If your funds are low, then there are lots of free things to do in Thailand. Walking is always a chart topper for the best free activities in Thailand. Explore small city lanes, high mountain paths and sunny beach trails. There is Thailand on a budget for all. Beyond walks, there are actually many great natural attractions in Thailand. Some of these places and activities will cost a few baht in transport, donations or small entry fees. Enjoy this list and treat yourself with all the money you save!
Chao Phraya Express Boat
The Chao Phraya Express Boat is a great way to see the city from the water. Bangkok’s main ferry boat offers one of the best activities in Thailand on a budget. The Chao Phraya River cuts through Bangkok with several twists and turns. Its popularity is secure as one of the best natural attractions in Thailand.
Hop on and off
The route gives a budget view of several of Bangkok’s notable tourist sites as well as giving a close up view of local life alongside the river. This essential public ferry service runs from the central Sathon Pier to Nonthaburi, and on to Pakret. You can easily hop on and off your chosen ferry boat to explore other great things to do in Thailand.
Follow the flags
There are four ferry services operating at various speeds on this superb thing to do in Thailand. Each service boat carries a different flag colour identifying which stops they serve along the river. Choose which ferry service suits you and enjoy this great natural attraction in Thailand.
- Avoid the rush hours for a more relaxed trip.
- Hop on/off requires a fresh ticket
- Get off at the final stop Pakret, for a visit to the island of Koh Kret
See Chao Phraya Express for the times and stops
Bangkok Walking Tour
There are a wealth of things to do in Thailand to be found at street level. The great charms of Bangkok’s streets offer some of the best free activities in Thailand. Set off in any direction and you are quickly among the best places to discover Thailand on a budget. The hidden workings of the city have a lot to offer for natural attractions in Thailand.
The old and the new
Around the city’s great new glass towers and along its busy main roads there are plenty of things to do in Thailand. At any point, wander off down the small lanes, that are the blood vessels of this big city, and discover a super natural attraction in Thailand.
Explore the back streets
The backstreets of Bangkok can expose the best of Thailand on a budget. Plenty of unique moments and things to do in Thailand are just a few steps around the corner. It’s easy enough to head off alone under hanging washing and past children playing to get a close up look at Bangkok away from the busy streets.
Once you have explored on your own, try taking a guided walking tour through other parts of the city. They will show you many things to do in Thailand and hidden parts of the city that other tourists won’t easily find.
- Nancy Chandler produces colourful informative maps available in all book shops.
- For free walks check out the website
Hike the Monk’s trail
Walking is the best free activity in Thailand. If you are looking for things to do in Thailand, then stride out and let your feet pick up the transport fees. In Chiang Mai set yourself the challenge of hiking and completing the great natural attraction in Thailand – the Monk’s trail.
There’s no better example of a great Thailand on a budget experience than climbing the jungle paths of Doi Suthep. You can enjoy amazing views from Wat Phra That. This best free activity in Thailand starts right in the heart of Chiang Mai’s city streets so there are no transport costs! Head east toward the looming mountain that is one of the best natural attractions in Thailand.
Hike to the top
It’s around a 2k walk to reach the start of this lovely thing to do in Thailand. At the eastern reaches of the city you will find the Monk’s trail. This best free activity in Thailand takes around 2 hours of hiking to reach the top.
Take plenty of stops to rest and enjoy the flora and fauna on the way. Around halfway, on this lovely thing to do in Thailand, the trail passes Wat Pha Lat. You can get a good view down to Chiang Mai from here, but carry on up the trail to reach Wat Phra That for unforgettable views
- Carry plenty of water and mosquito repellent.
- Wear strong footwear with good grip
- If you’re feeling tired then it’s easy to catch transport back to the city from Wat Pha Lat.
Interested in other historical and cultural things to do in Thailand? Check this list of the top hidden spots to explore the cultural side of Thailand.
It’s impossible not to shop in Bangkok and strolling through the various shopping outlets is one of the best free activities in Thailand. Bangkok is one large cheap shopping experience that caters to everyone in Thailand on a budget.
Shop til you drop
The legendary Chatuchak Weekend Market is a top thing to do in Thailand, whether you are a shopaholic or just enjoy a good browse. Chatuchak may well be the world’s largest market with over 15,000 stalls to choose from at this best free activity in Thailand. Chatuchak’s size is as impressive as its vast multitude of stalls, selling everything you thought you didn’t need, but actually might end up taking home with you.
A free weekend
This amazing thing to do in Thailand is also called the ‘Weekend Market’ as Chatachak’s main opening times are on Saturday and Sunday. When you are finished head to the nearby Chatuchak Park for a wind-down stroll next to the pond.
- Most items can be bargained down, but some stalls advertise fixed prices
- You can reach the market using the BTS to Mo Chit, or the MRT to
See Chatuchak Market for more information
If you are looking for some green escape in the big city of Bangkok, then try this best free activity to do in Thailand. There’s no hiding Bangkok’s concrete, steel and glass but this beautiful natural attraction in Thailand transports you away quickly.
Quiet city space
Lumphini Park sits right in the centre of Bangkok and is an ideal place to visit in Thailand on a budget. The great green space is a great to place to go in Thailand and a perfect way to escape from the relentless traffic and haphazard sidewalks. Lumphini Park offers acres of tranquility and breathing space for those in Thailand on a budget.
