Ten Things to Do in Bangkok for Under $10

To help you make the most of your teaching wage, here are ten of our favourite things to do in Bangkok for under $10.

 

 1. Be Mesmorised by a Traditional Thai Puppet Show at Baan Silapin (Thornburi)

Performed in a 200-year-old wooden house, in the company of human-sized statues dangling their feet towards the river, this is certainly not your stereotypical production. Bann Silapin (the Artist’s House) is worth a visit in itself. However it is the traditional Thai puppet shows, using intricate, hand-carved puppets to narrate stories based on Thai folklore, that is the main draw. With free performances most afternoons, you can relax and be entranced.

Puppet show in Bangkok

2. Learn Meditation at the Wat Mahathat (Na Phra Road)

Free meditation classes in both Thai and English are held daily at the Wat Mahathat. Learn how to focus your concentration on your breathing and rid your mind of thought through the “Vipassana” meditation.

3. Escape the City at Lumpini Park

When you crave a break from the hectic city life, pop into the huge inner-city Lumpini Park. Whether you want burn off some energy in the free, open-air aerobics sessions, read a book in the shade of a tree, spot some rare indigenous flora (or even a passing water monitor lizard), or simply people watch, this is a perfect spot in which to do it.

Lumpini Park

4. Watch Money being Burnt in Chinatown

Be prepared for your senses to be assaulted when you take a trip to Chinatown’s array of street vendors, market alleys, gold shops, temples and vibrant energy. Wander down here by day or night and the assortment of smells and colours – not to mention the possibility of sampling “insect snacks” – will give you an unforgettable experience. If you have money to burn, you can literally do so and no-one will bat an eyelid. Burning of money and pretty much any other goods are part of the offerings to ancestors at Chinese New Year (though, on a $10 budget, you might be better following the locals in using replicas only!)

5. Ferry Yourself Around

If you fancy a different viewpoint of Bangkok, why not take a river ferry? A simple crossing of the river only costs 3 bhat, river taxis cost from 10 bhat or buy a day ticket to the tourist boat for 100 bhat (around $3) and hop on and off all day long, visiting the attractions as you go.

Ferry around Bangkok

6. Select a Bloom at Pak Klong Talad (Chak Phet Road)

For the early risers (or those who haven’t yet gone to bed) Pak Klong Talad – Bangkok’s largest flower market – is at its most lively at around 3am. An early-hours visit will allow you to glimpse wholesalers delivering blooms from across the country whilst traders come to purchase their stock. However, if you fancy a more leisurely experience, 3pm is an equally good time to marvel at all the colours and smells and sheer volume of flowers – and perhaps even select a few to take back at bargain prices to brighten up your room.

7. Be Invigorated with a Massage

After a long day at the office (well, in front of the class anyway), what better way to wind down than with a massage? Local massage shops are everywhere in the city and – at an average of 200-300 bhat ($6-$9) for an hour’s massage – they are also pretty good value. Just be aware that Thai massage focuses on pressure points and is rather more vigorous than its western counterpart. Ask staff from your school for their recommendations or simply pick one that takes your fancy on the street.

8. Let the World Float by at Taling Chan Floating Market

Officially just outside Bangkok, but close enough to justify its inclusion in our list, this is one of the smaller and (for now, at least) less commercialised floating markets. Sample the fish cooked fresh on the boats and listen to the traditional music drifting through the air. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Floating Markets

9. Say Hello to the Giant Crocodiles at the Wat Chakrawat (Chinatown)

For a different type of thrill, pop into the Wat Chakrawat temple complex and peer at the three giant crocodiles lurking in a small pond, ready for their next meal. There are several theories as to why these crocodiles live here, although the most prevalent is simply that they were found in the local river. Whatever their origin, cleaning out the crocodile pond certainly adds a new dimension to the monks’ practice of mindfulness!

10. Experience Muay Thai at the MBK Shopping Mall

Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing, is a martial art and national sport of Thailand. Whilst fights are held in stadiums all over the country, these tend to be expensive. However, each Wednesday evening you can watch a series of fights live and for free outside the MBK shopping mall. Even if you don’t like boxing, the energy of the crowd makes this worth dropping by – and you can always pop into the shopping centre if you find it all a bit much (although with around 2000 shops to tempt you, we can’t guarantee you will keep to your $10 budget there!).

