Updated: 8/28/2018 | August 8th, 2018
Khao San Road. It’s arguably the most famous (or perhaps infamous?) backpacker/tourist street in Southeast Asia (if not the world). If you’re a budget traveler in Southeast Asia, chances are you’ll end up here are some point. All roads seem to point here and it’s the transit hub for backpackers in the region.
The area has been a backpacker / traveler haven since the first guest houses opened in the 1980’s. Ever since then Khao San Road has become a mythic place in the hearts of all backpackers. (It’s become quite trendy for locals too!)
It’s a street brimming with food stands, bars, locals hawking cheap souvenirs, and backpackers from every corner of the world. Here on Khao San Road, you can grab a beer and some banana pancakes at all hours of the day as the entire street caters to the whims of its backpacking guests. If you’re booking a bus or a tour, chances are you’ll be leaving from somewhere near here.
And while travelers will always complain about it being too expensive, loud, and touristy, it’s magnetic nature draws us back to it over and over again because we know that no matter what happens we go there to meet people, make travel plans, and get away from it all!
Tips for Visiting Khao San Road
To help you make the most of your visit to Khao San Road, here are some tips for visiting Khao San Road:
- The street food on Khao San isn’t that good. For better food, go one street over to Soi Rambuttri. There is a little group of food stalls outside the 7-11 and the Pizza Company restaurant that serve authentic Thai food at a cheaper price. Additionally in the roundabout across the street, is a decent local market!
- While Khao San closes at 2 am, Soi Rambuttri stays open all night long. Head there to continue the party if you want to stay open until the wee hours of the morning
- Never get a taxi or tuk-tuk from Khao San. You WILL get ripped off. Walk a couple of blocks to the main road and hail a taxi from there. Make sure they put on the meter!
- Brick Bar is the best place to hear local Thai music and is one of the few places on the street that caters to Thais over tourists. 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. Start your night there!
- D&D Inn offers really clean private rooms, air conditioning, a decent breakfast, and a pool for 500 baht a night. It may be comparatively expensive but for what they offer, it is a great deal.
- With so many drunk foreigners in one place, Khao San Road is an easy target for pickpockets. Be vigilant.
- There are a lot of scams and ripoffs here. Avoid buying anything valuable here like jewelry or tailored suits. The quality is going to be pretty poor. Shop elsewhere for those.
For a fun (but dated) look at Khao San Road from a few years ago, you can check out this video on Khao San Road below:
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Book Your Flight
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Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com, as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use it all the time. My favorite hostels in Bangkok are:
- Lub d Bangkok Silom – Lub d Silom is more of a European-style hostel than a traditional Asian guesthouse. It’s in a popular spot for backpackers looking to stay somewhere other than Khao San Road, is safe (they use electronic key locks), and the staff speaks fluent English.
- Golden Mountain Hostel – This small, family-run hostel is one of the newest and nicest hostels in the city. The dorm beds are actually cubbies built into the wall for added privacy, and each room sleeps eight people. This is a great hostel if you want some peace and quiet.
- Mad Monkey – Mad Monkey is a backpacker institution near Khao San Road. It’s is probably the best hostel in Bangkok if you want to party. It has a restaurant, pool, and tour desk with some of the cheapest and most competitive prices in town.
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