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Khao San Road (Thai: ถนนข้าวสาร) is a small road located about a block from the Chao Phraya River at the northern side of Rattanakosin. Backpackers and budget travellers are drawn here by some of the cheapest accommodation and travel deals in Thailand. This article also deals with the wider Banglamphu area that hosts a few interesting temples, as well as lots more places to stay and eat.
The syllable "khao" is pronounced similarly to the English word "cow", but since the late 1990s, backpackers have often been mispronouncing it as "coe" (perhaps confusing it with "koh", meaning "island", which in itself is incorrect and should be an abrupt "goh"; perhaps influenced by the book/movie The Beach). Please help re-introduce the correct pronunciation into the backpacker community by pronouncing it properly.
Khao San Road is the historical center of the tourist area that has developed in the Banglamphu district. Originally catering to backpackers, and described as a backpacker mecca, that description as of 2015 is no longer accurate as it is visited by a wide variety of tourists, most of whom are not backpackers. The street itself and the surrounding area feature numerous restaurant, bars, hotels, shops and entertainment, especially during the night when the entire neighborhood comes alive. It represents the most concentrated tourist area in Thailand, and has something to offer to everyone from t-shirt, to street food, to beer and performers.
Recently, however, the authorities have changed the rules to prevent many of the markets and food stands operating during the day and, as such, Khao San is not busy during the daytime. It is now a shadow of it's former self due to the effects of the military junta, however, raucous partying can still be found here late into the night.
The word khao san itself means milled rice and is an attribution to the historical role of this street in the rice trade. The first business to open on Khao San Road was a small hotel aimed at serving civil servants from the provinces who came to Bangkok on business. The hotel was followed by Sor Thambhakdi, a shop selling monks' accessories. Four similar businesses moved in after, and Khao San became known as a "religious road".
Word soon spread about the easy lifestyle and friendliness of the locals. Friends told friends, and before long, the owner of the house started to charge 20 baht for food and lodging. The first commercial guest house, called Bonny, opened in 1982 with six small bedrooms.
Today, there's a lot more than six small bedrooms on offer. In the span of just a couple of blocks, there are bars, food stalls, restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, internet cafes, money changing booths, ATMs, shoe stores, massage parlours, tailors, travel agencies, laundry, boxing gyms, optometrists, endless warrens of suspiciously discounted designer clothes and, oh, rooms for the night.
The chaos has spilled over to the entire area, including Soi Rambuttri, which has developed mainly into an street of interesting and elegant restaurant; Phra Athit Road, with its colonial-style mansions and riverside hotels; and Sam Sen Road, a quiet neighbourhood with cosy guest houses and vegetarian restaurants. It is indeed a tourist destination. As in every other such destination pickpocketing is known to occur.
- Bangkok Tourist Information Office, 17/1 Phra Athit Rd (under the Phra Pin Klao Bridge), ☎ +66 2 225-7612(-4), . 09:00-19:00 daily. It's a good idea to stop by the tourist office for some maps of the city. You can also get hotel and dining addresses here or ask any other questions you may have. edit
Map of the Khao San Road area
Khao San Road is fairly easy to get to from anywhere in Bangkok. Express boats, buses and taxis are your main options. While the Skytrain and the metro are convenient ways of getting to many places in Bangkok, there is no connection to Khao San Road (or to anywhere else in Rattanakosin, for that matter).
The Chao Phraya Express Boat is the cheapest and most scenic way of getting to Khao San Road. If you're coming from the city centre, take the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, where you can transfer onto the express boat at Sathorn pier. Then ride the express boat all the way north to Phra Arthit pier, which takes about 35 minutes and costs 13 to 18 baht. Make sure to get either the orange flag line or the blue flag tourist boat, as the yellow flag line skips Phra Arthit pier completely. Use the map by the Express Boat dock to confirm operating times, and which flag-colored boats make which stops.
If you're staying in Khao San Road, the express boat is the easiest way to get to Rattanakosin and Silom. It's only a short (but confusing) walk from Khao San Road to Phra Arthit pier. First walk to the police station side of Khao San Road, then take a right and immediately a left into Soi Rambuttri. Walk along the bend of the street and take a right into Soi Chana Songkhram. At the end, take a right into Phra Athit Road, cross the road, and look for the small sign to the express boat pier (it is near Navalai River Resort). Bring a good map, have a good sense of direction, or ask help from a local if you get lost.
The most important piers are Tha Chang (for the Grand Palace), Tha Tien (for Wat Pho) and Rachawongse (for Yaowarat). All lines attend Sathorn pier, where you can transfer onto the Skytrain. From here, you can go to Silom, Siam Square, Sukhumvit and Phahonyothin. The Chao Phraya Express Boat stops running around 18:00 or 19:00 depending on the day, so you'll have to rely on other forms of transport in the evening.
The quickest (though not the most comfortable) way to get from Khao San Road to Siam Square, Sukhumvit and Ramkhamhaeng is by Saen Saep Express Boat. The closest pier to Khao San Road is Panfa Leelard, which is near the Golden Mount and Wat Ratchanadda. There you can get on the Golden Mount Line, which is a direct boat service from Panfa Leelard to Pratunam. At that pier you can switch onto the NIDA Line, that runs from Pratunam all the way northeast to Wat Sriboonreung in Ramkhamhaeng. A single trip from Panfa Leelard to Pratunam takes about 20 minutes and costs 11 baht. On the trip, you will pass the stops Talat Bobae (for the garment market of the same name), Sapan Charoenpol, Baan Krua Nua (for Jim Thompson's House), Sapan Hua Chang (for Siam Square) and Pratunam (for Pratunam and Ratchaprasong).
The bus system in Bangkok is very complex, but as Khao San Road is not connected to the Skytrain, for some destinations you don't have a choice. Some useful bus lines for travel to/from Khao San Road include the following:
- Ordinary bus 2 goes from Sukhumvit Road to Sanam Luang, and passes Ratchdamnoen Klang Road on the way, which is very close to Khao San Road. The route is handy for connections to the Skytrain, the metro and the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai), and it passes Pratunam on the way. 6.50 baht. This one goes around the clock!
- Ordinary bus 3 or air-conditioned bus 524 go to the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) and passes by Chakrabongse Road (at the western side of Khao San Road). This bus stops near Chatuchak Weekend Market. The trip costs 6.50 baht and takes approximately 30 minutes.
- Ordinary bus 15 or 47 or 79 at the bus stop just in front of the 7-Eleven takes you from Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (near Khao San Road) to Siam Square (MBK etc.).
- Ordinary bus 53 goes from Phra Athit Road near the express boat pier to Hualamphong Train Station, taking an interesting and convoluted route through Rattanakosin and Yaowarat. It costs 6.50 baht and takes 30 minutes or more depending on traffic.
- Air-conditioned bus 511 travels right across the city from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) via Sukhumvit and Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (near Khao San Road) to the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai). Warning: Non-Express buses pass by Sukhumvit Road, but express buses with yellow signs use the expressway instead! You can still get to Pratunam even with express buses.
- Air-conditioned bus 509 travels from Mo Chit Bus Terminal, passing through Victory Monument (BTS) and Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (near Khao San Road), terminating at Bang Khae (in Thonburi).
Airport busses: Since June 2017 there are cheap/fast/easy orange airport-busses directly to Khaosan: Bus S1 starts from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) 1st Floor Gate 7 from 6am until 8pm for 60 baht nonstop via fast tollways to Khaosan area. Bus A4 starts directly outside both Don Muang (DMK) terminals from 7am until 11pm nonstop via fast tollways to Khaosan area for 50 baht. For the way back to the Airports you can get on in Chakrabongse Road (A4: a few meters northeast of Rambuttri crossing) , WorldWar1 Monument (north of Sanam Luang) or the big bus station near the western end of Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (on the side closer to Khaosan). (map&info: http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/2017/06/02/get-bangkoks-airports-tired-taxis/ ).
From the airport, take the Airport Rail Link (ARL) City Line train to Makkasan (35 baht) and then the 556 (or 60) bus from outside the front door of the station to Democracy Monument, around the corner from Khao San Road.
From the airport, take the Airport Rail Link (ARL) City Line train to Phaya Thai (45 baht) and then walk down to the main road, outside the from door is the number 59 Thai public bus to Democracy monument. you can walk from here to Khao san road. The bus fare was 17 baht until February 14th 2015.
From Don Muang airport back and forth from Khao San road, you can take various buses, but the quick cheap way. Is to walk outside to the democracy monument area, catch the 59 bus to Phaya Thai or Victory monument, the fare as of 14/2/15 was 17 baht. Then catch the skytrain from either, Phaya Thai or Victory monument to Mochit for around 30 baht. Then from Mochit outside the skytrain stop you can catch the A1 or A2 bus to Don Muang airport, 30 baht. The total fare was around 75 baht. And takes around 40 minutes. You can do it cheaper, but a for a few baht more, you can bypass the Bangkok traffic. Nicknamed "the cheeky route to Don Muang for tourists"
Even some of the metered taxis will try to charge you a flat rate of about 200–300 baht to take you to Khao San Road, rather than use the meter (which would mean no more than an 80 baht fare from Silom, or 100-150 baht from Sukhumvit). The drivers will claim that Khao San Road is "too far away" for the meter, but that's not true; the fact is, they can get away with overcharging tourists, and if you don't take it, the next one down the street might. You should refuse to pay that amount and find an honest driver—there is no shortage of taxis in Bangkok. There is no point trying to haggle, as the meter is always cheaper.
