Free Things to Do
There is no denying that the ideal vacation for almost all of us consists of spending less of our money but enjoying more than its worth! The best scenario is that you enjoy your vacation at no cost at all! Did you know that Bangkok teems with free attractions? And what if we tell you that these free things to do are also world renowned and internationally recognized?
From the numerous temples and museums in Bangkok, to a quick session of relaxation at the 58-hectare Lumphini Park to the pandemonium in Chinatown and Chatuchak Weekend Market to the glittering atmosphere of Khao San Road - just some examples and all these can be experienced for no expense at all! Well, realistically speaking, you can’t go to a vacation expecting for exactly no cost, but the good thing in Bangkok is its one of the world’s hubs of haggling and bartering - the art of negotiating prices! So what are you waiting for? Grab a ticket and enjoy Bangkok at the most affordable budget you can!
Asiatique River Front
Once an old pier that was constructed in 1900, it was redesigned and ultimately transformed into one of the biggest and most popular night markets in Bangkok. A place that combines shopping, great sights and entertainment in one, it's a great venue for free enjoyment. If you want to enjoy Bangkok without breaking the bank, visit Asiatique River Front.
With a shopping mall that boasts over 1500 boutiques and 40 restaurants under one complex, everyone’s taste from clothes to savory food will surely be satisfied. This - coupled with the attractive boardwalk that offers a majestic view of Chao Phraya river and Bangkok’s glittering skyline- makes Asiatique the swankiest night market in Bangkok.
Asiatique River Front is divided into 4 zones. The most popular section is the Factory District where the majority of shopping happens. Here, you will find all items ranging from home furnishing, jewelry, gadgets to cutting edge pieces from local Thai designers.
If you’re planning to dine, head over to the famous Waterfront District and Down Square District where you'll find rows and rows of restaurants serving Thai and and Western Food. Festival and fireworks displays are the highlights of the Waterfront District. If you have a thing for live bands and parties, Down Square District is the place to be.
Lastly, after shopping and eating, never forget to go to Chareonkrung District, home to the famous Calypso Ladyboy Show. Witness dazzling cabaret routines you've never seen before.
The Famous Khaosan Road
This is the place where you can see diverse people from different parts of the world and from all walks of life pass each other on the same street. Because of various sights and all kinds of shops, bars, and restaurants, Khao San Road became a haven to everyone where tourists and locals get to know one another and have an amazing time. Moreover, Khao San Road is a place where the East meets the West. Full of local and foreign colors and features, it has become a must-visit when wandering around Bangkok.
Khao San Road is described by many as the hub for backpackers who love to shop, converse and share stories about travels and adventures, and just wander around without a definite plan. It is a road with countless guesthouses for those on a budget as well as mid-range hotels for those who want a fancier place to stay but at affordable prices.
Khao San Road caters to book lovers, drinkers, foodies and those who want to experience getting a nice tattoo in a foreign place — there are various bookstores, bars, restaurants and tattoo shops. Massage parlors and market stalls can also be found in this fascinating road.
Expect carefree locals and visitors flocking and mingling in this area. This 1km-long strip has a chill vibe that shows a unique side of Bangkok you do not want to miss. Even millennials or the younger generation and art students love going here, so do check it out. With attractions that will make you want to take long walks around, variety of products and goods you will definitely want to purchase and a vibrant nightlife—this is the place to be..
Siam Green Sky
Siam Green Sky is one of the first and largest green roof gardens in Thailand. As a learning center, it focuses in dissemination of information about innovative farming, landscape management, urban technology and safe food production. Its agricultural awareness purpose is to let the urban people get information and inspiration from the local farmers.
The Siam Green Sky garden lay-out is separated into 3 sections - innovative farming, multifarious plants and lastly, garden plants. Innovative farming maximizes the use of solar panels and lets visitors witness the process of making organic fertilizer from stored waste and also get a glimpse of the plantation of flowers, plants, herbs and rice. For multifarious plants, you will see a variety of plants from all around the world. The third section is the place for people who lack the green thumb - plant your first low-maintenance plant here.
