Every city has certain areas that all visitors have to explore, regardless of their true value. Khao San Road is just such a place. Known as the heart of the backpacker world of Bangkok, Khao San Road has a little something for everyone. For the uninitiated, Khao San Road is probably one of the trashiest places you’ll ever visit, but that ultimately is part of its charm. Peep shows, bars, buskers, young backpackers and knock-off goods are all the ingredients that comprise the stew of humanity you’ll find there. If you’re a good haggler, there are some deals to be found but be careful. This is also the center of pickpockets and scam artists in the city, all ready to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.
I usually get to Khao San Road by boat. To get there take the river taxi to Phra Arthit pier and follow the wandering hoards to the main attraction.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Khao San Road: Nightlife, markets, walking streets, cafes and more
Busy day and night, Khao San Road is a backpacker haven with a down-and-dirty image. But it has evolved into a bustling market and nightlife destination for trendy residents and travelers. By day, you’ll find it great for all things backpacker including cheap internet, books and travel deals. In the evening hit the walking streets, cafes, street side cocktail bars, boutiques and shop for almost anything imaginable -- from edible insects and trendy clothes. The legendary Khao San Road will satisfy your hedonistic party side with a great array of night clubs and street parties that never seem to end. All of this just a 10 minute boat ride from The Siam and a 5 minute yuk yuk to get home.
Bangkok’s indulgent backpackers may still have a hold on Khao San Road, but this festival-like street is a fascinating piece of modern Bangkok worth visiting.
Best enjoyed at night, this is the place for an eventful evening stroll. Originally a rice market, the street transformed into a hippie haven and continues to change—many businesses have become a bit more upscale to focus on quality goods vs. quantity. Keep an eye out for stylish vendors with unique souvenirs like embroidered cloth, vintage clothing, hand-made jewelry, and artfully crafted objects. Then watch people, watching people—it’s a popular spot for Thais to check out the foreign crowd too!
If you’re staying at The Siam, their boat will take you there, just ask the concierge.
Khao San Rd. is an assault on your senses. Walking down the road dodging people, taxis, scooters and tuk-tuks, you first notice the sights. Colorful neon signs are attached to the sides of each building, jutting over the street in a canopy of marketing. Bars, hotels, laundry, internet, tattoo- you name it, you can get it here. The sounds: bars blaring funky dance beats as the patrons sit by the road on plastic stools and drink bottles of Chang beer or sip from straws plonked in a communal bucket of booze. There are tables by the side of the road selling copied CD’s of all types of music. Set up under umbrellas, they blare samples of songs to entice you into taking a look at their selection. People take over the road late at night, and scooters blare their horns to push their way through the milling crowd. The smells can be amazing: rice steaming, meat grilling. The smells can also be less than pleasurable: urine, vomit. The streets are lined with all sorts of things for you to taste: exotic fruits packed in a cart of ice, pad thai noodles frying on a hotplate, even corn on the cob brushed with butter. And the feeling of Khao San Road at night- it’s pumping with energy. People of all walks of life merge here to party or relax. It’s a crossroads of excited people that have just arrived and people on their way out, having their last hurrah. It’s totally buzzing and completely chilled out all at the same time. It’s like no other place I’ve ever been.