Everybody loves free stuff and luckily Bangkok has enough to offer to those on a low budget. For this list we sought out the more authentic attractions and avoided the commercialized tourist spots as much as possible.
Baan Silapin, Artist’s House
Every day (except Wednesday) at 14:00 you can watch a traditional Thai puppet dance performance at this place. The show doesn’t take long (15-30 minutes) but the area around the house and the house itself offer enough entertainment for another hour. The house is right next to the canal with a few statues sitting next to it. Inside the house are several paintings and the atmosphere at the house is really
Open: Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 6 pm, Wednesday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday Sunday from 9am to 7 pm. Location: Soi Wat Thong Sala Ngarm, Phasi Charoen
Free meditation classes at Wat Mahathat
The monks of this temple organize free sessions each day to introduce and teach meditation to visitors. During the sessions you will also get an insight in the life of the monks. The sessions run from 7:00 until 10:00 from 13:00 till 16:00 and from 18:00 to 20:00. Open: 07:00 until 20:00. Location: Phra That Road (near Sanam Luang Park, between the Grand Palace and the National Museum)
Aerobics at Lumpini Park
The large park at the center of the city is a great place to jog, and do some outdoor aerobics. This mass event in which hundreds of locals participate takes place every day around 5.30pm. Everyone can join for free and don’t worry about not understanding the Thai instructions. The steps are easy to follow, just copy everyone else.
Butterfly garden at Vachira Bechatat park
When you go to the famous but super busy Chatuchak weekend market, you might want to relax a bit at the Vachira Benchatat park, right next to the market. The park is more relaxing than Lumpini Park and has a free Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in which you can see thousands of butterflies and other bugs. The Insectarium is open everyday.
Bangkok Folks Museum
A free museum consisting of three buildings that showcase the life of Thai middle-class families during World-War 2. The main building was originally the home of the Suravadee family and built in 1937. It was later converted into a museum to preserve the lifestyle of early Bangkok and the history of Bang Rak district.
Bang Nam Phung Floating market
Not so much a floating market, but a market next to the river. The market is outside of the city and a bit difficult to reach which makes it less popular with tourists, but that also makes it more authentic and real. The products sold here are more diverse and less of the souvenir type. The market is charming and there are a lot of different foods to try.
To get there, you can take a taxi to Wat Bang Na Nawk and then take a ferry across the river. On the other side of the river, take a short ride by motorbike taxi to the market. Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 2pm.
Free sightseeings in Thon Buri
Head over to Thonburi on the west side of the river and there are many interesting and beautiful landmarks to explore.
The Santa Cruz Cathedral in Thonburi is an impressive Catholic church built as the result of the close ties between the Portugese and the Thai in 1767.
In short walking distance from the church there is a cofee shop with a small free museum about the portugese who came to Thailand to trade. You can reach the church by taking the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Rajinee Pier (N7), and then catch the Pak Khlong ferry across the river.
Wat Kalayanamitr dominates the skyline on the west side of the river but is still largely ignored by most tourists. They are missing out because the temple is home to a giant Buddha statue and the interior of the temple looks really impressive.
Because of the lack of tourists, this temple still feels authentic and locals perform their religious activities inside without being bothered by a tourist crowd. You can take a ferry from the Ratchinee Pier which will take you directly to the temple.
In between the Santa Crus church and Wat Kalayanamitr stands the Kuan Yin shrine, a small but charming old Chinese building next to the Chao Phraya River. The site was built during the reign of King Taksin (1767 – 1782) by his Chinese followers.
It was later rebuilt to house the shrine for Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy.