Bangkok’s Khao San Road: A BACKPACKER’S HAVEN
Good music, great cuisine, rich culture and not that expensive – That’s Bangkok. A popular destination for backpackers and tourists, Bangkok has rapidly become one of the best places to experience life.
Bangkok’s Khao San Road has been a paradise for backpackers for the last 20 years. This short street offers a gorgeous scenery, a never-ending nightlife, great places to visit and many long-term memories. If you plan to take a trip anytime soon, this is the place you should consider visiting.
A little background info about Khao San Road
Khao San Road is a short 410 meter street in the center of Bangkok in Thailand. It was constructed in 1892. The name “Khaosan” means “milled rice” since many years ago the street was a major rice market. Today this street has become worldwide famous under the term “a backpacker’s heaven”.
A key aspect of this street is its diversity of travelers. Some of them include high-school graduates on gap year travels, university students, young Japanese, Israelis out of military service, volunteers from different organizations and more. Backpackers from all around the world have come to this popular destination for the last 20 years. They meet at various cafes and bars and discuss their travels. This road is very crowded and the nights are colorfully lit by the lights.
Alongside this road are cheap hotels and guesthouses, restaurants and shops, travel agents who will help you get visas for countries such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and more. It is described as the center of the backpacking universe. People say the best way to reach this road is by bus since they claim that taxi drivers try to scam them. Another attraction you can find near the street a waterfront boardwalk. You can take a boat to visit the temples along the Chao Phraya River banks.
Nightlife in Khao San
The dynamic part of the Khao San Road is its nightlife. The bars, clubs and cafes are combined with fascinating tales of travelers from all over the world. It is the perfect get-away place for people who need a break from the daily routine or for simple party-lovers.
The drinks are cheap, roadside bars sell cocktails and the clubs play various types of music. The Club and Lava Bar are places that offer amazing electronic music. The Brick Bar is considered to be one of the best bars in Bangkok’s Khao San Road. Not only backpackers but also travelers from different parts of the world. It has live bands playing different types of happy and upbeat music. It is impossible not to get up and dance while singing along to the songs.
There are different regular bands, but the house band is believed to be the best. In this bar, prices are a little higher than others but the entry is free on weekdays. Adthere the 13th is another popular bar which is full 7 days a week. It offers live blues music and you can find the cheapest beers here. It is located five minutes from the bottom of Khao San Road and you can easily get there by walking. The nightlife doesn’t stop in this wonderful street, so don’t expect much sleep if you ever decide to visit it.
Food in Khao San
You have a wide range of choices for eating in Khao San Road. You can find spicy Thai food, Indian curries, Western dishes, one-of-a-kind street stall food and of course McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, and Subway. Eating in Khao San Road is an experience all on its own. After a tiring day of shopping and sightseeing or a long night of partying a little snack goes a long way.
The best places for breakfast are the food stalls just off Khao San Road, on Soi Rambuttri. They are located in an alley and offer a variety of noodle and soup preparations which contain different but delicious spices and flavors. The Chomp Café is perfect if you need a sandwich or some pasta. The Brick Bar also offers food, as well as the Khaosan Corner Coffee & Bar.
Thai cuisine is known worldwide for its spices. Some of the most famous cuisine dishes you must try when visiting Khao San Road are spring rolls and pad Thai. They are among the cheapest dishes you can buy because they are very popular but also very delicious. Another type of dish you can find in food stalls is jok, which is porridge with different ingredients based on your choice. Fruit shakes are also common to buy in stalls along this street.
Accommodation in Khao San
Khao San Road is worldwide famous for its cheap accommodation. This backpacking heaven offers travelers many different possibilities and choices to spend a night or two. You can find many budget hotels and guesthouses which also offer a restaurant or even an outdoor pool.
The thing you need to consider is that Khao San can be very loud because of its dynamic nightlife. Sometimes the best option is to find accommodation in a hotel or hostel a little further from this road if you want peace and quiet. What Khao San is also known for is the very cheap lodging.
It is a fact that Thailand is fairly cheap, so know what you are paying for. A few extra dollars for better services won’t be that bad. In fact, they can contribute to a better traveling or backpacking experience in Khao San Road.
What to visit and do in Khao San
Besides partying and eating, you definitely would want to explore the beautiful Khao San Road and other attractions not so far from it.
One place recommended to visit is the Bangkok National Museum. In it, you can find the largest collection of Thai art artifacts in all of Thailand. It is located on Na Phrothat road and is open from 9 am – 4 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.
The Grand Palace is something you must visit if you ever find yourself in Bangkok. It is also considered the city’s most famous landmark. It was built in 1782 and for about 150 years was the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government.
If you feel like shopping, you have the roadside shops of the Thanon Khao San Market. You can find all sorts of shirts, purses, DVDs, fake IDs and also fake merchandise. One thing to keep in mind is that you can bargain for better deals. You could pay only 3 dollars for fake Ray Bans if you need trendy sunglasses on the go.
Wat Mahathat is also a must-see tourist attraction. Even if you’re just a backpacker passing by, you need to visit it. It’s the largest monastic order and Vipassana Meditation center in Thailand. It is an important center for the study of Buddhism and meditation and you can even find some programs in English.
If you ever decide to go on a backpacking trip, don’t forget to put Bangkok’s Khao San Road on your checklist. While being Bangkok’s biggest tourist attraction, this busy and vibrant part of the city will give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Don’t forget to think about getting travel insurance as well. Although Bangkok is a fun land to visit, anything can go wrong. If you are a backpacker, you might want to purchase travel insurance to help you compensate for any travel delays or misfortunes. If you plan to travel by plane and happen to lose your luggage, travel insurance will usually cover the cost for delayed or lost bags, so you won’t have to spend all of your party money on toothpaste and new clothes. With that being said, you can pack your bags and have a fun trip to Thailand to visit the dynamic Khao San Road for an experience you will never forget.