Thailand is becoming more expensive so make your holiday money go further with these ten free things to do in Bangkok.
There’s everything from watching puppets at an traditional wooden house, free aerobics classes in the park, and seeing the city’s iconic temples from the river.
Muay Thai fight nights are even totally free to watch you find the right place.
With so many free things to do in Bangkok, there’s no need to spend cash again on pricey tour guides and day trips. Plus, many of these things are equally as fun expensive attractions.
Here are ten free things to do in Bangkok…
The Artist’s House Baan Silapin
This traditional wooden house is found along a canal on the south of the river. It’s some 200 years old and has been restored. It has traditional Thai puppets inside which are used for free daily shows at 2pm. The small area has become a creative enclave with a art and sculptures. There are also a few small shops and food – perfect to eating while looking out over the canal. The Artists’s House features on most lists of free things to do in Bangkok with good reason.
Train: Wongwian Yai BTS station
Taxi: Soi Wat Thong Sala Ngarm, Phasi Charoen
Phone: +66 83 034 9858
Free Aerobics At Lumpini Park
Burn off the extra Bangkok calories that have piled on with a free aerobics class. The communal exercise activity takes place twice a day at 6am and 6pm. Instructors set up speakers for Thais and some tourists and expats to join in for free. The rigorous aerobics and dance makes most people break a sweat. Well worth going at least once just to assuage some of the guilt of overindulging on Thai beer. Futhermore, Lumpini Park has a relaxing lake and green surroundings that are remarkably calming.
Train: MRT station Lumpini
Taxi: 139/4 Witthayu Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan
Meditation Classes With Monks At Wat Mahathat
The biggest temples in Bangkok charge tourists to get in. But not only is Wat Mahathat, also known as Temple of the Great Relic, free to enter, they also hold daily meditation classes that are entirely free. The classes start at 7:00am, 1:30pm and 6:00pm and last for three or four hours. The temple is the HQ of Thailand’s largest monastic order and Vipassana Meditation – which basically means they know what they’re doing when it comes to meditation. Visitors might not come out a transcended spiritual leader, but hey, it’s an experience and another of the great free things to do in Bangkok.
Train: Hua Lamphong Railway Station, then taxi
Taxi: Wat Mahathat (Section 5), Maharat Rd
Phone: +66 2222-6011
Take In The City From A River Boat
Many of my trips to first trips to Bangkok were spent near to the commercial buildings in the north. Very rarely did I venture over the river and into the south of the city. Boy, what I was missing. One of the best ways to take in the view of Bangkok is from a river boat. There are plenty of river boats available from a pier next to the Boat Temple (another free activity in Bangkok). Many of them are free to ride. Riding a river boat makes for great holiday snaps, with stunning views from the water of skyscrapers and temples.
Train: BTS station Saphan Taksin
Taxi: Saphorn Pier, King Taksin Bridge
Boat: Head to the Saphorn Pier and get the Chao Phraya Express Boat
See The Famous China Town Crocodiles
Where else can you find three killer crocodiles in the middle of the city? Only in Bangkok. The three reptiles are kept in a small pond at Wat Chakrawat, a temple in Chinatown. The fencing looks scarily flimsy to me. And legend has it that the crocs once ate young novice monks. I can believe that. Visiting the crocodiles is also a great chance to see the Chinatown area of Bangkok, with its distinct culture, bustling markets and street food.
Train: MRT train to Hua Lamphong Railway Station, then taxi
Taxi: Wat Chakrawat, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Phone: +66 2 688 9202
Watch Thai Dancing At Erawan Shrine
The Erawan Shrine is one of the biggest Buddhist tourist attractions in Bangkok. It’s an interesting place to visit. But what makes it really great are the Thai dancers decked out in traditional costume. They perform the traditional Thai dance with elongated curved fingers and big old head dresses. All the while is the beat of a drum and some funky Thai percussion. Cap of the visit with a quick prayer to the Hindu Buddha shrine for good luck. And a nice weighty wallet after enjoying another great free thing in Bangkok.
Train: BTS to Chit Lom station
Taxi: Phloen Chit Road
Visit The Ko Kret Island
Ko Kret is a small island in the middle of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya Rive river. This quirky attraction is just 2km 1km in size. It was man-made in 1722 and became the home of the Mon tribe from central Thailand, many of whom still live there. Visiting the island is like going back in time. They live a slower pace of life. There’s lots of traditional Mon food (some Thai locals have never even tried this stuff) and they have some stunning pottery on show. The traditional wooden architecture is cool, too.
Train: BTS station Saphan Taksin then boat from Saphorn Pier
Boat: Chao Phraya Express from Saphorn Pier
Experience Muay Thai At MBK Fight Club
Tourists can sometimes get drawn into paying big money to Muay Thai fights. I’ve been quoted upwards of 2,000 baht for a ticket. But the same action can be seen for free at the MBK Fight Club. This full-contact fighting takes place every Wednesday from 6pm – 8.30pm at the MBK shopping Mall. If you’re curious about seeing Muay Thai, but don’t want the full-on stadium experience then this is a great taster.
Train: BTS station National Stadium
Taxi: MBK shopping Mall, 444 Phayathai Rd
Phone: +66 84 001 9876
See Bangkok’s Former Steam Trains
This is one of the more offbeat of all the free things to do in Bangkok. Never the less, this is more interesting than it sounds and will appeal to any train enthusiast or parents with a young son. After all, which kid doesn’t like trains? These steam engines were once the life-blood of Bangkok. They’ve long be replaced by newer models. But they are still kept in a warehouse at the old Thonburi railway station. This is not an official museum but workers are happy for tourists to take pictures of their steam engines.
Train: BTS station Hua Lamphong then take taxi, the depot is under a bridge near the Royal Barges Museum
Taxi: Soi Wat Wiset Kan, Siriraj, Bangkok, Thailand
See The Street Buskers At Chatuchak
Chatuchak Market is free to get in. There are thousands of stalls to look at. In fact, it’d take more than a week to get round all the sections of Chatuchak Market if you’re looking in depth at all the stalls. It’s included in our list of free things to do in Bangkok because window-shopping here is amazing. What’s more, there are dozens of street entertainers that line some of the busier parts of the market and it’s fun to watch them.
Train: MRT Station Kamphaeng Phet
Taxi: Chatuchak Weekend Market