Khaosan Road has within a few short decades achieve quite a status among world travelers. In the 60s and 70s, when members of the hippie subculture were beginning to explore less accessible corners of the world, Khaosan Road was just a rice market street – its name translates to “milled rice”. Hospitable locals on the road began hosting foreigners in search of undiscovered locales and in time, it became a destination on the Hippie Trail from Europe to Asia. As more passed through it, Khaosan Road became more romanticized (well into the 2000s as one might come to know of it in movie The Beach). As a result, a community comprising of locals waiting for foreigners to arrive in search of their souls was formed. Regardless of background, all who were passing through were welcomed with open arms at Khaosan Road. Today, it has become a backpacker’s paradise (or to some, ghetto) and presents a unique atmosphere that exists no where else in Bangkok.
Budget accommodations, friendly bars, street vendors and other affordable features fill the road. It is the legacy of its original international reputation. While Khaosan Road’s authenticity is often questioned in today’s modern world, it undeniably still retains a lot of its charms. For one, it really is the melting pot of travelers and a great place to meet strangers or people watch. One can easily visit the road and observe interactions for hours. Hard to find Thai dishes like Khao Chae (jasmine rice in scented ice water served with savory dishes) are also interestingly abundant in the area. Be sure to check out bookstores in the area – the stock left behind by many has accumulated into what is possibly the most random and varied collection of foreign books in Bangkok.
This road’s location on Rattanakosin Island is within walking distance to major historic sites including the Grand Palace. While it may not be close to the extremely convenient Skytrain network, it is blessedly situated next to the river. From Khaosan Road, one can walk through Rambuttri toward the Phra Arthit Pier next to Santichai Prakan Park and catch an express boat to Sathorn Pier to connect to the train.