khao san road

Khao San Road: Most Famous & Wildest Street in Bangkok

Food, drinks, music, entertainment: Khao San Road has everything for you. Some even say this little Bangkok street is a must-go for night wanderers. Not to mention the daytime destinations that attract both locals and foreigners. But what exactly makes Khao San the wildest and most famous street in Bangkok.

Khao San Road’s wildness is double. First, the day-night difference. Thai culture enthusiasts can explore the nearby market and temple during the day. But upon sunset, it’s all party. Second, the number of nightlife venues. Bars, clubs, and restaurants of all sizes and styles are concentrated here.

No matter what type of tourist you are, you can find something on Khao San Road. Read on and discover Bangkok’s most famous and wildest street right here.

What is Khao San Road?

khao san road signpost

A quick clarification before diving further. Don’t let the name fool you. Khao San Road is actually not a road. It’s a street.

The locals call it “road” because the Thai language only has one term for “road” and “street.” And apparently, “road” is way easier to pronounce for Thai people. So, when the locals say “road,” they could mean a city street — as in the case of Khao San Road here.

Now that the misunderstanding is clarified, it’s time for a brief explanation.

Khao San Road, to most people, is Bangkok’s nightlife district where you can eat, drink, date, party, and sleep over from sunset to sunrise. 

Located in Phra Nakhon district, close to the Royal Grand Palace, it’s a sweet spot for any travelers to rest after exploring the home of the nobles.

Bars, clubs, party venues, and hotels are jam-packed here. Night wanderers from all over the world come to have fun every night. It’s hard to estimate how many tourists this district attracts per year. But “a ton” would be an understatement.

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, you might be surprised to learn that the origin of Khao San Road was nothing like the present.

How did it start?

Khao San Road, aka Khao San Street, was established during the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910) with a completely different purpose in mind. (Source)

As the name suggests, it was a district where merchants came to trade rice (an essential part of Thai cuisine). Yes, “Khao San” means rice in Thai. And Khao San Road was meant to be the largest rice trade site in the capital. And it was. 

The trade was profitable enough to spawn numerous other related shops. For example, charcoal stores and torch vendors.

How did it change?

Around the 200th anniversary of Bangkok (1982), foreigners started flocking to the area looking for places to crash in between their journeys in the capital. This is thanks to the tourism boom of the time. And not only did travelers come here, but also the film shooting crew from Hollywood.

As a result, Khao San Road’s reputation skyrocketed.

The locals would rent out parts of their homes to foreigners, hence the start of the guest house trend in the country. And with the staggering amount of tourists, people in the area took this opportunity to convert their rice trading business into hospitality, making more money.

With more and more guest houses, hotels started popping up. And with such a change, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment follows. Consequently, the street’s reputation shifted from a rice trade site to something else. And… Well, you already know where this is going.

What to do on Khao San Road – Daytime?

Ask the locals “What is there on Khao San Road during the day?” The usual answer would be “nothing but a scorching sun.”

It’s no surprise they say that. Khao San Road wasn’t as bustling as the last century with all the business talk and rice trading. But if you want to see the stark difference between its day and night, feel free to visit and explore.

However, what’s worth seeing lies in the area around the street. And here are 2 prominent destinations to visit.

1. Bang Lamphu Market

When you go to Thailand, you can’t miss the food they offer. And it’s not only Thai food but also Chinese and other Asian dishes.

Bang Lamphu Market, like other big markets in the country, is packed with a myriad of street food and restaurants that locals frequent.

If you want to know the raw taste of what Thai people really eat, this place is for you. No holding back or modifications for foreigners here. What’s served is as Thai as it can get.

Not to say that the food is ultra spicy or barely edible. It’s just the difference in taste and style as a whole. Authenticity, perse. If you like it, then great. But if not, that’s fine. But you’ll never know unless you try, right? So, why not?

And once you’re done eating, you can also shop. It’s a market, after all. A souvenir or two would be easy enough to find. As of 2023, according to locals, the place still lacks a must-buy product. But who knows? Your taste and theirs are different. Their “meh” could “wow” you one way or another.

2. Bowonniwetwiharn Ratchaworawiharn Temple

With hundreds of temples in Bangkok, it’s hard to distinguish one from the next. But this lengthy-named temple is a little more special than the rest.

The history of the place may not go as far back, but its significance is undeniably impactful. For Thai people, the temple is revered as the residence of all monarchs (from Rama IV onward) during their monkhood. (Source)

Another selling point of this place is the mixed architecture between Thai and Chinese. If you love unique building exteriors, this place will keep you exploring for hours.

Apart from these 2 places, there’s also a relatively new Bangkok City Library. However, as you might have guessed, most books are in Thai. So, you might want to skip it. But if you’re interested in Thai literature or reading culture, stop by and enjoy.

What to do on Khao San Road – Night time?

As mentioned, you can have a blast in Khao San Road once the sunset.

Most people come here to drink at bars or let loose on a dance floor. But that’s not the only thing. You can also find all kinds of shows and other entertainment here. And if you enjoy sex tourism, you wouldn’t be disappointed too.

One thing to note is that Bar, Club, and Pub are used interchangeably in Thailand. And they are relatively the same. All these venues offer alcoholic drinks and side dishes amid loud music, live or recorded.

