Tourists at Khao San Road in the evening

Khao San Road in Bangkok – Famous and Notorious

This post was last updated on February 19th, 2020 at 08:32 am

You can almost compare it to a circus. Almost everything you expect in Thailand can be found here! Khao San Road is a collection of street vendors, edible insects, tattoo shops, and countless restaurants and bars. Both during the day and in the evening it is always very busy here. With all the tourists walking around here, it can become quite overwhelming.


But when you are in Bangkok you really cannot skip this famous place. It is a great place to sit down on a terrace and just watch people for the rest of the day or evening. In addition, it is a good point to start your journey! We will tell you everything you need to know about Khao San Road on this page.


Khao San Road – Famous and Notorious

Almost everyone knows Khao San Road. Whether they have been to Bangkok themselves or not, this street is not to be missed. Nearly everyone has a friend or family member with stories about this part of Bangkok or tried a grasshopper on a stick.


It is a collection of cheap accommodations, dozens of shops, restaurants, bars, special entertainers, street food, and collapsible sales tents. All aimed at international tourists. For some people, Khao San Road is a place where they spend their entire vacation, for others the challenge is to avoid this environment after a first impression.


TIP – Near this street, you will find the quieter Soi Rambuttri or Rambuttri Road. Definitely worth a look!


Image of: Aerial view of the Khao San Road in Bangkok
Aerial view of the Khao San Road in Bangkok


How to Get to Khao San Road

Khao San Road is, as the name suggests, “just” a street. It is located in the North West of downtown Bangkok in the backpacker district of Banglamphu and is easily accessible from the city. You can take a taxi (or Uber), or as you will often do in Thailand, go there with a tuk-tuk.


TIP – Around Khao San Road you will be approached by many tuk-tuk drivers who want to give you a tour of downtown Bangkok. Unfortunately, there are also many scams, so pay attention!


Some tuk-tuk drivers will try to convince you that the Grand Palace is closed, but that they can show you all the beautiful places of the city. Don’t fall for it!


From the Airport to Khao San Road

The easiest way to get here is by taxi or tuk-tuk. If you are already in Bangkok, it will cost no more than $6. Getting here from the airport is possible in two ways; by taxi or bus.


To Khao San Road by Taxi

As soon as you leave Bangkok airport you will find taxis everywhere. The whole process is fairly simple. You can signal one or walk to a taxi stand and tell them where you want to go. You will receive a paper with the address and a taxi driver will come and pick you up.


The entire ride takes about an hour, although we sometimes took longer than three hours due to traffic jams. Prices are between 500 and 700 baht (US$16 to $22.50) depending on how long you are on the road. Always agree that you want to ride with the meter on!


To Khao San Road by (Shuttle) Bus

Recently you can also use a special Airport Shuttle Bus (Bus line S1). These run from Bangkok Airport to Khao San Road. The first one departs around 6:00 a.m. They run these buses every 30 minutes until 8 p.m. You can find the buses at Gate 7 where the taxis also depart.


TIP – This is a lot cheaper (60 baht, US$1.90), but it also often takes a lot longer.


Things to Do in Khao San Road

As indicated, you can compare Khao San Road with a circus. All your expectations from the stories you’ve heard come true. Sellers with fun toys, having a tailored suit made, a new tattoo, trying fried insects on sticks or inhale some laughing gas… it’s all possible here.


It really is a madhouse here and you have to love it. The first time we came here we did not know where to look. Some like it, others leave screaming. It’s something that applies to the whole of Bangkok. Here are some of the best things you can do here.


1 Relax on One of the Terraces

Perhaps the most fun thing to do on Khao San Road is sitting on the terraces. Choose a nice restaurant or bar and sit on the terrace. The rest of the day or evening you can enjoy everything that you see happening around you.


The vendors we talked about earlier who pressure everyone into buying something, crazy tourists trying a deep-fried grasshopper or the more serious people who basically need none of that. It is a nice sight to behold! Order a nice drink and you will enjoy yourself all day.


Image of: Street food vendors in Khao San Road

One of many Thai Street Food vendors you can find here


2 Shopping for Unique Items

Although the sellers on Khao San Road will try to sell you everything, it is quite a good place to shop as a backpacker. Especially if you start your journey in Thailand here, this can be very handy. You will find everything in the stores; from souvenirs to travel items! You will also find pharmacies, internet cafés, and money exchange offices here.


You will find a bazaar at both ends of the street. Here they sell clothing as well as travel guides and other books.


TIP – Appropriate bargaining is always advisable, otherwise you will pay high prices unnecessarily.


3. Enjoy the Khao San Nightlife

If there is something that Khao San Road is extremely suitable for, it is going out. You will find bars, cafes, and restaurants everywhere where you can buy delicious drinks. To start the evening you can safely order a “bucket”. You can take this translation literally because you get a bucket with a mix of alcohol and soft drinks (or energy drinks).


Eventually, you can dive into one of the nearby clubs to enjoy yourself on the dance floor. Are you also staying on Khao San Road? Keep in mind that you can probably hear the music from the clubs all day and night. Are you a real party animal? Then you’ll be completely in your element here.


Image of: Night scene in Khao San Road
Nightlife in Khao San Road


4. Organize the Continuation of your Trip

This may sound strange, but Khao San Road is also a good place to organize the continuation of your journey. You will find stalls and shops everywhere where you can organize transport.


Think for example of bus trips to Chiang Mai, Siem Reap (for Angkor Wat) or Phuket. But you can also book other excursions here. For example, would you like to visit the floating market? Then you can also go here.


5. Enjoy Great Thai Food

Food, food, and even more food. It is everywhere! We do have to tell you that you probably won’t find culinary delights on Khao San Road, but you can go here for a quick or cheap bite. In addition to the fried insects that you can buy on the street, you can go to almost every restaurant for a fresh pad thai or other typical Thai dishes.


Are you tired of rice? Then you can also go to all known western chains. Think of McDonald’s, a sandwich from the 7-Eleven, or Burger King. For the best coffee, you can go to Starbucks. Still looking for an authentic experience? Then you can just buy your meal at a street stall! For a few dollars, you can eat very well here.


Image of: Pad Thai in a restaurant
We highly recommend trying one of the most famous dishes in Thailand; Pad Thai


Where to Stay in Khao San Road

For a few dollars, you can already spend the night on Khao San Road. Know that for this you get a room that may not have air conditioning or even no windows. You get the constant noise from the outside for free! If you want to pay just a little more, book a great room with air conditioning in the heart of the partying hustle and bustle.


It is a popular place for younger people to spend the night.


Reservation and Costs

Reservations are not necessary. There is so much space here that you can always stay somewhere. In addition, we do not think it is necessary to spend the night here. It’s a nice place, but we need our night’s rest and it is sometimes hard to find here 😉


Costs vary from US$8 for a dorm to $55 for a hotel room. You won’t find really good hotels here.


TIP – View all accommodations in Khao San Road here!


Rambuttri Road

If you want to sleep a little more quietly, there are enough other places to spend the night. It is nice to spend the night near Khao San Road as you are “close to the action”. Nice streets are Soi Rambuttri or Rambuttri Road.


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