The Road to Nowhere: Why It Sucks to Stay on Khao San Road
Why It Sucks to Stay in Khao San Road & How to Experience the Real Bangkok
Khao San Road is the epicenter of Thailand, right? The only place to drink, eat and stay? Wrong! Wrong on so many levels! Yeah, of course you’ve got to hit it for a few nights out (and we’ve got your back there with bar crawls on Tuesday, Thursday AND Sunday!) but there’s so much more to the city than that. If you want to really be in the thick of the action then Khao San Road is a world away from where you want to be!
Why do backpackers flock to Khao San?
Back when Bangkok wasn’t ground zero for every backpacker in southeast Asia, Khao San Road was a relaxed neighborhood full of working families and local businesses. Authentic? Yes. Fun? Not so much! With the 1980’s influx of western travelers however, a bunch of cheap guesthouses sprung up all along Khao San and the backpacker scene was born.
The false Promised Land
So why don’t we recommend staying on Khao San these days? Well, where to start! Firstly, this isn’t just a bit touristy, it’s by far the most touristy place in Thailand. Think tacky plastic souvenirs, a load of people trying to sell you tours you don’t want to go on and a fair scattering of shows that might sound cheap before you go in but end up costing you more than you bargained for!
There’s also the food and drinks prices which are sky-high compared to elsewhere in town. Beers cost a third or a half more than restaurants just around the corner and quality of the cooking is pretty variable; people don’t really come here for the cuisine, it’s more for the 2 for 1 shots!
Lack of Transport Options
One of the major issues with Khao San is the transport. Bangkok hasn’t designed its transportation systems exclusively to suit the backpacker scene. Shocking, right? But the BTS and MRT don’t have lines going to Khao San Road, so you’re out on a limb somewhat.
If you want to travel outside of the area then you’ll need to grab a tuktuk and run the gauntlet of the crazy pricing from the drivers who know you’re at their mercy. We once got quoted $30 for the trip from Khao San to Chatuchak bus station. Nope, that’s not the going rate!
Where’s the best place to stay in Bangkok for backpackers?
If you want to stay somewhere with great transport links, bars and restaurants on the doorstep and a proper Bangkok atmosphere then come join the Bodega family at our Bangkok hostel in Sukhumvit. This is the true heart of the city and puts you right in the center of the action. There’s straightforward access to both international and domestic airports, and Sukhumvit station is the crossing point for the BTS line and MRT blue line. That gets you sightseeing during the day and out to the bars in the evening.
And the best bit? You don’t have to miss out on Khao San at all. Jump on one of our bar crawls that run three times a week, and you can experience all the drinks deals you want without having to be stuck there all day, every day!