Bangkok’s Khao San Road

By Nomadic Matt | Published December 15th, 2009

Khao San Road is the infamous backpacker/tourist street in Bangkok. All travel roads lead in and out of there. However, it is more than just a transit hub for travelers:

Khao San Travel Tips:

  • The street food on Khao San isn’t good. For better food, go to Soi Rambuttri. There is a little group of food stalls outside the 7-11 and the Pizza Company restaurant.
  • While Khao San closes at 2 am, Soi Rambuttri stays open all night long.
  • Never get a taxi or Tuk Tuk from Khao San, you WILL get ripped off.
  • If you need a taxi, head down to the side of the street with the Burger King, walk to the main road and get a cab there. You’ll always get the meter.
  • Brick Bar is a great place to hear local Thai music. It’s behind the McDonald’s.
  • Shamrock plays great live rock music.
  • The outdoor drinking stalls and Center Khao San are the best places to meet other travelers.
  • D&D Inn offers really clean private rooms, air con, a decent breakfast, and a pool for 500 baht a night. It may be expensive but for what they offer, it is a good deal.

(Editor’s Note: I’m still working out this video thing. This is only my third video but I’m getting better. I’ve moved to Adobe for editing, I have a mic, and I’m looking at the camera more. My biggest issue now is trying to get my videos to take up the whole Youtube screen. Any help on that would be great!)


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comments 22 Comments

Vi

Thanks for info. Will be in Bangkok in couple weeks and probably will skip this street :)

P.S. At least on my laptop the video is on full screen.

Dan

I love the video content Matt! Keep it comin’

NomadicMatt

thanks!

Luke

Having just spent quite alot of time in and around Thailand, including a good chunk in Bangkok and around Banglampu, I’d have to say that the food on KSR, whilst not incredible, is at least consistent. I have eaten there a number of times, from carts and from restaurants, and have never had an upset belly as a result. Plus, at about US$1 a plate, the price is right.

Also, I have managed to swing some very good bargains there – not sure whether it would be “local price”, but it was certainly enough to impress another expat who has been in Thailand for 30+ years.

KSR is an experience – you have to sample it at least once to understand the love/loathe relationship most backpackers tend to develop with it during their wanderings around South East Asia.

Good video, but some more content (ie shots of the street, stores, goods on offer) rather than just the presenter speaking to a static camera would really help to convey the message and the content. We can see you – take advantage of it.

NomadicMatt

Thanks for the feedback. I’m trying to get more shots of the area in future videos.

The food on KSR is ok but it’s not great thai food!

Franny

Matt – here’s my comment about the vid. The tips you are offering are interesting, but that’s why you have a blog – to provide content. Your vids will be really powerful if they can offer us readers something the blog *can’t* – the visual and audio EXPERIENCE of being where you are. You have the ability to actually invoke the emotions of traveling (while still offering us the actual information in your text) – you don’t even need to be in the video at all to pull this off. It can be shots of the scene – people, places, clubs, hostels, dance parties, whatever – with a soundtrack, and text written on the screen instead of spoken aloud (maybe a shot that says “1: Drinks” – music playing, quick-change shots of bars, people drinking, a menu, whatever. “2: Backpackers”.. etc).

I’m no videographer OR blogger, but when I clicked play on the video, that’s what I was hoping to see.. I wanted to get transported into your life for 2 minutes, to be overwhelmed by KSR, to feel what it’s like to BE there with you. That’s what will get me hooked. You’re wonderful and charming and we all love you, but I won’t watch videos of you speaking to the camera and giving me tips. Reading them is faster (and less suspicious when I’m at work).

Think about Where The Hell is Matt – that’s why he went viral… it was an emotional experience watching the vid.. visual sensory overload of amazing scenery, 5-10 seconds each, descriptive words at the bottom, with an appropriate soundtrack. It was easy to connect to him and his experience and see the world through his eyes – without him saying a word. I know your goals are different than his, but when it comes to video as your medium, it’s an effective approach.

Just my 2 cents!

NomadicMatt

Thanks for the great tips and suggestions here. I do plan to include more local scenes and sounds in future videos.

Hey Matt! I once had the same problem with my video; it was in the rendering settings – there is likely something not congruent between the import resolution of your video and the export of the rendered product. Try to render just 5 seconds of video changing these kinds of settings (not sure where they ar ein Adobe) and you’ll find the problem!
Otherwise, can’t wait to check out this street real soon :D :D

Brendan A

Its all in the preset settings in the encoder/ Flv web widescreen should work when rendering. Hope that gets you started.

Alisha

In adobe there is an option to make the editing screen compatible with the video input. Youtube will play whatever is uploaded. 4:3 is TV screen and 16:9 is widescreen.

NomadicMatt

Ok, intern, next assignment: teach me Adobe. we’ll add that to the list of things that we’ll do! You can teach me something!

I am always amazed at how fast Khao San Road gets modernized and commercialized every time I see it. The entire world is getting so Westernized so fast.

There was no McDonald’s or 7-11 on my first visit to KSR. It likes like a scene from the movie Blade Runner now.

One more tip: Don’t buy bus tickets for Cambodia on Khao San Rd – they are notorious for ripping you off – google ‘khao san rd bus scam’

Less talk more action on the videos… I think videos are on the to-do list for many bloggers – so full credit for getting them started.

I found that there’s far better value accommodation just around the corner at Soi Rambuttri – amazing how the prices drop in just a few streets.

Clay

Keep the solid video content flowing, buddy!!!!!!

Kine

As you know, I heart Kho San Rd. But haven’t been in a couple of years. Personally I found the Pad Thai from the stalls quite good, and for a dollar it’s not too bad. Not questioning that there’s better thaifood offered, of c ourse it is :)
We stayed for a 100baht each in Khao San, but it wasn’t the greatest rooms… ;)

Keep the videos coming!

Great content, good tips. A street I’d want to avoid, but my nieces and nephews would love. (Only suggestion would be to enunciate your words more clearly.)

hey its quite cool..we have been wanting to do some videos too..currently am just using some slides and some VO..

Its an overcrowded street in Bangkok and I was so tired of walking in Khao San. People believe that the food is great but I found it not that exciting. And I’m happy that you also noticed that the food isn’t that special in Khao San, however, I’ve not tried it in Soi Rambutri. But overall Khao San is a good place to hangout as you’ll get to witness the main population there.

L

Although Khao San Road may be one of the most popular spot for backpackers and tourists, it is not a good way to get a grasp of the real Bangkok. I am a Thai-American and am amazed everytime I am the Khao San area by how many tourists there really are here! I have walked down this road many times with visiting family and friends as they are curious to see this infamous road. Inevitably, however, we end up breezing through Khao San in 5 minutes and then are ready to get out! It is a huge tourist trap. Khao San is filled with tourists who think they are being adventurous travelers but are really just in one of the biggest tourists traps in BKK. My advice: wander beyond the crowds, you’ll have a much better experience (and get much better food!!)

NomadicMatt

I prefer going to Brick Bar there because there is hardly any tourists there since it’s a bit hidden away. Soi Rambuttri is also a lot more low key. But in reality, if you want to hang out with Thais, Khao San is not the place to go. Ekamai is where you want to be.

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