Backpacker hub Khao San Road in Bangkok is one of the most popular backpacker streets in Southeast Asia, most people either LOVE it or HATE it. So what makes this area of Bangkok so popular? Check out our guide below on Khao San Road Bangkok – The Complete Guide to find out. If you are heading to Thailand, here is what to do in Thailand in 10 days or less: A Complete Itinerary, to plan your travels once there.
History Khao San Road – Bangkok
Khao San or Khao Sarn actually means “rice mill”in Thai, The street was once a place for trading rice. It then became known as the “Religious Road” because of the numerous shops that catered to the needs of monks in the area. A small guest house opened in the early 1980’s and from then on the area continued to develop to one of the busiest and most famous streets in Bangkok.
Khao San Road Safety
Khao San road is relatively safe, you would use the same caution when visiting here as you would do in other places. However it is a party area, that attracts a lot of crowds. Main things to be aware of is distraction theft, pickpocketing, scams and vendors over charging on items. Avoid walking alone inn the back streets and keep your valuables safe. Know your lints when partying and drinking alcohol, and do not take any illicit substances that are offered to you, Thailand has harsh penalties for possession of drugs.
Khao San Road
This area is lively pretty much 24 hours a day and people are attracted to this area due to the cheap prices and location. The vibe of the place is amazing, with chaos all around you especially in the evening and night. With live music, night clubs, bars, street bars, rooftop bars, Khao San has it all and it make the perfect place to party the night away. The road gets pretty wild after 10pm which adds to the fun of the place. Khao San Road is not just a party street, there are many shops and markets located nearby to wander around to take in the sights and for people watching.
There are lots of street performers, lady boy shows, and street musicians and street vendors that line the streets around Khao San Road. The area has excellent food choices and accommodation. Khao San Road continues to develop and more recently many new small boutiques, handicraft shops are opening as well as art galleries and bookshops. If you fancy pampering your self you can stop of at one of the many spa’s, and massage shops that are dotted around Khao San Road.
Where is Khao San Road?
Khao San Road is located in the Old City it is a is a short bustling, 1 kilometre-long street located near Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Banglamphu. You can get to Khao San Road via the Chao Phraya Express river boat, the pier where you arrive it is about 10 minutes from Khao San Road and you sed to get off at stop 13 (Phra Arthur Pier), alternatively you can take a tuk tuk which are fast ad cheap (remember to negotiate a price with he driver first). Other ways to get to Khao San Road include taxi, or a bus to Khok Wua on Ratchadmanoen Road.
From the Airport: Will cost you around 300 bhat to 500 bhat
From Sukhumvit: A taxi from Sukhumvit to Khao San Road will cost between 100 – 150 baht.
Attractions near Khao San Road
If you are visiting Khao San Road or staying close by you will be at an advantage to get to many places of interest such as temples, museums, China Town, as well as the numerous nightlife options and places to eat in the area. Don’t forget you can also explore Soi Rambutri which is a hidden gem just a few metres away from Khao San Road, it is a more chilled out version of Khao San Road.
Thanon Khao San Market
A lively market selling all sorts of things such as clothing, home made souvenirs, bags, the market is great to wander around and put your bartering skills to the test. There are many stalls selling food and snacks too.
The National Gallery
Located net to Khao San Road, The National Gallery is an amazing showcase of art and culture in Bangkok. It was once a royal abode. The gallery has various exhibits, which illustrate Thai life through the decades. This is a wonderful place to visit to learn about Thai culture and arts.
Wat Chana Songkhram
Is a Buddhist temple with a name translating to “Temple of Victory in War.” It is not a well known temple, but it dates back to the 18th century. This is a beautiful peaceful temple to visit.
Wat Bowonniwet is a unique temple, it is the residence for the Buddhist Mahamakut University, a royally affiliated monastery. Wat Bowonniwet has a lovely laid-back atmosphere, and is decorated with stunning murals.
(Tha Chang Pier – number 9. Distance from Khao San by road approx. 2km)
Built in 1782 and home to Thai royalty for 150 years, the complex of the Grand Palace the most incredible examples of Thai architecture and craftsmanship. Within the complex are several temples, including the hugely important Wat Phra Kaew – the shrine of the infamous Emerald Buddha. Must visit sight when you are in Bangkok.
