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Khao San Road

Khao San Road is one of the most famous streets in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It first hit fame in the 80′s, and peaked once again after it made its film debut in ‘The Beach” (2000). Khao San Road is known to be the meeting point for most travellers venturing here seeking fun times fun times in busy and bustling Bangkok and South East Asia.Khao San Road in Bangkok Khao San Road is in the western Bangkok district of Banglamphu. Backpackers make a beeline to this location, and not only to enjoy the nightlife, but to find affordable accommodation, which range from a bed on a rooftop for a mere $1 a night, a cheap bed in a hostel, to a 3 star hotetl rooms with breakfast for just $10 a night. Most adventurers use Khao San as a starting point, before heading off to find themselves, others or a once in a lifetime experience.

Khao San Road in Bangkok – what’s it all about?

Khao San Road in Bangkok is the newbie backpacker’s initiation into discovering a turbulent and fascinating Bangkok. Though, after a few nights in Bangkok, you’ll want to move away from the intensity of the city, and lucky for you, coaches leave daily for major tourist destinations in Thailand, such as Chiang Mai in the North, to Ko Pha Ngan in the South. Low cost airlines will take you to neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietname, but if you hate flying, inexpensive travel agents can arrange visas and transport.

Khao San Market in Bangkok

A Short History of Khao San Road

“Khaosan” translates as “milled rice”, therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, Khao San Road was actually a rice trading market. It then also became home to monks who settled here and performed their spiritual duties in this part of the city.  Tourists stumbled upon this location back in the 80′s, and since then, it has become an inevitable pit stop on every backpacker’s route, otherwise known as the world famous ‘backpacker ghetto’.

Aside from the cheap accommodation, Khao San offers handcrafted items, paintings, clothes, fresh local fruit and veg, pirated DVDs, second-hand books and a multitude of handy backpacker items that will come in useful.

Khaosan shops sell handcrafts, paintings, clothes, local fruits, pirated CDs, DVDs andsecond-hand books, plus many useful backpacker items. During the late evening, the streets turns into bars and music is played, salesmen sell barbecued insects which serve as an exotic snack for tourists and there are also local people making advertisements forping pong shows.

There are several pubs and bars, where backpackers meet to discuss their travels. The area is internationally known as a center of dancing, partying, and just prior to the traditional Thai New Year (Songkran festival) of 13 April to 15 April, water splashing that usually turns into a huge water fight. One Thai writer has described Khaosan as “a short road that has the longest dream in the world.”[2]

A Buddhist temple under royal patronage, the centuries old Wat Chana Songkram, is directly opposite Khaosarn Road to the west, while the area to the northwest contains an Islamic community and several small mosques.

Khao San

Khao San Road backpacker’s basics

Because Khao San Road is tourist center of the Bangkok, you can experience both amazing and positive stuff and bad and negative while circling there. It is quite common that you can become a victim of pickpocketing and taxi scams, which are quite common in this part of the city. If you are walking around alone, you should always pay close attention to all of your belongings. Although there are numerous local taxis, called tuk-tuks, just waiting for you with offer of affordable ride, make sure to go for a taxi with taximeter. Any other ride will cost you far more than what has been offered as an affordable and cheap ride. Tuk Tuk in Bangkok Tourists are easy prays for local sellers. Avoid temptation of “affordable” silver, gold, or branded clothes-it will most likely turn out to be a cheap fake. Affordable buses that drive from Khao San Road to Chiang Mai, or Thai islands, are also highly possible locations for theft. It is no wonder that driver’s colleagues look through backpacker’s luggage while they are asleep, so make sure to keep your money and documents with you. Despite the fact that there is police station on the western corner of Khao San Road, don’t expect too much help from the police officers if you get mugged-thieves will be long gone when you come to report the incident, so it is far better to be safe than sorry.

