Bangkok on a budget: 7 travel hacks to save on your trip

Published by: BouncePosted
Budget travel hacks for Bangkok

Bangkok is unquestionably a great destination for budget travel. If you're trying to see the world without spending too much money, Southeast Asia always provides a lot of bang for your buck.

The popularity of Bangkok with the global travel community means that prices have climbed in recent years, especially along popular tourist destinations like Khao San Road. But that doesn't change the fact that Bangkok is absolutely packed with ways to save money while traveling, and you can enjoy local food and immerse yourself in the local culture while getting by on far less than you would probably spend staying at home.

Still, saving money in Bangkok does require a little bit of research on your part so you can find the best places to stay in the best things to see and do that won't cost you a fortune. Luckily, that's what this guide is all about. Leave your bags behind in a Bangkok luggage storage facility and get ready to explore one of the world's most fascinating cities.

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Cheap hotels in Bangkok

Cheap places to stay in Bangkok

However you approach it, accommodation is always going to be one of the most expensive parts of a trip abroad. That's true in a great budget travel destination like Bangkok, just as it is in more expensive cities.

And the same rules apply here as they do everywhere else. If you want your own hotel room and good amenities close to local transportation and the city's major sites, you'll need to make your daily budget higher. Alternatively, you can save money by taking advantage of other options like apartment rentals, hostels, and even the online couch-surfing community. If you look around, you may even be able to find some places that will provide you with free accommodation in exchange for work or cultural exchange.

The average price for a Bangkok hotel room is around $70, though, of course, you can expect to pay more money to stay in the most desirable areas of the city. Budget travelers will usually find they can save some money by staying a little further out of the city and taking advantage of public transport to get around. You can also save some money by renting a place with a kitchen and shopping for your groceries at local markets so you can do your own cooking. However, Thai food is incredibly delicious and usually cheap, so you may not save as much money doing this as you'd hoped.

Depending on your travel budget for your South East Asia trip, you could consider one of these affordable but enjoyable options:

New Siam Riverside Hotel

It's the location that makes this hotel a great choice. At around $70 for a room, it's right in the middle of the curve of what Bangkok hotels cost, but at only walking distance to the lively Khao San Road area, it's a great choice if you want to experience the unrivaled nightlife of Bangkok.

The hotel offers free breakfast and a laundry service for guests, though that comes with an extra charge. Bike rentals are also available for a fee.

The New Siam is located near the Chao Phraya River, and guests can easily access local boats and ferries for transportation. The nearest BTS station (Bangkok Skytrain) is Sabnam Chai, which is a 30-minute walk away. However, several bus stations are much closer, and some top attractions are well within walking distance, including the National Museum of Bangkok and the Golden Mount Temple, which you can reach without having to take public transportation.

Central places to stay in Bangkok

iCheck Inn Silom

Rooms at this three-star hotel can be had for less than $50 a night, so it makes a good place to save money without missing out on some of the comforts of a good hotel. The iCheck Inn is located in the upscale Silom area to the south of the city, which is an excellent place to explore great restaurants and bars and enjoy local food without having to stay in a bad area to save money. Close to the Empire Tower and the Saphan Taksim BTS station, the iCheck Inn is also well within walking distance of the St. Louis tram stop, making local transport a breeze.

The rooms feature mini-fridges where you can store drinks to keep you going on your trip. There are also complimentary hot drinks available in the lobby 24 hours a day, offering more ways to save money on your next trip. Although it's not by any means a fancy place, the bright and colorful rooms make for comfortable places to stay that are as easy on your bank account as they are on your eye, and the great links to public transportation make this a good choice for accommodation when you visit Bangkok.

Tim Mansion Bangkok

This centrally located hostel is a great choice for budget travelers who want great deals but don't want to say too far from the center of the city. If you'd rather not deal with public transportation or the city's taxi drivers, a place like this lets you stay within walking distance of many of Bangkok's top sites and tourist attractions without spending a fortune. Rooms here cost as little as $20 a night.

In the shadow of the Golden Mount Temple, Tim Mansion is only two km from the Grand Palace and close to Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara. Khao San Road is also well within walking distance, with all its lively bars and great restaurants that make it a central hub for those traveling on a budget.

The cheapest rooms in this hotel are windowless, but they do offer complimentary bottled water, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a private shower. At the other end of the scale, you'll find deluxe rooms that offer a view of the Golden Mount Temple, so this incredibly cheap hotel is perfect if you're on a tight budget but still want to enjoy an excellent Thailand trip.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Cheap things to do in Bangkok

As well as cheap accommodations, Bangkok has some incredible things to do with average costs far below what you would expect to find in North America or Western Europe. The rich history and culture of Thailand can be explored and enjoyed without spending very much money at all, and you'll even find free admission at some of the top tourist attractions in the city.

Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace: This is one of the most famous temples in Bangkok and is home to the famous Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace, on the other hand, is a sprawling complex of temples, palaces, and other buildings that was the residence of the Kings of Siam from 1782. It's still a working palace for the Thai royal family to this day, but many of the beautiful buildings are now open to the public for exploration.

The Grand Palace complex is free to visit for Thai people but costs 500 Baht for foreigners. At the time of writing, that's around US$15.

Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn): This temple is famous for its stunning Khmer-style spires and is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The unique spires make this one of the most beautiful temples in the whole city and set it apart from Bangkok's other historic buildings, and the waterside setting only makes it that much more spectacular. You can even climb the 70m spire to get incredible views over the city and what may be a highlight of your entire trip, especially if you can do it early in the morning when the crowds are less or at sunset when the light is at its most beautiful.

The temple dates back to the 18th century when many of Bangkok's most monumental buildings were constructed and is a testament to the power of the Kings of Siam. It costs only 50 Bhat to go inside, which is less than two US dollars.

Chatuchak Weekend Market: This is one of the largest outdoor markets in the world and is a great place to find souvenirs and sample local food. Naturally, the market is free to enter, though if you want to buy anything, you'll need to spend some money. Still, like all of Bangkok's local markets, it's a great place to try incredible street food and save money while experiencing the city as the locals do.

Cheap food in Bangkok

Cheap places to eat in Bangkok

Where can you eat cheaply in Bangkok? Just about everywhere! Although Bangkok certainly has some high-end and luxury restaurants, most places to eat in the city are extremely cheap, especially by Western standards. And those in the know often argue that the best places to eat in the city are often the cheapest. After all, street food is a huge part of the culture of Bangkok, and it doesn't cost very much at all to enjoy it. The best street food in Bangkok is as affordable as it is delicious, making it a great way to save money while you enjoy budget travel.

Khao Neow Dam Sangkaya

This tiny stand outside Silom Soi market is known throughout the city for its sticky black rice with custard wrapped up in a banana leaf. A portion costs around $0.50, and it's a sweet and satisfying treat to keep you going while you explore the city, allowing you to save money and still enjoy part of what makes Bangkok so special.

Wattana Panich Kuay Teow Neua

You'll smell this place long before you see it, with the huge pan of simmering beef outside drawing hungry travelers and locals alike to this tiny storefront. Specialists in Chinese-inspired cuisine, the beef noodles here are absolutely incredible and will only cost you around five dollars.

Daniel Thaiger Burgers

Obviously, Thai food is the thing to eat in Bangkok, especially if you want to enjoy street food on a budget. However, if you find yourself missing something a little more international, you can indulge your tastes while still saving money. This burger joint serves huge and hearty burgers made with fresh meat that is never frozen for a juicy and succulent cut of beef. The signature burger, the Thaiger, costs 280 Bhat and is made with wagyu beef, so it offers an incredible bargain for those interested in saving money.

Cheap bars in Bangkok

Cheap bars in Bangkok

Viva 8

Located close to Chatuchak weekend market, this bar offers a laid-back vibe that makes it a great place to take a breather after a day spent exploring the chaotic city. A cold beer or a pitcher of margaritas to share with friends is always a hit here, and there's also a great selection of bar snacks and food to enjoy.

Rolling bar

Just a stone's throw away from the sometimes chaotic atmosphere of Khao San Road, this welcoming bar, with its eclectic furniture, feels almost like someone's living room rather than a drinking establishment. Live music provides the perfect background for a quiet drink while you take in the atmosphere and enjoy the lack of tourist crowds.

Kansai Izakaya

For something a little different, check out this izakaya, or traditional Japanese bar. Bangkok has a large Japanese community, and you'll find this bar is lively just about any time you visit. With an incredible selection of Japanese beer on offer, along with sake and tasty Japanese bar snacks, you'll feel like you've been transported to one of the most fun districts of Tokyo. They even offer an all-you-can-drink menu of Asahi beer that is a great option for budget travel.

Bonus budget tips for Bangkok

  • Make use of public transport. Bangkok has an extensive public transport system, with the Skytrain, trams, and buses all working together to get you where you need to go. You can save even more money on your transportation with a City Pass that will also give you reduced admission to many of Bangkok's top tourist attractions.
  • Take advantage of free walking tours. Many companies offer free tours that will show you some of the best sites in Bangkok, using the tours as a kind of advert to get you to sign up for some of their more expensive options. However, you're under no obligation to do so. Just make sure you tip your guide for their hard work.
  • Eat street food. Bangkok may have one of the world's best street food scenes, and it is not only incredibly delicious, but it's incredibly cheap. Plus, it's part of the local culture, so you can't really say you've visited Bangkok if you haven't taken advantage.
Bangkok on a budget - travel hacks


It's not hard to save money while visiting Bangkok. Check out some of the best free things to do in the city, hunt down delicious street food like the locals eat, and take advantage of the many cheap places to stay in this part of Southeast Asia. Not only will you save a lot of money on your trip, but you'll also get a more authentic experience of this fascinating and vibrant city.

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