LifestyleCity Life

Explore the Thai Capital Bangkok on a Budget

Photo: Storytravelers/Flickr; Illustration: Maitane Romegosa/Thrillist

Like most cities around the globe, the cost of entertainment in Bangkok doesn’t come cheap! However, hanging out in Bangkok doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of great things you can do in and around the Big Mango. Public transportation is extremely cheap here, and taking a bus or a public ferry is a great way to see the sights for just a few Baht.

Lumpini Park, situated on the corner of Central Rama IV and Wittayhu Road is one of the city of Bangkok’s largest open green spaces. It’s a great place to take in some fresh air, away from the usual noise and fumes of busy city life. There are huge lawns to relax or eat a picnic, a large boating lake which is complete with pedalos for hire, as well as numerous free aerobics and exercise classes taking place daily or an outdoor gym for those who like to plan their own workout. The park is also a great place to see local wildlife, with around 400 monitor lizards of over 1 meter long called the grounds home.

Railway Park, which is known locally as Suan Rot Fai, is situated just behind Chatuchak Park and is one of Bangkok’s best kept secrets. This enormous park features a large number of water lily ponds and streams and is a great place to relax. Hiring a bicycle the stand located at the far side of the park and navigating the specially constructed cycle paths that run through the park is a great way to spend an afternoon. For just a few Baht you can enjoy three hours of cycling fun.

While exploring Railway Park, don’t forget to visit the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in the south-eastern section. A 15-metre-high glass dome covers an area of 1,100 square meters and is full of beautiful butterflies. Admission is free and you can watch the butterflies and learn about them in the attached museum. Open 8:30-16:30 from Tuesday to Sunday.

Few Westerners venture across the Chao Phraya River to the Thonburi side of Bangkok, but there are plenty of attractions worth visiting here. Take the ferry down the river one afternoon to pier 6, which is known as Memorial Bridge or Phra Pok Klao. After walking across the bridge that spans the river, follow the road to your right and you will soon come to Wat Prayura Wongsuwat, where you will see a large red gate flanked by two enormous stone turtles. Take the time to watch the cute baby turtles learning to swim under the watchful guidance of their and feed the older turtles meat and fruit on sticks.

The man made island of Koh Kred is situated just a few kilometres to the north of Bangkok and is worth checking out. The island is steeped in culture and is the perfect place to escape from the frantic pace of Bangkok for an afternoon.

No cars are allowed on Koh Kred, and you can walk all the way around the island, which is a little under four kilometres in circumference. The smell of traffic fumes is replaced by a rich, earthy scent. People sit in the shade beside their houses, completing household chores and chatting to pass the time.

A memorable way to finish the day by taking a ferry down the Chao Phraya River just as the sun sets. Wat Arun looks spectacular lit from behind by the warm rich tones on Bangkok’s sunset.

  • Make use of public transportation
  • Indulge in street food
  • Take advantage of happy hours and free drink deals
  • Go window shopping in a luxury shopping mall
  • Take the public ferry along the river
  • Hang out in Bangkok’s parks for free

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