Travelling to Thailand on a budget? Well, lucky for you, we know all the tricks to help you save money while in Bangkok. In the last decade, Thailand’s capital has gone through a period of rampant growth and now it’s possible to enjoy a decadent lifestyle (and spend as much money) as you would in Tokyo, New York or London. But the famous tales of $1 plates of delicious pad Thai and drinking yourself stupid on pocket change still survive – it’s just a little harder to find them these days.
This list of money saving tips and shoestring travel advice covers all aspects of your trip: accommodation, transport, shopping, eating and, of course, having fun! After reading our sage advice, it should be clear to everyone that you can have an amazing trip travelling on a budget in Bangkok.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
It’s quite obvious that eating at a roadside stall will be cheaper than a swanky dining room. The range of street food is enough to fill a whole trip and still not sample everything – barbequed meats, wok-fried noodles, freshly blended papaya salad, chicken on rice, and a whole world of different noodle soups (for starters) – and each usually costs less than 50 baht. English can be a problem when ordering, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish with a point and a smile. Make it sound romantic by telling your partner you’ll be “dining al fresco tonight”.
You can pick up clothes and accessories at cheap prices in many markets and wholesale malls in Bangkok, but Pratunam is just about as cheap as you will find in any of the popular tourist areas of Thailand without outright stealing. In particular, you should check out Platinum Fashion Mall, Pratunam Market and Pantip Plaza. Just be aware that any ‘designer’ goods that are a fraction of the prices found in other shops are probably not genuine. Read More...
Bargaining and haggling for a better deal is all part of the experience when shopping at markets in Bangkok. The first price offered is rarely the true price, especially in overly touristy areas like Khao San Road, Silom and Chatuchak Market. Check out our handy guide, with techniques you can use to get a fair price. Read More...
Hotel prices fluctuate throughout the year – no surprise there. If you are looking to save money on accommodation, you should look at coming to Bangkok during the rainy season (May to September), when prices drop by as much as 50% from peak season rates. It might sound off-putting at first, but do be aware that ‘rainy season’ doesn’t mean it’s always pouring down outside. Instead, expect isolated showers, usually in the afternoon or evening. Read More...
If you plan on sightseeing all over Bangkok, you should make use of the BTS Skytrain, which currently has two lines, covering Sukhumvit and Silom with a central station in Siam. Single journeys cost between 15 and 45 baht, but you can buy a Rabbit card which comes preloaded with a number of trips at a flat rate of 21 baht. This means you can cut across town for less than $1! Read More...
Don’t… take the parked taxi from outside your hotel
This is something which has plagued Bangkok hotels for years. As you walk out your hotel, you’ll sometimes be greeted by a friendly taxi driver standing next to his shiny taxi. He will try to strike up a conversation about where you’re going today. He will then offer you a fixed rate to drive you around. This fixed rate is, unsurprisingly, far higher than the actual price of transport in Bangkok. If you want to save money, use public transport or metered taxis. If you’re really low on funds, you could even consider the bus (but we wouldn’t advise it because you will waste hours of time stuck in traffic jams).
Don’t… buy single drinks when partying
When out enjoying Bangkok’s nightlife, you should club your funds together and buy a tower of beer or a bottle of liquor, rather than single drinks as you might do in your own country – you’ll get loads more for your money! This is true of local bars as well as high-end nightclubs.
It’s a truism the world over that convenience costs. This is particularly true when changing money in Bangkok. If you want the best exchange rates, do not use the currency exchanges in your hotel or banks. For a list of the places with the best rates, check out our handy page on the best currency exchanges. Read More...
Watching the sunset from a cocktail bar is an incredibly popular activity in Bangkok, but you can end up spending a week’s worth of your food budget at some of the swankiest rooftops. Instead, head to Cloud 47 in Silom. It’s got incredible views from a prominent office tower and beers start from 160 baht – half the price of some of the competition. Read More...
This one is probably obvious to most of you, but don’t take the hotel’s airport shuttle because it costs by far more than using a metered taxi. It should cost roughly 300 baht to get to the airport from downtown Bangkok (be sure to stress you DON’T want to use the highway). The cheapest way to the airport is by using the Airport Link. Read More...