As a general rule, older drivers tend to be more amenable to the meters, while the younger ones tend to gun for big fares from tourists. Also avoid the parked taxis (dishonest drivers prefer to wait for gullible tourists) and hail a moving taxi (a red light on the dashboard indicates if they are available). The majority of taxis are new (less than two years old), and it’s best to avoid the older taxis as their air-conditioners function poorly, and these drivers tend to be less reliable. The great majority of taxi drivers are reasonably honest, though, so always opt for a taxi instead of a tuk-tuk.
Coming from the airport, a metered taxi should cost no less than 300 baht, if using the toll roads (known by Thais as “toll way”), which cost up to 75 baht. Traffic during the day can make the toll roads very worthwhile, as they will save time and money. The trip takes around 45 minutes in good traffic, but allow considerable leeway during rush hour as the area around Khao San can get very congested. Taxis are your only option at night, as the Airport Rail Link stops running at midnight.
A taxi at 0100 on 11/12/12 cost around 240 baht on the meter, with the 50 baht airport fee and tolls of bahtand 45 baht on top. Total: 360 baht.
Enjoy your nightlite with the "[Bangkok Tram] City Night Tour" by travelling around Ratanakosin area with a fantastic view of "The Must-See" 9 tourist attractions in Bangkok.
By Hop on Hop off
Hop in and out of Khao San area, as well as other prime attractions in Bangkok in an on-demand hop on hop off tuk tuk service. Service expands across Rattanakosin, Khao San Road, Dusit, Yaowarat and Phahurat areas and is operating from 8:30-18:00.
Although there aren’t any famous historical sites to speak of on the road itself, Khao San is a part of Rattanakosin and actually one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Bangkok. Around the street, there are a number of old shophouses and noteworthy temples. Aside from the interesting architecture, the area shows a mix of peoples and heritages that is typical for Bangkok. There are Buddhists, Chinese, Muslims, Mons, and of course a great number of foreigners in this small part of the city. All of this makes the area an interesting place for a glimpse of Thai life.
- Democracy Monument (อนุสาวรีย์ประชาธิปไตย Anusawari Prachathipatai), Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd (at the Ratchadamnoen Klang Road and Dinso Road intersection). Completely occupying a roundabout on a major thoroughfare is the Democracy Monument. Its distinguishing features are the four ‘wings,’ which are located at four equally spaced points around a smaller central shrine. The wings are decorated with artworks of war and war-related events. Quite impressive when seen from a distance (especially at sunrise and sunset), but maybe not worth the hazard involved in running across five lanes of Bangkok traffic for a closer look. It commemorates the June 1932 military coup d'etat that led to the country’s first democratic constitution in place of absolute rule. Demonstrators gathered here in 1973, 1976, and 1992 in their struggle for democracy, signifying the important role this monument has played in recent Thai history. Free. edit
- October 14 Memorial (อนุสรณ์สถาน 14 ตุลา), 14/16 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd (at the Ratchadamnoen Klang Road and Tanao Road intersection). 14 October 1973 is one of the most important dates in modern Thai history. Millions of pro-democracy protesters gathered at Ratchadamnoen Klang Road against the military dictatorship of Thanom Kittikachorn. The junta attacked the masses with snipers from rooftops, killing dozens of civilians. Eventually the regime was toppled and Thailand became a constitutional monarchy. This memorial commemorates those who died that day, as well as those that died at similar protests in 1976 and 1992. You can read more about this hectic period in Thai history in the small museum. Free. edit
- Phra Sumen Fort (ป้อมพระสุเมรุ), Phra Athit Rd (inside Santichaiprakarn Park). Best viewed from Santichaiprakarn Park, Phra Sumen Fort is one of two remaining towers of the historic city wall that once surrounded Rattanakosin Island completely (the other being Mahakan Fort). The historic city wall that followed the Chao Phraya River and Khlong Rop Krung used to have 14 of these watchtowers, but 12 of them have not endured the test of time. Phra Sumen Fort was constructed in 1783 during the reign of King Rama I to protect the city from potential foreign naval invasions. The fort has an observation tower and two levels of battlements with its original canons still in place. Free. edit
- Santichaiprakarn Park (พระที่นั่งและสวนสาธารณะสันติชัยปราการ), Phra Athit Rd (near Phra Arthit Pier). 05:00-22:00 daily. This small, green park has a great view of the Chao Phraya River and the modern Rama VIII suspension bridge that crosses it. There's an open-air pavilion, the Phra Sumen Fort and (supposedly) the last two “lamphu” trees of the area (these trees used to be all over Banglamphu, as that's where the district got its name from). Activities held in the park include Thai classical music, juggling and (at 18:00) aerobic exercises. The park has also become a gathering place for breakdancers to exchange their techniques. Free. edit
- Sunset Street Art Gallery (ซันเซ็ทสตรีท), 199 Khao San Rd (inside the Sunset Street complex), ☎ +66 2 282-2565(-4), . 12:00-22:00 daily. Yes, there is one sight on Khao San Road itself and unsurprisingly, it is an art gallery. This colonial-style interior has plenty of paintings on the wall, most of them in a kind of traditional Thai style. It is quite small, but still fun for a short visit. Free. edit
- Wat Bowonniwet (วัดบวรนิเวศ), Bowonniwet Rd (at the corner of Bowonniwet Road and Phra Sumen Road), ☎ +66 2 281-2831(-3). 08:00-17:00 daily. Built in 1829, this is the shrine-hall of Phra Phutthachinnasi, a beautiful Buddha image that was created around 1357. This is one of the most important temples of Bangkok, whose onetime chief abbot was King Rama IV before he ascended the throne. King Rama IV and King Rama VII, as well as HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej resided here during their monkhood. Be careful in the afternoo; you must take your shoes off, but the ground can start to cook from the heat. Wearing socks could be a good idea. Free. edit
- Wat Chana Songkhram (วัดชนะสงคราม), Soi Chana Songkhram (opposite the western end of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 677-8888. 10:30-22:30 daily. Centuries ago, following a war with the Burmese, the Thai government gave land in this area to people from the Mon minority who had fought beside the Thai. The Mon established a community here, including this temple, that is also known as the War Victory Temple. Many travellers use the temple grounds as a shortcut between Khao San Road and Phra Athit Road where the ferry pier is located. The temple is worth a visit, though, with nice murals, crisp sounding temple bells hanging from the eves, Bougainvillea vines and beautiful trees. There is no charge for admission and you are welcome to pay respect to the Buddha images or just find a little tranquility away from the throngs of backpackers on Khao San proper. Free. edit
The area is a great place to just hang out, eat at a restaurant, buy all kinds of clothing and other items, get a massage, watch people, or have a few drinks and enjoy the nightlife.
- Tuk Tuk Hop (Hop on hop off Tuk Tuk), Tha Maharaj (Sales office is inside Boat Chartered Service Office), ☎ +66 90 063-2660, . 08:30-18:00. Hop on hop off around Bangkok prime attractions in an on-demand tuk tuk service. Visit over 15 top attractions in Bangkok such as Grand Place, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho, National Museum, marble temple, Anantasamakhom, as well as Khao San road and flower market, etc. Travelers can download the app for free, which has latest information of attractions (including opening/closing time, ticket price, etc.), where to eat, and navigation. 399-899THB. (13.754525,100.488879) edit
- Maliwan Thai Cooking Class, 9 Sip Sam Hang Rd (use the rear entrance of the building near the Chinese temple on Krisi Rd), ☎ +66 2 107-5825 ([email protected]), . 09:00-13:00, 13:30-17:30 daily. Classes are run by an English-speaking Thai chef in a clean and well-equipped kitchen. Their half-day lessons open with a demonstration, after which you can start preparing and cooking the food at an individual work-station. Classes are relatively small, limited to a maximum of eight people. At the end of the lesson, you can enjoy the food you have prepared in an informal atmosphere. The class ends with a course certificate. 1,375-1,525 baht/class. edit
- May Kaidee's 2 Cooking School, 33 Sam Sen Rd (near the intersection with Sam Sen Soi 1), ☎ +66 8 9137-3173, . 09:00-13:00, 13:00-17:00 daily. A vegetarian and vegan cooking school in the Sam Sen area north of Khao San Road. You'll shop at the local market to pick fresh ingredients and learn meat-free traditional Thai recipes (as well as unique food such as the delicious pumpkin hummous). The owner has been an experienced vegan cook for many years and has a recipe book available for purchase. Those interested need to give at least a day or so advance notice (if lucky, you can just try to show up at the morning session and they might let you in). The school also has a restaurant with many vegetarian dishes and as a guest house attached to it. 1,500 baht/day. edit
- Sor. Vorapin Gym Muay Thai School, 13 Trok Kasap (at the end of a dusty alley off Soi Rambuttri), ☎ +66 2 282-3551, . 07:30-09:30 and 15:00-17:00 daily. If you dare, you might want to learn muay thai (Thai boxing). Beginners and walk-ins are welcome. Shorts and gloves are provided at the course. The English instruction may not be too detailed, but key phrases like "punch", "kick", and "one-two" are in place. Wear protection though! If this all gets a bit too heavy for you, it's also possible to sit outside and watch the trainings take place. Saves you 1,000 baht on an actual muay thai match! 500 baht. edit
ATMs can be found all around, but all charge 220 baht when using foreign ATM cards, which is about $7. Their most convenient ATMs can be found at Tang Hua Seng Department Store, on Chakrapong Road (perpendicular road at the end of KSR) or if you are visiting MBK shopping centre, there is an Aeon ATM on the 2nd floor.
