Khao San Road: Everything You Need to Know
Arguably Bangkok’s craziest stretch of road, Khao San continues to dominate the capital’s nightlife scene with its promise of a blurry yet outrageous night out. While many of websites will tell you to avoid this backpacker-ridden street, we believe that, though touristy, it is also a good time. From eating scorpions to inhaling helium balloons and more, here is everything you need to know about Khao San Road.
No backpacker’s Southeast Asian journey is complete without spending a drunken night out on Khao San Road. Many of visitors know Khao San Road from its sketchy portrayal in the film, The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. While visitors will probably not follow in this dreamy, heartthrob’s footsteps and embark on an adventure that will eventually leave them stranded on a Thai island, a night out on Khao San will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all those who frequent.
Khao San Road is only about a kilometre long. Though relatively short in length, the area did an excellent job at cramming as many attractions into that one kilometre, with everything from comedy clubs, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and more occupying the street. Some of the venues in which to visit include Hippie De Bar, Taste of India, Mulligan’s Irish Bar, and May Kaidee, a vegetarian restaurant and cooking school that is but a short walk from Khao San Road.
In addition to venues, the road is also home to the Khao San Road Night Market. Though similar to the other night bazaars in the capital, the market does have a few unique finds worth sorting through. There are, of course, the usual Chang beer tank tops, anklets adorned with cheap, gold elephant chains, and a fair share of fake designer items. That being said, there are a number of vendors selling fashionable wallets and handbags, bohemian inspired jewellery, and other noteworthy finds.
Those visitors who consider themselves to be adventurous foodies must indulge in one of Thailand’s delicacies: insects. While tourists may only view bug-eating as a must-do attraction, many of locals simply view eating these insects as a tasty snack. A handful of pushcarts line this street selling creepy crawlers including scorpions, silkworms, crickets, larvae, tarantulas, and more. While the bugs primary purpose is for the shock value knowing drunken tourists will undoubtedly indulge in some bugs or two, insects are actually a good source of protein. According to Kit, they are also quite delicious, as well.
One thing that visitors must do (before or after one too many drinks) is order a plate of pad Thai. This dish is a staple of the Thai diet, and it is certainly one of the most popular ones in the entire country. Every tourist devours at least a plate-full before departing the country, and surprisingly enough, some of the most delicious pad Thai in the city is found on Khao San Road. Starting at only ฿30 (approximately $US1), visitors can add their very own variation of egg, shrimp, chicken, beef, and more before watching their meal be made right in front of them. In addition to pad Thai, the street is lined with vendors selling everything from spring rolls to smoothies and more. It is also all incredibly cheap, so feel free to indulge in those drunken munchies.
How to get to Khao San Road
There are a few ways that visitors can get to Khao San Road. The first is by taxi. Almost every driver should recognise its infamous title. Visitors can also take the BTS Skytrain station to Siam, National Stadium, or Ratchathewi. From any one of the stations, Khao San Road is about a 20-minute drive. Khao San Road can also be reached by boat from Bangkok’s very own Chao Phraya River and canal system, otherwise known as the khlongs.