How to reach Khao San Road in Bangkok

Although Khao San Road world popularity, it is not as easy to get there as you might expect. Unfortunately, there is no subway or train line that goes anywhere near this infamous location. Some Hostels on Khao San Road offer a minibus service to the hostel from the airport, you usually get a fair deal with these. Taxi drivers will use every opportunity to charge too much for a ride to Khao San Road. This is the reason why we suggest you to avoid tuk-tuk or any taxi that doesn’t have built-in taxi-meter so look for taxi that has one. Riding in a tuk-tuk can be an interesting experience we recommend every backpacker should at least try them once.. We have discovered that older taxi drivers are more honest and more prone to use taxi meter than the younger drivers, who are primarily looking to overcharge foreign tourists. If taxi is parked on the side of the road, it is better to avoid it and look for the one on the go, with red light on the dashboard. This red light indicated availability-and parked taxies usually just prey on inexperienced backpackers. There are different taxi companies operating in Bangkok. It is better to look for shiny new ones, because older ones don’t have functional air-condition, which makes a big difference in hot and humid Bangkok.

Reaching Khao San Road from the Airport:

Because Airport Express bus service has finished serving at the end of May 2011, you simply have to choose a taxi if you want to go to Khao San Road. This will cost you over 300 baht. Thai Airport It can be quite complicated to use bus in the Bangkok, and as already mentioned, Khao San Road is not on direct path of any bus line. However, some bus lines come next to it, so you can connect it with other type of transportation and reach it in the end. Here are some bus line options:

  • Bus line 2 goes from Sukhumvit Road to SanamLuang, passingRatchdamnoenKlang Road on the way, and this is very close to Khao San Road. This bus line is handy for connections to the Skytrain, the metro and the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai), while also passing Pratunam. Bus ticket costs 6-7 baht and is on 24/7.
  • Bus line 3 is air-conditoned and goes to the Northern Bus Terminal, passing on its wayChakrabongse Road, which interconnects with the western side of Khao San Road. The ride costs 7 baht and it will take you about 30 minutes to get to Khao San Road.
  • Bus line 15 will take you from theRatchadamnoenKlang Road, which is very near Khao San Road to Siam Square.
  • Bus line 511 goes all over the city, starting from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) over Sukhumvit and RatchadamnoenKlang Road, which is near Khao San Road, going to the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai). However, have in mind that only ordinary (non-express) buses pass by RatchdamnoenKlang Road and Khao San Road, while the express bus (which has the yellow sign) doesn’t go that way!

Getting to Khao San Road by Boat:

Boats run over the Chao Phraya River which is on the west side of Bangkok. This boat ride doesn’t cost much and it is quite a pleasure, because you will be sightseeing along the way.In order to get to the Khao San Road, get of the boat on theThaPhraAthit port, just before the park, where you will also see a white fort on the right side. When you cross the street and go through a little alley, you will reach the main road with SoiRambuttri. The ride will cost you under 20 baht and will last around half an hour. The boat is also a great option if you are staying in the Khao San Road and go around the city from there. This way you will quickly and easily get to Silom and Rattanakosin. You have to go backwards over above mentioned way, to get to ThaPhraAthit port, one of the most important piers that connect western part of the Bangkok with rest of it. Other important piers are Tha Chang, ThaTien and Rachawongse. All the lines going from these piers will take you to Sathorn pier, from where you can go on Skytrain and reach every other part of the city: Silom, Sukhumvit, Siam Square and Phahonyothin. The fastest way to go from the Khao San Road to above mentioned interesting locations, is probably the SaenSaep Express boat line. The closest pier to Khao San Road where this express boat line stops isPanfaLeelard, which is close to the WatRatchanadda and Golden Mount. On WatRatchanadda you can get on the Golden Mount Line which will take you directly to Pratunam. From the Pratunam you can go to the other side of the city, up to north, northeast, to visit WatSriboonreung. Ride from PanfaLeelard to Pratunamwill last about 20 minutes and will cost you 11 baht. On this trip, you will be able to see TalatBobae, which is one of the colorful Bangkok markets, SapanCharoenpol, Baan KruanNua, SapanHua Chang, before you reach the Pratunam. Another amazing backpacking opportunity to get introduced to Bangkok bustling life especially in the evening is to buy a ticket to the “Bangkok Tram City Night Tour”. This tram line travels around Ratanakosin area circling around nine most famous tourist attractions, enabling you special experience of getting to know the city, and sparing yourself from troubles of looking into it alone, without guide. Bangkok Tram City Night Tour

Article Name
Khao San Road Guide for Backpackers -
Samantha ilbassa
A description and guide with tips and advice for travellers who want to visit or are visiting Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand

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