Obviously the first place to go shopping is Khao San Road itself. Simple stores along the street sell dresses, shirts, skirts, accessories, shoes and bags, usually for a bargain. Many of these are in vintage style, as that’s popular with the Khao San crowd. There are also the usual souvenir and handicrafts stores. You should, however, be aware that the 200 baht t-shirt you are looking at was almost certainly bought by the vendor for 50 baht at Pratunam market, so head there if you want a real bargain.
MBK shopping center has become the new Khao San Road with the same knock-off brands you find on Khao San Road but in the comfort of air conditioning. MBK can be reached by bus #15 or by taxi driver and tuk-tuk.
Hill tribe women dressed in ethnic clothing walk up and down Khao San Road all day, usually with croaking sounds that come from their wooden frogs. They approach tourists all day, trying to sell them stuff like accessories, hammocks, and ethnic handicrafts. They are quite friendly, and back off with a clear "no," but once they know you’re interested, many of these sellers congregate around you, hoping to make some profit.
Always beware of getting ripped off. Never buy anything valuable in this area, as there are many scams and tricks being played. Khao San Road is home to many wholesale silver jewellery stores, but don’t even think about buying there. A common scam is to ask a lot more for a gem than its real value. Touts for suits approach all men walking along Khao San Road, but never go with them—getting tailored clothes in Khao San Road is a complete waste of money, as quality is extremely poor. If you really want a suit, head to the city centre for better alternatives.
Other problematic products for sale include counterfeit clothes, pirated movies, and even fake diplomas (along with various fake ID cards, student cards are popular); the authorities here don’t seem to care, but you will possibly get in trouble once you arrive in your home country. The Banglamphu Market north of Khao San Road is a good place to pick up cheap Thai knock-offs of everything, from jeans to Italian sneakers, as well as a few posh Thai silk stores. Food stalls also abound in this area.
As plenty of travellers use Khao San Road as their base on the way to the beaches, a number of second-hand book shops have congregated in this area. Expect dusty shops with books completely worn out—but usually prices are cheaper than elsewhere. Some of the newer book shos have a fresher appearance and even sell new books. The usual English fiction titles are available, including backpacker favourites like The Beach. If you're into non-fiction, get one of the titles on Thai or Southeast Asian history and culture. Some book shops have a buy-back scheme, so you can sell the book back to the shop for half the price..
- Book Lover, 60 Soi Rambuttri (before the bend in the street if you're walking from Chakrabongse Road; no sign is up, but the shop has an all-white appearance). Tu-Su 12:00–22:30. One of the cleaner and more organised book shops in the area. They have a great selection of titles about the history of the countries in Southeast Asia. Of course they also have the usual stack of fiction titles, travel guides, and maps. They also have dedicated language sections with books in Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Swedish, and some other languages. The staff are pleasant and more helpful than in other book shops. Have a buy-back scheme. edit
- Bookazine, 62 Khao San Rd (opposite Shaman Books), ☎ +66 2 280-3785, . till 22:00. Another branch of the Bookazine chain, this one right on Khao San Road. Beside English-language books and travel guides, they have a fairly large stock of foreign newspapers and magazines. Also sell English-language newspapers about Thailand. It is only a small shop, so you might finish browsing rather quickly. edit
- Moonlight Book Shop, 46/1 Khao San Rd (in the alley that goes to Hippie de Bar). 11:00–23:00 daily. Not so much a book shop, more like an alleyway with many used books for sale. It’s a typical Khao San Road shop that sells easy-to-read fiction titles. All the usual hippie and backpacker favourites are available. edit
- Rim Khob Fa Books (ร้านหนังสือริมขอบฟ้า), 78/1 Ratchadamoen Klang Rd (at the Democracy Monument roundabout), ☎ +66 2 662-3510 ([email protected]). 10:00–19:00 daily. This is a big and upscale shop that looks a lot more professional than the other book shops around Khao San Road. Most of its customers are Thai students who come for the large stock of English-language academic books on languages, arts, and history. But they also have plenty of general-interest books, such as travel guides and cultural books. edit
- Shaman Books, 71 Khao San Rd (opposite Bookazine), ☎ +66 2 629-0418, . 08:00–23:00 daily. Biggest bookstore of Khao San Road, very dusty and seems uncompelling, but has the largest collection of used books. It has the typical English-language novels and classics, but also, as the name “Shaman” may suggest, a selection of religion, meditation, and culture books. Some shelves have books in Dutch, German, Spanish, and Scandinavian languages. A used copy of Homer’s The Odyssey costs around 200 baht. The staff seem uninterested, but you can just browse yourself. They also opened a second branch in Susie Walking Street. edit
- Ton's Bookseller, 327/5 Rambuttri Rd (around the corner on the left side if coming from Chakrabongse Road). 10:00–20:00 daily. This small book store only has one lane of general-knowledge books in English as the left corridor is filled with books in Thai. At least there is a good selection of books on politics and the Thai language, along with cultural, historical and religious books about Thailand and Southeast Asia. Also a small number of fiction titles. edit
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
|| 50-100 baht
|| 100-500 baht
|| Over 500 baht
Khao San Road offers some of the cheapest and most diverse food selections anywhere in Bangkok. Travellers from all over the world attend the road, so there is a high demand for all kinds of ethnic food. Alongside the usual Thai dishes, Indian, Italian and Jewish cuisine are especially well-represented, as are restaurants specialising in vegetarian food.
Street carts on the road sell decent pad thai (fried noodles), quail eggs, roti (like a pancake), falafel, hummus, various bugs and some sell just cocktails. However, it's worth noting that much of it is specifically geared for backpackers — even the local pad thai, especially the 10 baht variety, saves money on the ingredients and uses soy sauce instead of the traditional tamarind sauce.
Much better Pad Thai is available in almost any sit-down restaurant on Khao San.
As Khao San Road leaves its backpacker roots, standards (and prices) are rising. In the last ten years, many popular international food outlets have set up branches in Khao San Road, including Burger King, McDonald's and Subway. More mid-range restaurants are opened on a daily basis, but don't expect to splurge. Those looking for truly good food would be advised to head elsewhere, such as to Sukhumvit.
Always keep an eye on the safety and fire exits. In April 2012 a tourist died in an illegal(unregistered) hotel because of a fire.
Interestingly, even though places such as McDonalds and Burger King may be considered a cheap meal in the West, here they are very expensive. A Burger King meal in Khao San may set you back 300 Baht or more, but you can eat Thai food locally for 50 baht.
