Bangkok itinerary 2 days (from $18 per day ex accommodation). Get your first-time visitor’s guide to backpacker and party mecca, Khao San Road.
Bangkok is a destination that most travelers end up at one point in their life. It is a sprawling historical city with something for everyone from world-class shopping malls, traditional temples, internationally-renowned cuisine, and notorious nightlife. For me, Bangkok has always been synonymous with partying and this trip was no exception.
Whether you are heading to Bangkok for the first or fifth time, this post will help you plan a fun vacation while avoiding any major costs or hassle. My personal recommendations for what to do in Bangkok on a budget without spending your the majority short visit traveling in tuk-tuks and taxis include:
- Where to stay in Bangkok
- Bangkok itinerary 2 days
- Things to do in Bangkok in 3 days
- How to find cheap flights to Bangkok
- My Bangkok trip cost.
Where to stay in Bangkok: Mad Monkey Hostel
Location: 55 Phra Sumen Road, Bangkok, Thailand
If you are looking for fun, then the best place to stay in Bangkok is Mad Monkey Hostel. Located just walking distance to the craziness of Khao San Road, Mad Monkey has the perfect location for a wild weekend in Bangkok. The multi-level hostel has been decorated with modern design and eye-catching murals throughout.
The colorful themes match with the energetic vibe of the staff and guests at Mad Monkey. Everyone is there to have a good time. If you are solo, it won’t be hard to make new friends poolside or in the restaurant bar area. The Mad Monkey restaurant is open from 7 AM to 9 PM, to cover all your eating needs including a cheeky cornetto ice cream in the afternoon.
When booking accommodation at Mad Monkey Bangkok, you can choose between a 4-bed female dorm, 4-bed mixed dorm, twin bunk room, twin room, and a double room. If you are planning a bit of romance, book in advance because the double rooms can sell out fast. Max and I missed out but were still very happy with our twin room (yes to not fighting for the blanket!).
Our room came with air conditioning, a work desk, and a private bathroom. We even had a view of the pool and easy access to the stairs, which made coming in and out in our wet swimming clothes so much easier.
While down at the pool, you can float on a bean bag, take some sun, or even play a game of beer pong. The pool area is open-air with a view out the canal, which makes for a refreshing change from the busy city.
Bangkok itinerary 2 days
Budget breakfast on Khao San Road
Address: 108/17 Soi Ram Butri, Khwaeng Talat Yot, Khet Phra Nakhon
For those who’ve been backpacking South East Asia for a while, you will probably be on the lookout for cheaper eats in Bangkok, especially around breakfast time.
Between the parallel streets of Khao San Road and Soi Ram Butri, runs a colorful little alley called “Susie Walking Street”. On the corner across from Shewa Spa is a stand that serves fruit shakes, coffee, and fried snacks. This was one of the cheapest places I found in the area for coffee (besides the 7 Eleven but their cups are plastic and burn your hands). They also sell fried banana with chocolate sauce which is heavenly with a cappuccino (90 Baht for both).
Massage at Shewaspa
Address: 108/3 Soi Ram Butri, Khwaeng Talat Yot, Khet Phra Nakhon
After your sweet breakfast, it’s just a couple of steps until you can indulge in a Thai massage. Walking around the Khao San Road area, you will come across multiple massage parlors advertising full body, back, and foot massages as well as other spa treatments.
A Thai massage for one hour will cost you around 220-240 Baht in Bangkok, which is slightly more expensive than outside of the city but what you would expect in a bustling capital. If you are really looking for a bargain, you can try bartering at a streetside parlor. On this visit, I was looking for a more tranquil experience, so I went to Shewa Spa.
Shewa Spa is a multi-level spa complex, offering a seamless transition between treatments. I’ve actually been to this spa numerous times and had almost every service on the menu from full body scrub to mani-pedi. I like the ambiance and the service of the spa, and don’t mind paying a little extra for it. You also don’t have to worry about spending too much Baht because they are one of the few spas that accept debit and credit card.
Afternoon by the pool at Mad Monkey Hostel
With Bangkok’s year-round high temperatures, even a short walk can have you feeling hot. Luckily for us, we were staying at Mad Monkey which is one of the only hostels in Bangkok with a pool. The pool is a great place to cool down, hang out, and even have a beer. The bar is only a couple meters from the poolside, so you can stroll over in your bikini, buy a beer, and bring it back to the pool to fully enjoy the holiday experience.
On Sundays, Mad Monkey has a pool party with free shots. We happened to be there on this day and Max got involved in an enthusiastic game of pool volleyball.
Streetfood and beer on Khao San Road
Once the sun starts slinking behind the buildings of Bangkok and your stomach starts to rumble, it’s time to head back to Khao San Road, because where else would you want to be? The main streets you will find street food are Khao San and Soi Ram Butri, just a short distance away from Mad Monkey.
Pad Thai is the hot favorite for tourists and ranges from 30-60 Baht. You can buy it in different variations of noodles with the option of vegetables only, with egg, chicken, or seafood. Other fast-food dishes include crepes, fried chicken, cooked corn cobs, and kebabs. This is also the place that you can find the infamous scorpions and snakes on a stick to eat. Unfortunately, the street food selection on Khao San isn’t as varied as in other parts of Bangkok but if you look a little harder, you can also find pork noodles with wontons for 50 Baht.
