Bangkok is definitely one of the best destinations in South East Asia. Known for its amazing markets, temples and great street food, it is one of the busiest tourist hubs in Asia.
Although Bangkok is not that expensive compared to Western countries, it is always best to save money.
So if you are in this popular Thai city on a budget, here’s our list of free things to do in Bangkok, Thailand.
6 Free Things To Do In Bangkok
1. Srinakarin Train Market
There are lots of great night markets in Bangkok but the Srinakarin Train Market, or Talad Rot Fai, is by far the biggest.
At the edge of the city, near Seacon Square on Srinakarin Road, it’s open Thursday to Sunday evenings. The theme is retro, with displays of beautiful classic cars, shops selling antiques, life-size manakins and old memorabilia.
Together with this, there are clothes and shoes, both vintage and modern, toys and games. Barber cut hipster haircuts and bars pump out loud music and host live bands.
This is Thailand, so the train market is also home to a huge range of food, Thai curries, salads, noodles and soups, barbecued seafood and meat, multicolored ice cream and lots of international foods.
It’s free to get in, so just wander around and soak up the atmosphere, looking at everything there is on a show and watching how Thais like to spend their weekend evenings.
Stalls sell bottles of beer, so we like to get a ‘walking beer’ and drink while exploring.
To get to Srinakarin Train Market, you’ll need to take a taxi, either from the center or from one of the last Skytrain stations.
2. Browse books in Kinokuniya Bookshop
We love Bangkok. We have visited it several times as a family, and have developed our own itinerary of things to do in Bangkok with kids. One of our favorite freebies is to visit Kinokuniya bookshop.
Books Kinokuniya is one of the largest bookshop chains in South East Asia. Originating in Japan, it also has branches in Dubai and the USA.
In Bangkok, there are three Kinokuniya stores. Go to the one in Siam Paragon. It’s on the third floor and is one of the largest bookshops in the world.
There you will find books in Thai, English, Japanese, and Chinese. But the best thing about Kinokuniya is that you don’t even have to buy anything, you can just browse and read whatever you fancy.
When traveling full time, books are too heavy a luxury to carry, but we still love them.
We often use bookshops as a place to find books that we can later buy electronically online for our ebook readers.
Kinokuniya is the perfect place to escape the heat and craziness of Bangkok. – a/c, comfy seats and plenty of books – it even has a small coffee shop serving excellent coffee.
All this and free entry – for us, it just doesn’t come any better than that.
3. Explore Chatuchak Weekend Market
Markets are for shopping, which usually means spending some cash, but the Chatuchak weekend market is a wonder just to explore. It’s one of the largest markets in the world covering around 27 acres and containing thousands of stalls!
You could, easily, spend a whole day exploring the alleyways and still not have seen everything the market has on offer. There are all sorts of unusual food stalls, beautiful handmade ornaments and just about everything else you can think of.
My biggest tip would be to do some online research before and familiarise yourself with the map provided online. It’s a good idea to know the general layout in advance because once you are inside it’s like a never-ending maze.
It is also a good idea to arrive as early in the morning as possible. The market can get pretty busy and it gets very hot in there!
I’m not usually one for crowds but I still visit the market every single time I’m in Bangkok and I always find something that surprises me.
4. Lumphini Park
If you’re looking for a place to escape the traffic fumes and noise of Bangkok, Lumphini Park is perfect. The easiest way to get to this rare green oasis in the middle of the city is either from Sala Daeng BTS station or Silom MRT station.
The park surrounds two lakes and its a favorite place for joggers and family picnics. There are several paths you can walk along, and it’s a great place to spot birds.
If you’re feeling more energetic, you can hire a pedalo, play basketball, or work out at the outdoor gym. Some people practice Tai Chi and Yoga, and there’s a free aerobics class for all to participate in before sunset.
The other option, of course, is to chill out on the grass or park benches.
However, there is one thing to be aware of in the park, and that’s the water monitor lizards. They’re huge and look like a crocodile.
Although they don’t eat humans like there fellow counterparts, I wouldn’t fancy upsetting one. They tend to stay around the edges of the park so mind your steps if you’re walking on the grass.
5. Travel around the world at Terminal 21 Mall
A shopping mall is usually not known as a popular destination. But Terminal 21 stands out from the rest of them in Bangkok because it allows visitors to “travel” to different countries all in one roof!
The mall features different destinations per floor – the Caribbean, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco, and Hollywood. The floor theme even extends to the toilets, making a trip to the loo an exciting one instead.
Terminal 21 Mall is also popular for having one of the best food courts with affordable and delicious Thai food.
The mall is an Instagrammer’s dream for it also has free Wi-Fi that you can use to upload all your snaps on social media. It is also to reach because it is connected to BTS Asok station.
6. Explore Street Art in Bangkok
There is a fantastic hidden street art scene in Bangkok which most travelers are totally oblivious to.
You only need to start walking through the alleys in the right area and you’ll quickly discover a huge collection of murals from lots of international artists. Oh, it’s totally free, and open all day every day!
Bangkok’s street artworks were created during the 2016 BUKRUK Urban Arts Festival, which saw lots of international artists come to the city for over two weeks.
Some of their murals are small and hidden down the end of alleys, while others cover an entire side of a building more than 15 meters tall. It’s amazing that more people haven’t come across these paintings already.
The majority of the artworks are located in alleys between the Chao Praya River and Thanon Charoen Krung. This is the area stretching from Saphan Taksin BTS station to Chinatown.
Try Charoenkrung Soi 28 and Soi 32 for a start, and then continue wandering from there.
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