Cooking up a storm on Khao San Road
- May Kaidee's 1, 111 Soi Bowonrangsi ((reportedly closed location) in the alley behind Burger King), ☎ +66 2 281-7699, . 09:00-23:00 daily. One of the best vegetarian restaurants in the area that has been serving hippie-types since 1988. Ordering is straightforward, as you can just pick a dish from the laminated placemat with photos. Try the papaya salad or go for something completely new. May Kaidee's 3 from the same owner is at the other side of Soi Bowonrangsi, just a 100 metres walk from this branch. 40-80 baht. edit
- Mr Yim's, Soi Rambuttri ((reportedly moved now) opposite Merry V guest house, right at the temple wall). Mr. Yim had to move out of his building and now sells his food as a (permanent) street vendor at the same corner, using the temple wall as the back wall of his place. Food is still a great value, with a wide selection of good quality products, including veggie options. The big baguettes and the breakfast are well worth it. 30-70 baht. edit
- Popiang House (พอเพียง เฮ้าส์), 43 Soi Rambuttri (in the middle of Soi Rambuttri), ☎ +66 2 282-2628. 24 hours. A typical Khao San Road restaurant that is actually on Soi Rambuttri. It's a street restaurant with red plastic chairs and cheap yellow tables. Mostly known by backpackers for delicious seafood; their grilled fish is a good option. It is also a great place to meet other backpackers while enjoying a cheap beer (only 50 baht for a large one). As a result, it can be crowded on evenings. 60 baht. edit
- Roti-Mataba, 136 Phra Athit Rd (in front of Phra Sumen Fort), ☎ +66 2 282-2119. Tu-Su 09:00-22:00. This immensely popular eatery is one of the few in the area serving Thai-Muslim dishes, such as roti, mataba (a kind of stuffed pancake) and massaman curry. Sitting downstairs gives the best local experience, as you can smell the food being prepared and it feels very cramped. Upstairs has air-conditioning and is more comfortable. A bit of a downer is that the snacks are fairly small, so order two or more meals if you are really hungry. 50-100 baht. edit
- Sakura House, 4F, 98/1 Rambuttri Rd (opposite Viengtai Hotel; enter the small alley of the clinic in between both spaces of Suksabai and take the lift to the fourth floor), ☎ +66 2 282-0303. 09:30-23:00 daily. A little hard to find Japanese restaurant, but definitely worth it once you do. It's popular among the locals for lunch and dinner, as visitors can sit at wooden tables the traditional Japanese way. For the rest, it doesn't look all that special, but it is cheap, the staff are nice and free water is served. The Japanese dishes are delicious; recommendations are listed on the menu. The okonomiyaki is good. Don't mistake this with Taketei restaurant, which over charges for not-so-special food with a very slow and rude service. 40 baht. edit
- Take-a-Seat (เทคอะซีท), 90 Phra Athit Rd (near the corner with Soi Chana Songkhram), ☎ +66 2 766-6102. 08:00-23:30 daily. Simple and clean eatery with Thai and international dishes. The interior looks basic, but that's all you need to enjoy a good meal. Don't expect any English from the staff, but the menu is in English and has pictures so you can just point to the dish of your choice. 50-80 baht. edit
- Wild Orchid Villa (ไวด์ ออคิด วิลล่า), 8 Soi Chana Songkhram (in the alley between Soi Rambuttri and Phra Athit Road), ☎ +66 2 629-4378, . 24 hours. A good restaurant that offers green and red curries, and delicious tom yum soups at fairly low prices. It has a nice interior with either wooden chairs or lounge couches. Excellent for people-watching if you take a seat near the pavement. It is also a newly renovated guest house, and rooms go for 700-1,500 baht depending on facilities. 80-150 baht. edit
- Aquatini Bar & Restaurant (ร้านอาหาร อควาตินี่ บาร์), Navalai River Resort, 45/1 Phra Athit Rd (right in front of Phra Arthit pier), ☎ +66 2 280-9955, . 06:30–01:00 daily. Part of the Navalai River Resort, this luxury restaurant with Thai and Western dishes has river views over the Chao Phraya River. The interior of the indoor bar has random postmodern touches. It's best to stick to outdoors though, as the deck gives the best views. The breeze, trees and light music make the ambience chilled out. Mostly foreigners visit this place, and the staff make it feel a bit like being inside a resort (well, which you are). 300–400 baht. (13°45'48.30N,100°29'38.83E) edit
- Ethos, 85/2 Soi Bowonrangsi (in the alley behind Burger King), ☎ +66 2 282-2748, . 09:00–22:00 daily. This is a unique place with an attitude! No MSG, preservatives or artificial colours and flavours, instead you'll be eating organic dishes from Thai, Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. A comfortable place that attracts crowds who are into spirituality and yoga. It has a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Also try the coffee and deserts. 50-150 baht. edit
- La Casa (ร้านอาหารอิตาเลียน ลาคาซ่า), 210 Khao San Rd (opposite Mulligan's Irish Pub), ☎ +66 2 629-1627. 12:00–00:00 daily. Italian restaurant with quite a professional outlook. It’s interesting how they mixed Thai elements like Buddha images into the European interior. The pizzas are good, but skip the pastas. Compared with other restaurants, you get fairly little. But at least you have views on Khao San Road itself. 275 baht. edit
- Mayompuri, 22 Chakrabongse Rd (near Gazebo Club), ☎ +66 2 629-3883(-4), . 15:00–00:00 daily. Mayompuri is Khao San Road's most luxurious restaurant, although it is still affordable by any means. It’s all about the interior, which is absolutely stunning—it looks like a five-star resort with waterfalls, ponds, and beautiful gardens. Visit the place after dark as that's when it looks best. The atmosphere is calm and relaxed music is played, which makes it feel far away from the busy chaos of the road. The food, while good, may be a little bland and simple. There are all kinds of international dishes available, such as spaghetti bolognese, steak, fish and chips, papaya salad and river prawn soup. A good way to experience the atmosphere without the food is to have a beer at the bar. 350 baht. edit
- Ranee's (ร้านอาหาร ราณี), 77 Trok Mayom (in the small alley south of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 282-4072. 07:00–00:00 daily. Hidden amongst spas and small bars and restuarants down an alley that runs parallel to Khao San Road, this Italian restaurant offers the usual pizzas and pastas, though you will be better served making a selection from the Thai dishes. The curries are delicious (but don't be surprised to find that the jungle curry is made on a watery base and not on a coconut base like other curries—this is normal for jungle curry). Serving sizes are sufficient but not large. When ordering pizza, a downer is that the cutlery will be served on top of the pizza, making it greasy. The Wi-Fi is free of charge. 150 baht. edit
- Saffron, 86 Phra Athit Rd (take a right from Soi Chana Songkhram, opposite the FAO office), ☎ +66 2 281-4228. 08:00–21:00 daily. European-style interior with all the typical Thai dishes. It’s also a bakery, and their pies are just waiting to be eaten (try the carrot cake!). Just be warned that many of their dishes and drinks are low-fat and low-sugar, so Thai tea doesn't taste that good. Their menus are loved by vegetarians. 100 baht. edit
- Sara Restaurant (ร้านอาหาร ซ่าร่า), Nouvo City Hotel, 2 Sam Sen Soi 2 (just a few metres inside Sam Sen Soi 2, across May Kaidee's 2), ☎ +66 2 282-7500(-108), . 06:00–22:00 daily. A long-standing restaurant that is part of the Nouvo City Hotel. The interior is decorated in a modern boutique style that gives a romantic ambience. The friendly staff serves Thai, Indian, and international cuisine. 400–500 baht. edit
- Tham Na, 175 Sam Sen Rd (between Sam Sen Soi 3 and 5), ☎ +66 2 282-4979. M-Sa 08:00–21:00. Many who are looking for May Kaidee's 2, but cannot find it, stumble across this gem. There’s some excellent vegetarian and organic food here that even the most notorious meat eater would enjoy. Has a homey and cozy feel with a nice staff. The owner speaks good English. 100–120 baht. edit
- Tom Yum Kung (ร้านอาหาร ต้มยำกุ้ง), 9 Trok Mayom (at the police station side of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 629-2772, . 11:00–02:00 daily. Named after Thailand's national dish, it is one of the best restaurants the area has to offer. It's gigantic neon sign may seem cheesy, but the restaurant itself is actually one of the classiest along Khao San Road. Its square is decorated in traditional Thai style, where the noise of the road cannot be heard. Try some of their authentic Thai dishes, such as tom yam goong or som tam, or one of their excellent fish dishes. 100 baht. edit
- Chomp, Thanon Lamphu Sam Sen Soi 1 (on the corner of Samsen Soi 1), ☎ +66 84 098 8633, . 09:00-23:00 daily, closed Tuesdays. A new feature on the KhaoSan/SamSen scene. Run by a friendly South African woman, focused on healthy eating options and catering well to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Excellent salads, sandwiches, pastas, burgers and breakfasts. Has a laid back vibe downstairs by the bar and a kids play area/community centre upstairs where regular events take place such as yoga classes, spoken word performances or art exhibitions. Great place to spend an afternoon eating and relaxing with good music and free wifi. 150-300 baht. edit
- Oxxi's Place, 46/1 Khaosan Road. Nice,cosy bar with the best bucket deal in Khaosan Road,3 buckets for 400 baht. Pretty strong buckets too. edit
You might like a freshly brewed coffee in the early morning, or some coconut juice or iced chocolate to cool you down in the hot afternoon. There are plenty of cafés serving these on Khao San Road; Coffee World is across from McDonald’s in Buddy’s Shopping Plaza and there is a Starbucks in a nice converted house inside the Sunset Street alley in the middle of the road.
Go to Phra Athit Road for a more sophisticated way of getting some caffeine. It is home to many colonial-style townhouses and shophouses that have been turned into artsy cafés and restaurants.
- TALES Khaosan, 88 Chakrabongse Rd (In small alley next to Starbucks Ban Chart), ☎ +66 97 090 6241 ([email protected]), . T-Th 10:00–18:00, F-Su 09:00–20:00. A stunning designed cafe with a great real coffee in the area. Great place to chill and escape from the heat. Offer coffee, tea, and light snacks. Free WiFi and friendly staff! edit
- Coffee and More, 102/1 Phra Athit Rd (at the ground floor of Baan Phra Athit), ☎ +66 2 280-7887. M-F 10:00–21:30, Sa-Su 11:00–23:00. A pleasant cafe overlooking a garden; it is modern, but with a cozy decor. They have a wide selection of coffees, teas and great cakes. Breakfast options are limited. Especially popular with young Thais. edit
- Ricky’s Coffee Shop (ริคกี้ คอฟฟี่ช็อป), 22 Phra Athit Rd (in the same complex as New Merry V Guesthouse), ☎ +66 2 846-3011. 08:00–22:00 daily. There are a number of Ricky’s Coffee Shops, but this is the original one at Phra Athit Road. It is a nice place to relax with a cup of coffee (or a cold afternoon beer). They also have Western and Thai dishes, and while they seem simple, they taste really good (try the rice with cashew nuts). You can also try one of their delicious sandwiches. Its interior is impressive, a bit like an old Chinese-style tea house. edit
- Vibe's Cafe (At Khao San Road), 41 Soi Trok Mayom (located in a small, quiet Soi that runs parallel to Khaosan Rd., right next to Laksameenarai Guesthouse), ☎ +66 91-812-4108. 09:00–22:00 daily. Brand new cafe with high quality coffee and good WiFi (4ms Ping / 32 Mbps down / 5 Mbps up). Besides a great cup of coffee, the menu features some nice dishes that you would usually find around the hip cafés around Ekkamai. Parma Ham, good selection of high quality cheese etc. as ingredients for salads, sandwiches and noodle dishes. A nice place to relax or work on your laptop. (13.758678,100.495918) edit
Bars and pubs
Khao San Road has some of the best bars in town and spending one night of your trip here is a must.
