By Bethaney Davies ~ Surprisingly, there aren’t many free things to do in Bangkok. Many of Bangkok’s attractions (with the exception of the Grand Palace) cost next to nothing to attend but if you’re doing a lot of sightseeing on a tight budget even the smallest entrance fees can add up. Here are five truly free things to do in Bangkok.
Exercise at Lumphini Park
Early morning exercise at Lumphini Park Source: Steffengo at Flickr.com
Bangkok’s largest green space, Lumphini park is a mecca for locals to play, exercise and socialize. Visiting in the early morning or sunset provides the best opportunity to people watch, stretch your legs & lungs with a jog or take part in a spot of Tai Chi or aerobics. There’s a childrens’ playground at the North of the park. Be aware that Lumphini Park gets a tad seedy after dark!
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market Source: Prof. Tournesol at Flickr.com
If you’re in Bangkok over the weekend, don’t miss out on a trip to Chatuchak. Again, go early! It gets hot quickly in the maze of alleys running through the thousands of stalls that make up Bangkok’s largest market. Bring water and wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Although you can navigate your way through with a map, if you’re not looking for anything in particular it’s best to just meander through without the worry of getting lost. There’s plenty on offer that you won’t want to buy, but it’s interesting to look at – check out the antiques and exotic pets.
People Watching on Khao San Road
Khao San Road at Night Source: Skoll at Flickr.com
The backpacker ghetto that is Khao San Road makes for excellent people watching – both of the local and foreign variety. The Khao San Road phenomenon brings out the strangest in people. Backpackers come to Bangkok and seem to lose all their inhibitions and sometimes their common sense. An eclectic mix of locals flock to flog their wares, hang out with tourists and take advantage of the unaware. The entire street comes alive at the night with food vendors, bar girls and market stalls. Watch as brave tourists chow down on deep-fried insects. Listen to the thumping music. Don’t take Khao San Road too seriously and you can have a good time.
Wander the Amulet Market
Buddhist monk searching piles of amulets Source: -AX- on Flickr.com
Located near the river on the sidewalks of Thanon Maharat, Bangkok’s Amulet Market makes a great stop before or after visiting Wat Po or the Grand Palace. You’ll see Buddhist amulets everywhere in Thailand. Once you start noticing them, you won’t stop. Around the necks’ of monks, hanging from a taxi driver’s rear-view mirror, amulets are prized possessions. Wander down the street, admire the vendors’ wares and get a glimpse into a fascinating part of Thai life. It’s a great place to snap photos.
Visit a Buddhist Temple
Wat Pathum Wanaram Source: Wiki image
Bangkok’s touristy temples, like Wat Po and Wat Arun, charge a minimal entrance fee (usually around 20 to 50 baht) but there are plenty of temples you can visit for free. Enjoy the wonderful architecture, golden Buddha, saffron-robed monks and a more serene vibe at lesser known temples like Wat Indrawihan and Wat Pathum Wanaram.
All photos sources under Creative Commons License and attributed accordingly.
Travel writer Bethaney Davies is one-third of Flashpacker Family – a semi-nomadic, globetrotting family from Christchurch, New Zealand. Bethaney, Lee and their toddler Reuben spend half the year at home and the rest out exploring and enjoying the world. Flashpacker Family has great tales from the road, tips on travelling on a budget & travelling with a toddler and information on living a location independent lifestyle. Bethaney also runs Travel Thailand Guide - an online tourist guide to Thailand. You can follow Bethaney on Twitter and Facebook.