Bangkok is an exciting city, with lots of activities, shows, night life and shopping. This is an expensive city for those of us addicted to fun. Most of these things costs money, but I found several things to do for Free! Here are the highlights of free activities in Bangkok.
Free Concerts at Siam Square and Paragon
Free pop and rock concerts appear often on the stage in front of the upscale Paragon shopping plaza and Siam Discovery. Enjoy Thai, Japanese and K-pop bands on a regular basis. I saw Shinee and 2PM there a few times last year. Multi-group music festival are also common at the Paragon. One block up, you can sometimes see amateur bands live at Siam Square.
100s of art galleries are spread across Thailand, and many in Bangkok are free. The Queen’s Gallery is several floors high, and features modern art. There is a lot to see here. It’s located next to Democracy Monument and is a short taxi ride ($4) from any city center hotel. Open 10am – 7pm (closed Wednesday). Entrance fee is just 20 baht (70 cents) which is almost Free. Near the Gallery, you’ll find find a few other smaller museums and temples to visit, all within walking distance.
Kite Watching and Kite Flying at Sanam Luang
There are are many places to fly kites in Bangkok, but the most popular is at Sanam Luang Park, the giant oval park in front of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Gaew). You can watch hundred of experienced kite enthusiasts flying some of the most amazing and detailed kites! This is right next to the Chao Phraya River and makes for some great pictures. It’s free to fly your own kite, or just enjoy the park and watch the kites in action.
Buddhist Temples at Thonburi
More than 800 Buddhist Temples pepper the landscape of Bangkok. Many of these are free to visit. For the most part, you cannot enter. However, you can view them from the outside and get some great photos. Soak in some incredible history and view the amazing details in the temple statues and ornaments. These are everywhere, so just point and go. However, crossing the river by BTS Sky-train to the Krung Thonburi station will take you to the largest concentration of temples, in the area called Thonburi. Go late in the afternoon, and stay until the sun sets. You’ll get to see the sparkling gems of the temples in sunlight, then see them lit up at night. You can also book a boat ride through the canals for a guided tour of the temples, but such tours are not free.
Royal Elephant Museum
In Dusit Gardens, you’ll find several museums and exhibitions. The Royal Elephant Museum is a tribute to the great White Elephants. You can see enormous tusks of ancient elephants; they almost seem prehistoric. Educational presentations and and model displays tell the story of the sacred elephants and their history.
The Fish at Mall Bangkapi
The Mall Bangkapi is known for its display of giant prehistoric fish. They look like 6-foot goldfish, and swim in a large pond that flows through the mall. Parrots and other birds also fly free in this area. On the roof of the mall, you can swim and enjoy a giant twisting water slide. Don’t worry if you forgot your swimsuit, they sell them right there. After all this, browse through the many outdoor markets that surround this complex. This area is on the east edge of the city, so a taxi will cost about $9 and take half an hour. There is no English spoken here, so bring your phrase book.
View from Baiyoke Sky Tower
Baiyoke is the tallest tower in Bangkok, at 88 floors (1000 feet). Check out the Sky Deck at the top and get a great view of the city. Afterward, you can enjoy a drink at their sky cafe. Open until 10pm every day. Getting there is easy by taxi – 10 minutes from most hotels, and you can see the tower from every part of BKK.
Free Traditional Thai Shows
Many outdoor restaurants feature traditional Thai dancers in lavish costumes. Even though you’ll pay for the dinner, you get the show for free. These are interesting and worth seeing. The dances depict the history of Siam. Ask your hotel for some of these shows in your hotel’s area. There will probably be one within walking distance.
Take the subway to the Lumpini MRT station and enjoy the wide open spaces of Lumpini Park. Lots of lush green trees and flowers surround a beautiful lake. Take some photos of the large monitor lizards that live there. They’re dangerous, but if you don’t provoke them, you’ll be fine. You can also see some extraordinary monuments in the park, and there are paddle boats for use on the lake. Next to the park is a night market and some fun shops to browse through.