You might want to start with a romantic dinner and views over the Chao Phraya River. No place does this better than Aquatini Bar and Restaurant. A good alternative is the seafood at the al fresco terrace of Tom Yum Kung. If you want to save money, or want to have dinner at a typical Khao San–style restaurant, go for the seafood at Popiang House.
Probably one of the most enjoyable activities on Khao San Road is people-watching. Center Khao Sarn has the best views of the bunch with many roadside seats. Mulligans is a worthy alternative, and great for conversation as there’s no music outside.
We’ve seen enough of Khao San Road, so time to head elsewhere. The locals flock to live performance bars and so should you—Adhere the 13th if you're into blues and jazz happens at Jazz Happens! Bar. If live music is not your thing, head to Bangkok Bar, another popular bar among the locals.
Most bars close around 01:00, but if you haven’t had enough just yet, head for Gazebo Club. It is a unique rooftop club in Middle Eastern style that doesn't close until the early hours. Still not done? Just head back to Center Khao Sarn or Mulligans for a cold Chang beer 24/7.
Khao San Road also has some of the cheapest bars in town, and these days even Thais head down to knock back a few. Khao San bars are mostly about relaxing—just sitting outside, looking at people and enjoying the atmosphere. Some just walk around with a beer in their hand; a can of Chang beer is 25 baht at 7-Eleven. Worth a look are a few streetside VW vans converted to mobile bars, serving cocktails made from cheap liquor.
The tourist crowd has spread to both Soi Rambuttri and Rambuttri Road in the north. Both of them have a relaxed pace great for people-watching. The bars have many seats lined up along the pavement, and the music is slightly toned down for casual conversation. If you want to go where the locals go, there are some artsy/indie bars at Phra Athit Road and Ratchadamnoen Klang Road popular with local art students.
- 999 West, 108/5-6 Rambuttri Rd (in the alley known as Susie Walking Street), ☎ +66 2 282-4459. 11:00–14:00 daily. The pub that started it all, when it still had its old name Susie Pub. It is big and dark, usually packed, and playing pop music. It is very popular among Thai locals. The owners of the pub have branched out to owning Austin Pub, Tom Yum Kung and The Club. Don't forget your ID as it is sometimes checked upon entry. edit
- Adhere the 13th, 13 Sam Sen Rd (walk north along Chakrabongse Road, cross the bridge and you will find the bar at your left-hand side), ☎ +66 8 9769-4613. 18:00–00:00 daily. Adhere the 13th is one of those typical small blues bars that is all about the music. There is always a band playing on the live stage, so visiting this one is a must if you’re into blues. But even for those who are not that much into it, the intimate atmosphere and tight spaces are an interesting experience for everyone. edit
- Bangkok Bar (บางกอก บาร์), Rambuttri Rd (next to Suksabai Bar), ☎ +66 2 629-4443. 18:00–01:00 daily. This popular pub moved eastward in 2009, from Soi Rambuttri to the middle of Rambuttri Road. The bar can get very crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. Not just foreigners know about this place, there are many Thai locals who visit it as well. A Chang beer is 70 baht, but the locals seem to be drinking bottles of scotch or cocktails. edit
- Brick Bar, GF, Buddy's Shopping Plaza, 265 Khao San Rd (at the far end of Buddy's Shopping Plaza), ☎ +66 2 629-447. 20:00–01:00 daily. Brick Bar is an underground ska and reggae bar with live music performances. Its interior is in an old-fashioned Western style. It is very popular with the locals, and extremely crowded in weekends. Bring your ID as they won't let you in without it. Entry 150 baht. edit
- Center Khao Sarn (เซ็นเตอร์ ข้าวสาร), 80-84 Khao San Rd (in the middle of Khao San Road's south side), ☎ +66 2 282-4366. 24 hours. Easily the best spot for people-watching on Khao San Road. It’s probably the largest venue, in the middle of the street, with its seats right beside the road; and it’s always open. It's a great place to chat, sip a beer and lose track of time. There’s also a pool table, and simple dishes are served. And if you run out of money, there's an ATM at both sides of the bar. edit
- Chill-Out Sports Bar 329 Soi Rambutri As the name describes this chilled out spots bar playing the latest funky house tracks really is the only one of its type with its modern décor great to sit round people watching and chatting about your latest travels cheap drinks great atmosphere.
- Gecko Bar, Soi Rambutri. A relaxed open-air bar on Soi Rambutri. With standard drinks prices and characterful staff, this is a great place to meet other travellers and watch the world go by. This is a popular place with farang tramps. edit
- Golf Bar, Khao San Road, about half way but closer to Thanon Chakrabongse. Small and cheap bar whose slogan is "Very strong cocktail. We don’t check ID." 50-baht small Chang and 200-baht buckets. edit
- Hippie de Bar, 46 Khao San Rd (follow the Tom Yum Kung neon sign), ☎ +66 2 629-3508. 11:00–01:00 daily. Psychedelic interior with mismatched furniture, but not really hippie style. Outside is a nice place to chill with a beer or cocktail. It’s a bit off the main street, so no noise from there, but the reggae and tropical music are a bit too loud for a casual conversation. edit
Drinking cart on Khao San Road
- Jazz Happens!, 2F, Bar Bali Pub and Restaurant Bldg, 58 Phra Athit Rd (take a left after coming from Soi Chana Songkhram and cross the street), ☎ +66 2 282-9934. 18:00–00:00 daily. Some good live jazz played by Thai jazz students along with their professor. It is a collaboration with Silpakorn University’s "Faculty of Jazz." Very popular among the locals, but foreigners do not seem to know about it. It has recently enlarged and now has two live music stages, one upstairs and one downstairs. It starts to get busy around 21:00. edit
- Molly Bar, 108 Rambuttri Rd (on the road that runs parallel to Khao San Road in the north), ☎ +66 2 629-4074. 13:00–01:00 daily. There’s a really relaxed vibe in this colonial-style bar, that has been around for quite some time now. In the evening, there is a band playing in the corner; don’t expect a quality band, but the live music does give this bar its laid-back feel. There are lots of seats outside, so it is a nice alternative for people-watching along Khao San Road. And there’s a lot to see, as a diverse group of customers attend, including locals. edit
- Mulligans (มัลลิแกน ไอริชบาร์), 2F, Buddy’s Shopping Plaza, 265 Khao San Rd (inside the Buddy Shopping Plaza), ☎ +66 2 629-4477, . 24 hours. Opened in 2009, this Irish pub has a daily promotion between 20:00 and 02:00, when a large beer or a cocktail sets you back 110 baht. The area downstairs is relaxed and right beside the road, so a great place for talking and people-spotting. There is no music downstairs, but the atmosphere is still good as soft music comes from the other side of the street. Upstairs is a large Irish pub. There are often live performances there or you can just play the arcades. edit
- Reggae Bar, Trok Mayom (where Trok Mayom meets Damnoen Klang Nuea Road), . 15:00–01:00 daily. Nice relaxing al fresco atmosphere where you can get a cold beer and some smokes while listening to Bob Marley all day. DJ Chicken performs, so you’re in for a good night. You can also just watch football at the big screen or play some pool. At daytime only the small street side front of the bar opens. edit
- Sabai Bar, 197 Khao San Rd (at the mouth of the Sunset Street complex), ☎ +66 2 282-5893, . 08:00–02:00 daily. This Thai and Western bar and restaurant offers a good view on the road. Its interior looks modern and there are many black and white cushions you can sit on. It’s a relaxing place to just sit, relax, and knock back a few beers or cocktails. edit
- Sawasdee House (สวีทตี้ เฮ้าส์), 147 Soi Rambuttri (at the corner of Soi Rambuttri and Chakrabongse Road), ☎ +66 2 281-8138, . 24 hours. Another people-watching spot, this time along Soi Rambuttri. The tables outside are good for conversation and people-watching, and you can smoke sheesha if you wish. You can also sit inside, but talking is harder as the music is very loud. The interior looks nice, with traditional Thai decoration all around. They have plenty of beers and cocktails available, as well as simple Thai dishes to go with them. edit
- Silk Bar (ซิลค์ บาร์ แอนด์ เรสเตอร์รอง), 129-131 Khao San Road (in the middle of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 281-9981, . 06:00–01:00 daily. Every day after dusk, this place starts to get packed with customers who want to have fun till the early night. It is touted as having the best view on the road, but this is not entirely the case. The bar’s location inside a small alley makes it harder to see the road, although the balcony still does a decent job. There is a DJ playing in the evenings, and the music is at a good level, allowing you to talk with other people. They also serve simple Thai dishes. edit
- Suksabai (สุขสบาย เรสเทอรองด์), 96 Rambuttri Rd (opposite Viengtai Hotel), ☎ +66 2 629-0298. 24 hours. Suksabai is touted as a restaurant, and they have a large menu with Thai, grill, and Italian dishes in the 80–130 baht price range. While decent for budget travellers, the real attraction of this place is its outdoor seating. Seats are lined up onto the main road every night, which makes it is a good place to hang out, talk, and watch football on the big screens. Beer and cocktails here are slightly cheaper than on Khao San Road; a large Chang beer costs 80 baht. It’s best to only go inside for the toilet, as its interior is rather uninspiring and messy. edit
- Sunset Bar and Garden Restaurant (สุขสบาย เรสเทอรองด์), 199 Khao San Rd (at the back of the Sunset Street complex), ☎ +66 2 282-5823, . 08:00–02:00 daily. More upclass than the other bar–restaurants around Khao San Road, it is in a little courtyard away from the road, which makes it a nice place to escape from the chaos. The courtyard and the building is in a nice European Mediterranean style, and they have the usual coffee and beer. It is also a good place to eat, with some midrange Thai and international cuisine on offer. There are live music performances from Thursdays to Sundays. edit
- Tak Sura (ตักสุรา), 156/1 Tanao Rd (walk south along Tanao Rd from Ratchadamnoen Klang Road; it will be at the right after about 200 metres, and you have to walk through a small alley first; there's only a Thai sign up), ☎ +66 2 622-0708. 18:00–01:00 daily. While the locals at first weren’t interested in the dingy foreigner ghetto known as Khao San Road, over time it has gained status among Bangkok’s indie and arty types as the place to hang out. Tak Sura is one of those places where the locals go—most of them art students from Silpakorn University. The place is located in a mansion that’s over a hundred years old; but most people just sit outside on the white patio furniture. edit
Bangkok's nightlife has a hard time living up to its notorious reputation — and Khao San Road is no different. While many roadside bars are open 24 hours, nightclubs close at 03:00. The only exception to this rule seems to be Gazebo Club, so many of the Khao San vagabonds go there when the rest of the bunch closes down. You can also hail a cab and go to downtown, as more nightclubs there stay open until the early hours. Always bring your passport as all nightclubs are required to check it at entry.
