Bangkok has to be one of the best places to visit on a budget, as so many of the iconic attractions are available free or for small and affordable prices. Whether it is the city’s night life, iconic temples, traditional culture or just the plain weird, you can have it all without ever feeling like your opting for the cheaper option.
Nightlife in Bangkok
If you want to visit some of the very best nightclubs in Bangkok, you can do so without it hurting your wallet. Demo in the Thong Lor Sol 10 district is one of trendiest nightclubs for those in the know. It attracts vast crowds of partygoers from across Bangkok and has an extensive cocktail menu.
It plays hard house, techno music and on weeknights, entrance is free. At the weekend it costs 500 baht (approximately £9), but this is redeemed in drink vouchers. It is worth remembering though that you will need your I.D to get in, whatever your age.
Another of the best clubs is Levels Club and Lounge in Sukhumvlt Sol 11. It attracts both tourists and locals with its thumping R&B and house music. This is one of the newer clubs and entrance is free all week long. There are also special events on Wednesdays and Fridays that are well worth checking out.
Cultural Attractions in Bangkok
For day time attractions, one of the hidden gems that tops any must see list in Bangkok, whatever your wallet size, is the Baan Silapin or the Artists House. This 200-year-old restored wooden house is filled with art and features brightly coloured life sized statues sitting on the veranda by the river.
The real attraction is the 2pm traditional puppet shows, which are put on by masked puppeteers clad entirely in black. The word puppet is almost misleading, as these are large intricate and beautiful mannequins. These are taken among the audience during the performance and a voluntary donation can be made then.
The show is mesmerising and memorable. Do note that there are no shows on Wednesdays and occasionally they have bookings elsewhere so to be sure of catching this dying art, you may want to call ahead of your visit.
The Wat Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha is an attraction no one visiting Bangkok should miss. Within the temple is the breath-taking 46-meter-long, golden reclining Buddha. The whole temple and surrounding area is steeped in stunning natural beauty. While many temples in Bangkok are free, here there is a nominal charge for entry, but at only 100 baht (less than £2), it is an unbelievable bargain and one you won’t regret paying.
Luckily, most of the things Bangkok is famous for can be experienced inexpensively. Traditional Thai dance performances are put on several times a day for free at the Erawan Shrine. This shrine features a golden statue surrounded by yellow flowers and incense in a corner of the Erawan shopping mall. It is one of the most popular shrines in the city and occasionally hosts Chinese Lion dances as well.
You can learn about Buddhist mediation at the Wat Mahathat Temple at one of the three classes that take place there each day. You don’t need to book anything either. Just turn up and experience a taste of life as a monk, with several hours of seated and walking meditation taught by the monks themselves.
If you wish to experience something more active, Thai boxing is a traditional sport that attracts huge audiences. Like all popular sports, it could prove expensive but Bangkok always offers a more reasonably priced option.
In true Bangkok style, you can find Thai boxing at a really unusual location: outside the MBK shopping Mall at Pathumwan intersection. This spectacle happens every Wednesday from 6pm and, while many fighters are only junior, this is not a reflection of quality, as fighters come from all over the world to compete and show off their talents.
The exciting spectacle is free and lasts around three hours.
A World of Shopping
For a final taste of the bizarre that seems exclusive to the capital, head off to Terminal 21. Despite the name, you won’t be heading to the airport but to what has to be one of the most unusual shopping malls in the world.
It features a light house and each floor is styled after different parts of the world, such as the London floor that features a red double decker bus and the underground. There are also floors styled after Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. This mall has become a tourist attraction worth visiting, whether you want to shop there or not.
The Scary Side of Bangkok
It is not Bangkok’s only strange shopping centre though. There is also the ‘haunted’ Mansion 7, with its entrance featuring a huge clawed hand reaching to the sky. Inside this mall is a haunted house and a play area lit by a blood red moon. The food here feels Halloween themed. The whole atmosphere is unique and fun and can be enjoyed without needing to spend any cash, much like the entire city itself.
Where to Stay
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