Things to Do Near Khao San Road
Part One: All About Khao San Road
Khao San Road is one of the places you love to hate, but keep going back to. It’s by far the center of Bangkok’s backpacker culture. In fact, it’s most travelers first interaction with Thailand. If it’s your first stop, we promise things aren’t always that crazy. And if it’s not, you’re definitely not relaxing on the islands anymore!
To be clear, Khao San is less of a single road and more of a district. While the main attractions are all on the same stretch, the alleys and streets surrounding it are packed with just as much to see. And while it’s not the cultural or party center of Thailand, you simply can’t miss it.
Above all, Khao San Road is a great place to meet fellow backpackers. It’s littered with bars, shops, and restaurants. After you’ve had two beers, you’re guaranteed a new group of friends. Everyone is equally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s infectious!
Better yet, Khao San Road is cheap! Sure, you’ll find better prices in the extremely local areas. However, you’ll find fewer English speakers, nearly no travellers, and miss out on an awesome experience. You can find everything from knock-off sunnies and jeans to cocktails and ladyboys. But we’d advise against the latter!
Of course, it’s not all butterflies and rainbows. This place is known for being filled with relatively young and new backpackers. And while the locals are lovely, there are people (both local and foreign) who will try to take advantage of you. Steer clear of prostitutes, keep an eye on your valuables, and avoid getting too drunk. Having a bad experience on Khao San is no way to start or end a trip in Thailand!
Part Two: Getting to Khao San Road
The best way to get to Khao San Road depends entirely on where you’re staying. While it may be a massive city, transportation in Bangkok is quite simple. Considering that, we recommend staying outside of Khao San (generally in Soi Cowboy or Sukhumvit).
Take the BTS Skytrain
There sadly isn’t a BTS stop next to Khao San Road. The nearest station is National Stadium, which is roughly a 4km walk from Khao San. From that point, we recommend hailing a taxi to Khao San—just be sure they use the meter! This is a great option to save on taxi fares.
Hail a Taxi, Uber, or Grab
The easiest option, of course, is to just let someone drive you all the way there. Just be careful, as rush hour can have a major impact on travel time (and price). It’s almost always in your best interest to demand they use the meter. The main benefit of choosing an Uber/Grab instead is the comfort of having a set price.
Catch the Bus
We would only recommend this option for someone extremely budget conscious and confident. But just like a taxi, this option can take ages during rush hour. The upside, however, is that fares can be as low as twenty baht! You’ll need to do a bit of research, but buses 2, 3, 15, 53, 511, and 509 all end up near Khao San Road.
Go Wild on a Tuk Tuk or Motorbike
Tuk Tuks are exciting, authentic, and a fun way to travel! However, they can also be the biggest rip-offs. Because they don’t have meters, you have to haggle on a price. And no matter how well you can haggle, you’ll likely still pay more than other methods. However, the cost can be worth it for the experience. This is also a slightly better option during rush hour because they can weave in and out of traffic. Be sure to negotiate price before you get in.
Part Three: What to See and Do on Khao San Road
Venture Down Soi Rambuttri
Soi means alley/street in Thai, and Soi Rambuttri is Khao San’s baby brother. It offers a similar selection of bars, cafes, and shopping. However, it’s much calmer and not nearly as busy as its counterpart.
Explore Phra Athit Road
Just like Soi Rambuttri, Phra Athit is another calm alternative to Khao San Road. It’s a great chance to take a break. Better yet, it’s much more popular with locals. Enjoy a quick cup of coffee before heading back in to the hustle and bustle.
Get Your Shop on at Banglamphu Market
You should definitely spend time shopping on Khao San itself. However, the nearby Thanon Khao San and Banglamphu Markets are worth the trip. They offer better prices and a less touristy experience. The contrast can be amazing!
Take a Stroll to the Democracy Monument
Just a short walk away from Khao San, the Democracy Monument is in the middle of a roundabout. It was built in the 1930s to honor Thailand’s shift to a constitutional monarchy. It’s definitely worth an Instagram shot!
Relax with a Traditional Thai Massage
You’re in Thailand—you’re obligated to get a traditional massage. Luckily, you’ll have countless options on and around Khao San Road. Window shop for the best prices and brace yourself for an hour of discovering muscles you didn’t know you had.
Immerse Yourself in Culture at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
This is just one of Bangkok’s major Buddhist temples. And while you definitely need to see others (like Wat Pho and Wat Arun), this will be a nice break from the crowds. It’s where many of Thailand’s kings studied Buddhism.
Part Four: Where to Party on Khao San Road
If you’re looking for endless dancing, Lava Club is the place to be. You’ll find a nice mix of both locals and tourists. It stays opens late, meaning you’ll feel at home even after the street vendors have packed up. Generally, Lava plays a variety of (new) dance and hip-hop music. Drinks are a bit pricey at 250 baht each, so be sure to arrive with a slight buzz! In fact, we recommend strolling up after midnight when the crowds are at their biggest.
Superflow Beach Club
This is one of Khao San Road’s newer clubs. One of our favorite things about it is the constantly changing vibes. In the early evening, you can enjoy a few drinks with friends. It will feel like you’re just at your neighborhood pub. But as midnight approaches, Superflow does a one-eighty and becomes party central. Their beach theme (with actual sand, beach chairs, and palm trees) can’t go wrong either. Here, you can expect House Music blasting all night.
This bar has two slogans: “We do not check ID card” and “Strong cocktails”. #AdventureHardPartyHarder, as we always say. If that’s not enough, it’s certainly the hottest backpacker stop on Khao San Road. If you get there early enough, you’ll have the place to yourself. But once the night buses start rolling in from out of town, you’ll be lucky if you find standing room! It’s not uncommon for Golf Bar’s crowd to extend out into the street and even neighboring bars.
Once you enter The Club, you’re not leaving until it’s time to go home. It’s one of Bangkok’s biggest nightclub scenes and they. go. hard. You’ll find a huge mix of backpackers, expats, and locals. Both the house and guest DJs blast today’s best electro and house music. It’s hard not to move along!
This is definitely not your typical tourist spot. Walking around, you’ll see everyone from local Thais to long-time expats. Brick Bar is especially popular with local university students, so you know it’s a good spot! It’s also our favorite place to hear live music, offering everything from indie to reggae and pop. The chill vibes and overwhelming seating options make it a good spot for a chill night on the town.