- Café Democ (คาเฟ่ เดอมอค), 78 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd (near Democracy Monument), ☎ +66 2 622-2571. Tu-Su 11:00-13:00. A sleepy cafe/restaurant at daytime, this place really starts going around 20:00 when the furniture is pushed to the walls and it becomes a nightclub. While unpretentious and laid-back, it is still fun, mostly for the indie crowd that is into hip-hop, house and techno. Unless there's a special event, it doesn't get too crowded as it is slightly off the main thoroughfare. Free entry. edit
- The Club, 123 Khao San Rd (in the middle of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 629-1010, . 11:00-03:00 daily. One of the better clubs on Khao San Road, and you can't miss it, as it has a huge neon purple sign. It is an Ibiza-style club that basically consists of one large room in Italian style. It might feel a bit overdone and pretentious for Western crowds, but Thai locals flock to this place in large numbers. Music styles played are house, electro, techno and trance. Free entry. edit
- Club Culture, Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd (Panfa Leelard Pier, near Wat Ratchanaddaram), ☎ +66 8 9497-8422, . 21:00-02:00 daily. Club Culture was established in 2007 at Si Ayutthaya Road, but moved to its current location in 2010. Its placing is rather odd, far off from Khao San Road in a beautiful four-storey block of abandoned shop houses. It is one of Bangkok's leading clubbing venues, as its three to four separate music rooms serve a variety of music styles at the same time. Not all rooms are necessarily open, it depends on the amount of visitors. It caters to a diverse crowd, including the traditional Khao San indie crowd, but also to those into dance and house music. Entry fee varies, usually 200 baht including one drink. edit
- Gazebo Club (กาซีโบ คัลบ), 44 Chakrabongse Rd (near the Airport Express bus stop), ☎ +66 2 629-0705, . 20:00-06:00 daily. This is the most popular after-hours club of Khao San Road. It stays open way longer than the other clubs, so it really starts to get crowded after 01:00. It has a nice atmosphere, as it is decorated completely in a kind of Moroccan and Arabic setting (including waterpipes). Music is a combination of hip-hop, house, electro and trance. Expect a hefty bill though, as just one Heineken Longneck sets you back 200 baht. Ladies usually get in for free. Entry 300 baht including one drink. edit
- Lava Club, 249 Khao San Rd (in the middle of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 281-6565, . 20:00-03:00 daily. Go down the steps to one of the more modern clubs on the road. The interior is kind of funky, with red "lava" colours making it feel like you've gone beneath the surface of the Earth. If you like R&B and hip hop music, you'll have a blast. Sunday nights are good. Prices of the drinks are lower than the clubs in Sukhumvit and RCA, but higher than elsewhere along Khao San Road. Free entry. edit
- Sanook Bar, 199 Khao San Rd (inside the Sunset Street complex), ☎ +66 2 281-9881, . 18:00-02:00 daily. The feature of this small nightclub is its hip and modern interior with flashy lights and colours. It feels a bit like a VIP room or luxurious lounge bar, as it is more about chilling on seats and sofas than it is about dancing. There's a pool table and a live performing DJ. The window offers a nice view of the mansion that houses Starbucks. Free entry. edit
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
|| 300 baht
|| 1,000 baht to 2,500 baht
|| Over 2,500 baht
Khao San Road is Bangkok’s main backpacker drag. Cheap new guest houses spring up and disappear on a monthly basis, so accommodation is hard to recommend, but there is always something available for a small budget. As hipsters and upper-class tourists have started to visit, it becoming an area that has accommodation for every price class.
Be aware, however, that the cheapest rooms can still be very grim, sometimes without windows, and with a buzzing fluorescent light which attracts bugs. And you will be very disappointed indeed if you are expecting a nice soft mattress with a big duvet!
Before checking in to an unfamiliar place, always ask to see a room first, and don’t be afraid to test the fan or the air-conditioning if you think you will need it. Some Khao San Road guest houses do not accept Thai guests, or any extra guests at all in some cases. Do note that there is loud music on the street at night, so if you want a quieter environment, find a guesthouse on the adjacent Soi Rambuttri or Rambuttri alley.
Typical upper budget room for the area
Most backpackers head straight for Khao San Road, as it has by far the cheapest accommodation in all of Bangkok. Don’t have high hopes on luxury if you’re staying here; most of these places are dark, dingy, and unclean, and if you're unlucky, you might have to spend the night with bedbugs. Also keep in mind that anything on Khao San Road itself will be loud, and anything with exterior windows will get hot.
Try walking a block or two off Khao San proper to find something a little quieter. Soi Rambuttri, the small street past the police station, has reasonable guest houses, though it can still be loud in the evenings. The street gets darker and quieter as it wraps around the temple grounds of Wat Chana Songkhram, where you can find some quiet guest houses. Sam Sen Road and the surrounding area is another escape from the noise and chaos, with some cheap guest houses at a further distance of the action.
Soi Rambuttri is cheaper, quieter and more pleasant than Khao San.
