7 Free Things to Do in Bangkok

April 13, 2017

Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling and vibrant Capital,  is nothing short of a fun place to be for tourists. From eye-catching attractions, relaxing spas and massages, mouthwatering cuisines, friendly and hospitable localities, spiritual temples, and soul-calming natural scenery, to an array of epic adventures, many things await any tourist who chooses this great city. These things, of course, are mostly enjoyed with a fee, unless you avail of the free things to do in Bangkok, which are nothing but fun and is definitely light on the wallet.

Here are some free things to do in Bangkok:

1. Enjoying Lumpini Park

Fancy a fun day or two at a park? Then Lumpini Park is the place to be.

This man made marvel was created by King Rama VI in 1932, and named after the birthplace of the Buddha. Lumpini Park is one of the city’s largest parks located smack in the middle of central Bangkok and is definitely an urban oasis. Offering an array of shady trees for picnics or a nap, it is a great escape from the city chaos and heat.

It also boasts free aerobic classes held around sunset, jogging and bicycle paths, playground areas for the kids, some rudimentary outdoor gym facilities for the adults, and a great view of a lake right in its heart. Tourists can also find free concerts held almost every Sunday evening during the cool season. Bangkok Symphony Orchestra holds “Concert in the Park” at Lumpini. These performances usually begin at 5:30 pm.

The park is also home to large monitor lizards, as well as plenty of birds, squirrels, and other small critters for animal lovers and curious onlookers to marvel upon.

All these make going to Lumpini Park  one of the best free things to do in Bangkok.

2. Strolling Chinatown

If you are up for a stroll, notwithstanding the busy atmosphere, then roaming around Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the free things to do in Bangkok.
This is the oldest part of Bangkok, dating back to the city’s foundation in the 1780s. The Temple of the Golden Buddha is here and in fact, 14% of the buildings in Chinatown are historical landmarks. Abundant with history wrapped in mazes of tiny alleyways to get lost in, this place is a pleasant place to walk around.

Here you can find great food, markets, temples.

Boasting the giant Wat Traimit Temple with its 700-year-old, 5.5 ton Buddha image, the largest in the world, along with Wat Mangkon Kalawat, Chinatown’s busiest temple is a place to reflect, meditate, or even get a simple selfie. It is consistently filled with incense smoke and worshippers waving joss sticks, yet is friendly to non-worshiper tourists who are simply there to marvel and take photos. There are also old shophouse lanes, outdoor seafood restaurants on the corner of Yaowarat and Soi Padungdao, and the Sampeng Lane alley market and the Trok Itsaranuphap wet market with produce and spices, which are also fun to observe.

3. Exploring museums

If history is your thing, then Bangkok offers museums wherein visiting such are one of the free things to do in Bangkok.

History buffs will be happy to hear that there are a handful of museums without entrance fees in Bangkok. Here are three of these wonderful museums that are free of charge and definitely worth the time.

One is the Jesada Technik Museum, which is chock full of old forms of transportation. Founded by the apparently very wealthy Thai businessman Jesada Dejsakulrit in 2007, this is by far the biggest and best classic car museum in Thailand. Jesada Dejkulrit is a local collector who made a huge exhibition featuring microcars, classic cars, and even submarines. Jesada had long-been entranced by all things with wheels, propellers, wings and rudders.

The inspiration to collect came when he visited classic vehicle museums abroad, including the Technik Museum Speyer in Berlin. The Jesada Technik Museum in Nakhon Chaisri, in Nakhon Pathom province, has separate sections for the submarine, aircraft, motorcycles, taxis, little bubble cars, classic cars, motorised bicycles, military vehicles and just plain weird vehicles – from Thai Classic Car.

Another free museum is The Royal Elephant National Museum, which is also known as Chang Ton National Museum. It is located near the Parliament House of Thailand, on U Thong Nai Road, in Dusit District of Bangkok, in the same area as Vimanmek Palace. It was stables for Chang Ton (royal elephants) or white elephants that had been appointed the elephants of the King. Chang Ton stable was built in Thai architectural style.

Inside, there are Benyapad platforms for the royal elephants to stand on. Chang Ton stable is an evidence of Thai cultural heritage that was linked with the royal traditions since reigns of King Chulalongkorn and King Mongkut. This is the only place in Thailand that displays the belief about white elephants, the tradition of how to catch them and the white elephant ceremony, a ceremony appointing the white elephant to be the King’s royal elephant.

