One of Asia’s most famous cities, Bangkok is the first stop for most travellers arriving in Thailand. But whilst the Thai capital certainly is a must-visit, your time there doesn’t need to break the bank. For those travelling on the cheap, here’s our pick of the best free things to do in Bangkok.
Explore Lumpini Park
Named after the Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, Lumpini Park was the first public park in Bangkok. It’s also one of the world’s best city parks and the perfect place to unwind after some sightseeing in the capital.
You’ll find a large lake with paddle boats and plenty of green, shady spaces to escape the midday sun. If you visit before 7am, hordes of Thai-Chinese locals can also be seen practicing thai chi. Be aware that huge monitor lizards roam Lumpini Park – but don’t worry, they aren’t dangerous to humans.
Browse the flower market
Locally known as Pak Khlong Talad, Bangkok’s Flower Market is a must-visit no matter what your travel budget. As the biggest fresh flower market in the city, it’s packed with all kinds of flowers being sold at amazingly cheap prices.
Although the market is open 24-hours, it’s actually at its most lively after midnight. The best time to go is between 3-4am when vendors are receiving packs of flowers from across Thailand. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this colourful spectacle.
Check out the museums
Fortunately for history lovers, Bangkok is home to several museums that don’t charge visitors for entry. Located on a small street close to the famous Oriental Hotel, the Bangkokian Museum is one of the city’s lesser-known gems.
Also known as the Bangkok Folk Museum, this museum features two beautiful wooden houses. These date from the last century and have been wonderfully preserved – offering an insight into a bygone era. Other free museums include the Royal Elephant National Museum. In the early 1900s, this was a stable for the Royal White Elephants of the King.
People-watch on Khao San Road
In the novel ‘The Beach’, Khao San Road is called the ‘centre of the backpacking universe.’ And once you visit this lively strip for yourself, you’ll find it’s a pretty accurate description.
Both travellers and young locals take to this 1-kilometre-long road to experience its countless restaurants, bars, market stalls and other offerings. It’s a place unlike anywhere else in Bangkok, with a care-free, anything-goes vibe. Take a stroll and people-watch by the curbside or check out some live music.
See the sunset over Wat Arun
Easily one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples, Wat Arun is set beside the mighty Chao Phraya River. Also called the ‘Temple of Dawn’, the temple’s colourful spires attract many visitors – especially at sunset.
As the sun sinks low in the sky, the light reflects off the temple’s central spire, making it appear to glow. You can catch a great view of this from the opposite bank, although be warned it’s a popular spot. Time your visit with the dawn light to catch the same effect without the crowds.