Top 10 free or cheap things to do in Bangkok

Bangkok is such a fascinating city. With sprawling, traditional street markets full of some of the world’s best street food to cutting edge modern skyscrapers and malls with all of the new world comforts, It is the epicenter of where East meets West. We spent a combined 10-days in Bangkok exploring every nook and cranny, some more than once, and put together this list of our top 10 free or cheap things to do!

1. Chatuchak Weekend Market

Cost: FREE – This is the place to be on the weekend! It’s one of the world’s largest weekend markets with over 8,000 stalls. The market open from 9am -6pm on the weekend and we spent nearly the whole day exploring each and every corner.  It had everything from books, food and clothing to any souvenir you could ever want to take home.

2. Chinatown

Cost: FREE – We love a good Chinatown and Bangkok has one! During the day, the hustle and bustle is shopping through the vendors with bulk items and unique individual finds. While at night, it’s all about the delicious street food culture and bright lights.

3. Wat Pho

Cost: 100 baht ($3) – One of the main tourist sites in all of Bangkok is Wat Pho and what’s great is it is so cheap to feast your eyes on her beauty. It is one of the most important temples in Thailand because of its connection to King Rama I, said to be the founder of Thailand. Wat Pho is also home of the world famous Reclining Buddha which is one of the largest in Thailand laying at 15 meters high and 46 meters long. Very impressive to see. 

4. Rooftop Bar Drinks

Cost: 180 baht ($5.25) per pint of beer – Bangkok has a beautiful skyline with some really unique buildings. Our favorite was the MahaNakhon building which looks like it is being digitally created. The best views of this and the city are from Cloud 47. We loved it here because they allow casual attire and the cocktails are nearly half the cost than some of Bangkok’s other rooftop bars, not to mention, it really does have the most superb view. We went an hour before sunset so we could enjoy the skyline day, dusk, and night! 

5. Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)

Cost: 50 baht ($1.50) – This was one of Kevin’s favorite places to visit because of how many wonderful things were around the temple complex. While the central Khmer-style tower was under construction, we could still see the beauty of the painted porcelain all around. Next to the temple is the Ordination Hall which is guarded by two guardian demons. An easy 2.5 hours was spent in awe of all the details. 

6. Foot Massage

150 baht ($4.35) – After walking all over Bangkok it was time to pamper ourselves. Everywhere you go in Thailand you see foot massage places. Some look seedy like you might catch something if you take your shoes off while others are packed, so you know it’ll be above board. We chose the 30-minute foot massage which included a leg rub and smooth oils. We were in heaven.

7. Khaosan Road

Cost: FREE – Khaosan Road is known as the backpackers district of Bangkok so you know it’s a lively place to see. Because it is full of like-minded budget travelers, this is the place to find a good deal. Trinkets are cheap and the beers are even cheaper! Nighttime is when Khaosan Road truly shines. 

8. Eat Street Food

Cost: 50 – 200 baht ($1.50-$5.75) – Thailand is known for having the world’s best street food so it would be ashamed if you didn’t try it all! Most street food like Pad Thai and Thai Basil Chicken will run you around the 60-100 baht ($1.75-$3), while other signature dishes, such as, Tom Yum Goong or Pineapple Fried Rice will set you back 200 baht ($5.75). Be sure to check out our favorite Thailand street foods

9. Take a boat down the Chao Phraya River

Cost: 15 baht ($0.45)– Hop on the boar with the orange flag and you are in for a cheap and fun experience. Not only is this the fasted and cheapest way to get into the old town of Bangkok, it give you some of the most incredible views! 15 baht is what they charge no matter how long you ride it, so why not use the opportunity to see the city through the eyes of a local. 

10. Wat Trai Mit

Cost: 40 baht ($1.20) – This is a stunning historic Buddhist temple just on the edge of Chinatown. It is adorned with fantastic guilding and houses the infamous 5.5 ton (11,000 pound) 18 karat gold Buddha statue with the most fascinating history. For over 200 years it was plastered over in stucco and no one knew it was made of gold until one day it was discovered by accident.

Of course there are many more things to do in Bangkok we did no mention here due to their cost. However, we would recommend doing each. #1 – Go to a Calypso Cabaret Show, costs 900 baht ($27) and features amazingly talented transgender artists dancing and lip-syncing for their lives. #2 visit the Grand Palace, costs 500 bath ($14.50), it’s filled with a lot of history and has some top-notch architecture. 

