Monument and Petchaburi Soi 5.
Wang Lang Market – This is one of our favourite markets in Bangkok and is perfect for those staying in the heart of the city. Head here in the early afternoon to catch the market in full swing and don’t forget to wander around the local area and check out the nearby Wat.
Well, that is our favourite free things to do in Bangkok, with a few cheap Bangkok attractions thrown in there! Bangkok can definitely be explored on a budget, with cheap eats, free attractions and affordable transport around Thailand.
What is your favourite free thing to do in Bangkok?! Let us know in the comments below.