- Amarin Inn (อัมรินทร์อิน), 96 Trok Surau Chakrabongse (from Santichaiprakarn Park, walk to Phra Sumen Road, then pass the 7-Eleven and you’ll see the Amarin Inn sign on the right. It is opposite the department of industrial works.), ☎ +66 2 282-2796 ([email protected]), . It is down a long alley—far from the noise of the main street, but only a few minutes’ walk from the action. It has fairly clean and spacious rooms of an older style, all with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Guests are allowed onto the roof to look at the Bangkok skyline, a rarity in the area. Wi-fi is available on all floors, and there is a free Internet terminal. 440–1,000 baht. edit
- Nitan Hostel Khaosan, 190/09 Khaosan Rd (Khaosan Road), ☎ +66 95 498 1441 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Sporting a stylish design, cushy dorms and helpful staff, Nitan Hostel is one of the best hostels that literally located on Khaosan road, tucked away in a small alleyway, you are only footsteps away from the action but still secluded enough that you can sleep. Not a party hostel but easy to meet people for a solo traveler. 350–500 baht. edit
- TALES Khaosan, 88 Chakrabongse Road (Khaosan Road), ☎ +66 95 498 1441 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Not only a good coffee place but TALES Khaosan is also a great hostel. Providing mixed dormitories and private room with shared bathroom. Great facilities with USB socket in bed and in locker! Located just around the corner of Khaosan road tucked in alley that surround by good restaurants. Quiet and great for sleeping but still closed to Khaosan road. 350–500 baht. edit
- Green House (กรีนเฮ้าส์), 84 Rambuttri Rd (right next to Merry V Guesthouse), ☎ +66 8 6617-7717, . A simple and functional guest house with 80 rooms close to Khao San Road. Some rooms are cleaner than others, so inspect before checking in. There’s a wide range of rooms, including single, double, and triple rooms with either fan or air-conditioning. Beside a guest house, it is also a restaurant, travel agency and Internet café. 410–900 baht. edit
- K.S. House (เคเอส เฮ้าส์), 133 Phra Sumen Rd (next to Siam Commercial Bank), ☎ +66 2 629-1763, . Another budget guest house that offers 55 standard rooms with either a fan or air-conditioning. They have a great café/restaurant with nice food set on a rooftop. Breakfast not included even though the website says so. Also, the free Wi-Fi does not reach most rooms. Have Internet terminals in the lobby, although these cost extra. 350–520 baht. edit
- Lamphu House (ลำพู เฮ้าส์), 75 Soi Rambuttri (in the middle of Soi Rambuttri), ☎ +66 2 629-5861(-2), . Lamphu House is a resort-style guest house. Even its cheapest rooms have bamboo beds and rattan lamps, giving it a modern and airy feel. Cheap rooms only have a fan, shared bathrooms and no windows, while the more expensive rooms have air-conditioning, ensuite and balconies overlooking the courtyard. A big plus is that you can store your backpack here for about 10 baht a day. You don’t need to be a hotel guest to use this service. 400–980 baht. edit
- NapPark Hostel, 5 Tani Rd (near the Tani Road and Chakrabongse Road intersection), ☎ +66 2 282-2324, . Good place to stay for backpackers as it has a Thai-style homey decoration with Thai cushions and garden surroundings. Rooms are dorms, but the bathrooms are among the cleanest of Khao San Road and there is free high-speed wi-fi throughout the building. The English-speaking staff are really nice and ready to help you 24 hours a day. You can chill out at their chic and cozy coffee bar. 480–750 baht per person. (N13 41.576,E100 35.970) edit
- New Joe Guest House (นิวโจ เกสท์เฮ้าส์), 81 Trok Mayom (in the middle of Trok Mayom), ☎ +66 2 281-2948, . It’s a basic guest house with simple rooms with small attached bathroom. It has a good restaurant that serves Thai and Western food and is set in a garden environment. The place is well managed and fairly clean. There is also a very reliable travel agent, Internet, laundry service and free (but slow and unreliable) wi-fi in the restaurant. Wi-fi on your room is only available if you pay for it. 350–550 baht. edit
- Sawasdee Welcome Inn (เวลคัม สวัสดี อินน์), 5-7 Trok Rong Mai (from Chakrabongse Road, walk into Trok Kasap and take a left into Trok Rong Mai), ☎ +66 2 629-3308, . This is a decent guest house that is quiet, as it is off the busy Soi Rambuttri, but still close enough so you can walk there. Rooms are dark, and you get nothing more than a bed and a sink. No English-speaking staff. 300–880 baht. edit
- Sitdhi Guest Hhouse, 2 Rambutri Soid (use shortcut through Izraeli travel agency from Chakrapong rd. to southeast corner of Soi Rambutri), ☎ +66 22823090, . Basic accommodation with single fan rooms with shared bathroom (150 baht) and double fan rooms with shared bathroom (300 baht), private bathroom (350 baht) and with air-con (500 baht), all rooms no deposit, but be careful about noise upstairs if room has window, windowless double fan room on the ground floor was actually much more quiet than air-con room upstairs. Bathrooms are clean, wooden rooms are OK. There is free wifi provided but with weak signal you can reach only in restaurant, guest house has also travel agency (overpriced), laundry service (30 baht), left luggage and netcafe. Using toilet after checkout cost 20 baht. 150–500 baht. edit
- Central Guest House, 61 Tranao Rd (Located at other side of Burger King), ☎ +66 022820667. Simple guesthouse, fan room 150 thb / double 170 thb. Wifi and seperate shower, free computer with internet. Has few cats!! (New Central Guest House is different place, more expensive). 150 thb. edit
- PC Guest House, 69 Tranao Rd (Located at other side of Burger King). Fan room 150 thb. Located in inner road. 150 thb. edit
- Sweety Guest House, 49 Ratchadamneon Rd, ☎ +66 2802191. Single room 200 thb / double 260 thb / tripple rooms 200 thb. edit
There are several midrange hotels in the area, with swimming pools, mini-bars, etc. Midrange covers a wide spectrum, from decent three-star hotels to upper-class guest houses. Phra Athit Road is a good place to start looking; its location right beside the Chao Phraya River made it home to some more luxury hotels.
- Buddy Boutiqueinn Hotel (บั๊ดดี้ บูติกอิน), 66 Chakkapong Road (Taladyod, Pranakorn, Bangkok, 10200 Thailand), ☎ +66 0 2 629 1177 (fax: + 66 0 2 629 0440). Buddy Boutique Inn is perfectly situated in Khaosan area which is located in the historic district of Bangkok and within walking distance of all the great cultural temples, museums, monuments, Thai palaces including Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of The Emerald Buddha), The Grand Palace, Wat Pho (The Temple of The Reclining Buddha), The Democracy Monument, The Golden Mount, Rama 8 Bridge. It is also surrounded by loads of activities including shopping, dining, travelling and nightlife on the sleepless “Khaosan Road”. edit
- Bhiman Inn (พิมาน อินน์), 55 Phra Sumen Rd (in the middle of Phra Sumen Road), ☎ +66 2 282-6171(-5), . This boutique hotel, with a rather odd logo, is a sister hotel of the Viengtai and is a bit cheaper. It is a 15-minute walk north of Khao San Road. Staff friendly, good swimming pool, but poor breakfast offering very little choice. 1,200–1,300 baht. edit
- Cha Cha Villa (โรงแรม วิลล่า ชาช่า), 36 Tani Rd (near the intersection with Chakrabongse Road), ☎ +66 2 280-1025(-7), . Nice-looking boutique hotel that is especially worth it for its amazing jungle gardens that include a waterfall and a pool. It also has a nice garden restaurant. Rooms have all the amenities, including air-conditioning, cable TV, ensuite bathroom and coffee/tea facilities. The views are a bit deceiving, though. Do not leave valuables in your room, as you have to be careful with the cleaning staff. There are also no lockers available. 1,450–2,750 baht. edit
- Diamond House (ไดมอนด์ เฮาส์), 4 Sam Sen Rd, ☎ +66 2 629-4008, . A chic boutique hotel in the quieter Sam Sen area. The cheaper-end rooms are not that big and do not have windows. The rooms are clean, though, and have cozy Thai atmosphere. Staff is also very helpful if you have questions or problems. A tip is to book this one on their website as their walk-in rates are much higher. 1,000–2,000 baht. edit
- Khaosan Palace (ข้าวสาร พาเลซ อินน์), 139 Khao San Rd (in the middle of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 282-0578, . A fairly basic guest house right in the middle of the action with an impressive Thai-style entrance and rooftop pool. The rooms are a bit on the small side, but always clean and include cable television, cold or hot shower, and air-conditioning or fan. The pictures on their website do seem nicer than they are in reality, though. Big downside of this hotel is the noise from nearby cafés. Expect excessive noise till about 04:00 if your room is at the road side. 1,000 baht. edit
- New Siam River Side (นิวสยาม ริเวอร์ไซด์), 21 Phra Athit Rd (opposite Peachy Guesthouse), ☎ +66 2 629-3535, . A great location on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, with the express boat pier and the Khao San Road area closeby. If you're willing to pay extra for it, make sure that you actually book a river-view room, as many of the other ones face the road. Rooms are quiet, clean, and just good. The breakfast is big and varied, and served buffet-style beside the pool and river. Definitely worth it. The attached restaurant can also be visited by non-guests and mains cost 100 baht or less. 1,590–2,590 baht. edit
- New World City Hotel (โรงแรม นิวเวิลด์ ซิตี้), 2 Sam Sen Rd (immediately take a right after crossing the canal at Chakrabongse Road), ☎ +66 2 281-5596, . This hotel is for those on a lower midrange budget. Rooms are okay, and some of them have a fun view over the canal. Some rooms are a bit dated. It’s only a short walk to Khao San Road, but is still far enough not to be annoyed by noise. 1,200–4,500 baht. edit
- Rikka Inn (ริกก้า อินท์), 259 Khao San Rd (at Burger King side of Khao San Road), ☎ +66 2 282-7511, . New hotel right on Khao San Road with good rooms in a modern style. They have air-conditioning and private bathroom, but not much more. The swimming pool on the roof is an attraction, but only open from 10:00. Small and large safe deposit boxes available at 20–40 baht per day. The obligatory 1,000-baht deposit is uncool. 1,150–1,450 baht. edit
