Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand
With the currency exchange, it is difficult not to find frugal attractions in Bangkok, Thailand. However, there are a few tips to make travel dollars stretch even further and to better the travel experience.
The Grand Palace And The Temple Of The Emerald Buddha
Yes, there is an entrance fee (200 Baht, roughly $6 U.S.) but this sight is a must see for any visitor to Bangkok. It hosts a range of Thai architecture.
Temples and other national monuments have a strict dress code. No shorts, sleeveless tops, or risqué dress. This is true of most religious places the world over but in Thailand, travelers should also not wear open heeled sandals (there must be a strap behind the heel).
Which leads to some Thai customs that savvy travelers observe.
Shorts are considered appropriate only for children and the lower class.
The head is considered sacred (closest to the heavens) so do not touch. Actually try not to touch the locals at all.
Feet are also to be treated with care. To point your feet at a person is considered a grave insult and to sit with soles exposed extremely rude (especially in religious places). Sit with feet tucked under the body.
No public displays of affection. Keep that for the privacy of your room.
As with most countries, but especially Thailand, do not criticize the local government or monarchy.
This may seem like a lot of rules but most apply to almost every country a traveler is a guest in.
Also the Thai people are extremely polite so they are unlikely to express their disapproval.
Chatuchak Park Weekend Market
This is where frugal travelers buy their souvenirs. With over 15,000 stalls (pick up a free map at information kiosks), there is plenty to choose from. This is a place to haggle. Never take the first offer. Also be very wary of fakes (fake antiques, fake jewelry, etc) and of pickpockets (keep some small bills in an easily accessible pocket and hide the wallet away).
What to buy? Almost anything, especially handicrafts. My mother is an elephant lover and Thailand, with reverence of the animal, was the ideal place to pick up teak carvings (be careful of wood drying and cracking when you return home).
Wat Pho (Temple Of The Reclining Buddha)
With another very, very inexpensive entrance fee (20 Baht), Wat Pho is the largest and oldest Buddhist Temple in Bangkok. The highlight is, of course, the 46 meter long, gold covered Reclining Buddha. However, the buildings and I found the orchids were also noteworthy.
Bangkok is a bargain hunters paradise. Attractions, dining and shopping is inexpensive.
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