We are two en route for free or cheap explorations 

Advertisements

Stockholm’s Underground Art Scene

Stockholm claims the title “Capital of Scandinavia.”  It is the largest city with some of the most beautiful architecture and has an extensive collection of galleried art. However, did you know some of the most fascinating art can be found underground? You literally have to go under the city and into the subways to find it. 

On our first trip into the subway, when we arrived into Stockholm, we noticed something was different. The walls were alive with interest. From that moment, we decided to do a little research and found out that 90% of Stockholm’s subway stations host some of the coolest and most unique works of art. A few days into our stay we decided to hop from station to station to feast our eyes on more. Here are a few of our favorites. Enjoy!

 Stadion Station - Red Line
Stadion Station – Red Line
 Stadion Station - Red Line
Stadion Station – Red Line
 Hötorget Station - Green Line
Hötorget Station – Green Line
 T-Centralen Station - Blue Line
T-Centralen Station – Blue Line
 T-Centralen Station - Blue Line
T-Centralen Station – Blue Line
 Stadshagen Station - Blue Line
Stadshagen Station – Blue Line
 Stadshagen Station - Blue Line
Stadshagen Station – Blue Line
 Stadshagen Station - Blue Line
Stadshagen Station – Blue Line
 Kungsträdgården Station - Blue Line
Kungsträdgården Station – Blue Line
 Kungsträdgården Station - Blue Line
Kungsträdgården Station – Blue Line

We are two en route to explore more underground art. 

Choosing The Backpack

When we chose to live on the road for more than a year we realized one of the most important items we would have was the pack on our back. After some initial online research we knew this was something we would need to purchase in person.  We would need to try it on, feel the quality of the interconnections in the zipper, how the materials felt between our fingers and all the other feel goods the internet can’t offer.  For us that meant a trip to REI.

 Photo from  Preston Hollow Advocate
Photo from Preston Hollow Advocate

Since we are mainly “urban backpacking” those large monstrosities of outdoor hiking bags were immediately eliminated. Which unfortunately, is most of what is on the market. When it came to what options were still available, we initially had thoughts like, “there is no way we can live in anything less than 70 liters each.” Between needing outfit options, creature comforts, electronics, and toiletries, we felt 70 liters was even going to be hard. Keeping in mind that we plan to live out of this bag for over a year we wanted to have room for everything we would need, but also knew carrying extra unnecessary weight was going to quickly get old (and painful). It was time for us to do some serious research to figure out what was going in our bags before making a final decision.

Most people we spoke with and blogs we read had a general consensus that 20 lbs (all-in, filled to the brim) was the target weight for a pack. In order to stay around that weight, we knew 70 liters would be too big.  Filling 70 liters to the brim gets you well past 20 lbs, ouchies. Now that our backpack was shrinking, another question came up; did we want to have a carry-on size pack? We decided that this was a must. Not only would this make it easier to carry on our back, it would be easier on all forms of transit. As an added bonus, often times carry-ons are free while checking a bag costs extra and the more dollars we save the more days we travel.

Since we are going to be taking all forms of transportation in many different countries, another key feature we felt was a must was security. We wanted to make our packs appear to be hard to try and break into or steal especially since everything we own will be inside. Security features we looked for were tear resistant fabric, high quality construction, and lockable zippers.

  Image from REI website
Image from REI website

With so much security built into one bag, we wanted to make sure the bag was still easy for us to use. The last thing we want is to be in a situation where we need something quickly and are not able to get to it with ease. Some great features we saw on bags was being able to open them like a suitcase so you could quickly and easily get to everything,  smaller compartments to help with organization, and the ability to attach and detach a removable day pack for when you just need a few things with you and can leave the bulk of your items stuffed away someplace safe (not on our backs).

After we looked at what different backpacks offered and compared them to our must have list, we chose the Osprey Porter 46. It is a carry-on size, 46 liter pack with a suit-case style full zip opening for ease of use, great security, and the ability to attach a 13 liter day pack (Osprey Daylite). As an added bonus, the Porter 46 even has compression sidewalls that help keep everything snug and secure no matter what’s inside. Packs purchased!

 Image from REI website
Image from REI website

As is often the case, before committing to something long term it is a good idea to give it a short term trial. We purchased the Porter 46 and Daylite to take with us to New Zealand in April.  This allowed us to make sure the packs fit well, held up, and actually fulfilled our wants and needs. From storing them overhead on the plane to only taking the Daylite with us around town, they did great.

 Piha Beach with only the Daylite, New Zealand, 2016
Piha Beach with only the Daylite, New Zealand, 2016

We are two en route to backpack the world.