How to Enjoy Bangkok on a Budget

When in Bangkok you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great time. In fact, you don’t have to spend much at all. Unlike Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok represents a bargain in South East Asia. Sure, there are luxury options and great places to relax and spend some cash but you don’t miss out when you are traveling in Bangkok on a budget. Here’s how to enjoy your stay to the full, without maxing out your credit card.

Eat Cheaply – Eat Like a Local

Bangkok on a budget
Image via Alpha / Flickr

In Bangkok, there’s really no need to go to a pricey restaurant unless it is an excellent restaurant and you are treating yourself. If you are on a smaller budget you can eat like a king when you go to the street stalls. Don’t be afraid of eating at street stalls and market stalls. Choose a stall that has a lot of customers – particularly locals – and you’ll enjoy a tasty, budget feed. Thai street food is delicious and you can find so much variety you’ll never get bored, from the simple Pad Thai to elaborate grilled fish and barbecued chicken with vegetables. If you are at the mall, visit the food court where you can find well-priced meals and snacks. And talking of snacks; you don’t need to visit the 7-Eleven – choose fresh fruit from street sellers instead.

Plan a Cheap Night Out

Alcohol can be expensive (relatively) so if you are on a tight budget limit your nights out, or stick to beer and avoid the over-priced cocktails and mixed drinks. Have a few cheaper drinks in your hotel room before you go out, and then go to a backpacker-style bar or a traveler-friendly cafe to enjoy a spending a relaxing few hours over a few drinks. If you want to treat yourself occasionally, enjoy a cocktail at one of Bangkok’s sky bars with views over the city. Then get dinner from a market stall on the way back to the hotel.

Use Public Transport

Take the MRT and the BTS – rapid-transport systems that take you cheaply and quickly across town. If you can’t get to where you want to go on these systems, use the bus. It may take a little longer but you’ll save money and you’ll definitely get a taste of local life. Taking taxis may be convenient but fares can be high and the traffic makes journeys long.

Book Cheap Accommodation in Advance

Bangkok offers plenty of choice in budget accommodation but some of it will make you want to run straight to the nearest 5-star hotel. Book good quality, cheap accommodation in advance so you can secure a comfortable, clean room before it is booked up. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll have to resort to something too basic.

Find Free Attractions

While most of Bangkok’s temples and attractions charge admission, it isn’t much. A few baht won’t be missed, but if you visit a lot of attractions in Bangkok the charges can add up. However, there are free sites in Bangkok that will offer you a great experience without any money.

Go Shopping at the Markets

Whether you want souvenirs of a new sarong, skip the malls and go to the markets instead. Shopping at Bangkok markets is fun and good for the wallet. Most prices can be haggled down – in fact, it is commonplace to bargain with the stallholders. You’ll be able to find everything you need at stalls by the roadside and at the popular Bangkok markets.

It is entirely possible to enjoy Bangkok on a budget of no more than $20 a day if you plan in advance, stay in budget accommodation, eat at street stalls, and limit your museum and attraction admissions. By spending a little extra, you can have some treats, eat at a restaurant once in a while, and enjoy Bangkok’s nightlife.

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