The Backpackers' Paradise
Khaosan Road in the Old City, Banglumpoo district, is the most popular backpackers' area of Bangkok Thailand. Close to Chao Phraya River, it is actually a short, but highly interesting walking street, which is easily accessible by river ferry, taxis, tuktuks and buses. Unfortunately, there are no Bangkok skytrain and subway stations connecting to the road.
Khaosan Road has gained wide popularity as the backpackers' paradise thanks to its cheap hotels and guest houses, street food, and all kinds of goods sold for nearly nothing. And though past few years changed the area's scene quite a lot, making it sleeker and more commercial, much of the same old feel is preserved and travelers on a shoestring budget can happily continue enjoying all the things that contributed to the street's fame.
Attracting people from all walks of life and virtually all countries found on the globe, Khaosan Road is an incredible mixture of all things ethnic covered with modern feel and casual atmosphere. Somebody called it a human Zoo, meaning this is the place where people come to see other people. It is not uncommon to rub shoulders with absolutely bizarre characters and people, who you never thought you would associate with. Perhaps, such amazing people watch is not found anywhere in Bangkok.
In the evening, the street gets lit with neon lights and changes its rather grey daytime appearance drastically. The crowds start thickening, more sellers open up their stalls and loud music begins blasting from all corners. Apart from tourists, Khaosan Road is quite popular with young Thais, adding to the entire cosmopolitan scene.
Though the street turns into a daily night market, it is not exactly the place for budget shopping anymore. With the area's development and progress, the prices went up, and many vendors will try to get as much cash from you as possible. If you still decide to buy something, be sure to bargain and insist on a discount, as the sellers rarely quote the true price from the start. Typically for Thai open markets, all kinds of designer knock-offs prevail.
In spite of somewhat worse quality, Khaosan Road is still pretty much about food. Probably, nowhere else you can taste traditional Thai fried noodles for 15-20 Baht per serving. If you are up to something really exotic, grab a handful of fried bugs from a wheeled food stall passing by. However, note that a lot of Khaosan Road street food stalls are notorious for using cheap ingredients and substitutes that allow cutting down the cost. While the substitutes are unlikely to harm your health (unless you develop an allergy), if in doubt, choose more trustworthy-looking restaurants. The area doesn't lack international and Thai-Western fusion cuisine options as well.
Not only food is cheap here, but drinks as well. Booze can be found everywhere, and numerous bars are always full of alcohol-soaked visitors. Massage parlors, tailor shops and travel agencies are plentiful, too. Khaosan Road is also the main place for Thailand visa run and sightseeing tour arrangements, with the equal possibility for tourists to get a great deal and land up scammed.
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