Alright, budget backpackers, this one’s for you. If you’re tightening up the purse strings, here’s a budget-friendly itinerary that will let you experience what the beautiful Thai capital has to offer.
Note: All prices are in US Dollars.
Day 1: Arrival and check in
If you’re coming from other parts of Thailand, like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, or Pattaya, consider alternative forms of transportation, such as buses or trains. Remember: weigh your options carefully, as travel time could be twice as long as expected.
Where to stay inexpensively:
Since budget is the game’s name, here’s a handpicked list of hostels, inns, and hotels for $10 or less per night (at the time of writing). Be on the lookout for Google, Agoda, Booking.com, and other sites that offer excellent deals and promos.
- Matchbox Bangkok Hostel ($6/night on Hotels Combines)
- Ploy ($6/night)
- Hoft Hostel Bangkok ($8/night)
- Hostel 24 ($8/night on Booking.com)
- Mint Hostel ($8/night)
- Zee Thai Hostel ($8/night on Booking.com)
- Fullrich Residence ($9/night)
- VX The Fifty ($9/night)
Pocket-friendly sightseeing activities:
Suppose your flight arrives in the morning and you have the afternoon to spare; use your first day to wander around the city streets. Not the outdoorsy type? Visit Lumpini Park or explore Bang Krachao instead. Both are open, green public spaces that are perfect for relaxing.
If you’d like to soak up some history, head to the Bangkokian Museum, RCAC BKK, and the Silpa Bhirasri Memorial and Museum – all without entrance fees! For more free things to do in Bangkok, check out this blog!
Affordable places to eat:
A typical meal in Bangkok can range from $2-5. Prices vary drastically depending on the type of food you get and the place you get it from. For cheap eats, find street carts selling all sorts of local goodies. You can also try walking streets, markets, and even restaurants. Restaurant dishes are pricier but are still usually under $10. We’ve already broken down what and where to eat in this food guide.
Cheap (and safe) ways to get around:
Moving around Bangkok isn’t too costly. You can take the sky train (BTS) or the subway (MRT). Average daily costs shouldn’t cost more than $5-10, though this will depend on where you’re going and where you’re coming from.
If you’re staying in the city center, you can always walk around as there are many sights to take in. There are also taxis, budget car rentals, and the Grab app — all options that are pretty popular among locals. These are also relatively cheap (approximately $5) but still much more expensive than the train and subway.
Day 2: Wat Pho & Wat Arun
After a day of chilling, it’s time to soak up some culture. Go on this three-hour walking tour to visit some of the city’s most magnificent temples. This tour features Wat Pho – home to a 46-meter-long reclining Buddha statue – and Wat Arun, a 300-year-old temple known for its enormous white chedi inlaid with thousands of colorful mosaic pieces.
Pro tip: Bring a camera. Trust us; you’ll want to take close-up shots of these beauties. The best thing about these walking tours is that you can choose from multiple start times and book at the last minute without extra charges or fees.
You can spend the rest of the day visiting even more temples afterwards. Check out Wat Ratchabophit, Wat Ratchapradit, Wat Bowoniwet, Wat Saket, and Wat Pathum Wanaran. These sacred grounds are not as big and bold as Wat Pho and Wat Arun, but they have free entrance, which is a huge bonus.
Day 3: Chinatown
Bangkok’s Chinatown is an institution in itself. From the narrow, winding alleyways to the multitude of street stalls and market vendors, you’ll have a field day exploring this place.
To help you understand the chaos, we highly recommend going with a local guide who will show you the ins and outs of this melting pot of cultures. This two-hour walking tour will have you discovering the magic of Chinatown with the help of a friendly and knowledgeable guide who will be more than happy to point out some delicious local dishes for you to try out.
If you’re not yet done with the day, explore Bangkok’s many markets. From flower and wet markets to walking streets and weekend markets, you’ll never run out of things to see. We highly recommend visiting the Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Bangkok Flower Market.
For more spots to satisfy your shopaholic’s heart, you can check out these 15 shopping destinations for anything you’ve ever wanted to buy.
Day 4: The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew
Today’s a day of grandeur, fine palaces, and breathtaking temples – even while on a budget!
Spend a quick two hours exploring the Grand Palace – the home of the Thai royal family and one of Thailand’s must-see attractions – and Wat Phra Kaew, which is famous for housing the Emerald Buddha, one of the country’s most sacred and revered statues. These are two of the country’s must-visit sites, and we recommend going with a guide, so you don’t miss out on any historical tidbits.
Besides these stunning sites, you can also spend the rest of the day appreciating some art at some museums with no entrance fees: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), the ATTA Gallery, and WTF Bangkok.
Day 5: Check out
You can squeeze in several spots during the morning or early afternoon before you fly home. If you’re all shopped out, spend the day at the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium or visit Rot Fai Park. They’re both connected, and you can spend a good few hours exploring the area and admiring the scenery before heading back to your accommodation to check out.
The Budget Breakdown
Given the estimates above, here’s how much you’ll spend in less than a week in Bangkok:
- Accommodation for 5 days and 4 nights: $50
- Food for 3 meals a day for 5 days: $75
- Transportation for 5 days (not inclusive of flights): $25
- Tours for 3 days: $45
TripGuru offers bespoke group tour experiences in Bangkok. Book your tour here.