Khao San Road Bangkok - Khaosan

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Khaosan Road, also known as Kao Sarn, Koh Sarn and several variations, is a relatively small road around a block from the Chao Phraya River, in the Banglamphu district of northwest Bangkok.

This area is a haven for backpackers and those travelling on a budget, as it is home to some of the most inexpensive accommodation deals in Thailand.

The pronunciation of Khaosan is ‘cow-san’. It seems many people confuse the Thai word for island (koh) with ‘khao’. 

The nearest meaning to Khaosan is milled rice, which points to the traditional main commodity traded in this area before it became a backpackers’ paradise.

One of the first accommodation businesses to open on this road was a tiny hotel to cater for civil servants coming from the provinces to Bangkok for business purposes.

Soon after this a shop selling accessories for monks sprang up, followed by another, and then another. This led to the road becoming widely known as a ‘religious area’.

Word of mouth spread the word of the relaxed easy lifestyle and friendliness of the locals.

The owner of the guesthouse started charging for food and accommodation and thus was born the first guest house on Khaosan, which was called Bonny.

Today Khaosan is a thriving and busy area, with businesses offering much more than just accommodation.

There are restaurants, cafes, pharmacies, internet cafes, money changing booths, ATM’s, shoe stores, tailors, travel agents, gyms, and streets of fake designer clothes at incredible prices.

Not famous for any historical sites, Khaosan Road is on the Rattanakosin Island. There are several old buildings and temples (wats) around the area, and even some which have been turned into tattoo parlours.

One big bonus of the Khaosan Road is the extraordinary number of food stalls, offering traditional Thai delicacies such as deep friend cockroach and dried squid. 

These Kanom are much appreciated by the local people who feast on them regularly.

At the bottom of Khaosan Road is Wat Chana Songkram, which roughly translates to "War Victory Temple".

This area was formally given to the distinctive ‘Mon’ peoples who helped the Thai fight off the Burmese centuries ago. 

The Mon set up a community here and built this temple as well.

Often travellers use the temple grounds to connect between Khao San and Phra Athit Rd where the pier is located. The temple is well worth visiting, with extraordinary murals, temple bells hanging from the eves and bougainvillea vines. 

There is no charge for admission and it does provide an often respite from the hoards of visitors swarming on the Khaosan Road.

There are some excellent sites every tourist will want to see within walking distance of the Khaosan Road, including the Grand Palace (Wat Phra Kaew), the Sanam Luang Park, the Democracy Monument and the Golden Mount (Phu Khao Thong).

Suan Santichaiprakarn Park, just beyond the Khaosan Road, offers a magnificent view of the Chao Phraya river and the modern Rama VIII suspension bridge. 

In the evening, there are many activities going on in the park such as aerobic exercise sessions (free of charge) and performances of Thai classical music, along with other performers including mime artists and jugglers.

Video of Khao San Road in Bangkok.

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