We all know that the main problem for any backpacker is money and time. You want to see and do everything possible for as cheap as possible in the shortest amount of time as you try and squeeze in as many cities and countries as you can until your flight home! Although Bangkok is a capital city and some things are very expensive like any other city, don't be fooled. Bangkok is a wonderful and mystical place where you can either spend like you're a millionaire or scrimp and save, have a blast and end up spending little to no money at all!
Obviously it goes without saying, street food is the way to go when it comes to saving money.
Most street food is good to eat, but always carry around a little hand sanitiser in your bag. Check the food you eat before you eat it. Thai people have stomachs of steal and rarely get sick, but with our western culture constantly cleaning and sanitising anything and everything, we have a habit to get sick of the stupidest things. And yes, even if you're a vegetarian and stay away from meat you can still get sick. Sometimes it can just be the heat and humidity that gets you sick. The best food you will eat is the cheapest in the dodgiest looking places. Have no fear, they are not dodgy, they are simply locals making their money. Locals who definitely know their way around the kitchen!
The skytrain and subway are especially good for travelling cheaply around the city, you can buy day tickets for 160-180THB for the whole day, which may seem expensive but you can see a lot in one day and go from one side of the city to the other, I would recommend it if you are thinking of seeing as much as possible in one day.
If you are a fan of the famous Muay Thai boxing.
You can catch free fights outside MBK shopping mall on Wednesdays at 6pm, you can watch from either the skybridge or get down and dirty front row and watch all the
Even if boxing isn't really your thing, the ceremony that takes place before the fight is pretty cool to see and the pure stregnth of these guys is incredible. It is a lot different to our version of boxing and wrestling. You can get the sky train to National Stadium stop and it is directly opposite the Siam Discovery Centre.
If you want to suck in some of the Thai culture.
You can receive free meditation classes at WatMahathat, you may have to get a taxi here as there are no skytrain or subway stations near, but it definitely worth the experience and a good way to start your day. You can catch these classes between 7am-10am, 1pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm. The temple is beautiful and calming and seeing the monks day to day life is eye opening to the kind of lifestyle we could all adopt in aspects of our lives. Buddhist culture is all about love, peace and being at one with oneself and ones surroundings. If there is one thing that I have learnt not to be skeptical of, it's meditation, it can have amazing powers if you give it some effort and the results can be astounding.
Believe it or not the amount of green in Bangkok is quite high.
Amongst the sky scrapers and dirty alleyways, there are countless of parks which usually have food stands, small markets and many other hidden gems. Sometimes after a heavy night a picnic in the park is just what you need! On a sunny day Lumpini Park is fantastic and a big hit with locals and tourists. Get some cheap snacks from 7/11 and enjoy the sunny day with friends by the river and a brilliant view of the skyline. You can get the subway to Silom or the skytrain to Saladaeng.
There's so many things to do in Bangkok, even if they are free, getting to them might not be!
I know sometimes going to the otherside of the world, being in a huge city, sharing a bedroom with 7 or 8 other strangers can be quite daunting and some find they want to curl up in a ball and forget its happening. Others may flourish like social butterflies and have no problem whatsoever. For those who are feeling a bit like a recluse, saving money by not doing anything, don't be scared to talk to random people you meet in the hostel, everyone is exactly like you, traveling to open their minds and see different things. Making friends is a huge part of traveling and also a huge part of saving money! You will most definitely have a better time being poor with other people than on your own. And together you may find that taxi ride to the park you wanted to picnic at, or the temple you wanted to see may not be as expensive as you thought.
Alcohol vs Food.
Last but not least, I have to say this, as it turns out most people don't think of this. Booze is super cheap in Thailand compared to western countries. But when you compare a beer to a Thai green curry with rice. They are the same price, sometimes more expensive. So you have to think to yourself, if I drink 5 beers tonight that would be the same as eating 5 meals.
Drinking is expensive in Asia when you compare it to food and travel, so be smart with your money. Most travelers' downfall is the amount of money spent of booze throughout their trip.
You can see and do a lot with the money you spend on one night that you might not be able to remember the next day.
Embrace travelling on a budget.
We all do it and you end up doing some of the most fun things with some of the best people you will ever meet. There's a lot to see and do for free or cheap in Bangkok, prioritise your money, activities and travel expenses. Avoid "going with the flow" when it comes to your finances, that way of life might not pay off later in your holiday.