Your Guide to Surviving Bangkok on A Budget

Pet P.

2017 March 15

If you’re lucky enough to come to Bangkok, you will discover that it is an amazing kaleidoscope of modern and traditional Thai society, with everything from old temples to high-rise skyscrapers. You may be filled with so many ideas of where to visit, you don’t know where to start.

Fortunately, it’s easy to survive on a low budget in Bangkok. Everything is incredibly cheap. So, if you’re the sort who doesn’t spend extravagantly, here are some ways to spend as little as possible!



1. Transportation

These are the cheapest options for transportation.

Motorcycle taxis: If you see people wearing orange vests, that means they’re a motorcycle taxi. Tell them where you want to go, and they will drive you on a motorcycle for a small fee. This is handy for short trips, and when Bangkok traffic is very bad, the motorcycle taxi’s are able to weave in and out between the clogged traffic (just make sure to hold on tight!).

The Sky-Train (BTS): The sky-train, or the BTS, is the most popular form of mass transportation in Bangkok. Each trip costs less than sixty baht, and it takes you to many major districts of Bangkok. The sky-train also connects to the subway (MRT), the Airport Link (which takes people in and out from Suvarnabhumi airport), and the bus system (BRT).

Buses: There is the official bus system (the BRT), which takes people to limited spots, and then there is the ‘other buses’, buses that take you anywhere in the city. Each bus is labeled with numbers, like 23, 14 and 5, and each stop at different places.

What is difficult about taking the bus is that there is no clear list of where to catch the right one, where they stop, or what their schedules are. If you’re unsure, it’s best to ask a local which buses go where.

The rest of the options aren’t that expensive, but if you’re truly living on a cheap budget, you should avoid:

Car taxis: These are ordinary taxis. They cost more than motorcycle taxis, and are better for large groups or long distances. Make sure they turn on their meter!

Renting a car or motorcycle.

Tuk-tuks: Tuk-tuks are like taxis, except they don’t have a meter, so they can charge whatever they want (even if it’s an exorbitant fee). Unfortunately, they have a tendency for overcharging foreign customers who don’t know better. But even if you pay a little extra, they are little open cars that have three wheels, and are fun for a windy ride through the city.

And if you really don’t want to pay anything, there’s always walking!



2. Eating

Here are the cheapest of the cheapest places to eat!

7-11: We have a saying about 7-11’s. If you say ‘his mouth is like 7-11’, they mean it’s always open, never closing. 7-11’s are so popular that their doors literally never close, because people are constantly going in and out. Their most popular sales item is cheap junk food, selling everything from sandwiches to chips, microwave dinners, candy and bread. If you’re looking for something quick to eat, 7-11 is the best place for you.

Thai street food: Thai street food can vary from being a little restaurant with tin tables set up in the front, to vendors, or a well-set up establishment that may not look like much, but has a constant flow of customers. The cheapest of street food will cost anywhere from 5-100 baht, depending on what you buy, but you can still get a delicious Pad Thai from a little vendor for a decent price. Who knows, you might even become their regular customer.

Food Courts: Unless you’re in the big malls like Siam Paragon and Terminal 21, the food at food courts are cheap, quick, and tasty. These cheap food courts are located mostly at Big C’s and Tesco Lotus’s.



3. Shopping

Need cheap places to shop? Don’t worry! Bangkok has plenty of well-priced places to get whatever you need!

Chatuchak Market: Possibly one of the largest markets in Bangkok, Chatuchak has anything a tourist might want, from Buddha figurines to silk scarves.

MBK: for clothes, IT, perfume, custom stickers, etc.

Khao San Road: for when you’re really at the end of your rope.

Note: Avoid the big malls!

Let’s be honest, the malls have good stuff, but if you simply want to buy a nice gift for yourself, family or friends, the sheer expensiveness of the designer brands in malls may leave you irritated for even going there in the first place.

Hopefully by following these steps, you will be on your way to living more cheaply in Bangkok than ever!

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