There are many reasons Bangkok is one of our 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. Stroll around Chatuchak Weekend Market
Whether you’ve money to shop or not, you can’t miss the world’s largest market. It’s home to over 5,000 stalls which are spread across more than 35 acres and, as you should be able to guess from the name, is open Saturdays and Sundays. Get ready for a sensory overload as you pass stalls selling clothing, religious artefacts, live animals and more. The stalls start opening at 9am and the market is pretty crowded by the time lunch rolls around, so get there as early as you can. When you leave, grab some food and relax in nearby Chatuchak Park.
2. Take part in a public aerobics class
Is your back sore after lugging around shopping bags? Have you been eating unhealthy holiday foods lately? Head over to Saranrom Park across the street from the Royal Palace. Every evening the park hosts free aerobics classes, open to anyone who wants to join. The people there are friendly and encouraging so don’t worry about looking silly…just jump in!
3. Enjoy live music in on the Khao San Road
As you wander down ‘the Khao San’ you’ll hear everything and anything. Hawkers will try to sell you t-shirts, tuk-tuk drivers will repeatedly look at you and smile, simply saying ‘tuk-tuk?’ and stalls selling CDs will be banging out house music to make your ribcage shudder. But midway down you’ll also begin to hear acoustic tunes being played from above. Look up and you’ll discover this is from the ‘Roof Bar’, the best place for live music on the Khao San. Go up, grab a beer, get a seat overlooking the street and enjoy the fact that you’re in one of the world’s most electric cities. Bliss.
4. Visit Patpong
Bangkok is the infamous home of the ‘ping pong show’ – performances in girly bars where local women do unimaginable things with small white balls, normally used for a spot of table-tennis. In Bangkok, the home of the ping-pong show is Patpong, and in particular Soi 1. Walking down here is an eye opener to say the least as hawkers flash lists of sexual tricks (think cigarettes, bananas and darts) these Thai women can do with their nether regions. Aside from these, what only can be described as degrading bars, Patpong is also home to one of the Thai capital’s best night markets.
5. Barter! Barter! Barter!
I know what you’re thinking – don’t you need to spend money to barter? Technically speaking, yes. But if you’re looking for some free entertainment, or maybe a bit of practice for when you are about to treat yourself to a new bag, a pair of knock-off designer jeans or a few pairs of boardies, approach the market stalls around Sukhumvit, Patpong, the Khao San Road or in the MBK and test your bartering skills. It won’t cost you a thing and it will save you money in the long run.