Things to do in Bangkok for 50 baht or less

Chatuchak Park offers an excellent respite and it’s free

Chatuchak Park offers an excellent respite and it’s free

Bangkok can be an expensive place to hang out in. The vibrant nightlife and tempting food can eat through your budget fast and those on a tight budget might soon find themselves confined to the Khao San Road.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many activities in the city cost less than 50 baht and can be rich and rewarding. Here are some great ways to spend time in the city without spending a fortune.

Situated just behind Chatuchak, Suan Rotfai, or Railway Park, is one of Bangkok’s best kept secrets. Filled with water lilly ponds, streams and places to relax, this huge park is extremely picturesque. A great way to spend an afternoon is to hire a bicycle from the stand at the far side of the park and navigate the specially constructed cycle paths. Just 20 baht will buy you three hours of cycling fun.

While exploring the park, don’t forget to visit the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in the southeastern area. A 15-metre high glass dome covers an area of 1,100 square metres, abundant with beautiful butterflies. Admission is free and you can watch the butterflies and learn about them in the attached museum. It’s within walking distance of Mor Chit MRT station.

If you are interested in science, the Bangkok Planetarium and Science Museum is a great place to spend a few hours. A combined ticket to the planetarium and museum costs just 20 baht and includes an information leaflet. Tracing the history of space travel, the planetarium show has spectacular visual imagery and sound. Visit on Tuesdays at 10:00 for the English language show. The science museum covers everything from dinosaurs to marine biology and has many interesting exhibits. It is located near to BTS Ekkamai Station.

Few Westerners venture across the Chao Phraya River to the Thonburi side, but there are some attractions worth visiting. Take the ferry down the river one afternoon to Pier 6, known as Memorial Bridge or Phra Pok Klao. After walking across the bridge, follow the road to your right and you will soon come to Wat Prayura Wongsuwat, where you will see a large red gate flanked by two enormous stone turtles. Take the time to watch the cute baby turtles learning to swim under the watchful guidance of their mothers and feed the older turtles meat and fruit on sticks.

The museums are cheap but good

The museums are cheap but good

Just around the corner, the Princess Mother Memorial Park is another good place to relax. Established in 1993 by His Majesty the King as a tribute to his mother, these beautiful gardens feature a reconstruction of the Princess Mother’s childhood home. These open rooms allow a rare insight into a traditional Thai home and are very interesting to observe. The gardens also include two exhibition rooms, where photographs and text—both in Thai and English—tell the story of the Princess Mother’s life. A sign outside Wat Prayura Wongsuwat illustrates the way to these rooms from the Princess Mother Memorial Park.

Just a short boat ride from Thailand’s capital, Koh Kred is like the land that time, and tourism, forgot. Steeped in culture, this is the perfect place to escape from the frantic pace of Bangkok for an afternoon. No cars are allowed on Koh Kred, and you can walk around the island, which is a little less than four kilometres in circumference, undisturbed.

Here the smell of traffic fumes is replaced by a rich, earthy scent. People sit in the shade beside their houses, completing household chores and chatting to pass the time. Koh Kred has an unusual history. The name literally means ‘the land surrounded by water.’ It was artificially created nearly 300 years ago, when a channel was cut through a bend in the Chao Phraya River to make the journey to Ayutthaya shorter. It’s populated by the Mon minority who continue their own unique traditions. On Saturdays a river boat makes the trip Northwards for under 50 baht. Also worth a visit is Suan Kred Phutt, or Buddha Park, a beautiful garden in the centre of Koh Kred.

Then there is the whole ‘island’ of Phra Phanong, a green space formed in an oxbow of the Chao Praya river right in the middle of the city. There is scarcely a high-rise here, and you can wander or cycle the elevated walkways in-between the mangroves. There’s a pretty park in the centre. It’s best reached by crossing by boat from the pier besides the Port.

Fifty baht will also get you to Patpong (MRT station Sala Daeng) by public transport where you can treat yourself to some people watching in the cornucopia of Bangkok life, from fake rolex sellers to ladyboys touting sex shows.

If you still have time on your hands, the city has dozens of affordable museums that have entry fees of less than 50 baht for all nationalities, including the Royal Barge National Museum, the National Museum and the National Gallery.

A memorable way to finish the day is by taking a ferry down the Chao Phraya River just as the sun sets. Wat Arun looks spectacular lit from behind by the warm rich tones of Bangkok’s sunset.

Note! It's advisable to ensure your travel insurance for Thailand is in order before landing in Bangkok. Although largely safe, the city does pose a greater than normal risk of car accidents, lost valuables or irresponsible safety measures. You can secure insurance online within minutes, even after you have left, with sites such as travel-insurance -discounts.com. This will give you peace of mind in the unfamiliar, often crazy Bangkok environment during your sightseeing.

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