As the political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok features both old-world charm and modern convenience, at times served up in an apparently chaotic manner, but always with a gracious smile. Lets see top things to do for free in Bangkok you should not miss when visits there.
1. Simper over sunset
Watch the sun go down over the Chao Phraya River from Wat Arun temple. The modern skyline is drenched in golden light as loaded barges ply the waters and saffron-robed monks shuffle by.
2. Watch boxing
Catch a free public muay thai boxing match outside the MBK Centre in the Siam district (Wednesdays, 6pm). See www.mbk-center.co.th/en.
3. Sweat it out
Join the masses in any green space in the city at 6pm for a guided aerobics session. No need to feel self conscious – all ages and dance abilities welcome! You’re guaranteed to sweat though. Lumphini Park hosts one of the larger workouts; afterwards, catch your breath by strolling along the lake, looking out for turtles and large lizards.
4. Seek peace
Find a moment of serenity in the heart of the bustling commercial district: Erawan Shrine is a Hindu sanctuary, blanketed in flower offerings and mosaics, and conveniently located near some of Bangkok’s most lavish plazas. Watch a traditional dance, balance your karma, and then get back to shopping.
5. Spy Bangkok’s skyline
Climb up 84 floors to reach the revolving outdoor observation deck of the 328m Baiyoke II Tower, Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper. The wrap-around views at night are indescribable; the vantage, looking down on streams of car headlights, is perfect for that long-exposure, after-dark photograph.
6. Indulge in Thai delicacies
Shop ’til you drop (or simply browse) at Chatuchak Weekend Market, which sells everything you never knew you wanted. Amble around the stalls of antique tea-ware and exotic pets before trying the street food. Or head to the adjacent Chatuchak Park, to have a picnic next to the pond.
7. Meditate with monks
Soothe your mind, body and soul with a spot of meditation at one of Bangkok’s only working wats. Wat Mahathat is one of the oldest temples in the city and provides a great chance to engage with monks studying at the Buddhist university. Section 5 of the wat conducts three daily vipassana (insight) sessions; if you’re lucky, you might have your future foretold too.
8. Water-window shop
Stroll along the waterways of Taling Chan floating market, browsing treats stacked high on the long boats. Try a range of Thai fruits including custard apples, yellow longan and the pungent durian.
9. Climb Wat Saket
Ascend the 318 steps to this sacred spot. The path winds up through tropical plants, past waterfalls and via bronze prayer-bells before reaching the gold-embellished temple: from here, 58m up, you get great views of much of Bangkok.
10. Get cultured
Head to South-East Asia’s second-largest shopping complex, CentralWorld, and stay outside the mall to glimpse one of the regular public exhibitions, which range from motorbike displays to handmade craft shows.