Situated in the Phra Nakhon area of Bangkok, this centrally located road which is renowned worldwide for being a backpacker hangout, is a busy and vibrant area and a magnet for travellers exchanging tales of their adventures before making plans for their next escapade.
This stretch of road is packed to the rafters with accommodation to suit most budgets but places a particular emphasis on budget style accommodation aimed at the backpacker market.
Dormitory style accommodation is cheap and usually clean and well maintained and can be a good way to meet other backpackers. You may even find one which has a swimming pool – always a welcome sight in Bangkok!
If dormitory style isn’t your thing, there are plenty of mid range hotels which will offer a better standard of accommodation that is still relatively easy on the wallet.
The eclectic mix of stalls sell everything that a backpacker could ever need and includes trinkets and souvenirs, clothing, dvds and much more.
In fact, this area is notable as one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Bangkok and the old shops and architecture reflect this history which adds to the ambience amongst this chaotic but interesting place to while away a few days.
The bars offer a chance for like minded travellers to meet up and discuss their adventures or plan the next one, made all the more easier by the many travel agents that line the street. Always ensure you are getting the best deal before booking as some travel agents prey on travellers and will try out various scams.
This area really does comes alive in the evening with interesting insect snacks being chargrilled by the vast food stalls and there are plenty of bars that offer cheap drinks and provide a party atmosphere.
Getting to Koh San Road
The Chao Phraya river isn’t far from the Khao San Road and there are plenty of boats which will take you here and which are reasonably priced. Phra Arthit Pier is within walking distance of the Khao San Road and is a scenic way to reach it.
You need to get to the Sathorn Pier if you are trying to reach the Khao San Road by boat from the city, the Skytrain can be taken to Saphan Taskin and it isn’t far to walk to the pier from here.
The Skytrain is an excellent way to travel around Bangkok because it is cheap, efficient and more importantly, fully air conditioned and very reliable.
The easiest way to reach Koh San Road is probably by tuk tuk or taxi. Getting a taxi can be pretty cost effective in Bangkok as long as you insist they use the meter. This isn’t usually a problem getting to Koh San Road but you may struggle when you come to leave. Because of its popularity with travellers you will struggle to find a taxi who will use the meter (they know they can make more money from tourists who don’t know about it) but walk for 10 minutes away from Koh San where its less busy and you should be able to find a taxi who will take you to your destination on the meter.
Tuk Tuk’s can be a fun way to experience Bangkok but make sure you agree a price beforehand and insist on a direct journey with NO stopping at shops!
Backpackers who are heading to the Khao San Road from Hua Lamphong Train station can get a bus from outside the main entrance across the road.
The Khao San Road is probably not the best location in terms of transport connections but this does not stop the area from drawing in crowds of tourists to enjoy the atmosphere and find cheap accommodation.
Because the Khao San Road is so popular with travellers, there are many scams and rip offs you need to try and avoid. Be careful when booking for prepaid tours and other types of travel as they can end up costing a lot more in the long run. Find out more about scams to watch out for in Thailand here.
The best thing about this stretch of road is what it represents to backpackers. Part of the travelling experience is about meeting new people and having new experiences and the Khao San Road offers all of this in an exciting part of Bangkok.
Travellers from around the world have been converging here for years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If you read the book or saw the film ‘The Beach’ this was Leonardo’s first taste of Bangkok and it continues to offer a burst of fun and Thai culture all rolled into one!