Muay Thai Boxing

Ready to start exploring Bangkok? Check out our Paid TEFL Internship in Thailand! You’ll get plenty time to take in the sights and smells of this epic capital plus a whole lot more!

Kanchanaburi, Thailand: an insider’s guide

I am falling in love with this city, and I want to give you a piece of it! I have compiled a list of tips for you based on my experiences so far. Hopefully you can use them someday if you’re ever able to visit. If not, you can live vicariously through me.

Backpacker’s Strip

If you’re traveling through Kanchanaburi, then you absolutely HAVE to stay on the backpacker strip (also known as foreigner’s road) in the heart of the city. There are many quaint and affordable guesthouses, as well as a variety of food and bars. On our first night there the westerners were craving pizza, so we stopped by Bell’s Pizzeria and it hit the spot. However, if you’re just passing through and want some good Thai food there are many restaurants you can try, including On’s Thai Issan or Nut’s Restaurant. I spent my first two weekends in Kanchanaburi town, and I stayed in two different guesthouses. Blue Star Guest House was absolutely beautiful and very affordable. You walk outside of your room and you are surrounded by nature.  However, I would not recommend this place if you are looking for a hot shower, Wi-Fi, and a spacious room. The accommodation is very basic and you also run the risk of some “friends” in your room. I found a bug in my blanket in the morning! Otherwise the experience was wonderful. The next weekend I stayed at Noble Night, which was only a little more expensive and very nice. There is a pool, more space in the room and bathroom, Wi-Fi, a hot shower, and a comfy bed. I would highly recommend Noble Night and would definitely go back again. Other recommended guesthouses are Sam’s guesthouse and Tara Bed & Breakfast.

i-to-i interns relaxing at Bells' Pizzeria in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Waterfalls

Kanchanaburi is known for its plethora of beautiful nature spots, and I can attest to this. By tuk-tuk or taxi, you can get to the Erawan waterfalls in about an hour. Sai Yok is also an option for waterfalls, but my travel group chose to go to Erawan. Be sure to bring some cash, the entrance fee is 300 baht (8.50 USD or 6.50 British Pounds). Also keep in mind that if you are going during Thailand’s hot season (March-May) there is a chance that the waterfalls will be dry, so check beforehand.  I had a blast at Erawan, but I definitely ran into some surprises that I was not prepared for. First off, dress appropriately. The Thai culture has a strict dress code and they do not allow bikinis or men without a shirt. I wore sandals expecting an easy walk, and I was absolutely not prepared for a rigorous hike. Wear good hiking shoes or you’ll be slipping and falling like me, oops! Another thing I was not prepared for was the fish in the water. Yes, real fish, and they’re not shy. Don’t get in the water unless you’re ready for a swarm of fish to swim up to you and nibble (gently) at your feet. It is also important to pack lightly if you’re going to hike all the way up to the 7th waterfall. The hike is an hour up and an hour down. Overall, Erawan was a beautiful experience, and I hope to go back again.

i-to-i TEFL interns sitting at Erawan falls in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

WW2 History

Kanchanaburi is also full of World War II History, including Death Railway and the River Kwai Bridge.  I recommend starting your day at the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre and then catching the train and on the Death Railway from Kanchanaburi, over the River Kwai Bridge, through the Wampo Viaduct, and all the way to Hellfire Pass. At the end of the train is Hellfire Pass where you can find the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum. To give you a little backstory, during WWII Australians and English prisoners of war were captured by the Japanese and were forced to build the Death Railway, which the Japanese were hoping to use to get materials to Burma. It is a fascinating piece of history, and also offers some beautiful scenery if you go by train. My group stopped at the Krasae Cave instead of going all the way to Hellfire Pass on the train, and that was a really cool experience. There is a giant gold Buddha in the center of the cave that tourists often pray to for good luck. This is also a great place to get off and take some pictures of the railway and the river.

i-to-i interns in a tuk-tuk in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Elephants World

This past weekend I visited Elephants World in Kanchanaburi, which was my favorite experience yet. Elephants World is a sanctuary for retired elephants, and it is a safe place for the elephants. Their motto is “Where we work for the elephants, and the elephants not for us”. They are a non-profit, and the only place I would recommend in Kanchanaburi for interacting with elephants. You can feed them, bathe them, and watch them give themselves mud baths and swim. The staff is also friendly and really cares about the animals. I highly recommend Elephants World!

Elephants at Elephants World in Kanchanaburi, Thailand