Crocodile Temple (Wat Chakrawat)
The legend behind the temple’s name lies in the events that happened in the past. When Ayuthayya was still the capital of Siam, there were lots of crocodiles on both sides of Chao Phraya River. One infamous crocodile was known for its one eye that terrorized the people and killed a lot on its wake. So the people decided to hunt the beast and found it in Wat Chakrawat under one of the monk’s houses. The monk on the temple asked for the life of the crocodile and the people were happy so long as it was kept away from the community. Until now, the crocodile is still there and available for viewing.
Aside from the legend, Wat Chakrawat was presented as a royal temple in 1835 and has one of the largest communities of monks and novices in Bangkok. On the oldest part of the temple, you can see a shrine of the golden-leaf Buddha. You can also try and see your fortune with the use of fortune sticks in the temple.
Here is also an attractive Buddha image that has green and red lights on it. There are murals that depict Buddha’s enlightenment, teaching and heavenly realms.
Bangkok Doll Factory and Museum
The Bangkok Doll Museum was first established in 1956 by the master craftswoman Khunying Tongkorn Chandavimol and her team of craftspeople. She was motivated to share the beauty of Thai Culture and History through her unrivaled doll-making talent.
The museum’s first displays were Thai dancer dolls, Thai peasant dolls, Thai hill tribe dolls and even historical and literary stars of Thai Culture. Now, the museum boasts a total of more than 400 Thai-inspired and foreign inspired dolls available for the public’s viewing. The reason the place was called a factory and museum is because it was primarily divided into two sections. Upon entering, you will be welcomed by hundreds of Thai common folk dolls like monks, peasants and elephant handlers.
After this proud cultural expression, you will be amazed with the different foreign inspired dolls such as American historical figures, French girls, Japanese geishas and many more. After appreciating the aesthetically impressive dolls, you will then proceed to the Factory. You will witness the dedication of the craftspeople in the creation of their dolls: from researching historical and relevant information, to the rigorous task of materializing such information into every detail necessary for a flawless doll!
Forget about the bustling city for a while - find peace and refuge from the hectic scene by visiting Lumphini Park. One of the most popular parks in Bangkok, Lumphini is a haven for anyone who wants to enjoy the calm, refreshing sights that can only be offered by nature.
The 500,000 square meter park is home to various flora and fauna - don't be shocked when a monitor lizard suddenly shows up on the road - and various recreational spots.
Named after the location where Buddha was born, the park - which used to be an exhibition center for up-and-coming Thai artists - has become a popular spot for leisure activities. The park is for all ages - children can get into its many playgrounds, adults can enjoy cycling and jogging along well-kept trails and older guests can join the senior locals in their tai chi sessions. Whether you're with your friends or your visiting with family, Lumpini Park is a place you'll love.
Bangkok Folk Museum
There is a place in Bangkok that lets you time travel to see what and how life was before and after World War 2. That place is none other than the Bangkok Folk Museum. Almost every detail about this place is historically rich!
The house-turned-museum is composed of 4 buildings: 3 of these for the public and 1 as Acharn’s residence. The first building was the family home composed of the usual rooms: dining, guest, library and bed. Upon entering the first building, you will be greeted by an old grandfather clock - a grandfather clock is the best reminder that you are revisiting the past! Old technology, aged decorations and tools can also be found in the first building such as a gramophone, iron, Chinese porcelain and classic tablecloths and napkins.
The 2nd building was supposed to be the home and clinic of Acharn’s stepfather, Dr. Francis Christian. Sadly, the doctor died before occupying the house but the family have preserved his memory and belongings inside. So, you will see the cutting edge medical equipment of his time and since he’s a big cigar fan - cigar boxes of the 19th century he fancied are on display in his bedroom. Lastly, the third building is a collection of household and kitchen utensils and tools. The traditional and humble wok is part of this collection, along with tiffin carriers or Meat Refrigerators of old, former flagbearer of cooking: charcoal stoves and diverse cooking and massaging equipment. Bear in mind that the museum charges no fee upon visitors and that the museum opens from 10AM to 4PM, but not on Mondays and Tuesdays. A trip to the Bangkok Folk Museum is a one package deal for two priceless privileges: reminiscing history and experiencing it firsthand.
