Thailand’s ‘City of Angels’, Bangkok, sits alongside the Chao Phraya River and is the quintessential example of how mayhem, excitement, exotic, gritty, East and West can be crammed into one inspiring city. However, fitting all of the many sites of Bangkok into your itinerary can not only be time consuming but costly…it doesn’t have to be! There are more and more cheap flights to Bangkok available, and the city also has many low-priced and free options to choose from. With some preparation, by keeping your wits about you, and with our guide to free Bangkok attractions, you can keep that wallet bulging.
Being a South East Asian hub and an embarking point for backpackers, luxury vacationers and business employees alike, the city has to cater for all and they are not shy of taking advantage of the constant flow of money that floods through the city. This being said, step number one is to be aware of what you are handing across. It is standard procedure for tourists to be charged more than locals, sometimes significantly so, and this is something that has to be accepted. Always be willing to barter. It is expected and encouraged but they will certainly not turn down your offer if you hand over the extortionate amount first asked for! With that in mind, read on for suggestions to keep that cash flow low.
It’s undeniable that South East Asian markets are some of the most vibrant and charismatic markets in the world. Plus, they’re free! That is providing you can resist the ubiquitous and diverse number of goods on offer. Many of the markets are situated within walking distance of the city’s main backpacking area, Khao San road, and one can easily take hours soaking in the sights and sounds. Every weekend thousands of visitors flock to the Chatuchak weekend Market, Bangkok’s most exciting. Set over 35 acres and with over 5000 stalls you can find anything your heart desires. Old and new, Eastern and Western, practical to ridiculous this market offers everything including clothes, religious artifacts, live animals and street food. Get there early as the crowds build quickly from 9am. Thonburi’s Phran Nok wet market is an interesting place to go to explore Bangkok’s culinary delights and to see the intrinsic ingredients of Asian cuisine on display within a local atmosphere.
No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a visit to a temple or 10 and luckily for you there an abundance of free temples to frequent. In every district you’ll find temples of varying size, style and popularity. Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat in Chinatown, Wat Indraviharn in Dusit and Wat Patum Wanaran by the Central World Plaza shopping centre are considered among 3 of the best.
For many people it doesn’t take long for the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to become somewhat overwhelming. Luckily for those in need of some R&R there are numerous parks to relax and watch the world go by. Lumphini Park is 58 hectares and offers the usual ‘park amenities’, grass, trees a peaceful lake, everything you need to remove yourself from the hectic streets. At the South-West entrance stands a statue of the King.
Khao San Road
This is the home of the Bangkok backpacker; most visitors to Bangkok end up here to sample its famous/infamous street-life. Pure overload and not for the fainthearted, but unique in its ability to draw huge crowds of foreigners and locals alike; one of the most interesting streets you’re ever likely to see.
The Golden Mount, Wat Saket, sits atop 318 steps and houses a large golden buddha. Along with a 19th century vine-covered cemetery you get stunning views of Bangkok.
A sunset is always something special in Asia and Bangkok is no exception! A perfect way to finish your hectic day is to watch a sunset over one of Thailand’s best known landmarks, Wat Arun. Cross the river, watch the sunset and be amazed.
About the author:
Spencer Whelan is a freelance travel writer.