- Sam Sen Sam Place, 48 Samsen rd., Soi Samsen 3, Banglumpoo, Pranakorn dist. , Bangkok 10200, Thailand (Their website has a printable map that you can show to the taxi driver.), ☎ +66 (02) 6287067 ([email protected]), . This guest house is very clean, comfortable and well organized. There is a mix of private and shared bathrooms. The staff answer emails promptly. The neighbourhood feels like a small village in the heart of Bangkok. Very close to Khao San Road with many good restaurants close by. Easy walking distance to major sites and river taxi station. Breakfast is included. Laundry facilities are available on-site. Wi-Fi is included. The family is very friendly and helpful. 590-2500 baht. edit
- Sleep Withinn ("สลีพ), 76 Rambuttri road, phra nakorn (100 metres from Rambuttri road.), ☎ +66(0)2 280 3070, . It is down the rambuttri road, right on the heart of entertainment, bars, pubs and restaurants and only a few minutes’ walk to Khao San Road. Room are clean and spacious size with luxury decoration, all with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Guests are allowed onto the roof-top pool to look at the view of Bangkok old town, Wi-fi is available on all floors, and Internet Center, Tour Desk and 7 Eleven iare available at ground Floor 800–1,500 baht. edit
- Banglumpoo Place (บางลำพูเพลส), 84-86 Phrasumen rd, Chanasongkram, Phranakorn Bangkok, 10200 Thailand, ☎ +66 22829632, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 14:00. The apartments are situated at walking distance from the center of the town and near Khaosan Road (5 min). 1200 THB and above. (13.762641,100.497294) edit
- Buddy Lodge (บัดดี้ ลอดจ์), BF, Buddy's Shopping Plaza, 265 Khao San Rd (at the Burger King side of Khao San Road), ☎ +66(0)2 629 4400. This hotel is special as it is one of the few higher budget hotels right on Khao San Road. Rooms are good with fridge, TV, phone, and air-conditioning. It has a great rooftop pool, balcony, room service, free wi-fi and bar. 2,400–3,900 baht. edit
- Baan Chantra, 120/1 Sam Sen Rd (at the southern end of Sam Sen Road), ☎ +66 2 628-6988(-9), . Baan Chantra is an upmarket hotel in a beautiful Thai historic home dating from 1936. The front rooms overlook the busy road, but it is relatively quiet at night. The rooms are spotless with ensuites, air-conditioning, mini-bar and a full breakfast. The staff are very helpful. 2,700–4,500 baht. edit
- Chillax Resort, 274 Samsen Soi 2 Phra Nakhon Bangkok 10200, Thailand (soi 2 of Sam Sen Road), ☎ +66(0)2 629 4400, . Chillax Resort is a romantic hotel located near khao san road and Bangkok tourist attractions. All Hotel Room offer private ensuites-jacuzzi/whirlpool, Satellite TV, mini-bar Phone, Air-Conditioning and Internet Wi-Fi. Hotel's Facilities offer Pool, Bar and Restaurant. Highest Standard Hotel in phra nakhon district with friendly staffs. 1,900–4,500 baht. edit
- Nouvo City Hotel, 2 Sam Sen Soi 2 (right next to the New World City Hotel, across from May Kaidee's 2), ☎ +66 2 282-7500, . Arguably the best hotel in the area. A new boutique hotel with very nice rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, complete spa, free wi-fi for guests and a halal restaurant. Buffet breakfast is included with the price. 2,000–7,500 baht. edit
- Viengtai Hotel (โรงแรม เวียงใต้), 42 Rambutti Rd (at the road that runs parallel to Khao San Road in the north), ☎ +66 2 280-6434(-45), . Is a popular choice for Thais visiting Bangkok. Rooms are large and have air-conditioning, but are not really inspiring and the ones facing the road can have noise coming from the bars. The big pool is a nice way to cool down in the afternoon. The staff is superbly efficient and friendly. The breakfast is superb, offering many choices among different cuisines. 2,400–5,200 baht. edit
There are plenty of places around Khao San that do your laundry. The general tariff is around 25–40 baht per kilo, and it’s ready to be picked up the next day. Look around, as some laundromats even offer same-day pickup if you bring it in before 15:00. Be aware that socks and underwear like to escape... Especially from the elderly laundry lady in Chana Songkhram.
The Rambuttri Village Inn offers luggage storage for 20 baht per day.
However, many visitors have had designer clothes "disappear" when using a laundry service. If you have something which you don't want to lose, either wash it yourself in your sink, or point it out to the washer lady and make sure that she writes it on your receipt. Things of value can and will go missing if you are not vigilant. Thai people can often recognise Western designer labels - that $100 t-shirt you bought in New York will almost certainly prove to be too tempting to someone who earns $5 a day busting their gut doing laundry so be careful!
If you don't stay at the road itself, a toilet can be hard to find. There is a reasonably clean one inside Buddy’s Shopping Plaza—walk all the way in and take a right before entering Brick Bar. Price is 5 baht, but the queues can be long at popular evenings. Another public restroom can be found all the way inside Sunset Street, passing Starbucks on the left. Entry 5 baht. You can also try Burger King at the eastern end of the road.
- WearEver Laundromat, 115 Sam Sen Rd (opposite Suksawad Hotel), ☎ +66 8 6504-7122 ([email protected]), . M–F 10:00–late evening, Sa–Su late afternoon–late evening. An interesting place to do your laundry, as it is also a kind of bar, art gallery, movie theatre and what-have-you. Plenty of locals, expats and backpackers come here just to chill out. Free wi-fi for customers. 30 baht/kg. edit
Never enter a tuk-tuk if someone else is trying to persuade you
Khao San Road is the worst district in Bangkok when it comes to scams and annoyances.
Tuk-tuk drivers will often quote you a price that is the same, or higher, than an air-conditioned metered taxi.
Bargain hard with tuk-tuk drivers. Any person offering to help you in getting a tuk-tuk will quote you a higher price to cover their commission.
Be highly skeptical of anyone telling you that your intended destination is currently closed. If someone offers you a free whole-day tuk-tuk ride, smile faintly and keep on walking. If you agree to this, you probably will get a free tuk-tuk ride all day, but the only thing you will see are dozens of shops where you get tricked into buying worthless gems, while the driver gets a commission. Never enter a tuk-tuk if someone else is trying to get you into one. A recent scam involves cheap transport offers to discos, massage parlours, etc., late at night. The unwary who take up these offers will find themselves dropped off on a quiet street (shortcut), where the tuk-tuk has accomplices waiting to assault and rob any gullible tourists. Better pull over a taxi yourself.
Beware of private bus companies specially Network travel and tour located in Ramboo Tree around Khao San Road offering direct trips from Bangkok to other cities with "VIP buses." Some are reputable and will be able to provide you with a great deal, but many of them are shopfronts for scam artists and dodgy services. The so-called direct VIP trips may end up changing three or four uncomfortable minibuses to the destination, and the 10- to 11-hour trip may as well turn into 18 hours. Also, you are likely to be hit for extra charges for various dubious services along the way, and many operators will intentionally slow down the journey so you arrive in the middle of the night and can be coaxed into choosing their guest house—invariably the crappiest place in town, which just happens to pay the agency the highest commissions. Worst of all, since you have paid in advance, you have no recourse of any kind when this happens. Especially trips to Siem Reap in Cambodia are known for this. You can ask around Khao San Road, as a lot of people start and end their journeys there, and use an agent that another traveller has used without any hassles. But it is probably a better idea to do the trips independently using public BKS buses from the main bus terminals.
The police station, located at the Western end of Khao San Road, could be a valuable resource for travellers in trouble. However, extreme caution should be exercised when asking them for advice with regards to booking tickets—they will often arrange a tuk-tuk to an “approved agency” for you (which seems great and normally a better deal than you would be able to arrange), but the prices offered by the agency they send you to may be 2 or 3 times the price you could get elsewhere. Often, the tuk-tuk driver, on seeing you come out of the first agency without having bought a ticket, will take you to a second agency “for no extra,” only to have a similar price quoted.
Also, visitors should be aware that the Thai police generally will require a 'fee' to get the ball rolling on an investigation. This is normal practice in Thailand. You should also be aware that a lot of CCTV cameras in Thailand are conveniently broken, so it is highly unlikely that your crime will ever be solved. Best to be safe and avoid something bad happening in the first place.
Be sure to read the Stay safe section of the main Bangkok article for other scams you should look out for.
Internet cafés are rivaled only by tuk-tuks for sheer ubiquity on Khao San Road. Almost any guest house has at least some form of Internet available. Sawasdee Bangkok Inn (สวัสดี บางกอก อินน์) has three computers set up that cost 10 baht for 15 minutes of surfing. It is a short walk through an alley in the middle of Khao San Road. The standard rate in the area is about 1 baht for 1 minute. Virtually all are set up for Skype and plain old international phone calls. Be aware that some cafés have applied limitations on their terminals, such as on printing documents and saving digital files. Check whether this is the case before paying.
You can send (and even receive) mail at one of the area’s two post offices. Ratchadamnoen Post Office is just a small walk through the alley behind Burger King. Banglamphubon Post Office is not far either, located in front of Wat Bowonniwet. From the eastern side of Khao San Road, just follow Tanao Road in northward direction and take a right at the roundabout.
Famous sites within walking distance from Khao San Road include the Grand Palace (with Wat Phra Kaew), Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Sanam Luang, Wat Ratchanaddaram, and the Golden Mount. See Rattanakosin for details. There are also some more adventurous options:
- For a fun walk, hike to the Royal Barges National Museum at the other side of the river in Thonburi. The walking tour goes over the Pinklao Bridge, through a typical neighbourhood (follow the signs) and ends with the sublime royal barges.
- Only on weekends, the Taling Chan Floating Market in Thonburi can be reached by bus 79 from Ratchadamnoen Klang Road. Ask a local where to get off, or you might get lost.