While talking around, keep an eye out for a group of local guys performing breathtaking breakdancing routines, called Pogenpang Seven House. We were lucky to catch them both nights and loved their energy and ability to make the crowd cheer.
On top of having a good feed for a couple of dollars, you can wash it down with a large bottle of beer for only 55 Baht from the 7 Eleven. Many tourists buy their beers from the convenience store and then walk around the area while enjoying a cold Chang or Leo. It is not illegal to drink on the streets in Thailand but this is one of the only places that I saw people doing it.
You can also try a bucket of alcohol, usually a spirit and a mixer, for as little as 100 Baht per bucket. Max and I shared a bucket of vodka with pineapple juice. The bucket was filled with ice and the vodka was cheap but it is what you would expect for a giant cocktail that costs around USD $3.
As the night goes on, everyone starts to get a little looser and people in the clubs spill out onto the road for a full-on street party. Right between the bars, Lucky Beer and Khao San Center, you will find an incredibly fun dance party.
Breakfast at Konnichipan Bakery
Address: 183 Chakrabongse Rd, Khwaeng Talat Yot
If you can’t start your day without baked goods, then head straight to Konnichipan Bakery. This little gem is just around the corner from Mad Monkey and has rave reviews, some referring to it as the “best in Bangkok”. In any case, you can get an espresso coffee and pastry while enjoying the ambiance of the busy yet quiet cafe. For two cappuccinos and a bun I paid just over 100 Baht.
Shopping around Khao San Road
If you need to buy gifts for loved ones or something for yourself, then Khao San has a huge variety of souvenirs on sale. Other popular tourist markets include Chatuchak Weekend Market and Patpong (which is a notorious red-light district). Don’t expect superb quality and if you do buy clothes, make sure that you check the seams first.
Rather than spend your money on cheap trinkets, you could search for more sustainable alternatives, like fair trade handicrafts made in Thailand.
Visiting the Grand Palace
The royal capital is home to many historical sites and temples, but if I had to choose one, I would recommend seeing The Grand Palace. The complex is made up of multiple courtyards where Thai Kings lived up until around the end of the 19th century. Although I didn’t visit it on this trip, I have been before and was dazzled by the beauty of the golden spires and architectural details.
As a bonus, it is also walking distance from Mad Monkey Bangkok so you don’t need to worry about transport costs. The entrance fee is 500 Baht for foreigners or you could take a guided tour with a professional. Whichever, temple or sacred place you choose to visit in Bangkok, make sure you adhere to their dress code by covering your shoulders and knees.
Music Quiz and Margarita Night at Mad Monkey hostel
One of the great things about staying in a party hostel is that there is always something fun going on. On our last night at Mad Monkey, they had music trivia and margaritas for 100 Baht each. Margaritas are my favorite cocktail in the world, so this was great news for me!
Max and I didn’t make it in time to join a team for the music trivia but it was still a lot of fun to watch while sipping our drinks. The bar at Mad Monkey is full service with different cocktails, draft beer, and a food menu. We ordered a plate of fries, which were so deliciously seasoned and good value, that we had to have a second round.
The Mad Monkey bar staff are super friendly and add to the enjoyable atmosphere. It is a welcoming place whether you are in a group or solo. The bar closes at midnight, and then everyone heads to Khao San Road as a group, to continue the party.
Things to do in Bangkok in 3 days
If two days is not enough, here my are my suggestions for things to do in Bangkok in 3 days:
- Have a cocktail at Lebua Hotel Sky Bar (where the Hangover 2 was filmed)
- Go for a boat ride at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
- Take a Thai cooking class.
How to find cheap flights to Bangkok
Bangkok is an excellent place to kickstart your Asia backpacking trip, for a long layover, or as a destination in its own right. You can use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight to Bangkok, without paying any extra fees.
My travel budget for Bangkok
All costs are quoted for one person and in the local currency (Baht). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. I always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with my readers. If you know of a better deal, tell me about it in the comments below.
Accommodation: Mad Monkey Bangkok is a social hostel in an ideal location, walking distance from Khao San Road. They offer 4-bed female and mixed dorms, as well as private rooms (double, twin, and twin bunk). See Rooms for current availability and prices.
Food: Max and I mostly ate street food or at local restaurants. On the corner of Phra Sumen and Chakrabongse Roads, there is a Hong Kong Noodle restaurant where you can buy a wonton noodle dish for 55 Baht and a BBQ pork bun for 14 Baht. Further up, heading away from Mad Monkey, there are small restaurants that sell Thai dishes for 50 Baht each. On Khao San Road, you can buy Pad Thai from as little as 30 Baht. (440 Baht average per day on food and drink).
Activities: 1-hour Thai massage at Shewaspa (240 Baht).
Transport: Because we stayed at Mad Monkey hostel, we were able to walk everywhere that we wanted to during our stay. Mad Monkey also offers shuttle services to and from the airport.
Average daily spend: 560 Baht ($17.58 USD and $23.43 AUD as of 8 May 2018) excluding accommodation, transportation to and from Bangkok. The entrance fee to the Grand Palace is 500 Baht.
Images by Maximiliano Brunetti.
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