(The Great Birthday Trip Part 2)
Thailand, particularly Bangkok, consistently lands on various lists of top countries to visit in Asia. And for good reason, too! This Indochina gem formerly known as The Kingdom of Siam is one of the cheapest and friendliest holiday destinations in the world. Here are tried and tested top cheap things to do in Bangkok. I guarantee these will keep you on the budget.
1. Take the train.
Thailand’s railway system is one of the cheapest and most efficient I’ve seen. In Bangkok, two lines serve the city loop: the BTS Sky Train Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line. These will bring you to major tourist destinations around the city at the quickest possible time. Tickets start at 15baht.
2. Visit the Grand Palace, The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo) and Wat Pho in one go.
Visiting major city landmarks has never been this convenient. Three of Thailand’s best can be found within a 2-kilometer radius. (Hmmm… I have to admit that this is just my own calculation, which is not very reliable.)
The Grand Palace was the official residence of Thailand’s King for 150 years! Today, it is an important venue for royal ceremonies and state receptions. Within the complex, you can also see the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaeo, said to be Thailand’s most sacred site. That’s why a strict dress code is imposed on all visitors so please do not wear sleeveless shirts and shorts. There are, however, shirts and pants for rent just in case. Admission is free for locals and 250baht for foreigners.
Just a few blocks away, you can pass by the Wat Phrachetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan (try saying that in one breath! whew!) or WAT PHO. An old temple from the Ayutthaya period, the temple is home to the collossal Golden Buddha. Admission is free for Thais and 50baht for foreigners.
3. Enjoy the street food.
Cheap food is everywhere! And you’ll be a fool if you let the chance to stuff yourself with delicious Thai food pass. Just outside the Grand Palace walls, we saw a food stall that served the best chicken rice and spicy pork, all for less than US$5!
4. Explore a weekend market.
Bangkok boasts of some of the cheapest weekend markets in Asia. In Chatuchak, you can find an endless array of goods: from pasalubongs, to souvenir t-shirts, traditional Thai fabric, antiques, food and even furniture. Prices are not fixed so summon your inner bargainer to strike up good deals. Consider wearing your most comfortable (and durable) footwear before diving into the 35-acre bargain paradise.
5. Stay in a cool hostel.
Bangkok has become a hotspot for affordable, if not cheap, boutique hotels and hostels, mainly due to the booming tourism industry. The great thing about these new establishments is that they also very good-looking. Take for instance this hotel where we stayed in.
Of course before you can enjoy the cheap activities Thailand has to offer, you must scout for cheap flights to Thailand and book accommodations first. But once you’ve made all the necessary arrangements, you can definitely enjoy this wonderful city without breaking the bank.
How about you? What cheap things have you done in Bangkok? Do share!