Bangkok is the city that seems to have it all! With a unique blend of vibrant nightlife, historical splendor and varied local culture it is definitely a must see destination for avid travel fans. It is also renowned for luxury and a city break in Bangkok can be pretty expensive. However, there are plenty of ways to indulge.
One of the biggest savings you can make when traveling around Bangkok is to make use of pubic transport. The Sky Train, Underground and the bus are not only far cheaper than traveling by taxi, but they will also allow you to soak up some genuine Thai culture as you mix with the locals. It is always daunting to use public transport in an unfamiliar place, but Bangkok’s sky train and underground networks are really easy to figure out.
The network covers around half of Bangkok and is very reasonable. It is possible to travel the entire line for around 30 Baht which is the equivalent of $1 (USD) and shorter journeys can be as little as 7 Baht ($0.25). You will find traveling this way a lot of fun and it is the prefered mode of transport for most locals. The buses are even cheaper still. On non-airconditioned buses you will be able to travel for just a few cents although the price is roughly double if the bus has air-conditioning. Transport maps are widely available from most book stores in the city.
If you do take a taxi, always make sure the driver uses the meter and do not accepted a fixed price. The meter fare is usually always cheaper. You will also find that tourists are charged over the going rate on Tuk Tuks, so if you do want to experience a ride in one make it a one-off and not your regular transport.
One of the best ways to enjoy the Thai culture is to eat the local cuisine the way locals do – from street stalls and local food courts. You will find that the food is not only delicious, but also very fresh – often prepared in front of you. Many people worry about eating from street vendors but you will find the food much fresher than in some establishments.
Street stalls will typically serve rice or noodles topped with vegetables or meat in sauce. This typical meal should cost no more than around 30 Baht ($1). Sitting at one of the counter stools at a street stall offers you a unique opportunity to tke in the sights and smells of the city as it passes you by.
See Thailand From The Water
One of the cheapest, and most pleasant, ways to see the sights in Bangkok is to do so from the river. The Chao Praya River offers hour-long boat trips for around 15 Baht which will allow you to take in the Grand Palace, golden Thai temples, Wat Arun (the Temple of the Dawn), barges coming in from China and traditional Thai residences on stilts. This is a fun and relaxing way to see Bangkok.
Travel And Accomodation
With the savings you make on food, transport and entertainment you may feel that it is justified to spend a little on your airfare and some nice accommodation, but you do not have to. If you have a rewards program that offers air miles and/or accommodation discounts then put it to good use either to score some free air travel or maybe to upgrade to a luxury hotel.
If you are willing to step off the beaten tourist track and get into the heart of the city then you will find that Bangkok is a very affordable place to visit. If you are willing to ditch the restaurants and expense taxi rides then you will not only save a bundle of cash, but you will get to experience the true Thailand and rub shoulders with the local people.
Author: Tim Baker is a writer who loves travelling around the world spending as less as possible by taking advantage of Avios reward cards and other reward programs.