Turtles and lizards
Take a stroll through Lumphini park and spot the turtles by the lake and the large monitor lizards that frequent the shallows and shadows. There are many things to do in Thailand if you are looking for more than just a quiet sleep or stroll. You can find early morning joggers, cyclists and Tai Chi exercise classes, and a weights gym at this best free activity in Thailand.
- Smoking in the park is not permitted
- Take the BTS to Lumphini
Cycling Pra Padeng
Hands down one of the best free activities in Thailand lies across the Chao Phraya river in the sleepy low lying area of Pra Padeng. Known as the ‘Green Lung’, this large green expanse is a welcome escape from the busy city and is a perfect choice for Thailand on a budget. Hire a cheap bicycle and discover all the things to do in Thailand that this amazing location has to offer.
The city jungle
Pra Padeng offers some wonderful cycling routes on quiet roads and on raised concrete paths built above the marshy mangroves. This great natural attraction in Thailand is Bangkok’s very own jungle and seems a million miles away from the busting city. Small ferry boats cross the busy river from Khong Toey pier to Bang Krachao pier at this great natural attraction in Thailand.
Go off plan
There are plenty of maps and apps to check and find routes while you cycle on this splendid thing to do in Thailand. One of the great ways to enjoy this best free thing to do in Thailand is just to head through Pra Padeng’s raised platforms without a plan!
- Hiring a basic bike will cost around THB100
- Do a quick test run and check brakes and tyres before hiring
The Saen Seap Ferry
Traveling at speed down the Saen Seap canal makes the list of one of the best free activities in Thailand. This exciting thing to do in Thailand sends you long the most famed of Bangkok’s famous backwater commuter channels. The Saen Seap canal operates from close to Khao San Road and transports thousands of passengers a day to hidden away little stops.
Cruising the canals
From the Old City of Rattanakosin to the Bang Kapi Mall in the city’s north, this is an ideal example of Thailand on a budget. The canal boat gives tourists a peep into one of the cities vital transport arteries and a great free thing to do in Thailand.
A thrilling ride
On this great thing to do in Thailand, the ferry dashes through churning canal waters, ducks under low bridges and makes breath-stopping quick transitions at each stop along the way.
Choose your line
There are two sections to the route, the Nida Line and the Golden Mount Line. You can buy a ticket for the whole trip and enjoy the full experience. Follow the crowd at the transition point from one line to the other so you don’t miss out on this natural attraction in Thailand.
- Watch your step and hold tight when getting off/on the ferry
- Best to wear casual, loose clothing
For more information see Klong Saen Saep
Wat Saket – Temple on the Golden Mount
Don’t miss this best free activity in Bangkok. Wat Saket is a beautiful natural attraction in Thailand. Known as the Tempe on the Golden Mount, this hilltop temple is famous for its great views across Bangkok. This temple is a sure winner for things to do in Thailand.
Wat Saket nicely meets the criteria for Thailand on a budget and is a lovely experience of rising naturally above the city. This essential thing to do in Thailand entails a climb up to the sacred temple of 318 steps.
Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn
One of the best free activities in Thailand is also one of most iconic sites in the capital city. Wat Arun is a chart topper when it comes to Thailand on a budget. The Temple of the Dawn is a beautiful piece of Thai architecture and a natural attraction in Thailand that should not be missed.
Arun by night
Wat Arun sits proudly overlooking the river dominating the skyline in the middle of the busy metropolis. Take a shuttle ferry across the river to visit this amazing thing to do in Thailand. The temple is beautifully lit at night to make this best free activity in Thailand one of Bangkok’s most endearing visitor sights.
- It is important to wear appropriate clothing which covers shoulders and knees
- Take the Saen Seap ferry right to Wat Saket.
- Take the Chao Phraya ferry to Tha Tien for Wat Arun
Explore the quiet beaches
Koh Samui has achieved global status and attracts an unending flow of visitors, but it is full of some of the best free activities in Thailand. If you look carefully, then Thailand on a budget is still very possible here.
Remote and rugged
There are still quiet beaches which are beautiful natural attractions in Thailand. You find many along the quiet south, and south-western coasts. The beaches of Hua Thanon and Laem Sor still retain a remote ruggedness and are a lovely reminder of Samui from past years.
Hike the hills
There are many walking trails in Koh Samui that reach up into the hills. On short walks, it is easy enough to find and follow simple paths through the hills. For any longer hikes that lead up and over the central ranges then a guide led trip is a better option.
For information and advice on trails see hiking on Samui
Koh Samui temples
Wat Phra Yai, better known as the Big Buddha temple, is high on the list of things to do in Thailand. This best free activity is Koh Samui’s most identifiable landmark. If you’re arriving by air, then this 12 meter Golden Buddha statue is visible as your flight descends to Koh Samui airport. The temple is a top Thailand on a budget sight to include during a visit to the island.
- Get a blessing from a monk
- Cover shoulders and legs
Wat Plai Laem
This best free activity has two giant, colorful statues that are eye-catching pieces of Thai religious culture. Lots of locals come to this Thailand on a budget destination to set little fish free in order to ‘make merit’ and gain some good luck. Visitors who come to this great thing to do in Thailand also feed the fish in the hope it will bring them prosperity.
- Remember to wear appropriate clothing that covers shoulders and knees
- Combine a visit with the Big Buddha temple just 1km away
Affordable private villas in Thailand
Did you know that in Thailand you can rent a private pool villa for the entire family for an absolutely affordable price, ideal for those traveling on a budget? Check them all and choose your perfect match!