There are many reasons Bangkok is one of my favourite cities. The food is to die for, the people are friendly, there’s great shopping to be done and it’s exceptionally good value. There’s also lots to do for free there, be it enjoy local musicians belt out their rendition of ‘American Pie’ or join in an aerobics class.
1. Stretch out in Lumphini Park
At almost 58 hectares, this gorgeous park provides some much-appreciated breathing room away from the busy streets of Bangkok. During the day you can stroll around the trees, open green areas and lake, while make sure to check out the statue of the king at the south-western entrance. Just don’t light up – smoking here is prohibited.
2. Go for a wander around the hectic, crazy streets of Chinatown
This is the oldest part of Bangkok, dating back to the city’s foundation in the 1780s. Inhabiting the myriad of little alleys going off Yaowarat Road, Chinatown is a high-energy area of shops, stalls, narrow lanes and food vendors selling everything from trinkets to traditional medicine. The Temple of the Golden Buddha is here and in fact, 14% of the buildings in Chinatown are historical landmarks.
3. Soak up the atmosphere on the world-famous Khao San Road
Make no mistake about it – Bangkok’s Khao San Road is the backpacking capital of the universe. It is almost inevitable that you will visit it when in Bangkok. Lined with bars, guesthouses, budget hotels, hostels, tour operators, shops selling everything from clothes to travel bags and endless street food options, it is one of the most fascinating streets in the world. Sure, there’s nothing particularly Thai about it, but as there’s nowhere else like it on earth, it is a true Bangkok experience.
4. Learn about art, elephants and more at the free museums
Bangkok offers some excellent free museums. One of the best and most famous is the Bangkokian Museum, which explores themes of what it means to be Thai, with very colourful exhibits. There’s also the Royal Elephant Museum, modern Thai art at the Silpa Bhirasri Memorial and Museum and the interesting Corrections Museum, a former prison.
5. Visit Bangkok’s many temples
There’s pretty much a temple in every neighbourhood of Bangkok, and many of them are free. In fact, three of the best are Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat in Chinatown, Wat Indraviharn in Dusit and Wat Patum Wanaran, next to the Central World Plaza shopping centre. Another one to watch out for is X at the top of the aforementioned Khao San Road.