(Tha Tien Pier – number 8. Distance from Khao San by road approx. 2km)
Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the famous golden Buddha statue measures an immense 46 meters long and 15 meters high. The Buddha’s 5 meter long feet are decorated with delicate mother-of-pearl illustrations of auspicious ‘laksanas’ – the 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection.
(Tha Tien Pier – number 8, plus cross river ferry. Distance from Khao San by road approx. 3km)
Opposite Wat Pho on the other side of the river is the beautiful, glittering Wat Arun – or Temple of the Dawn. It is said to be one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand, located on the riverside this temple is another must see when visiting Bangkok.
(Tha Rachavongse Pier – number 5. Distance from Khao San by road approx. 3km)
Get lost in the small winding streets of the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. This is foodie heaven. The street food here is known to be the best in Bangkok, as well as the many famous Chinese restaurants inn the area. If you fancy some shopping Chinatown’s Sampeng Lane Market is a great place to pick up some great items.
Night Clubs & Bars
There are numerous places on Khao San Road to have a few drinks and to party, we have selected a few bars and clubs for you to check out.
A usually packed venue on Khao San Road, the music ranges from techo to house music mosts nights and the cost is approx 200 baht to get in which includes 1 free drink.
Is a fantastic club that plays mainly house music, and has a funky beach theme, you can buy buckets here for 300 baht, a great venue to party on Khao San Road.
Has been around for many years, it is a underground club that plays mainly hip hop music, drinks are around 250 baht, Lava is a busy club that usually gets going after 10pm, arrive early as the club usually reaches full capacity by midnight.
The Brick Bar:
A trendy bar with that has lots of bands playing, it is pricer than other venues in the Khao San Area, for drinks. During the week it is free to get in and on weekends it is 300 baht.
Molly 31st Bar & Club:
A fantastic bar and club located o the next road to Khao San Road, on Soi Rumbuttri. There are two floors that attract a mix crowd of people. Floor one has live music and floor two has a DJ most nights. Drinks are reasonable here.
Recommended Places To Eat:
A great little hidden gem, that serves the most AMAZING Indian food. It open till 1am and it is located on Soi Rambutri and the prices are very reasonable.
Fabulous Bar and Dessert Café:
If you fancy a coffee and a weed dessert head to the Fabulous Bar and Cafe, location Khao San Road, they have a fantastic selection of cakes and yummy desserts. The cafe also servers quirky cocktails and delicious coffee, and has FREE wifi.
Located in Thai Cozy House Hotel, May Kaidee serves pure vegetarian food, at good prices. Some of the recommended dishes to try are: veggie spring rolls, veggie curries, and thier amazing fruit desserts. If you fancy doing a Thai cookery class, you can book it here.
Try the various food options available at the stalls located all around Khao San Road and the surrounding roads, if you are feeling BRAVE try the fried insects, the Thai famous omelette, amongst other dishes like fried fish, prawns. Also there are other options such a mage sticky rice, tropical shakes and fruits, and not forgetting fresh coconuts. Head to Banglamphu Market after, which begins about 50 metres to the right on Chakrapong Road. Here you will find a selection of authentic Thai food stalls selling noodles soups, curries, grilled meat and fish dishes and lots of BBQ type food.
Tom Yum Kung:
Named after the famous Thai dish “Tom Yum Kung” is one of the most famous Thai restaurants on Khao San Road. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and has a great menu selection.
There are tons of accommodation choices for all budgets in Khao San Road, from £7 a night hostels to £100 a night rooms, you can always find some where to stay close to the action in this area. Below are a few places for you to check out.If you are interested in backpacking in Thailand and other places around Asia check out this post on 10 Cheapest Backpacking Destinations in Asia.[amazon_link asins=’B005DUY81E,1743216726,0241278724,1786575337,0241203597,1910218073′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’digitaltrav0b-20′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’2e7a3fcf-4633-11e8-8470-2fd683953eeb’]
Have you been to Khao San Road? What were your favourite places to party, eat, shop visit and stay in? Leave a comment below.