If you’re like me, loving budget shopping, then you definitely should never skip travelling to Bangkok, Thailand when visiting South East Asia. It’s pretty much one of the busiest place within SEA with many cheapest shopping spots that you’ll regret if you missed it. I am dead serious.
Planning to come to Bangkok and still browsing around for ideas of things to do there? Not sure how much to prepare? A 5D4N or 4D3N trip are usual but it could be adjusted to your own phase. So, we have some rough guide below that can help your research along!
Flight From Singapore
I could say Bangkok is one of the countries that budget airlines mostly set their promo price to. Flights from Singapore sometimes can be as cheap as SGD 115 (two-ways ticket w/out baggage check-in) during promo time. But flights non promo price could range between SGD 130 – 190 depending on the timing, also the airport. Yes. Bangkok have two airports at the moment – Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Flights to Suvarnabhumi are often more expensive compared to Don Mueang but it is easier to access through BTS and closer to city center I would say. Below shows you which budget flights goes to which airport.
- Don Mueang International Airport: AirAsia, Scoot
- Suvarnabhumi Airport: Tigerair, Jetstar
Where to Stay
This one is totally up to your preference. But personally, if you’re going to Bangkok with more than 2 people coming, I would recommend to stay in apartments using Airbnb instead of hotels. Unless you really need a tidied up room every time you’re back from wherever you are for the whole day (which is another point of not spending so much on hotels), feel at home instead. I am telling you, they have a really nice affordable apartment in Bangkok as cheap as SGD 75/night per apartment. The more of you travelling, it could be cheaper to pay per person. Comparing it to hotels that could charge you up to SGD 100/night for maximum of 2 heads. But please do check how many heads that the apartment could/would accommodate to. And not to forget, these apartments comes with the most important thing in this century – unlimited Wi-Fi in tack as well.
- Area to stay: Definitely comes with a price if you’re choosing the city center like Siam but if you don’t mind traveling just a bit, choose areas that are most importantly close to a BTS Station. For example, National Stadium, Victory Monument, Chit Lom or Ratchathewi.
Unless you’re going to a deep side of Bangkok, travelling using BTS would be the most convenient to hop around Bangkok (to me at least). It’s pretty straight forward and relatively cheap as well. Get the BTS map online or from the airport.
And stations name are written in English too so you will be fine! To travel around with BTS, you have to purchase a Rabbit Card (pretty much like their EZLink card, like a tap card that you can top up along the way). Price may vary depending when you’re going to Bangkok, but right now they are having a promo price till 31st December 2015. Click to check out the regular price plan here. For my last 4D3N Bangkok visit, I spent about 300 Baht for Rabbit Card.
Alternatively you can choose to hop on to a Taxi, Motorbike or Tuk Tuk to explore around. For Taxi, you’re consider lucky if you can get one that can speak English fluently. Most of them will at least speak a very basic English. Take not that some taxis will refuse to go with metered fare (cause they get more if they use another method like bargaining) so you need to bargain instead. This is where things gets complicated.
Definitely try those colorful Tuk Tuk, I personally never tried it but I would definitely try it once I am back there.
Get a local sim card! If you’re travelling for less than 7 days, 250 Baht (SGD 10) is definitely worth it. Again, the internet access is pretty much more than half of what you want while travelling right? Gotta keep the social media updated. Internet is decently fast. I might be wrong but I think it came with 1 GB of data plan. You can get this easily at the airport. You don’t have to find them, just pay attention to loud noises shouting “simcard!! simcard!” and you’re good. I don’t have any preference in terms of which provider to use because I find it just the same. Cheapest one will do 😛
Here’s a detailed post on Bangkok Prepaid Sim card by AroiMakMak : Click
One of the most important section of the post. Haha. Definitely try the local food! Street food sold in food carts are worth to try. Instead of splurging your money on restaurants (unless they’re fast food restaurants. :p If that’s the case then, try their local specialties!). Ice Thai Milk Tea, BBQ chickens, fruit juices, banana pancake, and just many more!
