If you’re traveling on a tight budget, enjoy some of the best Bangkok has to offer for free. Free museums, free activities, free sights – all great things to do that won’t cost you a Baht!
1. Visit TemplesBangkok has dozens of amazing temples and many of them are free to visit. Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat in Chinatown, Wat Indraviharn in Dusit, and Wat Patum Wanaran in central Bangkok (nestled in between Paragon and Central World Plaza shopping malls) are just three beautiful and interesting temples that don’t charge any admission fee.
This newly opened (2008) modern art center across the street from MBK mega mall has revolving art exhibits on eleven floors and funky outdoor art installations, too. The modern, airy building itself is worth a visit.
3. Lumphini ParkBangkok’s most popular public park offers fun and interesting activities any time of the day. If you’re up early, head over by 6 a.m. to watch folks fan dancing, practicing Tai Chi and running. At 6 p.m., there are free outdoor aerobics classes anyone can participate in.
4. Tour the City’s Many MarketsA visit to Thailand would not be complete without visiting one of the country’s bustling outdoor markets. Thewet Market and Khlong Toey Market are both old-fashioned Thai vegetable and produce markets and offer a fascinating peek at normal life.
5. Bangkok Butterfly Garden & InsectariumVisit the enclosed butterfly garden inside Rot Fai Park to see hundreds of butterflies and plenty of other insects, too. The park is just adjacent to Chatuchak Market and if you’re not into bugs, the surrounding Queen Sirikit park offer plenty of pretty flowers to look at.
6. Art GalleriesVisit one of the city’s many art galleries to see what modern Thai art is all about. The Queen’s Gallery showcases talented young artists from all over Thailand. Other galleries in the city have revolving exhibits featuring Thai and Southeast Asia art.
7. Silpa Bhirasri Memorial & MuseumThis small museum exhibits the work of Silpa Bhirasri, the father of modern Thai art, and the work of some of his well-known pupils. The space was formerly the artist’s office and studio and is just a few minutes on foot from Sanam Luang.
8. The Bangkokian MuseumOne of Bangkok’s coolest museums is the Bangkokian Museum (sometimes called the Bangkok Folk Museum), with exhibits depicting typical middle-class life in Bangkok during the mid-twentieth century. The museum is tucked away on a side street off of busy Charoen Krung Road.
These former royal stables have become a museum dedicated to one of the country’s most honored animals, the elephant. See ornate palanquins (seating platforms set atop elephants) and elephant armor and learn about why elephants are so important to Thai culture.
10. The Corrections MuseumOn the edge of Rommani Nart Park near the Old City is this prison turned museum. Curators have put together a handful of exhibits to demonstrate the different types of punishment meted out over the course of the country’s history. Be warned that the life-size wax figures in various terrifying situations and photos of past executions are quite grisly.