Bangkok on a Budget
Bangkok can still be enjoyed on a tight budget. Below are my experiences of how to budget during your stay in Bangkok.
Bangkok has some the most diverse variety of restaurants in the world to cater to every budget. Here are 2 even cheaper options:-
Street Food on Khaosan Road
It also has some of the best street food in the world. If you are staying on Khaosan Road then you are lucky because Khaosan Road has some of the best street food in Bangkok. Here are examples of the price of street food:- Barbequed leg of chicken 20 Baht (€0.50), Barbequed pork on a stick 10 baht (€0.25) and Chicken Pad Thai 50 Baht (€1.25).
Food Display at On Nut Foodcourt
Eat where the locals eat. Food courts are another inexpensive food option. If you are staying in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, you are spoiled for choices of food courts. Food courts are in all shopping centers and in some skytrain stops. We eat in the food court beside On Nut Shopping Center (2nd floor) and in MBK Shopping Center (6th floor) regularly.
This is how it works. First you a prepaid card for say 150 baht. Then you go the different food stands, order your food and pay for it using the card. The server will hand you back your card and a receipt, stating much is left on your card. Typically a main course costed between 40 Baht (€1.00) and 60 Baht (€1.50). Food courts normally have Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Korean dishes. Always cash out your card before you leave as you can only use the card in a 24 hour period.
Cash Card Desk at On Nut Shopping Center
Taxi Vs Skytrain
Taxis in Bangkok are very cheap, if not too cheap. If you get a taxi make that the driver turns on the meter. Most of them do. The taxi meter starts at 35 Baht (€0.92) and you can even go 5 mins in the taxi before it goes up. A taxi from the main international airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport) to JS Tower which is a 25 Km cost only 180 Baht (€4.50). We often had a 10 min taxi ride that only cost 50 Baht (€1.25). It is best to get your hotel to call you a taxi or you are pretty safe hailing one down. There is always bad traffic on the main Sukhumvit Road which is really the nucleus of Bangkok. It’s the main shopping, business and nightlife area in Bangkok.
Bangkok's BTS Skytrain
If you are staying in the Sukhumvit area the BTS Skytrain is another great transport option. Tickets cost between 22 Baht and 52 Baht depending on how many stops you are going. The trains are very well air conditioned, but can be more expensive than a taxi. But a taxi might get could in traffic. My advice is to take a taxi when going short distances (3 Km to 6 Km) and take the skytrain on longer journeys.
While Bangkok has some of the most high-end retail stores in the world, it also has many cheap shopping options with great variety. These are my recommendations:
- MBK Shopping Center:- This shopping centre is located beside the National Stadium Skytrain stop. There are literally 100s of shops and stalls where you can buy anything. If you want to purchase an item from a stall, always try to bargain the price down. Here you can shop in the comfort of air conditioning.
- Chatuchak Market:- The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest outdoor market in Thailand if not the world. It houses one of the largest varieties of contra-banned goods that I’ve ever seen. It has more than 8,000 stalls, divided into 27 sections. It is located beside Mo Chit Skytrain. Beside the main entrance there are many food stalls.
Drinking in Thailand isn’t as cheap as the neighbouring Cambodia or Vietnam. A local Chang Singh or Leo beer (500ml) will cost 90 Baht (€2.25) in a bar or 58 Baht (€1.50) in a 7-Eleven. At the moment 7 Eleven is doing a deal where you can buy a twin pack of Chang (beer) cans (500ml x 2) for 95 Baht (€2.37). I normally grab a few of these and drink them back in the hotel.
The Famous Khaosan Road
If you do want to go to Bars, then the largest concentration of bars and clubs in Bangkok is on Khaosan Road. Look out for happy hours or other offers. There are many touts handing out flyers.
There are also many bars in the Sukhumvit District, but are more spread out. Around the Nana (On Sukhumvit) skytrain stop, there are many bar options but these tend to be more expensive than on Khaosan Road.
You don’t have to stay in a Hilton Hotel to enjoy your trip to Bangkok. Some of the best hostels in Bangkok are located in and around the Khao san road and Sukhumvit areas. You don’t have to stay in a dump to get a cheap price for a dorm bed. Book the hostel for 2 nights first. There are many hostels offering dorm beds for around 150 Baht (€3.75). If you are happy with it book it for longer. Read some reviews on TripAdvisor and Hostelworld. I travel with my wife and toddler, so we have to stay in an air-conditioned private room.
Where I stay when I’m in Bangkok
When we are in Bangkok we always stay at the The City at Fifty Hostel. It costs only €19 to €22 per night for a double room depending on the time of the year that you stay there. It has Wifi, Air Con and a fridge in the room. The Wifi is pretty good but not brilliant. It’s very difficult to get accommodation in Thailand with a high speed internet connection. You can buy cold drinks and snacks from the vending machine at reception. They also have a roof top swimming pool. The housekeeper will give you fresh towels and 2 bottles of water every day. City at Fifty is located just off Sukhumvit 50 and is 35 minutes by taxi from the main International Airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport). It is a 15 minutes walk to On Nut BTS Skytrain stop when also has a Tesco Lotus Supermarket and a food court upstairs. It is only a 7 min walk to the nearer 7 Eleven shop.
*Travel Tip:- True (Mobile Phone Network) allows you one hour FREE Wifi with an international mobile number anywhere there is a True Wifi Hotspot (which is every Shopping Center). You get one free hour per day.
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