Khao San – Love it or Hate it?

Some people love it while some people don’t. Khao San is where a lot of first time travellers end up whenever they go to Bangkok. This street will forever be part of backpacker’s history. It’s unimaginable how people have been able to packed so many guesthouses, shops, restaurants, bars, travel agencies and so many other things in this street.

Business brought about by the tourism industry of Thailand seems to be flourishing and whatever you see in Khao San seems to be spreading towards the neighbouring streets such as Soi Rambuttri and others.

Here are some of the things that you’ll commonly see in Khao San!

Khao San - Love it or Hate it

Ronald Mcdonald greeting you “Sawasdee Krap”

khao san
Leather goods, tshirts, caps, slippers, shoes, souvenirs and all sort of goods being sold on the street.

khao san
Yup, almost everything, including IDs!

khao san
You can also have your first tattoo here, or maybe your 3rd, 4th…

khao san
Or have your hair braided…

khao san
And don’t miss the Pad Thai for as low as 25Baht!

khao san
And watch a street performer while enjoying your dinner…

khao san
When you get tired from all of it, grab a book…

khao san
And enjoy reading it while having a massage…

mobile bank
And before you go back to your room, get some cash so you could do it all over again… LOL!

But seriously, what makes me like Khao San is the vibrant energy coming from the people I’ve met. I remember when I first got to Khao San, I find it dirty and noisy. But as soon as I took some time to meet other travellers I was amazed from everything I’ve heard and learned. It was there when I first met people who travelled overland from Beijing to Bangkok. It was there where I first heard overland adventures to different parts of the world. It was like a gathering of people with the same passion and interest. It was nostalgic.

But as time goes by, I find myself retreating to nearby streets which are quieter but just a short walking distance to Khao San. My favorite is the hostel near Santichai Phrakarn Park. Far from the bustling crowds but at the same time still accessible from the crazy street of Khao San.


  1. On my first trip to Thailand, I made sure to check out Khao San Road and even stayed at a guesthouse in a soi off KSR. It’s… interesting. Not my scene, but I do get why backpackers like it there.

  2. why do I find myself missing this place, when all we did was hope on and off. Funny how we always stayed here but never made it to the Palace…

  3. JODYxBUFFY says:

    You forgot to mention those loud idiot farangs who like to walk about shirtless or in the skimpiest of tops and skirts. Other than that, it is good for cheap food and onward transportaton tickets.

  4. We were brought there by our BKK-based friends but I didn’t really enjoy it. It’s like the hangout of the jologs na farangs, for lack of a better description. Worth experiencing once though for the bug snacks, etc.and the vibe but I wouldn’t go back there. I’m not really a shopper but I think Chatuchak is more interesting.

  5. Definitely love it no matter how chaotic it is! Like Lois, never made it to the palace also.

  6. I think staying here for a night or at least visiting it once is part of the whole process of experiencing the different personalities of Bangkok.

  7. Yeah, shopping! That’s what I am talking about. Also, trippy to see Ronald McDonald doing a Thai pose. How come we don’t have something like that in Manila? I wonder what the national pose would be though.

  8. Khao San is one of my fave places in Bangkok, too. You can get there anything you want, people are nice, food and drinks are fine, too. And they have fruit shakes 😀

  9. i’m in love with KSR. chaotic but charming! 🙂

  10. Traveling Ted says:

    I loved it. I was there during our Super Bowl (American football championship) and watched the game at 6am with a group of other Americans and had a great time. Not only is it a vibrant scene to meet people, but a great place to book tours, get visas for Cambodia and Vietnam, find internet cafés, and find other travel services.

  11. I love when beautiful chaos surrounds me, there’s a hint of romance in it or a possibility or an energy that jumpstart whatever fuses on my body that went dead while stucked in a long stunned silences of other places (such as home). I will be visiting this place next month, its at the back of mind ever since I read it on the opening pages of Alex Garland’s novel.

  12. Natalie Lyall-Grant says:

    Even though Khao San can be crowded, flooded, dirty, and noisy, it is somehow always the first place that comes to mind whilst I sit at my desk dreaming of travel. As you said, its a starting (or ending) point for so many travelers coming from all over. Collecting on its filthy streets is the strangest and most interesting bunch of travelers I have ever come across. For those who say it is full of farangs I think that you are missing the point of Khao San. It is one of those fantastically multicultural meeting points where you could quite literally meet anyone. In any given day you could meet a traveling diamond salesman from Dubai, a quaint Japanese couple on holiday, a spiritual wanderer from Israel…. anything. And because people are so quick to shift in and out of Khao San, it is always changing, always adapting, and the weird and whacky people that so often collect there are always refreshed by newly strange people. For me this is one of the most exciting parts of traveling – I travel to experience new cultures and new people, and in terms of meeting new people Khao San is never a let down. It’s such a great place to sit and people watch in one of the many cafes.

    In terms of actually staying there though, I like Soi Rambuttri. Only a five minute walk away but much quieter and with nicer, cheaper accommodation.

  13. I have to admit that I love it! Even when I was all alone and lost from my friends in the dark, people were so quick to help me find my hotel. I never once felt worried or afraid, and I immediately fell in love with everything about the country, even KSR!


  1. […] Khao San Road would probably be Bangkok’s answer to Champs Elysses of Paris. However, it’s not as grand as the latter, in fact Khao San is quite the opposite of Champs Elysses. It’s dirty, with narrow roads, packed with cheap hostels and mid-priced hotels and it’s full of street vendors peddling everything that they can sell to tourists and travelers alike. […]

  2. […] The easiest way to be book through any travel agencies near your hostels. As of the time of writing, it cost me 450Baht for a not-direct bus to Phuket (not recommended for those who have limited time). The bus picked us up in Bangkok and stopped in Suratthani, from there we changed bus for Phuket. Direct buses cost around 700Baht-900Baht in Khao San Road. […]

  3. […] San are more expensive than the ones that you will find in Soi Rambuttri or in other places just around Khao San. These blocks are just a few minutes away from Khao San and still proximal to the nearby tourist […]

  4. […] centre of the backpacking universe” as described by Alex Garland in his novel “The Beach”, is Khao San Road. A pool of both culture and community where rules seem made to be broken and convention flies out […]

  5. […] Rambuttri has become one of my favourite hangouts in Bangkok since it’s not as noisy as Khao San in spite of its proximity to this world-famous street. I have visited Bangkok for a lot of times […]

  6. […] was staying in Khao San Road and one lazy morning I decided to go to the Grand Palace. It wasn’t near though but at the […]

  7. […] in Bangkok, you should go to parks such as Lumphini Park in Silom or Santichai Phrakarn Park near Khao San (Phra Athit Road). Best time to see squirrels is in the afternoon when they would be scavenging for […]

  8. […] Khao San is probably the most famous backpackers’ destination in the whole world. It welcomes and bids goodbye all the backpackers passing through it’s small street en route to their respective destinations. And because of the high concentration of travellers in this area, you’ll find a lot of cheap guesthouses, restaurants and vendors selling a variety of delicious foods. […]

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