If you’re British, please throw the definition of a Pub out the window. It’s way louder, flashier, and wilder here.

A quiet drinking place is relatively hard to find since each venue is so close to the next. And all of them blast music at each other. Nevertheless, you can find a nice and quiet place to drink if you know where to look.

Where should you party on Khao San?

1. Bangkok Bar

Open: 18:00 – 23:00 Everyday
Location:Bangkok Bar
Call: +66 (0) 2-281-2899

Want to hang out amid great music and quality food & drinks? You should check out Bangkok Bar.

With the capital’s name on the sign board, you can tell that the place has stood the test of time. (Otherwise, other bars would have taken such a competitive name away). 

This bar has something for everyone — delicious food, drinks, pool tables, live music, and a dance floor. It’s also spacious enough to relax.

Most local reviews say that the food in this place isn’t just for show. They are restaurant-quality dishes to accompany your liquor. Moreover, the staff are friendly and service-minded, putting hotel personnel to shame.

Overall, Bangkok Bar provides quality time to everyone. And since it’s located in the bar-concentrated zone, you can easily bar-hop any time. It’s a great place to begin your night.

2. The Club

Open: 21:00 – 02:00 Everyday
Location:The Club
Call: +66 (0) 61-031-5070

If you feel like letting loose on a dance floor, The Club is your place.

Neon light and electronic music are the name of the game here. Locals recommend you to go after 11 p.m. for the fancy live DJ. nifvbvhrnhvtnnnnlvnbvclbndtlthjldire

The food and drinks, on the other hand, are serviceable. After all, people usually visit to have fun, not a serious meal.

You’ll probably feel right at home here since most customers are foreigners. But if you want to meet locals, it’s still a great place. Most Thai customers can communicate in English, so you can rest assured of the language barrier.

In short, visit The Club whenever you feel like heightening the mood. The wildness here won’t disappoint.

3. Bua Sa Ard Bar

Open: 17:00 – 00:00 Everyday
Call: +66 (0) 97-235-7934

If flashy colors and bass-heavy music isn’t your forte, you might enjoy Bua Sa Ard Bar.

A more calming style for a nice sip of liquor and pleasant conversation. Not to say you can expect a jazz bar kind of atmosphere. It’s more of an open-air alley kind of vibe.

Since the name is Thai, you can probably guess it would appeal to locals. And that’s true. The customer ratio tends to lean on the Thai side rather than foreigners. The music is also Thai-heavy. Not the traditional kind, though.

Bua Sa Ard’s strength lies in its chill atmosphere. Feel free to visit with a person of interest. The vibe here could enhance your one-liner to the next level. 

Where can you stay on Khao San?

1. Tales Khaosan

Location:Tales Khaosan (Cafe & Hostel)
Average price: 400 THB (11.50 USD)
Call: +66 (0) 97-090-6241

More often than not, you would be hanging around all night rather than crashing in a hotel. So, your need for a nice room would be minimal. And that’s where Tales Khaosan comes in.

Essentially, it is a hostel with bunk beds and a shared bathroom. Sounds normal, right? However, the first word you would utter upon first sight is “train.”

Yes, this place’s interior is designed to look like you’re traveling on a night train. The gimmick is cute and attractive for many backpackers, local or foreign. It earned a 4.6 star on Google reviews.

And once you’re ready to check out, you can enjoy a nice drink in their cafe too. To get rid of the probable hangover.

2. D&D Inn

Location:D&D Inn Bangkok
Average price: 1,000 THB (28 USD)
Call: +66 (0) 2-629-0526

Not to be mistaken with the Table-top RPG game, Dungeons and Dragons. This D&D is a hotel.

It’s a more pricey but comfy option than the previous one. However, it doesn’t mean that the price tag is unreasonable. You can get a room as cheap as around 500 THB (14 USD).

The selling point of this hotel is arguably its location. The building stands right in the center of Khao San Road. And it’s close enough to the Emerald Buddha temple that you can see it from the rooftop swimming pool.

It also has a hotel bar that offers quality drinks in a quieter environment (in case you’re not here to party).

So, if an easy commute is what you’re after, D&D Inn is your go-to.

3. Dang Derm Hotel

Location:Dang Derm Hotel
Average price: 1,000 THB (28 USD)
Call: +66 (0) 2-629-2040

Dang Derm is a Thai term for “traditional” or “old-school.” With that said, you can probably tell what this hotel looks like.

Yes, it’s a hotel where the influence of the traditional Thai sense of beauty is heavy on the interior. The mix of wooden vibe and modernity blends nicely in this place.

Of course, it sits right in the center of Khao San Road. So, going in and out for a party wouldn’t be a problem.

If you want to stay at a more Thai-looking hotel during your party trip, look no further than Dang Derm.

Khao San: The Wild and The Famous

As you can see, Khao San Road really has everything for everyone. No matter what kind of tourist you are, you can have a great time on this world-renowned street. The range of things you can enjoy here is beyond wild.

Make sure to be prepared for the possible hangover, though. You don’t want to end up like the movie The Hangover 2.

Like always, if you want to discover more about Thailand, stay guided with ThaiGuider. You might learn something you never knew about this unique country.

Want more content? CHECK OUT THIS Complete Guide to Bangkok Nightlife


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