The Royal Elephant National Museum uses two buildings in the Dusit Palace as its exhibition halls. Building 1 displays artifacts that are related to elephants, such as the skin of white elephant, white elephant figures and charms for mahouts. It also displays pictures and stories about the white elephants, such as elephant roping in the corral and how to catch the elephants. In this building, there is also an exhibition on categorizing elephants into four families, according to the names of the Deva they are created from: Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Agni. Building 2 is where a model of white elephant ceremony is displayed.

The elephant will be dressed with royal garments and entered the ceremony along with tray of flowers to pay respect to the Deva, and Phra Chai Buddha image on the elephant’s back. The Royal Elephant National Museum is a historical site that Thai people should visit once to learn about elephant and its tradition that has been recorded in our history for a long time.

Third but certainly not the least is the Silpa Bhirasri Memorial and Museum. Born in Florence, Corrado Feroci was invited to Thailand during the reign of King Rama VI to teach Western sculpture at the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Palace Affairs. Due to the circumstances during World War II, Feroci changed his name to Silpa Bhirasri and became a Thai national to avoid arrest by occupying Japanese army.  This museum memorizes him as the “father of modern art in Thailand.” Bhirasri was instrumental in the founding of Silpakorn Fine Arts University, as well as in the mentoring of many of the country’s leading modern artists.

4. Getting Lost in Bang Krachao

Otherwise known as the lungs of Bangkok, Bang Krachao is a great place to visit for those protective of their wallets as well as for those who want to escape the urban jungle of Bangkok for a few hours. The island is made up of more than a handful of cycling paths, of which visitors are welcome to meander and walk through while exploring its green foliage. This escape is one of the free things to do in Bangkok.

5. Enjoying the sunset at Wat Arun

Looking for something spiritual and beautiful? Then staring at a sunset at Wat Arun is one of the free things to do in Bangkok.

Technically, entrance to this temple has a minimal fee. However, you can always find a comfy location in the river bank to enjoy the view of the sunset backgrounding such a marvelous spiritual landmark.

Wat Arun, locally known as Wat Chaeng, is situated on the west (Thonburi) bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is easily one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok, not only because of its riverside location, but also because the design is very different to the other temples you can visit in Bangkok. Wat Arun (or temple of the dawn) is partly made up of colorfully decorated spires and stands majestically over the water.

6. Be excited in spectating a Muay Thai Fight

Whether you are a fight enthusiast or simply a curious tourist, spectating in a martial art fight originating from Thailand is definitely a good go. These fights are generally costly. However, MBK Fight Night holds free fights at MBK every Wednesday from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. Fan or not, having to watch men fight in a sport originating from this country is certainly one of the free things to do in Bangkok.

7. Wat Hua Krabue

If you don’t mind going out of the city a little, then Wat Hua Krabue is surely a place to be in Bangkok. It is also one of the free things to do in Bangkok.

Known as Temple of the Buffalo Heads, Wat Hua Krabeu is one of the sites to experience Bangkok’s cultural oddities. It is where a monk’s penchant for collecting has become somewhat of a crusade. The temple first became famous due to the rather eccentric abbot, Phra Khru Wiboonpattankit, who made national headlines several years ago when he began collecting hundreds of old Mercedes Benz limousines and turned the wat into a classic auto museum. The latest project at Hua Krabeu has become the creation of a memorial to the Asian water buffalo, which is in danger of becoming extinct.

Since 1987, the water buffalo population in Thailand has decreased from 6 million to less than 2 million, as farming became mechanized and buffalo meat became a prized delicacy, with 400,000 buffaloes being slaughtered for their flesh each year. Said monk created a shrine to the beasts before they disappear, and has planned to erect a two-story structure full of memorabilia that will serve as a memorial to the buffalo, reached by passing through a tunnel made entirely of buffalo skulls. This collection has now grown to over 8000, many of which are fully preserved head and horns.

Bangkok is hands down one of the great tourist cities to be. And many may argue that to fully enjoy this place you will need a handful of money. However, you can always enjoy such a marvelous city for free with a little bit of research and a huge amount of appreciation to whatever is in front of you. Many more free things to do in Bangkok are out there, here are just some worthy of a look. Enjoy Bangkok, for free!

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Ashley Thompson
A fun size lass born in rock and roll who dreams to become a rock star, or a world traveler, or both.
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