Bangkok is one of the most popular destinations in Asia, attracting millions of visitors every year with its vibrant culture, delicious food, and lively nightlife. But it can also be a very affordable city to visit, if you know how to plan your trip wisely. In this article, we will give you some tips on how to enjoy Bangkok on a budget, including where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and how to get around.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
One of the biggest expenses in any trip is accommodation, but luckily Bangkok has plenty of options for budget travelers. You can find cheap hostels, guesthouses, and hotels all over the city, especially in the areas of Khao San Road, Sukhumvit, Silom, and Chinatown. Here are some examples of budget-friendly places to stay in Bangkok:
- Lub d Bangkok Siam: This modern hostel is located near the Siam Square shopping area and the National Stadium BTS station. It offers dorms and private rooms with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, lockers, and shared bathrooms. There is also a common area with a bar, a movie room, and a co-working space. The price for a bed in a dorm starts from 300 THB (around 9 USD) per night.
- The Yard Hostel: This eco-friendly hostel is situated in the trendy Ari neighborhood, close to many cafes, restaurants, and bars. It features dorms and private rooms with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, lockers, and en-suite bathrooms. There is also a spacious garden with hammocks, a kitchen, and a bar. The price for a bed in a dorm starts from 400 THB (around 12 USD) per night.
- Niras Bankoc Cultural Hostel: This cozy hostel is housed in a renovated heritage building in the historic Rattanakosin area, near many attractions such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Khao San Road. It offers dorms and private rooms with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, lockers, and shared bathrooms. There is also a cafe, a library, and a rooftop terrace. The price for a bed in a dorm starts from 450 THB (around 14 USD) per night.
- iSanook Bangkok: This stylish hotel is located in the Silom district, within walking distance from the Patpong Night Market and the Sam Yan MRT station. It offers comfortable rooms with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, fridges, and private bathrooms. There is also a rooftop pool, a gym, a restaurant, and a shuttle service. The price for a double room starts from 700 THB (around 21 USD) per night.
Where to Eat in Bangkok
One of the best things about Bangkok is its amazing street food scene. You can find delicious and cheap dishes everywhere you go, from noodles and rice to curries and salads. Some of the most popular street food items are pad thai (stir-fried noodles), som tam (spicy papaya salad), tom yum (hot and sour soup), khao man gai (chicken rice), and moo ping (grilled pork skewers). The average price for a street food meal is around 50 THB (around 1.5 USD).
If you prefer to eat indoors or try some international cuisine, Bangkok also has plenty of affordable restaurants to choose from. You can find everything from Indian and Chinese to Italian and Mexican food in the city. Some of the best areas to find cheap eats are Chinatown (Yaowarat Road), Little India (Phahurat Road), Sukhumvit Soi 38 (Thong Lo BTS station), and Ari (Ari BTS station). The average price for a restaurant meal is around 150 THB (around 4.5 USD).
What to Do in Bangkok
Bangkok has plenty of attractions and activities to keep you entertained on a budget. You can explore the city’s rich history and culture by visiting its temples, palaces, museums, and markets. You can also enjoy its natural beauty by relaxing in its parks or taking a boat ride along its canals. Here are some of the best things to do in Bangkok on a budget:
- Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho: These are two of the most iconic landmarks in Bangkok. The Grand Palace was the official residence of the Thai kings for centuries and contains many impressive buildings and statues. Wat Pho is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok and houses the famous reclining Buddha statue. The entrance fee for both attractions is 500 THB (around 15 USD) per person.
- Tour the Chatuchak Weekend Market: This is one of the largest and most popular markets in the world, selling everything from clothes and accessories to antiques and art. You can spend hours browsing through the thousands of stalls, bargaining with the vendors, and sampling the local snacks. The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Explore Lumpini Park: This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful parks in Bangkok, offering a green oasis in the middle of the city. You can jog, bike, picnic, or play chess in the park, or rent a rowboat on the lake. You can also spot some wildlife, such as monitor lizards, turtles, and birds. The park is open daily from 4:30 am to 9 pm.
- See Jim Thompson’s House: This is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Jim Thompson, an American spy and silk merchant who lived in Thailand in the 1950s and 1960s. His house is a stunning example of traditional Thai architecture, decorated with teak wood and surrounded by a lush garden. The entrance fee is 200 THB (around 6 USD) per person.
- Take in the view from Wat Arun: This is a beautiful Buddhist temple on the Chao Phraya River, opposite the Grand Palace. It has one main spire and four smaller ones, adorned with colorful ceramic tiles and sculptures. From the top of the main spire, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The entrance fee is 100 THB (around 3 USD) per person.
How to Get Around Bangkok
Bangkok has a well-developed public transportation system that makes it easy and cheap to get around the city. You can choose from various modes of transport, such as buses, trains, taxis, tuk-tuks, motorbike taxis, and boats. Here are some tips on how to use them:
- Buses: Buses are the cheapest way to travel in Bangkok, costing as little as 8 THB (around 0.2 USD) per ride. However, they can also be slow, crowded, and confusing to navigate. You can find bus routes and timetables on [this website] or use [this app] to plan your trip.
- Trains: Trains are the fastest and most comfortable way to travel in Bangkok, especially during rush hours. There are three types of trains in Bangkok: the BTS Skytrain (elevated), the MRT Subway (underground), and the Airport Rail Link (connecting Suvarnabhumi Airport with downtown). You can buy single-journey tickets or stored-value cards at the stations. The fares vary depending on the distance, but usually range from 15 to 50 THB (around 0.5 to 1.5 USD) per ride.
- Taxis: Taxis are convenient and widely available in Bangkok, but they can also be expensive and unreliable. You should always use a metered taxi and avoid any drivers who try to negotiate a fixed price or refuse to turn on the meter. The starting fare is 35 THB (around 1 USD) and then increases by 2 THB (around 0.06 USD) per kilometer or per minute of waiting time.
- Tuk-tuks: Tuk-tuks are three-wheeled vehicles that offer a fun and adventurous way to travel in Bangkok. However, they can also be noisy, bumpy, and unsafe. You should always agree on a price before getting in and bargain hard if you think it’s too high. The average price for a short ride is around 50 THB (around 1.5 USD).
- Motorbike taxis: Motorbike taxis are another option for short trips in Bangkok, especially if you want to avoid traffic jams. They are usually found near bus stops or train stations, wearing orange vests with numbers on them. You should also agree on a price before getting on and wear a helmet if possible. The average price for a short ride is around 20 THB (around 0.6 USD).
- Boats: Boats are a scenic and cheap way to travel along the Chao Phraya River or its canals (khlongs). There are different types of boats in Bangkok, such as express boats, tourist boats, long-tail boats, and canal boats. You can buy tickets at the piers or onboard. The fares vary depending on the type of boat and the distance, but usually range from 10 to 40 THB (around 0.3 to 1.2 USD) per ride.
Bangkok is a city that offers something for everyone, regardless of their budget. With some planning and research, you can have an unforgettable experience in Thailand’s capital without spending a fortune. We hope this article has given you some useful tips on how to enjoy Bangkok on a budget.