Bangkok – Khaosan Road (Thannon Khaosan)
Khaosan Road is probably one of the most popular tourist areas in Bangkok. It is most well known for being the center for backpackers and many Thailand tours start from this area.
Khaosan Road, also known as Thanon Khaosan, is located in the Banglamphu area of the Phra Nakhon District in Bangkok, Thailand. Khaosan Road sits on the northern part of Rattanakosin Island, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River and is about 1 km north of The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. The name “Khaosan” actually translates to “milled rice”. It was named this because the street used to be a major rice market. Nowadays it has developed into a world famous backpacker area catering to tourists from all around the world.
Khaosan Road has just about anything and everything that a tourist would need such as accommodations ranging from guesthouses to 3 star hotels. Shops selling everything from handcrafts, paintings, second-hand books and other backpacker items to pirated CD’s and DVDs. There are food stalls, bars, and clubs open until about 2AM so there will always be places to eat, drink, and party. There are also internet cafes, travel agents, tattoo shops, massage parlors and just about anything and everything else.
Transportation to and Khaosan Road can be a bit tricky. There is no direct connection via BTS Skytrain and the bus system in Bangkok is very complex, so you are better off taking a taxi or going by boat. To get to Khaosan Road by boat, take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to the Phra Arthit pier. The Chao Phraya Express Boat has many stops on the river, but the easiest way to get to the Chao Phraya River is to take the BTS Skytrain to the Saphan Taksin Station. From there, you can board the Chao Phraya Express Boat at the Sathorn Pier and take it to the Phra Arthit pier. After reaching the Phra Arthit Pier, Khaosan Road will be a few blocks to the east. Taking a taxi should be straight forward, but be careful that taxis maybe tempted to charge higher fees for travelers going to and from Khaosan Road. Another option is to take the Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat to the Panfa Leelard pier. From there, you will walk west down Ratchadamnoen Klang Road until you reach Thanon Tanao. Khaosan Road will be on your left.
Khaosan Road has gained worldwide attention for being the tourist and backpacker haven in Bangkok, but this popularity has also brought some problems as well. Khaosan Road is also becoming well known for being one of the worst areas in Bangkok in terms of scams and annoyances. One common scam is Tuk-tuk drivers quoting prices that are the same or even higher than the price of air-conditioned metered taxis. Another scam is where the tuk-tuk driver drops off the tourist on a quiet street to be robbed by accomplices. There are also scams involving private bus companies who intentionally slow down trips, say from 10 hours to 18 hours, in order to coerce you into staying at a guest house of their choosing, which happens to be the one that pays the highest commission.