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Bangkok on a budget

Updated on October 12, 2013

Where to stay

If you are in Thailand for the first time, DO NOT attempt exotic far away locations. Taxi services in Thailand can be a huge headache, not to mention expensive. Most taxi drivers will not know English and will have a very distinct accent which will certifiably be indiscrimminable. So if this is your virgin Thai trip, you need to soak in the bustling capital for a crash course! Choose a 3- star in the city centre and for food, explore as much of the local outlets if you have a strong stomach.

The thing to do is to stay within walking distances of the main things you would like to do.

Things to do under 48 hours:

Local tourist trap shopping or a Nightmarket

Local tuk tuk ride around the cities

River boat cruise - with a stop over at the 60 feet Standing Buddha monastery

Traditional Thai massage

Happening club

Happening restuarant

Sky top view of Night time Bangkok

Day 1 - Same same but Different!

If you arrive in Bangkok in the middle of the day, plan to have a walk around, get a cab and go to local shops and check out prices. The first thing people but in Bangkok are those lovely T shirts that say " Same same" in front and "But different" at the back. When you go for any kind of chopping in Thailand, the shopkeeper will give you choices and follow it up with those phrases. Its a lovely souvenir.

Warning: Dont buy everything ont he first day - You Will find cheaper options in shops further away from the city and in street side shops instead of the malls.

Always BARGAIN

If you are a first timer there, everything may sound very cheap , but trust me , the prices arealways inflated to double or at least a 150 baht more than what you Should be paying.

So enjoy the bargaining process - don't feel shy and be nice to the seller. No need to get all fiesty! Thai retailers are hard working people with sincere interest to sell and will appreciate you taking your time to talk to them although they may wave you away if they don't like the price you offered them. Don't take it personally.

Schedule a Late night Full body thai massage

After your shopping you will be very very tired, so make sure you make a booking at a traditional thai massage parlor, where the ladies will be traditionally dressed and are open upto 12:30 am. Thai Massage does not involve any essential oils and is clean , should not cost more than 400 baht for a full hour. If you walk into the more modern parlors, the massage are of more 'fun' nature and customised for thrill seeking travel groups of today. You should schedule ahead so that you can go in around 9 pm , at least two hours after dinner and drinks.

or you can schedule it for your last day in Bangkok , before you go back to your hectic life.

Dinner and Party.

Explore the exquisite cuisine at least at one high end restuarant. I would recommend 'Koi' in Sukhumvit, for their exquisite Japanese cuisine. Their Creamy Rock shrimp tempura is to die for. Any other travel guide top ten restuarants can be your pick.

But I must recommend the Red Sky bar on top of Centara Hotels. From the 55th Floor, it offers an open top, 360 degree view of Bangkok , and at night it is a sight to behold. You can try the wonderful drinks and charcoal dinners and it will be an experience to highlight in your facebook forever!

For a late night party, the latest rave is the Bed night club. Top notch people get in - no riff raff, so dress nice. If you want to party this one night during your short visit, this is where your money should go in BKK. 'Nuff said. I loved the concept of the dual dance floors on two sides serving up different genres to groove to. the one on the left has an upper deck with actual beds in them to chill with your friends and watch the crazy party in the floor below.

If it gets too loud for you , you can come out and chill by the outside bar and make some new friends! Its just perfect.

Redsky Bar at Centara

Dining here is not just about the great food!
Dining here is not just about the great food! | Source

Bed Night Club

Party at a different level
Party at a different level

Dinner and Dance

Explore the exquisite cuisine at least at one high end restuarant. I would recommend 'Koi' in Sukhumvit, for their exquisite Japanese cuisine. Their Creamy Rock shrimp tempura is to die for. Any other travel guide top ten restuarants can be your pick.

But I must recommend the Red Sky bar on top of Centara Hotels. From the 55th Floor, it offers an open top, 360 degree view of Bangkok , and at night it is a sight to behold. You can try the wonderful drinks and charcoal dinners and it will be an experience to highlight in your facebook forever!

For a late night party, the latest rave is the Bed night club. Top notch people get in - no riff raff, so dress nice. If you want to party this one night during your short visit, this is where your money should go in BKK. 'Nuff said. I loved the concept of the dual dance floors on two sides serving up different genres to groove to. the one on the left has an upper deck with actual beds in them to chill with your friends and watch the crazy party in the floor below.

If it gets too loud for you , you can come out and chill by the outside bar and make some new friends! Its just perfect. (Note: Since the date of publishing this hub, things have changed and in mid 2013, the Bed night club was demolished for a new construction. You can now visit 'Levels' on the 6th floor of Aloft building, where the music starts early.)


