All the pros and cons of staying near Bangkok’s Khao San Road
After my long trip to Asia, one of the questions people kept asking was whether they should stay near Khao San Road when traveling to Bangkok.
I was biased with my answers, I have to admit it. And that’s exactly what I want to avoid with this article. Instead, I want to talk about this neighborhood’s positive and negative aspects, from a broader perspective.
🙂 Take a long breath, Vale, and remember to be objective! 🙂
PRO: MANY TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
As you can clearly see from the map, this central neighborhood is close to many of Bangkok’s attractions. Suffice to say that within 1 km you will find many must-visit temples. It is also very close (about 500 m) from a pier where you cross the Chao Phraya river by boat.
PRO: LOW-COST ACCOMMODATION
Staying here is cheap, we talk about €5 to €30 per night. You have to lower your expectations though, you get no more than you pay for. And it’s not just the amenities I’m referring to, you have to put up with loud music at 4 am, but more on this in the next section.
PRO: A VIBRANT NIGHTLIFE
If you’re looking to go out every night and party, then this the right place for you!
There are countless restaurants, many serving local cuisine, street food markets, clubs, shops (the “Seven Eleven” are open 24 hours a day), lights and music at all hours of the night. As I mentioned in the section above, if you think of staying in Khao San and being able to fall asleep at 11 at night then you’ll be sorely disappointed.
I’m not the kind of person who can go without a good night’s sleep, especially after I’m tired from being out all day on tours. I arrived at the hotel exhausted and I woke up even more tired than I was before because I was not able to sleep for longer than a couple of hours when the alarm clock rang.
PRO: CHEAP TRADITIONAL THAI FOOD
Here’s where I had my first ‘pad thai’ (a traditional Thai dish made of soy spaghetti, chicken or shrimp, vegetables and a little bit of chili) and I literally fell in love with it. There are so many restaurants here and most of them offer traditional Thai dishes. Dining here shouldn’t cost you more than €15. Remember to always bring cash because not many restaurants accept credit cards, but this is not really a problem because you can find ATMs everywhere or exchange currencies very easily.
PRO: A PARADISE FOR SHOPPING LOVERS
One of the tips I got over and over before I left for Thailand was to leave with a half-empty suitcase so that I could buy everything there. They couldn’t have been more right! Between the heat and the amazing colorful fabrics, you’ll be tempted to buy everything, even the things you don’t need.
One thing I must say though, around Bangkok I came across hundreds and hundreds of tourists with the same white with blue elephants trousers. I understand the novelty, but I’d rather be unique and original! 🙂
PRO: THAI MASSAGES EVERYWHERE!
If I had to think of one reason why I’d come back to Khao San it would definitely be the massages.
Thai massage is known all over the world and is called “nuad phaen borarn” which means “a healing touch”. There are several opinions but I want to say that if you expect a half-hour of total relaxation where you can turn off your mind, this is not the massage for you! 🙂
Wikipedia says (and I can attest to it): “In performing the Thai massage the masseur uses different parts of his body (hands, fingers, palms, elbows, forearms, feet, heels, knees …) and performs various “manipulations” (compressions, extensions, twisting, stretching, kneading, hand-to-shoulder taps, shaking, snapping, lifting, locking the body and limbs, walking with the heels and the hollow of the feet on the back …) “
There are several massage places, which you can access only after leaving your shoes at the entrance and where the massages take place outdoors, on the side of the road. Prices are very competitive: a half-hour Thai massage costs between €4 and €7.
CON: DIRT AND INSECTS EVERYWHERE
I decided to sum up all the negative aspects in one section only, the one thing that really affected my stay in Bangkok in such a negative way.
I share here a screenshot of what I posted on Facebook one of the nights I was staying here:
What I did not write about and what you can’t see in the photos was that the entire street is full of locals selling scorpions, grasshoppers, spiders and who knows what else. I understand that for them it is normal to do it and also that many tourists are attracted by this novelty but I hated it. Mainly because, besides the stalls, there were many of them just walking around selling the insects through the crowd. Not for me, thank you very much! ^ _ ^
In conclusion: there are many reasons that could lead you to stay near Khao San Road or to come here one evening. It all depends on the type of person and traveler you are.
For those who missed it, here’s my vlog on the 5 days I spent in Bangkok:
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