Khao San Road epitomises the manic mega-city, attracting tourists and travellers from all over the world with the promise of cheap accommodation and adventure.
Ever since it was immortalised in the cult 2000 movie The Beach, Khao San Road has been renowned as a meeting point for backpackers looking for cut-rate rooms, good company and a place to party. In the 1980s, local residents started renting out spare rooms to travellers passing through. Since then, the road has developed into a popular tourist destination in its own right.
Crowded with flashing neon signs advertising bars, hostels and cheap travel deals, this street packs an intense level of life into a short stretch of tarmac. The pavements are lined with bars and cafés selling chilled beer and thirst-quenching cocktails. At night, bars and clubs come to life with live music and DJ sets leaving the street pulsing with energy. If you want to just suck up the atmosphere, why not sit back, grab yourself a drink and watch the world go by.
Food is everywhere and there is a wide range of choice on offer, from the ubiquitous carts offering chicken satay and banana pancakes to stalls selling crunchy insects and hot noodles. If you’d prefer something a bit more familiar, there are decent curries to be found and even international chains such as McDonalds and Subway.
For cheap clothes and jewellery, you’ve come to the right place! Make-shift stalls and pop-up shops crowd the asphalt selling everything from Thai fishing pants to second hand books. Haggling is a necessity – the hawkers are master salesmen and expect you to bargain them down to a fair price. Be warned though – there are no designer labels on Khao San Road. Everything here is counterfeit, no matter what they tell you!
Located in the Banglamphu district in the Old City, Khao San Road is central and easy to get to by taxi, tuk-tuk or ferry. Buses will even bring you directly from the airport, a journey which takes about an hour. If you do get a taxi, make sure it’s on the meter, as drivers may try and make a few extra baht off unknowing tourists.