Public River cruise Boat Time Table

The beauty of the City's activities by the river is truely enthralling
The beauty of the City's activities by the river is truely enthralling

Thing to carry with you

1. Flip flops to walk in - Buy them from a street side store for under 100 baht, if you don't own one

2. Shorts to walk around in

3. a long summer dress with at least a half sleeve when you visit the temples or Wats and even the King's palace.

4. Sunglasses and Sunscreen - beware of glaring sun

5. A small Umbrella - it rains without warning


Day 2 - River Cruise Bangkok

The only reason, the late night partying needs to be moderated on the first day is so that you can wake up early and start the Day 2 crash course trip!

You can take the metro train to be dropped off near Shangri-La Hotel and take the public boat to soak in the view of the river side. The Chao Phraya River Boat will cost you between 9 Baht to 30 baht per person, depending on where you get down.

(Take note that this is a Public ride and you are on a budget trip. If you can afford , then go for the 250 baht river taxis, that will take you on a 2.5 trip from floating village markets and flower villages etc.)

You can get down on the Grand palace platform - a short walk through some mind boggling mobile stands for food supplies that represent authentic thai snacks, streetfood and lunch. You can browse and taste - really cheap and yummy, sure to tickle your adventure bones.

Please make sure you are dressed properly with skin upto knee and elbow covered to avail the Grand Palace tour. Your attire choice will come in handy for the Wat/ temple visits also. The Grand Palace is the King's residence and is truly an architectural beauty. Sometimes it is closed for special events/ ceremonies, so please check the local newspapers, ahead of time.

From there you can try taking a TukTuk ride (an three wheeler covered scooter like contraption that lets you enjoy the wind in your hair and enjoy the sights. get dropped off at the Standing Buddha Temple. This is a 32 metre gold coated sculpture where you will find many interesting souvenirs and buddha miniatures for sale, if you are interested in collecting.

Wat Phra Kaew, a temple that houses the holy Emerald Buddha (an ancient artifact that supposedly dates back to 43BC), Dusit Maha Prasat, the beautiful throne room built by King Rama I in 1789, and Chakri Mahaprasad Hall, the largest of the Grand Palace buildings, designed with a curious blend of Italian renaissance and Thai architecture are all some of the stops you can choose or alternate with , if you are running short on time.


The Standing Buddha - putting you own existence in perspective with the spiritual greatness of Buddha
The Standing Buddha - putting you own existence in perspective with the spiritual greatness of Buddha

Kraothong , the festival of lights

Bangkok's floating river market

Source

Bangkok Jazz Festival

Attractive Festivals in Thailand to plan around

  • March - Thailand International Kite Flying Festival, age-no-bar, major event with many open-air activities, business exhibits in Suan Son Pradipat, located directly south of Bangkok and within driving distance
  • Mid April , Phra Padaeng Songkran Festival, the official Buddhist New Year in Thailand entailing an enormous water fight in the city centre (Khao San Road), Nobody is spared from getting splashed.
  • Mid June, Hua Hin Jazz Festival, both jazz and traditional Thai concerts held in nearby Prachuap Khiri Khan at various venues and open-air locations
  • Mid June, International Festival of Dance and Music, expect to enjoy performances by many international musicians at many central entertainment venues
  • If you are a shopaholic, this is for you. Late June, there is the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale Fair. Most main shops and department stores offer great discounts for local souvenirs, silk and general handicrafts.
  • Since the 1980s, Mid August, Bangkok International Fashion Fair (BIFF) is a free annual event that attracts leading fashion designers from the Asia-Pacific region. Its the whole enchilada with the fashion shows, trade stands and many clothing accessories, held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre
  • The Queen's Birthday Celebrations - August 12th, royal festivities take place around the magnificent Grand Palace and also along Ratchadamnern Avenue. Streets are adorned in traditional lanterns and lighting, festivities and traditional dancing
  • Food Festival in Chinatown - mid-September,Thai Foods galore! coupled with live music and shows. Bangkok's Food Festivals in based in the Chinatown district specially around Yaowarat Road.
  • Loi Krathong Festival (Krathong Floating) - late November, one of Bangkok's most famous festivals. Boats and baskets are constructed of banana leaves and filled with candles, coins, incense and flowers, and then floated along various stretches of water, including the Chao Phraya River
  • Grand Celebration of His Majesty the King - December 5th, a national event held all across Thailand, where the streets are filled with colourful flags and decorations
  • Bangkok Jazz Festival - throughout December, a relatively new festival which has grown greatly in popularity. It has been reported that over 30,000 people join in each year to see the performances of popular jazz musicians from all over the world.

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