Window shopping at MBK Center
MBK Shopping Center stands for Mah Boon Krong, in honor of the parents of the chief developer of the center - Mah and Boon Krong statues can be seen on the ground floor. Established in 1985, it was the largest shopping Mall in Asia at the time. Now, it might not be the largest anymore but it's one of the most popular shopping centers in Bangkok boasting of more than 100,00 shoppers a day and more than 2,000 shops inside it.
One thing’s for sure - this shopping mall is a heaven of affordable items. On the first floor you will be greeted by a sea of stalls selling fashion, fast food outlets and the Bangkok famous Tops Supermarket: home of everything you need. What’s jaw dropping is that there is a space on the ground floor dedicated to discounted items which discounts range from 30 to 50 percent - talk about great marketing! The 2nd floor is mostly about fashion; the twist is the stalls are arranged randomly. Worry not, you will enjoy discovering the items of such stalls and their prices and be surprised to arrive at a different set of apparel when you turn every corner. The third and fourth floor on the other hand offer Cloud 9 experience for techies. Phones, headsets, mouse and keyboards, USBs, external drives are just few of what occupies the 3rd and 4th floor stalls. What’s mind boggling is that because of the competition the prices are extremely cheap and well within your reach. You’d surely be famished with all that walking and looking and comparing prices! The fifth floor and the sixth floor offer you the solace for your rumbling stomachs. The fifth floor has a food court that caters to international tastes - tourists who want to feel the flavors of home and locals who wanted to discover the flavors of the beyond.
On the contrary, the sixth floor offer local cuisine - perfect for tourists who want to enjoy the culture and locals who can’t resist familiar comfort in food. Other than offering “gastrosatisfaction,” the fifth and sixth floors highlight home furnitures in Thai and International style and souvenirs for your loved ones. It’s a perfect combination, grab a bite and bring something home! The top floors feature a plethora of entertainment establishments - karaokes, arcade and computer games and of course, cinema.
Children's Discovery Museum
Established in 2001 and extensively improved and renovated in 2014, the child captivating museum spans a total of 10,000 square meters - 7,000 square meters for indoor activities and 3,000 square meters for outdoor. The museum puts heavy emphasis on children learning through a hands-on approach and real-time experience.
With all the learning opportunities it has, the children - even toddlers will want for nothing! Every part of the museum is a learning experience waiting to happen. Eager to understand the human mind and body? You can go straight to the life section where the children are educated with the human kinetic movements. Is your child abundant in creativity? Head to the Art Studio Zones where there are numerous art making materials ready for your child to art the day away! Are you up for some reflection adventure? The tunnel of mirrors is the perfect place to bring your child and enjoy their reactions to their and your reflection! Is your child still a toddler? The Big Backyard at the Rainbow Building is the ideal place to play in along with other toddlers. The most requested activity in the museum is the Dino Detective activity where the children are presented dinosaur related illustrations and challenge them with some indoor excavating experience.
If your child is more of the an outside adventurer, then the outdoor water play park equipped with multiple water jets, rain showers and fountains will exhaust him/her of all that overflowing energy! Just bring a change of clothes if that’s the case. If you’re worrying about comfort and convenience during the hot seasons - all indoor activities are fully air conditioned! The museum opens at 10am and closes early at 4pm - arrive early to maximize your experience. The most heartwarming feature of the museum is that other than you need money to purchase food from the canteen, or a book for the children from their library - EVERYTHING is free! So, what’s the hold up? Better include the Children’s Discovery Museum in your Thailand Bucketlist!
Royal Elephant National Museum
On the eastern part of Dunsit Palace, is the Royal Elephant Museum. An attraction located inside the former stable for the royal elephants of King Rama V. As the elephants were relocated to a more natural habitat, the stable was transformed into a building that displays information on things and articles related to the white elephants.
The first building focuses on elephant artifacts -which include elephant’s white skin, figures and charms. Pictures of various elephants and their role in the Thai culture are all over the museum. There is also information regarding the categorization of elephants according to the names of the Deva. These four categories are namely, Bhrama, Shiva, Vishnu and Agni.
The 2nd building is where the model of the white elephant is displayed. A life-sized elephant display is ornamented with beautiful flowers - a sign of respect for Deva. Equipment that was used in handling the royal animal and musical instruments used during around ceremonies can also be viewed here.
Make sure to treat the museum with respect - elephants are considered reverent in Thailand.