Tom Yum Goong & Pad Thai is a definite must. For the best ones, try visiting a tiny stall located at Pee Aor, near the Ratchathewi BTS Station. You will need to walk a little to reach the place but it’s really worth the effort. And one bowl will never be enough.
Pee Aor opens 10 am – 10 pm daily, 68/51 Soi Phetchaburi 5, Between Soi 5 – 7, Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi.
One of my friend’s recommendation for Pad Thai which turns out to be everyone’s favorite will be the one at Thip Samai. This place only opens from about 5pm till pass midnight. So your dinner is now pretty much secured. Expect queue though, but it will be a fast one. They cook literally in bulks! Don’t forget to try their orange juice as well as the coconut drink. Delish!
Thip Samai 313 Th Maha Chai | Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200
Budget Shopping Places
Hold on carefully to your wallet ’cause the inside is going to get burned. Spend wisely. If you’re really in to budget shopping, skip those high class malls. You’ll pretty much find brands inside the mall back in your country. Go local! I Say, practice your bargaining skill!
One tip though: Bring a back pack, or a huge shopping bag.
For shopping points around the city center, head to Pratunam area where you will find lots of things from a 6 floors Mall called Platinum Mall, one of Bangkok largest wholesale and retail point that sells bunch of things. Guys clothes, girls clothes, make up, accessories, you name it. Since it is a wholesale center, they’ll give you cheaper price if you buy 2 or more things from their shops.
- Platinum Mall: Opening Hours: 10 am – 10 pm
There’s also MBK Center. A huge mall carries just about everything. When it comes to food, they have a really good food court there. Go to the sixth floor one as it is a lot cheaper with more of variety compared to the ones at fifth floor.
- MBK Center: Opening Hours: 10 am – 10 pm
For weekend shopping (well this one is a defininte must) go to Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is easily accessible by BTS. And here, go crazy. Eat, shop, rest, eat again, shop, shop shop, eat, and home. From clothes to home decor, they have it all. Literally everything. Literally. For refreshments, try the coconut ice creams. Each carts sells it with different toppings. I get to try 3 different ice creams from 3 different carts as well as mango sticky rice from a cute stall. I bought a lot of stuff from here. Reached our apartments with a swollen feet but a satisfied smile.
- Chatuchak Weekend Market:
- How to go: Take the BTS to Mo Chit Station. You’ll see a sign to Chathuchak Market. Lots of people walking towards the market. Follow the crowd. It will only be a 5 mins walk.
- Opening hours: Fridays: 6 pm – 12 am (wholesale and not all stalls are open) Saturdays and Sundays: 9 am – 6 pm. Come the earliest to avoid so much crowd!
- Tip: Get a map. Either online or not, plan where you’re going. It is a huge place.
And the rest of the shopping can be found randomly along the street of Bangkok. They change everyday.
Must Visit Places
If it is going to be your first time visiting Bangkok, then these places is a must. Grand Palace, or Wat Pho located near by Saphan Taksin BTS. From here, you can also go to Asiatique by a ferry ride. These places are really majestic coated with a thick cultural sights in every corner. Take your time while visiting these places. When in Asiatique, I’ll recommend watching Calypso Cabaret. I appreciate musical performances – this one’s that, done by talented lady boys. Definitely a unique experience.
- Grand Palace: Entrance Fee 500 Baht/ SGD 20 with Wat Prakeuw already covered
- Wat Pho: 100 Baht/SGD 4
- Calypso Cabaret: 1200 Baht/SGD 47
Tip: Please wear appropriately when you’re visiting these temples. It’s a temple, and is a sacred place. Visit with respect.
Also for the clubbers, Khao San Road is for you. Especially at night. Drinks in Bangkok are definitely a lot cheaper compared to Singapore. There will be a lot of bars. So it’s a place to chill out, or dance! — Alright! I guess that’s it! If there’s anything you want to ask, add, remove or comment, feel free to do so. I’ll look forward to that. Let me know if you find this useful at all. Thanks for reading through the whole post! Ready for Bangkok?