Bangkok: Must See Spots for First Time Budget Travelers
The city of Bangkok in Thailand is a top destination when it comes to traveling. Bangkok has something for every type of traveler. There are peaceful and beautifully designed temples, beautiful parks, a wildly popular nightlife, and delicious and various cuisines.
Although Bangkok is a city you can visit year round, the best time to visit is between November and February. The weather is warm and dry during these months. We visited Bangkok towards the end of January and it was hot. We were there exploring for about two days, most of which we traveled by foot. We love walking around cities because you come across unexpected places.
Here are must see spots for first time visitors on a budget in Bangkok:
1. Wat Arun:
Wat Arun is a landmark temple in Bangkok located right off of the Chao Phraya River. This temple was one of my favorite temples I saw during our Southeast Asia trip. The beauty of the details and colors is unreal. It is best to head here in the early morning to beat the crowds.
Entrance Ticket Cost: 200 Baht ($6.12)
Opening and Closing Hours: 8:00 AM- 5:30 PM
Check out site here: https://www.watarun1.com/en/plan
2. Wat Pho: Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho is another must see temple since it houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, as well as the 46 meter long gold reclining Buddha. I really loved Wat Pho’s architecture, but the Reclining Buddha was a different type of beauty. It is a little difficult to really capture the beauty and size of the Buddha since this area is very crowded inside. The rest of the outdoor space is very calm and nothing like the crowds in The Grand Palace. Most people just come here to see the Reclining Buddha and leave so it is a much more relaxed outdoor experience versus The Grand Palace.
Entrance Ticket Cost: 200 Baht ($6.12)
Opening and Closing Hours: 8:00 AM- 6:30 PM
*Wat Arun to Wat Pho is about a 7 minute walk.
3. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is really impressive with the beauty of architecture and size. The emerald Buddha is housed within this property. It is highly suggested to get here as soon as they open. This spot is one of the most popular tourist spots in Bangkok. It is extremely crowded. There are long lines and big crowds. We were really shocked by how many people were at the Grand Palace compared to Wat Pho and Wat Arun. If you are looking for a more laid back experience, you may want to do this first and then head to Wat Pho and Wat Arun. It is pricey and crowded. I enjoyed the beauty of it, but was a little frustrated with the crowds and the heat. It also is pretty expensive for a budget traveler.
Entrance Ticket Cost: 500 baht ($15.30)
Opening and Closing Hours: 8:30 AM- 3:30 PM
*Wat Pho to the Grand Palace is about a 13 min walk.
4. Lumpini Park (Lumphini Park)
When you need a break from all the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Lumpini park is the perfect spot. This park is 142 acres with a beautiful lake centrally located in Bangkok. You can walk, exercise, sit, and even rent a boat on the lake. Sam and I walked around the park and decided to rent a boat to relax on the lake. It was really beautiful and we saw a lot of wildlife. One of the huge lizards scared us when we were on the boat! The lizards look like komodo dragons, but now I am aware they are not dangerous/venomous. However, at that moment I was terrified. It is best to leave them alone because they have quite a temperament. Some of these lizards can grow up to 10 ft long!
FREE for the most part.
Park Hours: 4:30 AM- 9:00 PM
*Smoking is not allowed in the park. Do not do it. You can be fined.
5. Khaosan Road (Khao San Road)
Located north of The Grand Palace, Khaosan Road is a short street known to backpackers. It is located in the Old City section of Bangkok, but there are not any historical buildings on this road. This street is a backpacker’s heaven because there are cheap accommodations, travel agencies for tours, food, drinks, and shopping. During the high season, this street attracts anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 visitors.
FREE to wander
*16 min walk north of The Grand Palace
6. Soi Cowboy: red light district
Everyone saw how crazy Bangkok can get in the movie Hangover II! Some of the movie was shot on this short road. This short block is another tourist attraction because it has a lot of bars and go-go dancing. We checked it out during the day and it was pretty packed. I could only imagine how crazy it gets at night!
FREE to wander
We managed to explore all of these spots within two days. We were interested in going to some of the popular rooftop bars that everyone talks about in Bangkok. We really wanted to see the amazing views of the city. However, they were extremely pricey (we were on a 1 month long trip so we were on a budget) and we did not have the proper clothing to wear. They are pretty strict with dress code. So we only suggest heading to one of these fancy rooftop bars if it is in your budget and you don’t have the basic backpacker clothes! Hope you check out all these cool spots and enjoy Bangkok’s endless beauty!
Also be aware if you are visiting any of the temples or palaces you need to dress pretty conservatively. This means long skirts/pants and shoulders covered. Some of them have inexpensive clothing you can buy outside but don’t rely on that.